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A 20th Century Fox Retrospective Scrapbook: 1997

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1997 started with the dark, brooding neonoir, Blood and Wine, a good film with strong work from Jack Nicholson, Michael Caine, and Judy Davis.


Smilla's Sense of Snow had a preposterous sci-fi twist near the end of its main story, but don't let it stop you. the film was gripping, elegant, suspenseful, beautifully filmed and very well acted by Julia Ormond, Gabriel Byrne, Richard Harris, Robbert Loggia, Jim Broadbent, and Vanessa Redgrave.


More Power Rangers for the kids, but they didn't budge from home.


Love and Other Catastrophes was an Australian romantic comedy.


Joaquin Phoenix, Liv Tyler, Billy Crudup, and Jennifer Connelly starred in Inventing the Abbotts, a more provocative take on all those Troy Donohue teen dramas of the late 50s-early 60s.


Paradise Road was a fine film about female POWs. Many strong performances here; Glenn Close, Cate Blanchett (her big debut), Frances McDormand, and the glorious Pauline Collins.


Back to disaster films with Volcano, the film where the La Brea Tar Pits were filled with lava. Tommy Lee Jones and Anne Heche spent their time dodging them.


The Van was a quirky Irish comedy directed by Stephen Frears


Rupert Graves and Julie Walters starred in the dark Intimate Relations, the film version of a real life murder case.


Speed 2: Cruise Control was the second most hated sequel of 1997. The Sandra Bullock starrer disappeared quickly.


Now it was time for an amiable comedy. Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Brent Spiner, Dyan Cannon, Gloria De Haven (final film), Elaine Stritch, Donold O'Connor, Edward Mulhare, and Rue McClanahan in the likable Out to Sea.


Star Maps was essentially a California take on Midnight Cowboy.


The Full Monty involving desperate unemployed men who agree to do a revealing night of exotic dancing was a surprise hit and a Best Picture nominee. It had its moments.


Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin were trapped in the wild in The Edge.


Ewean McGregor made his American debut in A Life Less Ordinary, an eccentric romantic crime fantasy with Cameron Diaz, Holly Hunter, Ian Holm, and Stanley Tucci.


The Ice Strom, a tale of dissolute amoral lives in the wealty Connecticut suburbs, was brilliant. One of 1997's best films. Fine, searing script, strong direction, powerful performances from Kevin Kline, Joan Allen, Sigourney Weaver, and Cristina Ricci.


Fox took hold of the children's film The Wind and the Willows in Canada only.


Cold Around the heart was a crime film barely released.


Anastasia was an attempt to go after Disney's domination of animated musicals, and it was actually wonderful, and better than Disney's Aladdin that year. Good songs, fine vocal cast: Meg Ryan, John Cusack, Christopher Lloyd, Kelsey Grammer, Hank Azaria, Angela Lansbury, Bernadette Peters.


Sigourney Weaver returned to play an Ellen Ripley clone in Alien: Resurrection.


Home Alone 3 was an attempted reboot of the slapstick series. Audiences didn't take it, perhaps do to the disconnect between how the crooks all seemed like they would be too clever and mean to fall for such painful booby traps and how they stupidly walked into all of them.


Continuing with the kids, at least in Australia with The Wiggles Movie, a version of a preschool show for the big screen.


Again Fox only had part of a Best Picture winner, again they didn't handle it in the US, but when it was as praised and as successful as Titanic, I don't think they were complaining.


the year closed with Ralph Fiennes and Cate Blanchett as two 19th century gamblers in love in the admired Oscar and Lucinda, directed by Gillian Armstrong.


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Quite a few of these I have not seen. 

PARADISE ROAD looks like my kind of movie.

VOLCANO was silly. OUT TO SEA was also silly...but cute. 

THE EDGE was intense, and it benefited from some excellent acting by the two leads. 

SPEED 2 was a poor remake. But it significantly raised Sandra Bullock's per-movie salary. So I'm sure she was not complaining. Neither was her agent.

I haven't seen OSCAR & LUCINDA but want to...I don't know why I keep neglecting it. I also haven't seen ANASTASIA or THE ICE STORM. I think I'd enjoy them both.

THE FULL MONTY is not my idea of good moviemaking. 

TITANIC certainly had its moments, and parts of it moved me. But I think the framing scenes with Gloria Stuart were needlessly drawn out. And I think the movie tries so hard to be epic, it fails to be as succinct and effective as the studio's earlier 1953 version.

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My top picks:

  1. The Ice Storm
  2. The Edge
  3. Oscar & Lucinda
  4. The Full Monty

I've also seen Blood & WineSmilla's Sense of SnowInventing the AbbottsParadise RoadVolcanoSpeed 2: Cruise ControlOut to SeaA Life Less OrdinaryAlien: Resurrection, and Titanic.

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