EDWARD SCISSORHANDS (Tim Burton)
Let us give praise to a modern classic, stunning in its originality and so beautifully realized. From the astonishing imagination of Tim Burton, Edward emerged as one of the most sympathetic creatures ever to grace the screen. My guess is that EDWARD SCISSORHANDS will never die, and in time, will seem like he was always with us.
GOODFELLAS (Martin Scorsese)
GOODFELLAS is Scorsese’s “GODFATHER”, and everybody knows that it should have taken the Oscar. (At least Joe Pesci got his.) Scorsese would have to wait until 2007 for his consolation prize for THE DEPARTED. GOODFELLAS is so damn good, it’s one of those movies that if you even watch a little bit at any time, you’re stuck. You’ll be watching until the end. Maybe it’s a guy thing, I don’t know. But I do know that Scorsese makes it look like he was just born to make movies.
THE COMFORT OF STRANGERS (Paul Schrader)
With a screenplay by Harold Pinter from a novel by Ian McEwan, directed by Paul Schrader and featuring Christopher Walken, you just know that this thing is going to explode from internal combustion. Shot on location in Venice and with costume design by Giorgio Armani (Walken kept his suits after the shoot), Rupert Everett and Nastasha Richardson are a couple working on their relationship while vacationing, when they meet up with Walken and his wife, Helen Mirren. Suffice to say that they get more than they bargained for. Walken is so Christopher Walken here that he almost steals the show, were it not for the superbly crafted air of tension that permeates every scene. One of my favorite among mostly unknown films.
JACOB’S LADDER (Adrian Lyne)
With all the weird experiences and disturbing visions he’s having, Tim Robbins knows there’s something not quite right in his world. Is it something to do with his time in Vietnam? It’s a mystery in the VANILLA SKY vein and a compelling one. Director Adrian Lyne takes a break from his usual drivel (9 1/2 WEEKS, FLASHDANCE, etc), and manages not to screw this one up.
KING OF NEW YORK (Abel Ferrara)
Director Ferrara found the perfect partner-in-crime to match his edginess in Christopher Walken. This story of the rise and demise of a drug lord in the big city gives Walken lots of room to add to his status as the go-to guy for characters with dark psyches and short fuses. The legend continues…..
LA FEMME NIKITA (Luc Besson)
In any language, this is one of the best “action” films ever made. Maybe we shouldn’t even label it as such, but with all the gun-play and underworld shenanigans, it’s unavoidable. Thoroughly engaging, it solidified Luc Besson’s status in France and around the world. Annie Parillaud (incidentally Besson’s wife) is perfect as the reluctant assassin.
TREMORS (Ron Underwood)
The best damn creature feature you ever did see!
Giant slug-like monsters with man-eating tentacles coming out of their mouths terrorize the small desert town of Perfection, Pop. 14 (and dwindling). Rule #1 with monster movies: “Don’t be chintzy with showing the monster(s), or at least the havoc they’re creating”. The film-makers of TREMORS got the message and deliver the goods early and often. They also got a few other things right, setting just the right comic tone in between gross-outs, keeping things interesting. Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward, as “Val and Earl” are a hoot. And as we get to know the other denizens of Perfection, we actually start to care about them.
Don’t get the idea that this is a serious movie, however. The makers of TREMORS have made sure of that. What they did do, is make an homage to all the creature features of the 50’s, and go them one better. In so doing, they have pumped life into one more genre so that it live to fight another day.