BOOGIE NIGHTS (Paul Thomas Anderson)
With just his second feature film, Paul Thomas Anderson put the cinema world on notice: “Ignore me at your own peril!” No wonder he’s good friends with Tarantino. Birds of a feather. Anderson made a now typically brilliant and bravura exercise in film-making with BOOGIE NIGHTS. Delving into the world of the porn industry of 70’s L.A. just before the VCR was about to change everything, Anderson dazzles and delivers. His ensemble cast is achingly human, even while not a single character could be considered admirable. Stunning.
FACE/OFF (John Woo)
The phrase “over-the-top” was invented to describe movies like this one. At least when it was meant in a good way. Let me just say that the plot involves two very different characters getting swapping face transplants and nobody can really tell. And it stars Nicolas Cage and John Travolta!! Imagine the possibilities! They are all explored and then some in this truly one-of-a-kind tour de farce.
IN THE COMPANY OF MEN (Neil Labute)
Very touchy material this guy Labute writes. Best to just let him direct it, so as not to make a misstep. Some would say that his whole career was a misstep. But then some people just don’t get it. Not really a born film-maker, Labute was able to perform a minor miracle by bringing his play to the screen on a minuscule budget. Ooh, nicely done, Neil.
WAITING FOR GUFFMAN (Christopher Guest)
Hilarious and silly, Christopher Guest & Co. are the closest thing to an American Monty Python. Having participated in the mother of all mockumentaries, THIS IS SPINAL TAP, Guest carries on the tradition in fine form.