Ultimate 90’s Blogathon: Anastasia (1997) by Starry Traveler’s Road

Tranquil Dreams

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Next up is not only a blogger but also a childhood friend of mine, Phoebe from Starry Traveler’s Road with her review of Anastasia! This movie is one of my faves also. However, if you haven’t been to her blog, she posts pretty casually but she has posts on being a mom of a newborn, otome reviews and recently, some movie reviews called Movies with BunBun segment. For those who don’t know, we’re also starting up a new collab segment that will be here soon. We’re wrapping up some preparation work and it’ll be a food segment. Remember to head over and check out her blog after you’re done here.

Take it away, Phoebe!


Movies with Bun Bun: Anastasia (1997)

Hello everyone! Big thank yous to Tranquil Dreams and Drew for hosting the Ultimate 90s Blogathon! The Ultimate 80s Blogathon was so much fun that I decided to give movie…

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Ultimate 90s Blogathon: Leon (1994) by OC Movie Reviews

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Once again, Mark from OC Movie Reviews returns to begin the week.  Today he shares his review of Leon, which marked the cinematic debut of Natalie Portman. Mark has all sorts of reviews on his blog, so be sure to check it out! Here’s Mark and his review of Leon!

Leon: The Professional movie poster

Leon (The Professional) Review – It’s Better Than OK. OK?

I love, love, love Luc Besson movies. Sure, like most people, not everything he does, or has done, is perfect and in some cases not all of it you can even class as ‘good’. But, the awesome certainly out ways the bad. If I had one-eighth of the calibre of his back-catalogue I’d be a happy man: La Femme Nikita, The Fifth Element, District B13, Unleashed, Angel-A, Taken and, of course, Leon.

I have to assume you’ve seen Leon (known as Leon: The Professional in some regions because…I have no idea). If you haven’t seen Leon then seriously, WTF? The story, I will leave to Mathilda to tell you: “OK. My family got shot down by DEA officers, because of a drug problem. I left with the greatest guy on Earth. He was a hitman, the best in town, but he died this morning and if you don’t help me, I’ll be dead by tonight.”

Mathilda is played by Natalie Portman in her first feature film. As debuts go, it’s up there with the best and when you consider she was just 13-years-old, it’s off the scale good. Portman is amazing in Leon. Her performance won her the Best Actress in a Leading Role award at the 1994 ACCA’s and is thoroughly deserved.

She is as a smart-assed young girl trying to act much older (18). She smokes, you can imagine she drinks and she doesn’t go to school. There are touches of brilliance and she brings the humanity to Leon which otherwise would have been missing. There’s a scene where she dresses up and acts out various famous people (Madonna, Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin and Gene Kelly) to Leon and it’s not just that her performance is stand-out, it’s also Leon’s reactions to it as well.

Leon is played by Jean Reno (The Da Vinci Code, Ronin) who, as the milk drinking hitman, is perfect. His innocence when he’s not killing bad people is beautiful to watch and his interactions with Portman and his boss, played by Danny Aiello (The Godfather: Part II, The January Man), make you love the character, you route for the hitman. As the hitman, you get this wonderful approach, seldom seen these days, in that he just kills people. He doesn’t hang around, tell them a story, ask questions, just kills them.

Mathilda’s father, played by Michael Badalucco (O’Brother, Where Art Thou, The Practice), gets into some trouble with drugs which brings the villain of our story into play. I envy people who haven’t seen Leon as they get to witness one of the best villains on screen, not only that, but it’s one of the best introductions to a villain too.

Gary Oldman (Batman Dark Knight, Sid And Nancy) plays Stansfield, a cop who’s also a drug dealer. Oldman gives a standout performance; he menaces his way through, going berserk at times, creepy at others and darkly humoured throughout. Even small touches like the way he takes the drugs are a touch of genius.  The ‘noon-showdown’ is a great example of all of the character’s traits in one scene; he goes berserk, he talks Beethoven, he loses his sh*t over his suit – it’s brilliant. This scene is completely improvised too, with each take Oldman apparently gave a different improvised story.

A special mention must go to Benny, played by Keith A. Glascoe, who is the cop standing outside Mathilda’s apartment when everyone else is inside. Glascoe would later became a member of the New York Fire Department in Hells Kitchen. He died at the World Trade Center towers when they were attacked on Sept. 11, 2001.

Luc Besson handles the writing and camera with aplomb. Apparently, he had the idea for Leon whilst shooting La Femme Nikita in which Reno played a cleaner of Nikita’s missions that hadn’t gone according to plan. Reno dresses the same in both movies and at various points he calls himself a cleaner and so does Mathilda.

The ending of Leon sets things up nicely for a sequel but one has never occurred. Rumours are that Besson has wrote a sequel and was waiting for Portman to be a little older before progressing. However, in between that time, Besson started his own production company, EuropaCorp, which didn’t sit well with Gaumont Film Company (who released Leon) who now won’t release it. Besson did, apparently, use the idea for his 2011 film Columbiana.

