Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Top 10 Lists: 1996

1996 was a really fun year for films.  Tons of solid popcorn films and some decent serious films made for one of the better cinematic years in the 90's.

10. Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie

I'm a fan of the TV show and this truncated feature version of it is a funny, entertaining extension of the concept.  The choice of This Island Earth makes for some pretty funny riffs and all in all, it's worth watching if you're a fan of the show or if you're just getting into it.

9. Star Trek: First Contact

The eighth Star Trek movie is also the last really good one as Picard and the crew of the Enterprise D go up against their dreaded enemies The Borg.  Jonathan Frakes does well in the director's chair, giving the scenes with the bad guys a really great, creepy horror vibe (as they should have) and while the rest of the film is a little hit or miss, it still comes together as a solid effort.

8. Ransom

Mel Gibson is pretty damn good in this enjoyable thriller from Ron Howard that sees Mel as a father desperately trying to get his kidnapped son back from bad guy Gary Sinise.  Howard keeps things moving at a brisk pace and keeps the tension fairly well.  Good stuff.

7. Tin Cup

I'm not the biggest fan of post-Dances with Wolves Kevin Costner but this sports comedy is an entertaining, funny piece of work with a good soundtrack and fun supporting performances from Cheech Marin and Don Johnson.  It is the second best movie about golf behind Caddyshack.

6. When We Were Kings

I'm a bit of a documentary buff and this is a really, really good look at the Ali/Foreman fight from 1974.  Fascinating stuff to watch.

5. The Rock

The best movie Michael Bay ever made, this one is just a blast with tons of action, good work from Connery and Cage and for what it's worth, one of my favorite trailers of all time.  If Bay could have made more movies as entertaining as this, his reputation would be a hell of a lot better than it is.

4. Scream

Don't much care for the sequels and as I noted elsewhere, the writer is a bit of a one-trick pony but Wes Craven's affectionate slasher satire is still a worthy bit of horror filmmaking.

3. Looking for Richard

Another fun documentary, this is more or less Al Pacino and a bunch of other fairly big names putting on a production of  and analyzing Shakespeare's Richard III.  The 90's were a bit of a Renaissance for the guy with Kenneth Branagh doing a bunch of adaptations as well as the 1991 version of Hamlet and this piece.  It's quite engrossing to watch.

2. Eraser

The forgotten gem in Arnold's filmography, this is just plain fun with some great action, a nice turn from James Caan as the bad guy and a great over the top sensibility.  It's basically an 80's action movie with a 90's sensibility.  Just a fun ride.

1. From Dusk Till Dawn

I've written about this elsewhere on the blog but in short, it's about ten times better than it has any right to be with a great cast, f/x and a fun script from Tarantino plus Robert Rodriguez doing what he does best..  Another film on the list that is just plain fun.

Honorable Mentions:

I'm a fan of David Mamet and Dennis Franz and this neat little flick is a solid, interesting drama.

Tom Cruise brings us him in action hero mode, in all its eye-bulging glory.  A fun film that is marred by a few things but to be honest, I can't bring myself to hate a film that has Jon Voight brutally crushed by a helicopter.

Jackie Chan finally found some stateside success with the American release of this fun kung fu flick.  It has some great action and if ever there was a movie to start off his success here with, this film was as good a choice as any.

Not a bad thriller with Kurt Russell and Steven Seagal trying to save a plane from hijackers.  It's a little pacy in parts but Russell is good and you get to see Seagal sucked out of a plane in flight.

This is one I really get a kick out of, even though it's not really all that great.  Chalk it up to me being a sucker for a hammy John Travolta performance (as long as the rest of the film works too) and the unintentional humor of Christian Slater as an action hero.  John Woo directs with his usual flair and the action more than makes up for the plot deficiencies.

The first 45 minutes of this period horror film based on real events are pretty damn good but the film sort of dips once Michael Douglas enters the picture.  He's good and so is Val Kilmer but the film sort of loses focus along the way.  Still, it's a solid horror film with good work from the trained lions they had and some impressive shots here and there that are actually quite creepy.

Guilty Pleasures:

A notoriously troubled shoot, this sports two really bad performances from Val Kilmer and Marlon Brando and some great f/x.  It's not a good movie by any means, but watching it is quite fascinating if you like to see good actors struggle against more than just a bad script.

Not exactly a worthy follow-up to the first film to be kind, it's still an enjoyable enough bit of bad horror and the fact that in 1996 there were two movies about vampires and scantily clad women amuses me to no end.

1996, as I noted earlier, was a really fun year for movies with a lot of good, some bad and some in between.  Hell, there were films I had to leave off just for the sake of brevity!

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About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.