May 2024



The Cider House Rules (1999)

DIRECTOR: Lasse Hallström


Tobey Maguire, Charlize Theron, Michael Caine, Delroy Lindo, Paul Rudd, Erykah Badu, Jane Alexander, Kathy Baker, Kate Nelligan, Kieran Culkin, Heavy D, J.K. Simmons


The Cider House Rules, based on the same-named novel by John Irving, is a low-key subdued film but one with grace and emotional depth. Labeling it an ‘abortion movie’, as some have, is an unfair oversimplification in the same way that Brokeback Mountain, another slowly-unfolding, quietly powerful drama, is pigeonholed as a ‘gay cowboy movie’. Continue reading

The Green Mile (1999)

DIRECTOR: Frank Darabont

CAST: Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan, David Morse, Bonnie Hunt, Doug Hutchison, Sam Rockwell, James Cromwell, Patricia Clarkson, Barry Pepper, Jeffrey DeMunn, Michael Jeter, Graham Greene, Gary Sinise, Dabbs Greer, Harry Dean Stanton, William Sadler


For the second convergence of Stephen King and Frank Darabont, following 1994’s The Shawshank Redemption, lightning has struck twice. The two films stand tall together as not only the best book-to-film adaptations of King’s prolific works, but also as great motion pictures period. It’s only Darabont’s second film since his impressive debut with Shawshank, but it demonstrates that the previous movie was not a one-hit wonder. Like Shawshank, The Green Mile is a well-crafted, emotionally powerful drama that requires a sizable commitment of time and attention, but the rewards are worth the effort.

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Ride With The Devil (1999)



Tobey Maguire, Skeet Ulrich, Jewel, Jeffrey Wright, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Jim Caviezel, Simon Baker, Tom Wilkinson, Zach Grenier, Jonathan Brandis, Mark Ruffalo


At first glance, Taiwan native Ang Lee seems a director who defies any discernible genre or common thread linking his films; he has directed everything from the Jane Austen romance Sense and Sensibility to the searing ’70s drama The Ice Storm (also featuring Tobey Maguire) to the martial arts extravaganza Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, to the comic-book flick The Hulk, to the ‘gay cowboy’ drama Brokeback Mountain. Continue reading

The Matrix (1999)

DIRECTOR: Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski


Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Joe Pantoliano, Gloria Foster


Entries in the sci-fi genre have a tendency to fall into one of two pitfalls: either they are dry, intellectual ruminations, or use intriguing premises as mere perfunctory launching pads for generic whizz-bang action and special effects. Continue reading

10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

DIRECTOR: Gil Junger

CAST: Julia Stiles, Heath Ledger, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Larisa Oleynik, David Krumholtz, Andrew Keegan, Gabrielle Union, Larry Miller, Allison Janney


That 10 Things I Hate About You possesses a little more wit and intelligence than your average high school romantic comedy might be less surprising when one realizes it’s a loose adaptation of William Shakespeare’s romantic comedy The Taming of the Shrew.  A “hip” script featuring some snappy one-liners and a likable and charismatic cast help enliven this into both one of the more enjoyable high school comedies, romantic comedies, and modernized Shakespeare adaptations floating around out there. Continue reading

Payback (1999)

DIRECTOR: Brian Helgeland

CAST: Mel Gibson, Maria Bello, Gregg Henry, William Devane, James Coburn, Kris Kristofferson, Lucy Liu, David Paymer, Bill Duke, Jack Conley, John Glover, Deborah Kara Unger


Payback, from director and co-writer Brian Helgeland (Oscar-winning screenwriter of 1997’s LA Confidential in his directorial debut) is a deliciously hard-boiled crime caper and an ode to film noir.  It’s actually more-or-less a remake of John Boorman’s 1967 Point Blank, and both films are based on Richard Stark’s novel The Hunter, but Payback has enough style and personality to stand on its own as an engaging 100 minutes that serves up a noir-esque narrative, supplies a lineup of colorful characters, gives Mel Gibson some juicy one-liners to chew on, and doesn’t overstay its welcome. Continue reading