Films '96+

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Films of 1998

# Film Title Date Rating Frogs One Word Buy at
1 As Good As It Gets 1 January 1998 90% ***** Characters Buy!
A rather unusual romantic comedy, starring Jack Nicholson (as a disagreeable obsessive-compulsive), Helen Hunt (as a waitress in a restaraunt he goes to every day), and Greg Kinnear. Great characters, humourous character interaction, and well cast. This one's a must see. A comedy with a little more to it than usual.
2 Starship Troopers 11 January 1998 70% **** War Buy!
I'm not really sure how to review this one. I enjoyed it, despite it having some drawbacks (such as the acting!!!). Being a huge Heinlein fan, I was concious both of the differences and the similarities to the book. Funnily enough, while the film had rather a different atmosphere to the book, it actually stuck mostly to the plot of the book. All that said, however, you should not base an opinion on Heinlein on this film! You should read his books before doing that.
3 The Devil's Advocate 16 January 1998 80% ****+ Gothic Buy!
A rather strange film. Very gothic. An outstanding performance from Al Pacino (this film really allowed him to let go and have fun :) and, surprisingly, really good acting from Keanu Reeves! Great fun.
4 The Jackal 17 January 1998 65% ***+ Untouchable Buy!
The Jackal is a film about an unstoppable, undetectable, etc. terrorist/assasin-for-hire, played by Bruce Willis, and a Northern Irish ex-terrorist (played by Richard Gere, with a surprisingly not totally abominable Northern Irish accent) helping to try to stop him. Hardly a terribly original storyline, but an enjoyable film nonetheless.
5 Titanic 25 January 1998 97% ***** Outstanding! Buy!
One of the best movies I've seen. Absolutely excellent. You must see this movie. If you've seen it already, go and see it again! Not only is it a brilliant movie, but it's also definite Oscar material. If this movie doesn't win a large number of Academy Awards, I'll eat my metaphorical hat! It also has a great soundtrack, prominently featuring Celine Dion. Check out the Titanic web site.
6 In & Out 13 February 1998 59% *** Homophobia Buy!
A funny film, if occasionally on slightly shakey ground in the PC department. A film about a highschool teacher who's life is turned upside-down when a former student, winning an Oscar for Best Actor, tells the world that his former teacher is gay. Chaos ensues.
7 Amistad 7 March 1998 75% **** Slavery Buy!
This is not a "fun" film. Amistad is a good film, putting the spotlight on the slave trade much as Schindler's List put the spotlight on the atrocities of the Nazi regime. Worth seeing.
8 Good Will Hunting 15 March 1998 85% ****+ Genius Buy!
Good Will Hunting is a great film -- a great plot, very good casting & acting, and great characters. It deserves all the Oscar nominations it's received. You should see this film.
9 The Man in the Iron Mask 28 March 1998 80% ****+ Swashbuckling Buy!
Good escapist fun. Swashbuckling adventure, the Three Musketeers' style, with a good choice of cast and, as expected, great acting from people like Gabriel Byrne, Jeremy Irons, John Malkovich, etc. Gérard Depardieu is perfect as Porthos, and so on. A great line-up of stars, and an entertaining story.
10 Sphere 4 April 1998 75% **** Manifestation Buy!
This film was released surprisingly quietly, being put in screen 7 in the 9-screen cinema I frequent immediately on its release. What makes it even more surprising is that it stars three excellent and very popular actors: Dustin Hoffman, Samuel L. Jackson, and Sharon Stone. It deserved a bigger release. It's really a good film, worth seeing. It would have seemed rather a lot more original if it had been released before "Event Horizon", but it is not a clone of the film, despite its parallels! (For one thing, it's not so unpleasant by half!).
11 Jackie Brown 10 April 1998 70% **** Double-crossing Buy!
While an enjoyable film, I expected more from Tarantino. It's worth seeing, and has a great cast, but the plot's not really up to his usual standard (perhaps that's Elmore Leonard's fault? I don't know, not having read the book).
12 The Rainmaker 25 April 1998 90% ***** Excellent Buy!
The best movie of a John Grisham novel by far. The Rainmaker is the best novel he's ever written, and the film is as accurate a representation of the novel as is possible in under two hours. An accurate retelling of a novel in a film does not necessarily make a good movie, however in this case it most certainly did so! The cast is perfect, with great performances from such stars as Matt Damon, Claire Danes, Danny DeVito and Jon Voight as well as lesser-knowns such as Johnny Whitworth. It even has Dean Stockwell and Roy Scheider in relatively minor rôles!
13 Scream 2 2 May 1998 80% ****+ Satirical Buy!
Another excellent satirical horror movie from Wes Craven. The parody of the parody of the laughable? I, personally, find most horror to be pathetic and laughable. Scream was both a better horror movie than I've ever seen all or part of, and Scream 2 not only parodies the genre, but also Scream! Good harmless (if scary in places!) fun. Worth seeing.
