Movies – 1990s

Analyze This (1999)

Robert De Niro gives one of his best comedy performances to date in this feel-good Mafia tale from Groundhog Day (1993) director Harold Ramis. De Niro stars as Manhattan Mob boss Paul Vitti whose stressful lifestyle – and a close brush with being whacked – causes him to seek undercover therapy from psychiatrist Ben Sobel (Billy(…)

Antz (1998)

This charming and witty animated adventure is perhaps even more appealing to adults than it is to children, who are nevertheless sure to be enchanted. Woody Allen is the perfect choice for the voice of Z, a neurotic worker ant who feels insignificant in an ant hill that contains millions of inhabitants, and has trouble conforming(…)

Apollo 13 (1995)

“Houston, we have a problem” The subject of Apollo 13 is exactly what the title suggests. The movie charts the fraught 13th Apollo space mission, undertaken in 1970. The fact that the mission was unsuccessful immediately tells us that director Ron Howard was interested in the human story rather than any celebration of science, and as this(…)

Armageddon (1998)

Bruce Willis and an all-star cast of ragtag roughneck oil drillers blast off on a mission to save the planet in Michael Bay’s doomsday space epic. Willis plays Harry Stamper – the world’s greatest oil driller, recruited by NASA head Dan Truman (Billy Bob Thornton) to plant a nuclear bomb in the belly of an(…)

Army of Darkness (1993)

In this sequel to the Evil Dead films – The Evil Dead (1981) and Dead By Dawn (1987) – a discount-store employee (“Name’s Ash. Housewares.”) is time-warped – along with his ’73 Oldsmobile – to a medieval castle beset by monstrous forces. Initially mistaken for an enemy, he is soon revealed as the prophecised saviour(…)

As Good As It Gets (1997)

Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson) is a bitter, homophobic bigot suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder. He insults everyone, lives alone, and writes trashy novels for a living. The staff and fellow diners at his local restaurant live in fear of Melvin’s outbursts – with the exception of Carol (Helen Hunt), his regular waitress, with whom he begins an unlikely(…)

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)

It’s swinging 1967. The vicious though childish Dr Evil (Myers) – who has failed to kill his arch-enemy, British secret agent Austin Powers (also Myers) – resolves to escape by means of his cryogenic freezing capsule and come back later. Powers bravely offers to be frozen too, ready to destroy Dr Evil when he returns.(…)

Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999)

When its predecessor, Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery, was released in 1997 nobody took much notice initially, but the often puerile comedy went on to become a cult hit. In the original film, Mike Myers played Austin Powers, a playboy spy who had been placed in cryogenic suspension in the 1960s and was defrosted in(…)

Avengers, The (1998)

The cult 1960s TV series gets royally shafted by Hollywood in this stunningly designed blockbuster that’s stunningly awful in every other department. Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurman couldn’t be more miscast as John Steed and Emma Peel, here trying to stop villainous Sir August De Wynter (Sean Connery playing himself again, only with extra ham)(…)

Awakenings (1990)

This true story is adapted from a 1973 book by Dr Oliver Sacks, a clinical neurologist who in a New York hospital in 1969 used the experimental drug L-dopa to awaken a group of patients suffering from Encephalitis lethargica. These survivors of a post-World War I sleeping sickness epidemic had lived in a state of(…)

Babe (1995)

This Australian family comedy, based on Dick King-Smith’s book The Sheep-Pig, came out of nowhere to enchant millions around the world, converting many small children to vegetarianism in the process. The “babe” of the title is an orphaned piglet adopted by a family of Border collies who learns how to handle sheep under the patient(…)

Babysitter, The (1995)

Beautiful high-school student Jennifer starts baby-sitting for the wealthy Tucker family, only to inspire the fantasies of the alcoholic father and arouse jealousy in the unsatisfied mother. It’s surprising that this erotic thriller could have come from such a respectable source as a short story by Robert Coover. However, it’s rather easier to see why(…)

Back To The Future: Part 3 (1990)

Director Robert Zemeckis’s blockbusting trilogy went slightly off the rails with the second segment, but it got right back on track (literally) with this concluding instalment. Shot back-to-back with Part II, the film is set predominantly in the Old West and offers Michael J Fox the chance to indulge in all the sharpshooting situations that(…)

Backbeat (1994)

The early days of The Beatles in Hamburg provide a colourful backdrop for the story of Stuart Sutcliffe (Stephen Dorff), the original Beatles bassist who dies of a brain haemmorhage in 1962. Backbeat centres on artist Stu’s intense affair with style-setting photographer Astrid Kirchherr (Sheryl Lee). The film’s main asset though, is the charismatic performance of(…)

Backdraft (1991)

Conceived as an expensive look at the lives of firefighters, something burned up in the process between script and final cut. In the ashes, all that remain are the fires. Anything resembling plot, character development, acting, coherence, or real people was extinguished in the lab. Kurt Russell and William Baldwin are handsome sibling rivals who(…)