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The Portrait of a Lady (1996)
Watch this again...
The first time I saw Jane Campion's "Portrait of a Lady," I disliked her interpretation of one of my favorite books. The film is aesthetically pleasing, stylish, and has a good presence, but I couldn't get past, what I felt then, was a bad ending. Just recently I watched the film again. I had a completely different experience. Suddenly I saw what Campion was doing, and some of it was brilliant. Especially the end. I know many people like to see that the protagonist is "safe" and "happy" and it appears that Kidman's character is not. But she is. The last scene is a cinematic triumph if scrutinized by a thoughtful watcher. Nicole Kidman does a wonderful job under Campion, as does Martin Donovan (if you read the book, he is perfect for the character). This film deserves a second look.
Howards End (1992)
Close to perfection...
Masterful performances make this splendid film adaptation of EM Forster's novel of the clashing of the classes a must-see. Anthony Hopkins, Helena Bonham Carter, Vanessa Redgrave, Samuel West, and Emma Thompson fill the screen with passion and vigor. One of the few good movies that does justice to the great book from which it was taken. Lushly filmed and directed with, though sometimes a heavy touch, great vitality by James Ivory. The setting is beautiful, the period feel is very accurate, and the story has subtle beauty. Watch for Ivory bringing out some interesting psychology between characters, especially of different classes. He captures attitudes of the time to near perfection. A cinematic treat.
An overlooked psychological masterpiece that is at once vivid, disturbing, and thought-provoking. Unparalleled performances directed by a master hand at the height of his genius. Undoubtedly one of Bergman's most complete and introspective films. Watching it is a unique and stimulating experience.
Six Degrees of Separation (1993)
Thank you, Will!
Watch this terrific movie if only to see Will Smith actually ACT! He certainly gives a superb performance in a role that is unusual when compared with his later ones. On the whole, the film is appealing, warm, and at times very witty. Complemented by solid performances by Stockard Channing and Donald Sutherland.
The Last Supper (1995)
Anything this malicious has to be good...
What a great story line! One of those movies that nobody has watched, but everyone should see. Anything this wonderfully malicious without apologizing for it deserves two thumbs up. The movie is definitely weakened by a lack of fluidity and believability, but the premise is hilarious and comes off very well in the end.