14 Sliding Doors 9 May 1998 85% ****+ Charming Buy!
A thoroughly enjoyable romantic comedy starring Gwyneth Paltrow and John Hannah and producing very good performances from both of them, Sliding Doors starts with a slightly unusual and very silly premise, but redeems itself by being a very funny and charming film.
15 Deep Impact 16 May 1998 95% ***** Mindblowing Buy!
An absolutely top notch disaster movie. The effects in Deep Impact at least equal, and I think most likely beat, those in any other film I can recall ever seeing. Add to that a great cast of big-time stars (with such greats as Morgan Freeman and Robert Duvall, you can't go wrong) and many others including a fair handful of fairly well knowns. The plot was pretty good as disaster movies go (you don't go to a disaster movie for its plot, let's face it). It was only a little overly sentimental in a couple of places. An excellent movie. Great fun, and a rollercoaster ride all the way. Also, any other tidal wave you've ever seen is a baby as compared to the one in this film. A must see on any scale!
16 The Big Lebowski 29 May 1998 65% ***+ Strange Buy!
The Big Lebowski is one very strange film. There are some very funny moments and the cast was well chosen. John Goodman played the confrontational, unpredictable character of one of Jeff Bridges' bowling buddies, a 'nam veteran, excellently. My reaction to his portrayal is a mixture of being highly impressed, and wanting to lock him away. The film manages to, at the same time, both be sketchily plotless and have a complex, convoluted plot. Confused yet? Well, you will be. It's an amusing movie -- a well spent fiver -- however I don't think I'd go so far as to give it five stars like Empire Magazine did.
17 The Replacement Killers 5 June 1998 87% ****+ Woo Buy!
...and I mean "Woo" as in John Woo! Replacement Killers, while not directed by John Woo (he was executive producer), is about as John-Woo-ish as you can get. It has a plausible enough plot but is elevated from good to excellent by the acting from the stars (Mira Sorvino and Yun-Fat Chow) and, to an even greater extent, the brilliant cinematography and dramatic use of sound. This is one movie you should not miss.
18 The Opposite of Sex 19 July 1998 85% ****+ Dysfunctional Buy!
The Opposite of Sex has a well thought out plot and a great storyline. Christina Ricci is very good as the cynical teenaged protagonist, and the rest of the cast were similarly well picked. There are many very funny moments. This is definitely a film worth seeing if you get the chance.
19 Armageddon 30 July 1998 30% ** Abysmal Buy!
The effects were great, but that's pretty much where the praise ends. It was an utterly ridiculously implausible piece of toss. It was horrifically cringeworthy in many places. It was one of the most scientifically inacurate films I've seen in quite a while. Example: Accelerating at 8 G's, and then up to 11 G's... and all that happens is that they go "Oh no, I can't take this. Something must be wrong.", yada yada yada. To the best of my knowledge, nobody can take more than about 7 G's without blacking out, and none of them blacked out. One comment from someone who was with me was "Thank god we didn't pay full price" (we saw it in the afternoon, so it was just over half normal price). One of the most notably cringeworthy moments was a "love scene" involving "animal crackers". I kid you not. An ocasionally amusing piece of toss, but not a good film by any measure. One not to bother seeing.
20 Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later 4 September 1998 50% *** Stereotypical Buy!
I'm not a horror fan, so perhaps my view of the film is not worth much, but I thought it was ok, fun enough, but pretty stereotypical and unoriginal. I suppose as horror movies go it was good.
21 Rounders 19 September 1998 75% **** Gambling Buy!
A harsh view of life in the underground world of serious gambling. Matt Damon and Edward Norton lead a well chosen cast (if including some rather dodgy Russian accents...). A worthwhile film.
22 Lethal Weapon 4 28 September 1998 95% ***** Lethal! Buy!
Can they really keep getting better all the time? Is this the first series to have 4 films all of which are excellent? Usually by the third film in a series, you cringe at the pathetic attempt to commercialise a concept... Excellent!!! Keep it up!
23 There's Something About Mary 29 September 1998 70% **** Disgusting Buy!
... but very very funny. This one will make you split your sides laughing quite often, even if it does go a little over the top on the tastelessness now and again.
24 The X-Files 30 September 1998 75% **** Conspiracy Buy!
I enjoyed this movie very much. It was great fun, and there were some great plot twists. People seem to be divided on whether it's a good film if you're not an X-Phile (X-Files fan) though. I think a non-fan could enjoy the film, but a fan will get a lot more out of this!
25 Mercury Rising 8 October 1998 75% **** Cryptography Buy!
A film about a kid that breaks codes. Slightly far-fetched to say the least, but a fun, fast-moving plot. Oh yeah, and of course good old action star Bruce Willis' in it. One to see!
26 The Truman Show 15 October 1998 85% ****+ Soap Buy!
An excellent film, Jim Carey tries out a rather different rôle, and it works very well. This one's quite likely to hook a few little statues come Oscar season.
