Movie reviews for movies released theatrically in 1995, the year I turned 14.
1. Dead Man, directed by Jim Jarmusch (10/10)
Rare is there a western that is so out of the box, it causes us to re-think the genre (in part, because it’s not really a western). Young’s score is note-perfect, the dark comedy helps off-set the very deliberate pacing. The whole thing is an utterly unique experience.
2. Se7evn, directed by David Fincher (10/10)
At this point I really doubt I could be unbiased about this movie. But I think that the film’s internal logic is pretty flawless, and for once – at least since the Renaissance – an American film is made where the all-knowing cops (heroes) aren’t able to get the better of their seemingly all-knowing supervillain.
3. The Usual Suspects, directed by Bryan Singer (10/10)
Mild spoilers: Ebert’s old review, which has since been replaced, claimed the final twist nullifies itself. I think that’s an absurd claim (and he must have realized that, as he changed it) as any piece of art that presents an unreliable narrator would not be worth experiencing, and I think that is extremely false. Yes, it is gimmicky, but it is one of the most well-done gimmicks I have ever seen. It doesn’t matter that the story is false, it’s all about how it’s told.
4. The City of Lost Children, directed by Marco Caro, Jean-Pierre Jeunet (9/10)
As inventive as Delicatessen, but a lot less fun. Still a pretty incredible accomplishment. Highly recommended.
5. Kicking and Screaming, directed by Noah Baumbach (9/10)
Everything I probably thought Glory Daze was when I saw that. Perhaps the best film about graduating university since The Graduate.
5. Safe, directed by Todd Haynes (9/10)
Unfortunately I don’t believe I wrote a review for this one. It had quite the affect on me at the time and I would still highly recommend it.
5. Twelve Monkeys, directed by Terry Gilliam (9/10)
Perhaps my favourite remake ever: La Jetee was not really a feature film, and this takes that idea and turns it into creative and interesting film, rather than just a really neat art project.
8. Richard III, directed by Richard Loncraine (8/10*)
I think this is one of the better adaptations of a Shakespeare play, however I haven’t seen it in years and I have seen a large number of adaptations – both traditional and not – since.
9. Before Sunrise, directed by Richard Linklater (8/10)
I think most of us growing up in the west with the financial ability to travel like this go through a moment or three where this film seems like it’s perfect: certainly many of us have this type of experience as a dream vacation, at least when we are young and single. That doesn’t detract that this film is a yet another of Linklater’s remarkable achievements for American cinema in the early ’90s: creating an American film set over the course of a day with few actors and no plot. It’s a landmark, even if it is a little bit of a silly wish fulfillment at a remove.
10. Forgotten Silver, directed by Costa Botes and Peter Jackson (8/10)
I have lost my review for this extremely creative – and apparently quite controversial – film that Jackson made for New Zealand TV. I think it has to be ranked as one of the best TV movies of the decade – a decade that did not produced good TV movies – and it is a reminder that, once, Jackson had a great sense of humour.
11. Angels and Insects, directed by Philip Haas (8/10)
I swear my enjoyment of this film had nothing to do with the director’s last name. I actually don’t remember it very well, though I feel like it was quite effective at creating mood, if memory serves.
Here’s a super old review:
“I watched a movie today called Angels and Insects that is somewhat about incest. Incest is funny. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH. I made a laughy. Ok, so focus, Riley. This movie was surprisingly good for a movie about incest. Well, sorry maybe it was about the world changing from the old (incest) to the new (incest being scientifically known to preserve funny birth defects.”
12. Forgotten Silver, directed by Peter Jackson (8/10)
I have lost my review for this inventive mockumentary about New Zealand historical cinema.
13. Apollo 13, directed by Ron Howard (8/10*)
At 14 I thought this was incredible and I have never actually watched it all the way through since my teens. That being said, I think it is likely Howard’s best film.
14. Die Hard with a Vengeance, directed by John McTiernan (8/10*)
Now this is much, much better than the first sequel: McTiernan is back and so is the playfulness (for lack of a better word) of the first film. Yes, it is again absolutely absurd, but this is pretty much the epitome of the action film (though the ending that didn’t make the final cut is much better).
