- Out Of Sight
- Central Station
- Regret To Inform
- Gods And Monsters
- The Grandfather
- The Celebration
- The Truman Show
- Shakespeare In Love
There was no richer or more enjoyable a performance than Ian McKellen as James Whale in Bill Condon’s brilliant drama Gods And Monsters; he satisfies our craving for tales of Hollywood Babylon and gives us a glimpse into some painful realities of aging.
After capturing some of the arthouse crowd with her solid performance in Oscar & Lucinda, Cate Blanchett won the role of England’s greatest female monarch when Shekhar Kapur cast her in his royal biopic Elizabeth. Blanchett doesn’t miss a beat throughout the entire thing; you would never guess this was her entrance into cinema stardom; her confident speeches and bold gestures suggest the performance of a veteran achieving her pinnacle and not breaking through to the masses. She gave it even more gusto in the sequel (even if the film was not quite as successful).
It takes guts for an audience member to openly enjoy a movie in which a man gleefully drugs a little boy’s sandwich in order to have his way with him after the pill takes effect. It takes even more guts for an actor to play it so openly, but Dylan Baker offers no apologies for the obvious problems that his character in Happiness has. It’s an excellent, disturbing look at the underside of suburbia unlike any of the others that were so popular at this time in cinema, and from the uniformly excellent cast, Baker’s performance stands out.
It might be only eight minutes of screen time, but it’s the film’s best eight minutes and Judi Dench well deserved to take home an Academy Award for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare In Love. She gives the comedy its context and force, and her delivery of Tom Stoppard’s superb dialogue gives the charge for the plot; without her presence, it would be impossible for modern-day audiences to understand why the film’s central lovers don’t just run away together and ignore all social strictures. It’s a wonderfully delightful film to which she contributes immeasurably.
Pulp Fiction, despite not being based on a novel by Elmore Leonard, effectively began a trend of Leonard being adapted for the big screen, including Touch, Jackie Brown, and, the best of them, Out Of Sight. Director Steven Soderbergh creates his richest film with this superbly written crime caper in which humour, violence, sex and battles of will revolve around a robbery. It’s told out of sequence and yet is never confusing, and every shot is a beauty to behold. It also features the only glimpse of proof that Jennifer Lopez could have been an outstanding movie actress before a pop singing career convinced her to start making bad romantic movies.