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Top Video Releases of 1999

It's been another busy year, with stacks of new videos to choose from. Here are the 25 rated highest videos first released in 1999, as judged by Apollo Guide's reviewers.


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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. Life is Beautiful89/100
This film's first half is an enchanting look at Guido's courtship of Dora in 1939 Italy. The second half takes us to a concentration camp, where Guido struggles to keep his family alive. A powerful, unforgettable film. Bravo Roberto Benigni.

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5. Shakespeare in Love88/100
How did Shakespeare write his great romantic tragedy Romeo and Juliet? Shakespeare in Love presents a hypothesis, and in so doing gives us one of the year's best films. Romantic, sexy, funny and sad, this is great cinema.

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7. 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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9. The Celebration87/100
The Klingenfeldt family is messed up beyond belief, but things only get worse as a shocking revelation turns a family celebration upside down. This is a powerful and troubling film that unfolds like a storm that hits in waves.

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11. 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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13. Rushmoren_86.gif (1270 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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15. The Last Days86/100
It's horrifying, troubling, but ultimately uplifting. This documentary tells the story of the Holocaust in the words of Jewish Hungarian survivors, and with film footage shot mainly during the dying days of the Second World War. A powerfully effective film.

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17. 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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19. 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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21. Lovers of the Arctic Circle85/100
This dreamy, unusual film tells the story of a couple in love from childhood and destined to be together. Even when separated, we know fate will somehow reconnect them. Itís complex, erotic and a classic love story with an unusual ending.

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23. Down in the Delta85/100
This is a wonderful movie about the rebirth of a woman's spirit. Compassionate, humorous, and honest, it reminds us that wherever we are, it is what we have inside us, not that which is around us that determines our reality.

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25. Idle Hands85/100
Graphic gore and violence meet slapstick when the devil makes use of someone's idle hand in this hilarious but gory horror. Clever writing, energetic direction and an impeccable cast make this teen flick a candidate for Halloween cult classic.

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2. Saving Private Ryann_89.gif (1270 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. Summer of Sam89/100
Spike Lee's recounting of New York's summer of 1977 is intense, graphically violent and disturbing. It's also a passionate, powerful and unforgettable chronicle of the Son of Sam murderer, combined with a fictional tale of stupidity and excess.

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6. Lock, Stock & 2 Smoking Barrels88/100
Snappy and stylish, this crackerjack Brit comedy assembles eccentric characters, financial impositions, a porn king, crooks, drug dealers, personal idiosyncrasies, calamitous coincidences and big guns. Smart editing, clever story, fresh soundtrack and strong acting are a veritable indulgence. Graphic violence.

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8. 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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10. 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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12. Limbon_86.gif (1270 bytes)
Writer/director John Sayles has created an intelligent and honest film about people who are in limbo. It will disappoint those needing neat and tidy stories with definitive conclusions; it will richly reward viewers who are willing to think for themselves.

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14. Affliction86/100
A small-town cop tries to sort out a hunting 'accident', while his own life disintegrates, in this bleak and harrowing film directed and written by Paul Schrader. It's an excellent movie and Nick Nolte's performance is nuanced and masterful.

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16. Inherit the Wind86/100
This production has all the components of a fantastic film: a winning cast, an engaging story line, and a cinematic style that transports you to the 1920s. This is about as impressive as made for television movies can get.

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18. 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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20. Electionn_85.gif (1270 bytes)
High school teacher Jim McAllister (Matthew Broderick) interferes in the election of student body president, incurring the wrath of keener Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon) and contributing to his personal decline. It's a wonderful satire that's bang on and thought provoking.

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22. Germany, Pale Mother85/100
Lene and Hans are married on the eve of the Second World War and we watch them survive at terrible psychological and emotional cost. This is a troubling and powerful film showing the war from a German perspective.

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24. Instinct85/100
Two doctors meet behind prison bars: one, eager and assertive, to evaluate his colleague and the other, possibly insane, who has already passed judgement. Fascinating characters present this portrait of human society's loss of control and place in the world.

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