I’ve always had mixed feelings about a sequel. On the one hand, I’d love to see it but on the other, I think of films like Prometheus and the Terminator franchise and think; please don’t ruin it.

For me, Leon is one of my all-time favourite films. There are stunning performances from Jean Reno, Gary Oldman and the debut of all debuts from Natalie Portman. It has action, emotion, laughter and some fantastic lines. OK.

Ultimate 90’s Blogathon: Sleepless in Seattle (1993) by Life of this City Girl

Tranquil Dreams

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We are wrapping week 2 of Ultimate 90’s Blogathon with an entry by Natasha from Life of this City Girl. She’s here with a review of Sleepless in Seattle, a great follow-up with another Meg Ryan movie from last year’s When Harry Met Sally. If you haven’t been to Life of this City Girl, she does book, movies and TV series reviews. Remember to head over to give her some love after you’re done here!

Movie Review: Sleepless in Seattle (1993)

Sleepless in Seattle

Hey everyone! Natasha here from Life of This City Girl. I’m so excited today to share with you a review I did for two of my favorite bloggers’ 90’s marathon. Thanks Kim and Drew for letting me take part! (and also making me watch this again)

I chose Sleepless in Seattle because 1) it meets the criteria and 2) I’ve really always been meaning to watch this film…

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Ultimate 90s Blogathon: Reservoir Dogs (1992) by Film and TV 101

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We’re almost done with week 2 of the blogathon. Today, Kira from Film and TV 101 joins us for a review of the Quentin Tarantino debut hit Reservoir Dogs.  Not only does Kira review movies and television series but she also shares her top ten lists, gives movie trivia, and much more. Give her site a gander if you’d like.  Enough from me, here is Kira and her review of Reservoir Dogs.

Yesssssssss, I know, this review is going to probably be quite familiar with some people – it is one I posted over a year ago on my blog, but when the opportunity to take part in this blogathon came up, I couldn’t think of another film that defined the 90s so well for me. Apologies if it seems lazy, but this is one of my all-time favourites, and it just so happens to be from the right decade, so I just had to pick it.

Reservoir Dogs movie poster

A bunch of ‘master’ criminals try to figure out where it all went wrong after a botched diamond robbery.

As Mr White (Harvey Keitel), Mr Pink (Steve Buscemi), Mr Orange (Tim Roth), Mr Blonde (Michael Madsen), Mr Brown (Quentin Tarantino), Mr Blue (Eddie Bunker), Nice Guy Eddie (Chris Penn) and Joe Cabot (Lawrence Tierney) sit around drinking coffee in a diner, they are oblivious to the chaos that is about to unfold. They’re about to rob a jewellery store of its diamonds and head off into the sunset with millions. Or at least that’s what they all think, anyway. A couple hours later, the four surviving gangsters are lying low in an empty warehouse after a police ambush with only one explanation for their failure – betrayal – and two questions – where did it all go wrong, and who was behind it?

Going right back to where it all started, Quentin Tarantino rocked the film world with his wonderful yet controversial debut film, Reservoir Dogs. The film loudly announced Tarantino as a talent to be reckoned with for very good reason, and at this moment in time, this film with the iconic colour-coded gangsters is my favourite in the whole of QT’s filmography.

This film is jam-packed with stunning performances, infamous characters and actors that very quickly became familiar faces in Tarantino’s filmography. Harvey Keitel was tremendous as Mr White. He was as cool as ice the whole time and very entertaining to watch. Steve Buscemi played Mr Pink; the whiny little girl of the group who just got on everyone else’s wig. He was funny as he tried constantly to big himself up to the other cons on the job, but each time he just managed to make himself look even more pathetic. Michael Madsen whispered that magical line, ‘Are you gonna bark all day, little doggy, or are you gonna bite?’, with his turn as the psychopathic Mr Blonde, and Tim Roth wowed us all as Mr Orange, the man who brought the whole to its knees. Lawrence Tierney and Chris Penn were the father and son brains behind the operation and were a brilliant pairing.

Now, I’ve already revealed that Reservoir Dogs is my favourite Tarantino film, and I put that down to a number of reasons. There are the monumental performances that I’ve previously spoken about, or course, but the film is immensely quotable, with the dialogue from two scenes in particular making for very entertaining viewing (please note Mr Brown’s dissection of Madonna’s ‘Like A Virgin’ lyrics, and the story of Elois, the black cocktail waitress). For me, these two are among the most memorable scenes in cinema history, and I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact I’ve seen them both about seven or eight times.

Perhaps what I love the most about Reservoir Dogs however is the sheer simplicity of it. It’s a fairly well-known formula, but it is executed so, so well, and wasn’t over-done either – mind you, on a budget of what I think was $1.5million, you would be struggling to over-do it in all fairness. I think it is a combination of the sharp script and the first-class acting, both done very well, plus a wicked soundtrack and the financial limitations that the budget presented that really helped the film reach the levels of success it did.

