Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Into every generation a Slayer is born; one girl in all the world with the strength and skill to hunt the vampires, to stop the spread of their evil and the swell of their numbers. When one Slayer dies, the next is called. This was the start of Joss Whedon's horror mythology with a sharp feministic edge and biting humor. While this film is not perfect (and has been all but disowned by Whedon himself when director Fran Rubel Kuzui opted to turn Whedon's horror script with humorous overtones into a straight and over the top comedy that lacked any horror), there is a charm to the film that is infectious. The characters in the film are fun and witty and the dialogue (especially the content that is 100% unchanged from Whedon's original draft) is really quite funny. Kristy Swanson is really quite compelling as Buffy, especially after she makes the switch to following her heroes journey. Donald Sutherland plays nicely into the role of her mentor and Luke Perry is fantastic as Pike
A League of their Own - Penny Marshall directs this often hilarious but firmly heartfelt film about the first professional baseball league for woman. Geena Davis and Lori Petty play two sisters who are at odds in their approach to life but find a way to unite for the game. Both woman give exceptional performances, as do many of the other woman in the film, including Madonna, Megan Cavanagh and Rosie O'Donnell. Their coach is played to absolute perfection by Tom Hanks who embraces the comedy of the script while also being able to hit the dramatic beats. This is really one of the finest sports films and is genuine must see!
The Player - Robert Altman directs this biting satire of Hollywood filmmaking, deal breaking and murder. It is a blistering commentary of the industry, while also being insightful to the process of 'making it' in Hollywood. As with most of Altman's works, there is a level of authenticity that cannot be matched and this film is one of his shining examples of his ability to navigate fictional work but present it with screen realism. The cast is in top form, with particular highlights from Tim Robbins, Whoopi Goldberg and Fred Ward. Sadly, this film seems to have been lost to time. It is overshadowed by other works as part of Altman's film library and seems forgotten even though it is one of the better films that breaks down Hollywood filmmaking.
Reservoir Dogs - Quentin Tarantino knocked it out of the park with his directorial debut about a heist gone wrong. This is a contender for Greatest Heist film and the heist is never seen! What shines is a compelling examination of these criminal minds as well as the undercover cop who undermines their operation. Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth and Michael Madsen all give exceptional performances but it is Steve Buscemi who steals the show with his perfectly manic performance. For my money this was his finest work. Tarantino's script is on fire here and dripping with creative dialogue and an excellent construction of narrative. He pieced together many elements of his favorite films (such as City on Fire, A Better Tomorrow, The Killing, and many more) to bring together this tight thriller.
Sarafina! - An engaging musical that presents the South African Soweto uprising at the hands of a band of teenagers. This is one of the finest films to explore apartheid and offers a view of the events depicted not long after they took place. Whoopi Goldberg is great but it is Leleti Khumalo who really soars as young Sarafina; mastermind of the revolt against the regime implementing apartheid.
Best Picture : Unforgiven - Clint Eastwood directed his way to Oscar Gold with this revenge drama that was the real swan song of the Western.
Biggest Box Office : Aladdin - Disney followed up Beauty and the Beast with this beautifully animated and whimsical musical about a 'street rat' who finds love through the help of a magic lamp. Robin Williams offered great voice work for this funny film, but it is the songs that are the real star here.