Review: CNN’s The Movies – “The Nineties”

In the second episode of CNN’s The Movies, the focus lies on the evolution of film throughout the decade. It was the decade that Spielberg took home three Oscars. It was the decade where John Singleton became the youngest director ever nominated by the Academy. A decade where Disney animation returns to its throne,  Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, and Will Smith rule the box office, and where the independent film makes its mark.

Featured in this episode is director Martin Scorsese’s approach to revolutionizing the mobster movie–primarily his “made man” epics Goodfellas and Casino. With both films, he presented the colorful flashiness of the mob world, from Ray Liotta’s Henry Hill taking Lorraine Bracco’s Karen out on an expensive date to the glitz and glamour that surrounds Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci, and Sharon Stone in the heart of Las Vegas. The two films contain the Scorsese signature of the chaos of organized crime, jumping from friendly get-togethers to someone getting three bullets drilled into their chest.

Related – Review: CNN’s The Movies – “The Eighties”

The episode then takes a look at Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-wining films Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan. With Saving Private Ryan, filmmaker Ron Howard (Apollo 13) speaks of how the film covers so many bases in terms of genre. It’s a thriller, suspenseful, action-packed, emotional, and even contains a sprinkle of light-hearted human moments between its characters. Moreover, director Ridley Scott (Thelma & Louise) commends Spielberg’s accomplishment of the opening scene, capturing the brutal reality of the battle on the beach of Normandy.

The episode digs deeper into the impact made by African-American filmmakers and actors like John Singleton (Boyz N The Hood) and Ice Cube (Friday). It reveals the voices of female filmmakers like Nora Ephron (Sleepless In Seattle) and Amy Heckerling (Clueless) beginning to be heard on the silver screen. It presents the megastar showdowns, like DeNiro and Al Pacino in Heat and Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men. It displays the rise of the independent film through the iconic works of Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith, and Jon Favreau, while displaying how Jurassic ParkTitanic, and The Matrix ushered in the future of CGI in film.

It’s easy to see that this series is tailor-made for all the film fanatics and cinema nerds, especially the one who wrote this article. CNN’s The Movies, produced by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET.

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