27 Divorcing Jack 16 October 1998 90% ***** Ridiculous Buy!
...and utterly brilliant!!! One of the funniest films I've seen in a long time. Utterly over the top and unrealistic in its portrayal of Northern Ireland, but keel-over-laughingly hillarious.
28 Saving Private Ryan 21 October 1998 80% ****+ Heroism Buy!
One of the best war films I've ever seen. This one's bound to end up grabbing a few Oscars (it's Tom Hanks' annual let's-win-best-picture film for this year, presumably). It is very graphic indeed in its depiction of the violence of war. I am not sure if it was gratuitously so. I think probably just ultra-realistic. This is one to see.
29 Small Soldiers 24 October 1998 80% ****+ Smooth Buy!
Absolutely excellent integration of models (animatronics, etc.) and conputer graphics, and a fun script full of hillarious moments and some very funny one-liners, especially from Major Chip Hazard.
30 A Perfect Murder 29 October 1998 75% **** Scheming Buy!
Michael Douglas schemes and plots to have his wife, Gwyneth Paltrow, killed. Naturally, things don't all go according to plan. A very good thriller.
31 Primary Colors 1 November 1998 80% ****+ Presidential Buy!
John Travolta plays the eventual president in this film in a way that it funnily familiar. He even has the graying hair and Clinton voice, and tolerant, ambitious wife. There are many more subtle aspects to this film, and it succeeds in being both funny and poignant. An excellent plot, believable characters, and an enjoyable couple of hours at the cinema. Well worth seeing.
32 The Exorcist 3 November 1973 60% ***+ Devillish Buy!
I had never seen The Exorcist, so was persuaded by a friend to go and see it. It was quite funny, but definitely not in the slightest bit scary. Amusing, but not exactly a "good" film.
33 Antz 6 November 1998 90% ***** Impressive Buy!
This film is not only very impressive from a computer graphics/animation point of view. It also has a great line-up of cast voices, a lot of very funny moments, and a better than usual plot. Worth seeing, especially if you're a computer scientist!
34 Snake Eyes 10 November 1998 65% ***+ Deception Buy!
Enjoyable thriller starring Nicholas Cage and Gary Sinise with a fairly interesting plot, but nothing spectacular.
35 Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels 11 November 1998 90% ***** Confusion Buy!
Absolutely excellent film. Utterly hillarious. A very involved plot and lots of characters. One of the funniest films in ages. Between this and Divocing Jack, the UK has turned out more than its share of excellently funny films this year!
36 Blade 13 November 1998 75% **** Vampiric Buy!
Wonderful mindless fun! Great martial arts, sword fighting, and special effects. A well chosen cast. Not very mentally challenging. Just what you want for a relaxing, amusing couple of hours at the movies.
37 Ronin 20 November 1998 75% **** Speed Buy!
Great mindless fun with some good actors. The car chases will keep you on the edge of your seat.
38 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas 25 November 1998 30% ** Crap Buy!
A film about ... um, well, nothing except a couple of guys on so many drugs they could easily be mistaken for pharmaceuticals companies. Basically, they spend the entire film in a drugged haze, and there's nothing more to it than that. Utterly pathetic. A storyline might have helped. Oh well.
39 Star Trek: Insurrection 13 December 1998 85% ****+ Galactic Buy!
What can I say? I'm a big Star Trek fan, and I think it was great! Insurrection imporved upon First Contact, and blew Generations out of the water. Very funny, and it had a plot! Perhaps a bit like a long episode rather than a film though.
40 The Mask of Zorro 19 December 1998 90% ***** Swashbuckling Buy!
Interesting plot, excellent cast, great score. See it!
41 Rush Hour 22 December 1998 70% **** Crazy Buy!
Another "mis-matched cops forced to be partners and eventually become buddies" movie, but very funny. Fast moving, and full of laughs.
42 The Negotiator 23 December 1998 85% ****+ Framed Buy!
Excellent thriller with Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey, two great actors, in the starring rôles as two negotiators matching wits and pushing each other to the limit in a negotiation with a difference. Rivetting.
43 Enemy of the State 26 December 1998 80% ****+ Conspiratorial Buy!
A thoroughly enjoyable thriller and very amusing, despite having taken some rather over-the-top liberties with reality as regards current technology. Good cast, and enough plot without getting too complicated for a nice, relaxing, not overly mentally stressful experience. Worth seeing!
44 Out of Sight 30 December 1998 80% ****+ Non-linear Buy!
Out of Sight is another Elmore Leonard book-turned-movie but this one's much better than the Tarantino-directed Jackie Brown. Like other Leonard films-of-books, and like Tarantino's films, it tends to hop around in the timeline of the story, sometimes confusingly but so that the story is revealed as you watch in a more interesting way, and it all makes sense in the end. The stars, George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez, carry off their parts excellently and very believably. It's a must see in my opinion!

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Films '96+ © Copyright Stephen Jacob, 1996-2024.