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Best of '99 -- The First Six Months

We're at the half-way point of 1999 and it's time to take a look back at the best home video releases of the past six months. Here's our top 20.

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1. Whatevern_90.gif (1270 bytes)

Writer-director Susan Skoog's honest portrayal of a teenage girl in the early 1980s is right on. This bracing and sometimes unsettling film reflects on an age when repression, disappointment and boredom culminate in the potential for tragedy or virtue.

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3. Slamn_88.gif (1270 bytes)

A small film that carries a huge wallop, this film traces the life of Ray, a drug-dealer and inner city poet facing prison time. A desperate film with a hopeful heart, Slam is centred by Saul William's unforgettable performance.

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5. Beyond Silencen_87.gif (1270 bytes)

This film studies the emotional minefield of a set of family relationships where the hearing-abled daughter of deaf parents struggles to please her parents and find her voice in the world. An intelligent, honest and thoroughly captivating film.

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7. Rushmoren_86.gif (1270 bytes)

rushmore.jpg (6304 bytes)The creators of Bottle Rocket pull off a stylish, quirky and sometimes dark comedy featuring the geeky overachiever Max Fischer. Bill Murray is a gift as the defeated tycoon who can't help but see himself in the adolescent Fischer.

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9. Bulworthn_85.gif (1270 bytes)

Jay Billington Bulworth (Warren Beatty) is a US senator who's gone off the deep end. He's rapping, partying, offending the rich and powerful, and even telling the truth. Warren Beatty has created an hilarious satire that's right on the mark.

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11. The Truman Shown_85.gif (1270 bytes)

A deliciously vicious and intelligent satire on the media who manipulate us, and the audience who encourages it. Jim Carrey is great as the man caught in the middle and Ed Harris is suitably evil as his tormentor.

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13. One True Thingn_84.gif (1270 bytes)

A young woman comes home to care for her sick mother, and in the process learns a great deal about both her parents, in this sad, honest film about love, loss, and learning the truth before it's too late.

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15. Regenerationn_84.gif (1270 bytes)

A provocative and challenging examination of issues of madness and morality, this is a truth-based exploration of the lives of four men in a British military mental hospital during the First World War. An intellectual counterpoint to Saving Private Ryan.

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17. Everestn_84.gif (1270 bytes)

IMAX, the world's largest film on the biggest screen, is a perfect fit for this journey up the world's tallest mountain. This dazzling piece of eye candy has two stories, one heart-warming and the other heart-rending, which make it unforgettable.

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19. Henry Fooln_83.gif (1270 bytes)

henryfoo.gif (24735 bytes)The mysterious, erudite and boastful Henry Fool appears from nowhere, befriends Simon Grim and encourages him to write. Hal Hartley has created a film that's both deep and filled with surface colour. It's funny and serious at the same time.

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2. Saving Private Ryann_89.gif (1270 bytes)

savingpr.jpg (4837 bytes)Tom Hanks and his troop are sent to retrieve a soldier whose three brothers were killed. A mediocre plot and Hollywood posturing are decimated by powerful World War Two battle scenes. This brutal, violent film is not for the weak.

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4. Smoke Signalsn_87.gif (1270 bytes)

A young Indian man travels to Phoenix to recover his dead father’s belongings, accompanied by a man his father saved many years before. Full of humour and pathos, pain and healing with top-notch writing, acting and direction.

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6. There's Something About Maryn_87.gif (1270 bytes)

Ben Stiller hires a private dick to get the skinny on his high school sweetie, who he last saw during an incident involving his frank and beans and a pant zipper. Grotesquely hilarious comedy not for the prudish.

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8. The Last Emperorn_86.gif (1270 bytes)

Bernardo Bertolucci's epic story of China's last emperor is told through flashbacks covering both the huge political turmoil and the personal tragedy of a man who was given everything as a child except the ability to adapt. An impressive film.

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10. Gods and Monstersn_85.gif (1270 bytes)

This thoughtful and talky film explores the loss and loneliness a retired movie director feels when a new acquaintance reminds him of better days in his youth. Filled with substance, it includes fine performances by Ian McKellen and Lynn Redgrave.

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12. Silveradon_85.gif (1270 bytes)

A Western that will appeal to aficionados and non-fans of the genre alike, this film skilfully blends cowboy action with a smart and funny script. Kevin Kline and Danny Glover head a strong cast in this highly enjoyable film.

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14. My Name is Joen_84.gif (1270 bytes)

mynamejo.jpg (6133 bytes)Joe is an unemployed alcoholic Scot who's trying to get his life together. We cheer for him, knowing there are no easy solutions here, no unbelievable lucky breaks. A richly rewarding film that's a challenge to watch. Honest and compelling.

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16. Little Voicen_84.gif (1270 bytes)

This quirky small film delivers laughter and tears in an original package. It's about a withdrawn young woman whose singing skill gets her pushed on stage. A wonderful story, outrageous characters and memorable surprises might just capture your heart.

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18. Waking Ned Devinen_84.gif (1270 bytes)

A sweet and hilarious tale of villagers in Tullymore, Ireland who can collect a $6 million lottery win only if they enter into a conspiracy to dupe the government. Full of unforgettable characters, superb performances, wonderful scenery and great music.

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20. Elizabethn_83.gif (1270 bytes)

The story of Queen Elizabeth I's early, tumultuous years on the throne of England is told in this fine historical drama. Cate Blanchett, in a revelatory performance, convincingly depicts Elizabeth's Machiavellian machinations and manufactured rebirth as the "Virgin Queen."

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