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Beauty and the Beast (1991)
Magnificent and Unsurpassed
The best animated feature ever made. Period. No argument. The Disney studios pulled out all the stops to create this sublime achievement, using the best animators, storytellers and musical artists in the business. Surpassing any animated feature made before or since this is simple story about a beautiful girl in a small village who wants to escape her "provincial life" and the clutches of the handsome town brute who wants to have her for his own. Told in the style of a lively Hollywood musical, this story is never boring and continuously engaging. You won't find a better family film. Even the movie's beginning, telling the background of the Beast through the use of stain glass windows, is stunningly beautiful and original. The musical numbers are alternately fun, hilarious, quietly sweet and rousing.
Don't expect the DVD version of this film to last on the shelves very long.
Hoffman makes you believe!
Not only one of the best cross-dressing acting achievements ever but Dustin Hoffman's best acting...period, even eclipsing his award-winning acting efforts in Rain Man and other loftier films. Hoffman goes whole-heartedly into his persona of Dorothy Michaels and you actually feel like you're getting to know an entirely different person on screen. The result is a movie that is often screamingly funny and at other times is surprisingly tender. One of the best comedies ever made. A joy from start to finish.
A terrifying game of cat and mouse in outer space
A simple horror story in space that sent screams though the audiences when in was introduced in the 70's and continues to shock and terrify to this day. A fantastic acting achievement by all the players as a crew who must contend with an alien that is accidentally brought on board their space ship. This heart-pounding masterpiece will have you trying to hide your body in your chair as the crew members first try to hunt down and then try to escape from the most terrifying creature ever conceived for the cinema. The outstanding production design, lighting effects and score only add to the suspense and horror. See it in the dark alone if you want to experience raw fear.
Underrated and Magnificent
The fact that this great film was not even nominated for an academy award for best picture shows how out-to-lunch the academy members were in 1989. This film not only should have won over "Driving Miss Daisy" that year but would be highly competitive in any year. Matthew Broderick shines as the Colonel who commands a rag-tag group of black enlisted men during the Civil War. He and the men he fights with show what true honor and bravery are all about during wartime. Every character is compelling and you feel right along with them as the plot unfolds. A must see.
The Princess Bride (1987)
A joyous tale
The simplest pleasures in life are the best, and this film is one of them. Combining a rather basic storyline of love and adventure this movie transcends the usual weekend fair with wit and unmitigated charm. Every character is a delight and you just want to see more of them. "The Princess Bride" is based on the unsurpassed novel by William Goldman, who also penned the screenplay. While this is a movie review, I cannot recommend the book on which it is based more highly. It is quite simply the most humorous, enthralling fable ever written and will fill in many details that were impossible to include on the screen. The only other movie of this type that I can think of that is this much fun was Danny Kaye's "The Court Jester," another costumed comedy/adventure/romance that I also highly recommend.
Pulp Fiction (1994)
One of the few movies I have ever seen that made me feel soiled and pistol whipped. Although the non-linear story line is indeed an interesting concept Tarantino becomes so absorbed in showing us society's underbelly he leaves us with a hopeless mess of a film. The violence is a study in wretched excess, involving careless murders, drug use, kidnapping and rape. There isn't even a single character worth understanding or identifying with. I ended up hoping everyone, including Tarantino, would die at the end of this film. Unfulfilling garbage.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Action/Adventure films don't get any better than this!
"Raiders" is the best on-screen thrill ride every made. It hits the ground running and never stops with some of the best and most memorable action sequences ever filmed. Just buckle in for the ride as you watch Harrison Ford defy death and battle the evil Nazis as the legendary Indiana Jones trying to save the Ark of the Covenant from their clutches. A perfect blend of adventure, humor and pure excitement that will have you leaving the theater with an adrenalin high. The very last sequence of this movie is quietly staggering, bordering on the sublime.
The Lion in Winter (1968)
Watch the English royals backstab each other for Christmas!
A skillfully written movie which includes glorious performances from Katherine Hepburn as Eleanor of Aquitaine and Peter O'Toole as King Henry II. It is Christmas time and the royal family seems to be in the middle of an argument as to who will be the next king of England after Henry dies. Henry wants John, Eleanor wants Richard, and everybody seems to simply ignore poor Prince Geoffrey. From there everything goes downhill as they all use treachery and deceit to gain the upper hand. Its delightful and horrifying to watch them going "picnicking" on each other. Some of the most witty dialogue in cinema are contained within this film as the royal family members use their tongues as fillet knives. Engrossing from beginning to end.
The Court Jester (1955)
Perfect Sunday afternoon movie
This delightful little costume romance/comedy/musical is ideal for those who want a cozy laugh in front of the television during the weekend. The plot involves a circus clown (Danny Kaye) who is coerced into taking the identity of the greatest court jester in the world in order to help his rebel friends who want to take the English crown back for its rightful heir, an infant. There are many exquisitely timed comedic moments throughout the film including a fanciful sword fight and Kaye's first song performed as a court jester before the tyrannical king. However, the best scene involves Kaye trying to remember which wine cup is poisoned before a jousting duel. This film is worth watching if only to see how beautiful Angela Lansbury (the princess) was when she was younger.
The Stunt Man (1980)
The Best Movie You Never Saw
This movie works on so many levels it is hard to describe how entertaining it is. I consider this movie Peter O'Toole's greatest acting achievement, even surpassing his brilliant role in Lawrence of Arabia. He plays a dictatorial movie director who will do ANYTHING to get his movie made, and made to his specifications. The script is sharp and witty with many memorable lines and an incredible plot that takes a hold of you from the start. Is the director out to kill his new found stunt man in order to make the perfect movie shot? Watch and see. It's delightful fun!