1990’s

[8.0] Nicolas Cage stars in this dark, disturbing mystery/thriller from screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker (Se7en, Sleepy Hollow) and director Joel Schumacher (Blood Creek, The Lost Boys). Cage plays a detective hired by a wealthy widow to determine if her late husband’s snuff film was real or fake. Cage travels to Los Angeles, where he meets up with a porn hustler played by Joaquin Phoenix. The …

[7.0] Ben Silverstone and Brad Gorton star as closeted gay teens at a British high school. One is a journalism nerd and the other is a star athlete. They discover each other though an anonymous encounter in a public restroom and develop a secret romance. But while Silverstone’s character becomes more confident in his identity and comes out in a scandalous school paper article, Gorton’s …

[3.0] Stephen Dorff (The Gate, Cecil B. Demented) stars in this satiric story of a convenient store hostage survivor who can’t come to grips with his cult celebrity status after he learns the 36-day siege was televised. While Reese Witherspoon’s supporting character, also a survivor, talks about the experience in honest, dramatic ways on every imaginable TV show, Dorff’s character is amused and bewildered to …

[6.5] Writer/director Neil LaBute (In the Company of Men) continues his exploration of the dark side of the gender divide in Your Friends & Neighbors. Ben Stiller, Catherine Keener, Aaron Eckhart, and Amy Brenneman play married people in unfulfilling relationships. Stiller and Brenneman’s characters begin an extra-marital affair with each other while Keener starts seeing a woman (Nastassja Kinski) from an art gallery. All the …

[8.0] Ralph Fiennes and Angela Bassett star in this tech-noir thriller from director Kathryn Bigelow (Near Dark, The Hurt Locker) and writer James Cameron (Titanic, Avatar). It’s late in the year 1999 (four years into the future for when the film was released), with Fiennes playing a disgraced cop who resorts to peddling illegal recorded memories, complete with sensory input, to people looking for virtual …

[8.5] Jacob’s Ladder is a terrific example of what can happen when an inspired screenplay gets into the hands of a great director and a capable leading actor. I’m talking about Bruce Joel Rubin (Ghost), Adrian Lyne (Fatal Attraction), and Tim Robbins (Shawshank Redemption), respectively. Rubin’s script is a fever dream of a tale, following a New York Vietnam vet who’s losing his grip on …

[6.5] Alessandro Nivola (Junebug, Jurassic Park III) stars with Reese Witherspoon and Josh Brolin in this ever-unfolding mystery/drama about a plan to steal money that goes horribly awry. Nivola plays a minimum wage worker desperate to escape his life, but when he gets in over his head and needs money to repay someone he stole from, his girlfriend (Witherspoon) puts her life on the line, …

[5.0] Gwyneth Paltrow stars as the title character in this adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma. Emma Woodhouse takes it upon herself to be a matchmaker for all her friends and neighbors. While her interference tends to do more harm than good, Emma fails to notice that her own opportunity for courtship may be just under her nose. Director Douglas McGrath (Nicholas Nickleby) abides by Miramax …

[7.0] Angelina Jolie stars as a transient teen who helps four other young ladies defend themselves against a predatory high school teacher. They form a bond, get expelled from school together, and take up residence in an abandoned home together. Their ‘gang’ gets a reputation and inspires other young women to stand up for themselves, but their rebellious recreational activities end up getting them in …

[6.0] Kevin Kline headlines this comedy about a small-town Indiana drama teacher whose life is turned upside down when a student ‘outs’ him in his Academy Awards acceptance speech. At first the funny thing is that Kline’s character isn’t gay. In fact, he’s betrothed to Joan Cusack. But as the big wedding approaches, Kline meets a gay news reporter (Tom Selleck) and begins to realize… …

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