Nineties Novas
More movies that helped get us to the next millennium


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Gattaca
D: Andrew Niccol (1997) 106m


Top-notch near-future tale about society gone awry with genetic-engineering. Naturally born "In-Valids" are discriminated against on the basis of their inferior genes. An In-Valid purchases a "Valid" identity from a disabled man and attempts to fool regular gene testing in order to fulfil his dream of going on a mission to Titan.





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Event Horizon
D: Paul W.S. Anderson (1997) 96m


Gory British sci-fi/horror flick about a rescue crew sent off to a black hole to find the experimental 'gravity drive' starship Event Horizon. What follows is nothing short of pure hell - proving conclusively how dangerous it is to muck with Mother Nature. Despite Laurence Fishburne and Sam Neill being superb in the lead roles, the film was a huge box office flop before eventually gaining cult status.





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Pi
D: Darren Aronofsky (1998) 85m


Migraine headaches start driving a reclusive mathematics whiz nuts while he attempts to get the universe under control and innumerate the stock market. A shady brokerage firm tries to take advantage of him and a Hasidic cabal thinks he can unlock the secrets of the Torah. Low-budget b&w feel adds to the film's enticing originality.





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Armageddon
D: Michael Bay (1998) 144m


Typical gung-ho Bruce Willis sci-fi blockbuster sees a team of flag-waving oilfield drillers assigned to save the planet from an encroaching meteor. Director Michael Bay doesn't stray too far from the action-packed formula he set down in 1996's The Rock, with the occasional foray into moralising seeming a bit out of place. OK as a time-filler.





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The Truman Show
D: Peter Weir (1998) 104m


Director Peter Weir was tipping us off to the heartlessness of reality TV long before it came to dominate the prime-time airwaves. Jim Carrey is outstanding as the man who unknowingly allows the rest of the world to share the mundane details of his life. Unfortunately, what was sci-fi in 1998 is becoming all too real. Weir continues his consistently good form.





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The X-Files
D: Rob Bowman (1998) 117m


Feature film that looks like little more than an up-market double-length episode of the popular television series. Mulder and Scully start out battling terrorism before getting tangled up in an alien power struggle to control the Earth. There are a few bonuses for fans of the series, but most will find this pretty standard fare. That said, more science fictional than usual for the series.





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The Matrix
D: L & A Wachowski (1999) 136m


Definitive virtual reality head-trip about a software programmer (Keanu Reeves) obsessed with the legendary Morpheus - an all-knowing hacker. He discovers the world is ruled by super-computers which are using humans as battery power. Both the outstanding "bullet time" visual effects and martial arts sequences are not to be missed.





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Star Wars I-III
D: George Lucas (1999-2005) 120-142m


Now complete, the Star Wars Trilogy I-III was saved at the bell by the third instalment. Episode I follows young Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and his mentor as they battle for peace while minding the good Queen of Naboo. Of course no surprise, but by the last episode Anakin Skywalker has gone over to the Dark Side.


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