The 50 Best Films of the ’90s, From ‘Pulp Fiction’ to ‘Groundhog Day’

The best films of the 1990s came from filmmakers who not only had unique visions but who opened new doors to the endless possibilities of cinematic storytelling.

By 
Jul 14, 2017
IndieWire

The ’90s were a moment of tremendous upheaval in international cinema. Here in America, the revolt against Hollywood’s bland output a decade earlier had resulted in a small window in which American independent cinema became commercially viable and started seeping into more mainstream fare. Young and exciting directors, most of whom are now A-listers, were given resources and able to make multiple films. Meanwhile, Hollywood’s big commercial films were in the hands of directors like Spielberg, Bigelow, Verhoeven, Woo and De Palma, as franchises continued to be invented rather than recycled.

On the international scene, the Iranian New Wave unloaded a treasure trove of new films, the great run of Hong Kong cinema was peaking and maturing, three great auteurs completely upended how films in Taiwan were made, and a pair of Danish directors with a dogma wanted to change how every film was made.

More than anything, what defined the decade was the emergence of individual filmmakers who not only had unique visions – every decade has its great auteurs – but ones who opened new doors to the endless possibilities of cinematic storytelling. Directors like Abbas Kiarostami, Wong Kar-Wai, David Lynch and Quentin Tarantino reinvented cinema on their own terms and gained recognition as superstars for doing so, each winning major prizes at Cannes. Meanwhile, landmark films like “Hoop Dreams,” “The Celebration,” “Toy Story” and “The Matrix” pointed to ways technology could be used to make films in a different way.

Needless to say, no cinephile’s knowledge base is complete without a robust awareness of the 20th century’s final decade, and these 50 titles represent our sense of the most essential ones.

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The 20 Best Crime Films of the 21st Century, From ‘Memento’ to ‘Zodiac’

By 
Aug 11, 2017
IndieWire

No genre illustrates the evolution of cinema better than the crime film. As recently as the ’90s, Hollywood regularly released stories of cops-and-robber showdowns and mystery-thrillers based on best-selling novels — but as the middle class continues to disappear from Hollywood films, smart crime stories moved to television (see: “The Sopranos,” “The Wire,” “Breaking Bad,” “The Night Of,” et. al.).

Outside the studios, there is a longstanding tradition – from the B-movies to the Coen brothers – of new directors showcasing their filmmaking chops with dark, stylish, and intense crime sagas. A surge of new filmmakers in the ’90s brought fresh interpretations to the genre, from the pastiche of “Reservoir Dogs” to the unnerving realism in “Boyz n the Hood.”

These days, many of the best contemporary directors — including Martin Scorsese, David Fincher, Mann, the Coens, Park Chan-wook and Spike Lee – still love the genre, which has created some of their best work. This list surveys many of those recent highlights.

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