Best of Screen
Top-of-the-line junk food—probably not good for you, but you can't help wolfing it down. Director Quentin Tarantino whipped up a funny, bloody, foul-mouthed epic about a bunch of stupid hoodlums, including a gloriously dim John Travolta.
FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL
This blissful, lighter-than-air romantic comedy from England made a star of Hugh Grant, the only leading man in the world who—circling ever closer to the elusive Andie MacDowell—can seem both suave and squirrelly at the same time.
Robert Redford directed a high-powered cast (Ralph Fiennes, John Turturro and Paul Scofield) in an astute, fact-based drama about the corrupt rise and fall of Twenty-One contestant Charles Van Doren.
EAT DRINK MAN WOMAN
Taiwanese director Ang Lee, who scored with The Wedding Banquet last year, came through with an even more impressive effort in this quietly moving film about the push and pull of family ties between a father and his three grown daughters. Bonus: the film's endless parade of sumptuous Chinese feasts made it the most mouthwatering movie since Babette's Feast.
Powerful Arnold Schwarzenegger is at full flex here, blowing up small islands, piloting planes, riding horses through hotel lobbies. The concluding action segment, set in downtown Miami, is the blowout of the year.
MY FAIR LADY
It was made in 1964, but the re-release this year of a cleaned-up, digitally enhanced version of Lerner and Lowe's classic musical was reason to cheer. It also gave us a chance to reevaluate, favorably, Audrey Hepburn as cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle. So what if she didn't sing her own songs (Marni Nixon dubbed)—her radiant beauty and sly comic skills shine more brightly than ever. And Rex Harrison remains the perfect Henry Higgins.
Pretty darned neat. Here you have a crew-cut, beefed-up Keanu Reeves, speaking ridiculous action-thriller lines with hushed urgency, trying to keep a booby-trapped bus from blowing up. Jan De Bont's direction was supremely smooth—never slick.
Paul Newman has never been better—a big claim—than he is here, playing an aging, small-town ne'er-do-well edgily making his peace with family and friends. Director Robert Benton again shows his sure touch for the places of the heart.
THE LION KING
Disney's big, noble-hearted cartoon about dynastic struggles in the African animal kingdom features Jeremy Irons in fine, insinuatingly cruel voice as a lion with fascistic tendencies. And don't forget that multiplex-rattling wildebeest stampede, a brilliant bit of computer animation.
THE SANTA CLAUSE
Irresistibly affable Tim Allen turns this sweet-natured visit from the new incarnation of St. Nick into Home Improvement North. Better not cry or pout. Just smile.