Short of climbing aboard a time capsule and peeling back eight and one-half decades, James Cameron's magnificent Titanic is the closest any of us will get to walking the decks of the doomed ocean liner. Meticulous in detail, yet vast in scope and intent, Titanic is the kind of epic motion picture event that has become a rarity. You don't just watch Titanic, you experience it from the launch to the sinking, then on a journey two and one-half miles below the surface, into the cold, watery grave where Cameron has shot never-before seen documentary footage specifically for this movie.
Seventeen years after its intial release, The Empire Strikes Back is still as thrilling and involving as ever. Because of the high quality of the original product, it doesn't show a hint of dating. Neither [Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope nor Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi] were able to match the narrative scope of Empire, which today remains one of the finest and most rousing science fiction tales ever committed to the screen.
Since 1977, there have been many science fiction movies, but none has managed to equal [A New Hope's] blend of adventure, likable characters, and epic storytelling.
Die Hard represents the class of modern action pictures and the standard by which they must be judged. Few films falling into the "mindless entertainment" genre have as much going for them as this movie. Not only is it a thrill-a-minute ride, but it has one of the best film villains in recent memory, a hero everyone can relate to, dialogue that crackles with wit, and a lot of very impressive pyrotechnics.
Although The Terminator is arguably the more visionary of the first two films, [Terminator 2] is the more visually and viscerally satisfying. It's an exhausting experience and, even 18 years after its release (as I write this review), few films have matched it within the science fiction genre for sheer white-knuckle exhilaration.
Regardless of how Revenge of the Sith is received at the box office, it represents the conclusion to an unparalleled cinematic achievement. Finally, after 28 long years of waiting that were only occasionally punctuated by the appearance of new story fragments, Lucas has ended with an exclamation point. The tale of a galaxy long ago and far away is complete. Only now can we truly step back and admire the full tapestry that it has taken George Lucas and his ILM wizards nearly three decades to weave.
The Phantom Menace is not a masterpiece, but it's an example of how imagination, craftsmanship, and technological bravura can fashion superior entertainment out of something that is far from flawless.
Today, Psycho still holds up extraordinarily well (another reason why a remake seems pointless). With the exception of Halloween, no latter-day horror/thriller has been capable of generating as many goosebumps. The black-and-white photography is perfect for the film's tone and mood the starkness of color would have blurred the nightmarish quality. The painstaking care with which [director Alfred] Hitchcock composed every scene is evident in the quality of the final product.
As vampire movies go, few are more memorable than Nosferatu, which is not only the first screen version of Dracula, but, in some ways, remains the best. Unlike many of his predecessors who dabbled in the vampire genre, Murnau was a craftsman, and the care he lavished upon this production is evident in each shot and every scene. Alongside The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, few motion pictures have had a more profound impact upon an entire genre than Nosferatu has had upon the legion of horror movies that trailed in its wake.
It's rare that the sequel to a good movie lives up to expectations. Such is the case with Die Hard 2, the somewhat-muddled but still entertaining return of Bruce Willis' John McClane. Fortunately, the original Die Hard was good enough that there's room for the second installment to be enjoyable while still not matching the pace or possessing the flair of its predecessor.
Blade Runner is a rare science fiction movie so full of material that pages can be written about it without scratching the surface. A review like this can provide little more than an overview. A detailed exploration of the movie, its style, and its mysteries requires dedication that only someone immersed in Blade Runner lore can provide.
[Director Christopher] Nolan has not only crafted the best Batman movie, but arguably the second-best motion picture superhero narrative (topped only by the linked duo of Superman and Superman II). For those who thought Spider-Man and X-Men had a lot to offer, wait till you see where this film goes. ... Batman Begins is a strong re-start to a franchise that deserves better than it has often been accorded.
The biggest alien invasion picture of the summer of 1996 is Independence Day. But it's not the first. The Arrival, with a significantly lower budget than Fox's July 3 release, has that distinction, and, while this particular film doesn't boast any radical or surprising ideas, it combines numerous familiar plot elements into a suspenseful, entertaining whole. Best of all, perhaps, is the realization that some thought went into writer/director David Twohy's script. This is not a dumb movie; in fact, with its heavy reliance upon real science, it's startlingly credible.
Parodies are hard to do well, as is shown by the mediocrity of so many recent attempts. No matter how ripe a genre is for satirizing, unless you know how to do it, there are no guarantees.
The first star vehicle of the summer of 1996 is also the first major disappointment of the season. Mission: Impossible, the big-screen resurrection of the popular late-'60s/early-'70s series, fails to generate much in the way of excitement or intrigue. This globetrotting adventure looks like an opportunity for Tom Cruise to play James Bond a role he is totally unsuited for. The writing for last year's 007 return, GoldenEye, isn't a lot better than that for Mission: Impossible, but, as an action hero, Pierce Brosnan is considerably more debonair and charismatic than Cruise.