1990’s

[8.0] David Mamet adapts his stage play and James Foley directs an all-star cast in Glengarry Glen Ross, a fascinating multi-character study of the toll capitalism takes on the human soul. Jack Lemmon, Al Pacino, Ed Harris, and Alan Arkin play real estate salesmen who are called into the office and given one night to turn their old sales leads into gold — or they’re …

[5.0] A New York city social worker becomes pregnant and decides she’d rather raise the baby with her gay best friend than with the baby’s father. But when their romantic desires begin to undercut their family goals, frustration gets the better of both of them. I almost like The Object of My Affection. Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd star in it, and they are both …

[7.5] Writer/director John Duigan (The Year My Voice Broke, Lawn Dogs) takes an earnest and engaging stab at the ‘boy meets girl and falls in love’ narrative with Flirting. Noah Taylor stars as an ostracized Australian boarding school student in the 1950s who becomes infatuated with a new Ugandan student (Thandie Newton) from a nearby girls’ school. As the two avoid their headmasters for clandestine …

[7.0] Creator Mike Judge brings his animated MTV characters to the big screen in Beavis and Butt-Head Do America. If you’re not familiar with Monsiers Beavis and Butt-Head, all you really need to know is that they are the cartoon embodiment of male adolescence — two teen boys with aversions to education and preoccupations with sex and violence. They sit together on a couch watching …

[8.0] Alec Baldwin takes on the mantle of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan in the action-thriller The Hunt for Red October. One of the joys of this movie is seeing Baldwin, previously known mostly for co-starring in Beetlejuice, become a leading man before your very eyes. And a smart one, at that. Sharing the screen with him is Sean Connery as a Russian captain whose new …

[6.0] Winona Ryder and Cher give us their take on the classic mother/daughter divide in this adaptation of a novel by Patty Dann, directed by Richard Benjamin (The Money Pit, Little Nikita). Ryder’s character is of high school age and tired of being moved from town to town by her colorful but slightly slutty single mom (Cher). Things become especially trying when the family (including …

[6.0] Dustin Hoffman and Renee Russo star as an estranged married couple both working government jobs in the area of infectious disease control. When a fast-acting deadly virus begins spreading in America, the two find themselves working together to control the spread and locate the source of the outbreak — an African monkey let loose in suburban California. The screenwriters weave in a layer of …

[4.0] Terrence McNally adapts his play for the silver screen, with direction by Joe Mantello. Love! Valour! Compassion! is about a group of gay men who get together around the holidays at a rustic house in the middle of nowhere. Since the play was written in 1995 and the film released in 1997, AIDS eclipses anything else the story or characters might be about. (Gay …

[7.0] Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, Frost/Nixon) directs this crime thriller about a wealthy businessman (Mel Gibson) whose young son is kidnapped and held for ransom. With the boy’s life hanging in the balance, Gibson must decide whether to take the FBI’s advice or go with his gut on the best way to see his son alive again. Ransom moves briskly and offers a few …

[5.0] Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker, Strange Days) co-writes and directs this female cop thriller starring Jamie Lee Curtis. Curtis plays a new cop on the New York streets who shoots a grocery store bandit to death. The film takes a bonkers turn when one of the witnesses hides the bad guy’s gun and starts killing innocent citizens with it. The bullets he uses have …

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