15. Lumiere and Company, directed by various artists (8/10)
This is a really neat idea. Unfortunately, I didn’t write down comments as I went, which I totally should have done.
15. Gonin, directed by Takashi Ishii (7/10)
I currently cannot access my review on another site.
16. Devil in a Blue Dress, directed by Carl Franklin (7/10)
A highly underrated film neo-noir.
17. Desperado, directed by Robert Rodriguez (7/10)
I struggle as to whether I prefer the original or this remake. I go through phases.
18. Heavy, directed by James Mangold (7/10)
Unfortunately I have lost my review for this film.
19. Toy Story, directed by John Lasseter (7/10*)
Seen as a teen, I have never actually watched it all the way through as an adult.
20. Glory Daze, directed by Rich Wilkes (7/10*)
I saw this as a university student, so my opinions are suspect.
21. GoldenEye, directed by Martin Campbell (7/10*)
At 14, I was in love with Famke Janssen and I guess I thought Brosnan was a pretty great Bond. I had never seen Remington Steele and I preferred Roger Moore to Sean Connery.
I don’t know that I’ve actually seen this all the way through since my late teens, so take this rating with one huge grain of salt.
22. Heat, directed by Michael Mann (6/10)
A friend of mine’s favourite movie of all time, I have seen it perhaps more than I would want to. Over-the-top, overlong, and not really grounded in reality.
23. Carrington, directed by Christopher Hampton (6/10)
I think this is a landmark film in terms of subject matter – which is a sad thing to say – but is hardly an excellent biography.
24. Black Sun: the Rape of Nanking aka Men Behind the Sun 4, directed by T.F. Mou S. (6/10)
It would be better if they didn’t beat you overhead with the supposed capitalist plot to deny this happened. (And yet somehow, I, living in a capitalist country, knew it happened before I saw the movie…how is that possible?)
In retrospect, I think I liked this a lot less. It’s kind of offensive how much they tell us audience members how much we have been brainwashed into not believing this ever happened, even though it’s easy to find out about it.
25. Star Trek: First Contact, directed by (6/10)
Saw it when I was 14.
26. The Last Supper, directed by Stacy Title (6/10)
Though my memory of this movie isn’t great, I feel like it didn’t quite walk the right line on the topic. I would have preferred a bit more outright condemnation. Maybe not.
27. Braveheart, directed by Mel Gibson (5/10)
One of the great overrated movies of the 1990s: huge historical liberties are taken so that Wallace can be a one-dimensional romantic hero. That being said, wow is it ever well-done. Too bad I hate those historical inaccuracies
28. To Die For, directed by Gus Van Sant (5/10*)
Watched as a teen because I thought I might see Kidman naked. I was too young to appreciate it.
29. Crimson Tide, directed by Tony Scott (5/10*)
There is a part of me that wants to rate this higher because it is really well-done shit featuring some great actors. (I think the cast is exceptional, actually.) But the whole thing is so histrionic and so absurd that another part of me can’t rate it any higher.
30. Get Shorty, directed by Barry Sonnenfeld (5/10*)
Seen before I could fully appreciate it, I suspect.
31. Mighty Aphrodite, directed by Woody Allen (5/10*)
Seen well before I could fully appreciate it.
32. Tommy Boy, directed by Peter Segal (5/10*)
Stupid but enjoyable.
33. First Knight, directed by Jerry Zucker (5/10*)
5 feels charitable.
34. Outbreak, directed by Wolfgang Petersen (5/10)
As a teen this was one of my favourite movies. Later, I grew up and realize it was painting by numbers.
35. The Quick and the Dead, directed by Sam Raimi (5/10)
Raimi shouldn’t make westerns, though he tries his damnedest.
36. The Celluloid Closet, directed by Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman (5/10*)
Seen in sociology class in university. I don’t think I cared at the time.
37. Cold Comfort Farm, directed by John Schlesinger (5/10)
38. Rumble in the Bronx, directed by Stanley Tong (5/10)
The stunts are all very well done.
