Magazine article Insight on the News

At Theaters near You

Magazine article Insight on the News

At Theaters near You

Article excerpt

With apologies to critics who love grainy films about morose Bicyclists with one leg, here is Insight's populist list of motion Pictures that Americans actually seem to have enjoyed in 1998.

Insight's decidedly populist list of best films of 1998 includes but one foreign-language movie and only three films produced outside of major studios. Although many film buffs believe that Hollywood's creative juices have run out, we don't see much evidence: The big studios still produce movies that people like. Indeed, a lot of the obscure movies that critics raved about seemed pretty boring when audiences sat down to watch them. Hollywood, after all, has to respond to the market. Indeed, 1998 proved decisively that enormous hype does not result in great box-office returns for a bad movie such as Godzilla.

It's not easy to find definite trends in a list as diverse as the one we've picked. Perhaps it shows the overall strength of the films coming out today that no particular genre seems to dominate. Few major new talents emerged in 1998: Although commercial success probably would have clinched a place on the A-list for Dark City director Alex Proyas, the film flopped at the box office due to a silly marketing campaign. Rufus Sewell, the star of Dangerous Beauty and Dark City (both of which made our list), however, attracted a good deal of critical notice and his performances may go a long way toward establishing him as a major talent.

The critical and commercial success of the giant-screen film may begin to convince some that it's time for a 64-millimeter-plus format capable of accommodating feature-length films. Although we're writing this without having seen the December releases, Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan seems a shoo-in to dominate next year's Academy Awards. In any case, some other films we'd like to see join it:

Babe: Pig in the City. A rare children's movie with a real potential to draw in adults, this film brings the talking pig to the big city for a dark but very funny and entertaining adventure. It may not be appropriate for the youngest children, but it's certainly the best live-action children's movie since -- well, it's hard to think of one.

The Celebration. Danish director Thomas Vinterberg creates a disturbing film about a family falling apart at the seams during a get-together at an old hotel. An odd but satisfying cross between Shakespeare and O'Neill. …

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