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1994

Little Women (1994)

DIRECTOR: Gillian Armstrong

CAST: Winona Ryder, Claire Danes, Trini Alvarado, Kirsten Dunst, Samantha Mathis, Christian Bale, Gabriel Byrne, Eric Stoltz, Susan Sarandon

REVIEW:

Little Women is both an unabashedly “feel good” family film and what could be considered a “chick flick”, but the latest onscreen rendition of Louisa May Alcott’s 1868 novel is a handsome and enjoyable production that goes down easily with simple charms bolstered by strong production values and a capable cast. As “girl movies” go, it’s of sufficient quality level that it can be enjoyed by viewers of both genders.

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The Professional (1994)

DIRECTOR: Luc Besson

CAST: Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman, Danny Aiello

REVIEW:

From French director Luc Besson (La Femme Nikita) comes this distinctly European-flavored action thriller that boasts some kinetic action sequences but has at its core an unlikely relationship between a lonely hitman and a young girl. Continue reading

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

DIRECTOR: Frank Darabont

CAST: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, Clancy Brown, Gil Bellows, James Whitmore, William Sadler, Mark Rolston

REVIEW:

Among the film adaptations of Stephen King’s written work, pickings are slim for cinematic quality. Apart from The Shining (which King himself disliked), Stand By Me, and Misery, most of the rest runs the gamut from mediocre to bottom of the barrel. The Shawshank Redemption, a product of first-time director Frank Darabont in an impressive debut and Castle Rock Pictures—the company of producer Rob Reiner, who directed Stand By Me and Misery—and an adaptation of King’s novella Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, is a notable exception. In fact, The Shawshank Redemption is not only possibly the best film adaptation of a Stephen King work, it’s a great film period, telling a powerful and compelling story that involves wrongful imprisonment, prison abuse and corruption, but despite its grim subject matter ultimately manages to be both uplifting and cathartic.

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The Client (1994)

DIRECTOR: Joel Schumacher

CAST:

Brad Renfro, Susan Sarandon, Tommy Lee Jones, Mary-Louise Parker, Anthony LaPaglia, Ossie Davis, J.T. Walsh, Bradley Whitford, Anthony Heald, William Sanderson, Kim Coates, Will Patton, Anthony Edwards, Micole Mercurio, William H. Macy, Ron Dean, Walter Olkewicz, David Speck

REVIEW:

The Client is a slickly-crafted thriller that is almost- but not quite- saved from its own accelerating plot unlikelihoods by a competent production and capable performances. Continue reading

True Lies (1994)

True Lies' Pilot Moves Off Cycle at CBS - Variety

DIRECTOR: James Cameron

CAST: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Arnold, Bill Paxton, Art Malik, Tia Carrere, Grant Heslov, Charlton Heston

REVIEW:

True Lies, the third collaboration between James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger, continues to showcase Cameron as a skillful filmmaker, but this time he’s done something a little different, blending grandiose action with comedy without feeling tonally schizophrenic. The injection of a high comedy quotient means True Lies‘ over-the-top action sequences don’t reach the edge-of-your seat tension of some in both Terminator installments, but it’s still a rollicking good time that both serves up plenty of action and makes us laugh.

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The Lion King (1994)

DIRECTOR: Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff

CAST:

(voices)  James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons, Matthew Broderick, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Moira Kelly, Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, Robert Guillaume, Rowan Atkinson, Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin, Jim Cummings, Madge Sinclair

REVIEW:

It’s no surprise that The Lion King is widely-regarded as the “king” of Disney animated films. While the staples of Disney classics are in place- lighthearted and elaborately animated song-and-dance numbers and comic relief sidekicks- there is a surprisingly somber, at times even tragic underpinning and an epic feel that sets it apart from the likes of Aladdin or 101 Dalmations. In fact, the story was (very loosely) inspired by the Shakespearean tragedy Hamlet, and while rewatching it in 2011 with my previous viewing many years in the past, while there are plenty of typical “kids’ movie” segments, there are other aspects, including the Hamlet references (which are more noticeable to adult eyes) that speak more to older viewers. Continue reading

Maverick (1994)

DIRECTOR: Richard Donner

CAST: Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, James Garner, Alfred Molina, James Coburn, Graham Greene

REVIEW:

Maverick represents just about the perfect kind of breezy, enjoyable summer entertainment for those seeking a light diversion, both paying homage to and at times parodying the classic Western, moving smoothly between action, comedy, and a little romance, and featuring engaging performances from charismatic actors.  There might not be anything deep or substantial here, but for those just seeking some fun, Maverick plays with a full deck. Continue reading

My Father, The Hero (1994)

DIRECTOR: Steve Miner

CAST: Gerard Depardieu, Katherine Heigl, Dalton James, Faith Prince, Lauren Hutton, Stephen Tobolowsky, Emma Thompson

REVIEW:

My Father, the Hero is an English-language remake of a 1991 French comedy Mon père, ce héros (“My Father, The Hero”), even recasting Gerard Depardieu in the titular role, though surrounded with an American cast.  I can’t comment on the original, but My Father, The Hero is a forgettable piece of fluff with a few mildly amusing moments but never rising above the level of the television sitcom it often feels like. Continue reading

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