12/25/1995 at 01:00 AM EST
John Travolta, looking leaner and acting even keener than in his Pulp Fiction comeback turn, plays a cineast loan shark who elbows his way into Hollywood. Elmore Leonard's novel is brought to the screen by director Barry Sonnen-feld with bite, humor and surprisingly-light style.
THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY
Farmwife Meryl Streep, whose Italian accent is probably better even than Sophia Loren's, throws herself into a four-day fling with traveling photographer Clint Eastwood (who directed). Oh, go on and cry!
A Beverly Hills princess—Alicia Silverstone, in a sweetly goofy performance—learns that there's more to life than perfect hair and Rodeo Drive. This up-to-the-l minute teen comedy is loosely based S on Jane Austen's 1816 novel Emma.
SENSE AND SENSIBILITY
Jane Austen (again!) done just right—i touching, often silly comedy, then a fade-out of blissful serenity. Emma Thompson (who wrote the script) and I Kate Winslet
are two sisters, one prudent, one impetuous, both delightful.
Designer Isaac Mizrahi, chatty and charming, endures a year of fashion failure (his fall '93 collection) and triumph (his spring '94 collection) in a delicious documentary.
THE SECRET OF ROAN INISH
Strange but truly magical: The characters include a baby boy adrift in " a cradle and a mythical half-S seal, half-woman called a Selkie. Directed by John Sayles, it's about Ireland, the sea and finding your way home.
THE USUAL SUSPECTS
This elaborately tricky thriller darts, wriggles, I loops and stuns with the sinister ease of an electric eel. And the name of the central villian created the year's weirdest buzzword: Keyser Soze!
Massimo Troisi (who died the. day after filming) is a poor Italian villager hired to deliver mail to poet Pablo Neruda, in exile from Chile. The friendship that results has the rich simplicity of a sonnet.
Disney's first fully computer-animated film (about the rivalry between a settled-in, pull-string cowboy and a spanking-new spaceman) brings a child's universe to breathtaking life. High tech should always be so playful.
THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT
In director Rob Reiner's deftly cast romantic comedy, chief executive Michael Douglas woos liberal lobbyist Annette Bening, and the audience gets charmed in the process.