39. Kids, directed by Larry Clark (5/10)
Oh my god. Teens and tweens are out of control. Save us. Save the children. Etc.
40. Batman Forever, directed by Joel Schumacher (5/10*)
Oh if I had only known where this was going when I first enjoyed this as a teen. The asterisk is because I haven’t seen the film in years – though I saw it about 5 times in my teens – and would likely lower my ranking now that I hate Schumacher’s hacky guts.
41. A Little Princess, directed by Alfonso Cuaron (5/10*)
Seen at 14.
42. Empire Records, directed by Allan Moyle (5/10)
I haven’t seen this in years but I have seen it probably 5 or more times, courtesy of my step-sister. 5 might be charitable – I was just reminded of its suckitude by an AV Club retrospective. But I haven’t seen it as an adult, so 5 it is.
43. Nick of Time, directed by John Badham (4/10)
A “high concept” idea that might have actually been workable had a better crew bean involved.
44. Four Rooms, directed by Allison Anders, Alexandre Rockwell, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino (4/10*)
Seen when I was way too young to understand what was going on.
45. Sabrina, directed by Sydney Pollack (4/10)
One of those utterly unnecessary remakes. Was the first film really so good? (No, it wasn’t.)
46. Just Cause, directed by Arne Glimcher (4/10)
Some bad casting, among other problems.
467. Screamers, directed by Christian Duguay (4/10)
For reasons I cannot really explain, I have always wanted to like this more than I am able to.
48. Assassins, directed by Richard Donner (4/10)
Pretty ridiculous. Sort of like a casting idea that became a movie.
49. Mallrats, directed by Kevin Smith (4/10)
I will never understand my generation’s love of this film. I must say it was less bad the second time I saw it, but it is still a middling thing.
50. The American President, directed by Rob Reienr (4/10)
Movies like this are made for a very specific group of people, and I am not one of those people.
51. Dracula: Dead and Loving it, directed by Mel Brooks (4/10*)
Seen and enjoyed as a teen. Rated much later.
52. Bad Boys, directed by Michael Bay (3/10*)
Maybe it isn’t this bad, but this is one of those absurd cops-blow-shit-up movies that expect us to believe that something like this would happen, ever.
53. Congo, directed by Frank Marshall (3/10)
First of all, I thought I had seen this years ago but I remember about 15 minutes of it, so I guess not. Somewhere in here there might be a reasonably entertaining “jungle adventure” movie. Maybe.
54. Judge Dread, directed by Danny Cannon (3/10)
I don’t know the source material. I have no idea if this or the remake is closer to it. But this is shit.
55. Now and Then, directed by Lesli Linka Glatter (3/10*)
I’m pretty sure I haven’t actually seen this all the way through.
56. Major Payne, directed by Nick Castle (3/10*)
Seen at 14. Rated much later.
57. Dangerous Minds, directed by John N. Smith (2/10*)
Even as a teen I was skeptical of these “How can I reach these kids?” movies.
58. Waterworld, directed by Kevin Reynolds (2/10)
I am not sure if this movie really is 2/10 bad. I haven’t seen it in a few years. But it is bad: Hopper is terrible-crazy not good-crazy, and the whole thing feels like set-pieces with a plot built around them.
59. Showgirls, directed by Paul Verhoeven (2/10)
As terrible as it is supposed to be, but still not one of the worst movies ever made.
60. Full Body Massage, directed by Nicolas Roeg (2/10*)
As a teen, I watched this for the title. Not meant for teenagers, let me tell you. I’m pretty sure this is one of my most unjust ratings.
61. Cutthroat Island, directed by Renny Harlin (2/10*)
I don’t actually remember if I thought this was terrible when I saw it at 14. I don’t remember it at all – though I remember going to see it. I don’t know when I rated it.
62. Mortal Kombat, directed by Paul Anderson (2/10)
In addition to trying to come up with a plot from the video game, they managed to put together a terrible cast. But it’s still not Street Fighter bad.
63. Iron Eagle IV, directed by Sidney J. Furie (1/10)
No, I have not seen the first three.
64. Abducted II: the Reunion, directed by Boon Collins (1/10)