However, I can’t forget the man – who later revealed himself to be a genius – who wrote and directed the film. It is this sort of thing that I strongly believe Tarantino does best. A raw, gritty drama with frequent flecks of side-splitting humour and razor-sharp dialogue gluing the whole thing together.

All in all, it’ll come as no surprise that I’m going to order you to see Reservoir Dogs if you haven’t already. I haven’t just sat for the last hour writing this for nothing, you know! There is nothing else I can say now that will convince you to see it that I haven’t said already. All the proof you’ll need is in the watching.

Ultimate 90’s Blogathon: Liar Liar (1997) by Rhyme and Reason

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Next entry for the Ultimate 90’s Blogathon is by S.G. Liput from Rhyme and Reason with his review of Liar Liar. Jim Carrey finally makes his entrance into our blogathon. If you haven’t visited Rhyme and Reason before, it is where “poetry meets film reviews”. Their tagline says it all.  Remember to head over there after you’ve read the review and show them some love!

Without further ado, let’s hear their thoughts!

Liar Liar (1997)

I cannot tell a lie, you see;
I tell the truth compulsively.
It’s gotten to the point that I
Clammed up till home to make reply,
So now that I am home at last,
I’ll answer every question asked.

First off, you’re not my type at all;
Your mouth’s too big, your ears too small.
Why won’t I answer what you said?
So you won’t hear what’s in my head.
I don’t much care to…

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Ultimate 90s Blogathon: The Last of the Mohicans (1992) by Thoughts All Sorts

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Catherine from Thoughts All Sorts joins us for the blogathon today.  Catherine gives her thoughts on all sorts of topics on her blog, from movies to music to books.  She also takes part in every blogathon she can get her hands on!  Go check her site out to see everything she has to say.  Today, she reviews her favorite film of the 90s, the Daniel Day-Lewis classic The Last of the Mohicans.

Kim of Tranquil Dreams and Drew of Drew’s Movie Reviews have asked the following: What 90s film did you love? Which film started your love of the 90s flicks? What movie would you suggest as a starter for jumping back in time to the 90s?

Easy. My all-time favourite movie comes from the 90s. The one I never have to think about for even a moment. Ditto to its awesome soundtrack. Let me present to you….

The Last of the Mohicans

The Last of the Mohicans movie poster

I first watched it on the big screen the day it was released and was right back again the next evening. I’ve never done this before with any other release. To this day, not a year goes by that I don’t watch Hawkeye and Uncas and the women who stand by them.

What do I love about The Last of the Mohicans? Everything…the soundtrack, which evokes such passion even if you’re just listening and not watching. The actors, who do such a wonderful job of bringing it all to life. The story, filled with adventure, danger, passion, love, family, friendship. I could go on forever…

For me, this is one movie that is better than the book. Way better. I really struggled through the book, although, quite possibly that is because I had the movie in my mind. But that is, after all, what I fell in love with.

For those of you who don’t know the story, here it is (briefly): set during the French and Indian War,  Uncas (Eric Schweig), Hawkeye (Daniel Day-Lewis) and Chingachgook (Russell Means) are tracking a Huron war party when they come across Cora and Alice Munro (Madeleine Stowe and Jodhi May respectively) and their party, led by Major Duncan Heyward (Steven Waddington) and “scout” Magua (Wes Studi) , in the middle of an ambush by same war party. Thus starts the journey of escorting the two ladies (and Duncan) to Fort William Henry, where their father is stationed.

The story, naturally, is more, much more than that. It is about family, in all its forms and love, also, in all its forms (unrequited) and the lengths people will go to for both of these. I mean, what could be more romantic than Hawkeye/Nathaniel saying to Cora “You stay alive! If they don’t kill you, they’ll take you north up to the Huron lands. Submit. Do you hear? You’re strong. You survive. You stay alive. No matter what occurs! I will find you! No matter how long it takes. No matter how far. I will find you!” or, the lengths Alice goes to for Uncas? Or even Duncan‘s actions for Cora?

To perfectly round it all off…the cinematography and soundtrack make for something absolutely beautiful. Something which evokes emotions each time I watch it.

Want the 90s in all its glory? Start with this epic adaptation of James Fenimore Cooper‘s novel, one of five in the Leatherstocking Tales and directed by Michael Mann. Just remember, the story is very different to the book including the roles of some of the characters so if you love the book, the movie may well disappoint you.

Note: There are two version available (this is the only movie of which I have both). The original DVD is the one I prefer to the more recent Blu-Ray Director’s Cut. Some of the dialogue and scenes are ever so slightly different but, in my opinion, the magic is in the original DVD release (and also the theatrical version I watched on the big screen all those years back).