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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 4 (1999)

Screenwriter Joss Whedon (Alien 4, Toy Story, Speed, Twister) really came into his own with the TV continuation of his 1992 horror/action/ comedy film. Season 1 moves Buffy to Sunnydale where she fights the Master (and dies). In Season 2, boyfriend Angel turns evil and tries to end the world. In Season 3, her nemeses are fellow slayer Faith and the Mayor. And in Season 4, it's the government and Adam.

Angel Season 1 (1999)

When Angel (the vampire with a soul) left Buffy at the end of Season 3, the character was too good to let go, so Whedon moved him (and the snobby Cordelia) to LA to fight evil (in the form of law firm Wolfram & Hart) and pine for Buffy. Season 1 saw some back and forth between the two series (Buffy, Oz, Faith, Spike), though this dropped off in Season 2 (available on DVD 9/03).

The Matrix (1999)

The Wachowski brothers (Bound) create the most literate science fiction film of the 90s. Deep, but with plenty of action and special effects, so it works on many levels. With Keanu Reeves (The Devil's Advocate, Johnny Mnemonic, Speed), Laurence Fishburne (Event Horizon, Fled, Hoodlum, What's Love Got to Do with It?).

The Mummy (1999)

OK, so it's not art, but director Stephen Sommers (Deep Rising) revives the 1932 Universal classic with 1999 special effects. With Brendan Fraser (Blast from the Past, George of the Jungle, Gods and Monsters, School Ties, Encino Man) as the hero and Arnold Vosloo (Darkman II, Progeny) as the evil mummy.

You've Got Mail (1998)

Director Nora Ephron (Michael), Tom Hanks (Apollo 13, A League of Their Own, Philadelphia), and Meg Ryan (Addicted to Love, City of Angels) strike again with another romantic comedy (see also Sleepless in Seattle).

Dark City (1998)

Director Alex Proyas' (The Crow) bleak vision starring Rufus Sewell, William Hurt, Jennifer Connelly, and Kiefer Sutherland (also featuring Richard O'Brien from The Rocky Horrow Picture Show). The DVD includes a commentary by Proyas and his staff, as well as one by Roger Ebert (who put this film at Number One on his Ten Best list for 1998).

Contact (1997)

Director Robert Zemeckis brings Carl Sagan's book Contact (also recommended) to life. Starring Jodie Foster, Matthew McConaughey, John Hurt, and Tom Skerrit. DVD includes three audio commentaries: Foster, Zemeckis with producer Starkey, and visual effects supervisors describing each shot.

The Fifth Element (1997)

Luc Besson's (La Femme Nikita, The Professional) future vision starring Bruce Willis (Armageddon, Die Hard, 12 Monkeys), Milla Jovovich, Chris Tucker, and Gary Oldham (Bram Stoker's Dracula, Air Force One, Lost in Space). Visually lush, fast-paced, and entertaining.

The Usual Suspects (1995)

Bryan Singer's film that won Kevin Spacey an Oscar (also starring Gabriel Byrne, Stephen Baldwin, Benicio del Toro, Chazz Palminteri, and Kevin Pollak). DVD includes a wonderful shot-by-shot audio commentary by Singer and Oscar-winning screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie.

Interview with the Vampire (1994)

The first book of Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles brought to the screen by Neil Jordan (The Crying Game), starring Tom Cruise (Jerry Maguire, Top Gun, Risky Business), Brad Pitt (12 Monkeys), Antonio Banderas (Evita), Stephen Rea, and Kirsten Dunst.

Heathers (1989)

Director Michael Lehmann's (Hudson Hawk) wickedly funny black comedy starring Winona Ryder (Beetlejuice, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Reality Bites), Christian Slater (Broken Arrow), and Shannon Doherty. Screenplay by Daniel Walters.

Brazil (1985)

Director Terry Gilliam's (12 Monkeys, Adventures of Baron Munchhausen, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Fisher King, Time Bandits) bizarre tale of the future. Starring Jonathan Pryce (Evita, Tomorrow Never Dies) and Robert De Niro (Casino, Cop Land, Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, Wag the Dog).

Lifeforce (1985)

Director Tobe Hooper's (Poltergeist) camp yet scary film based on Colin Wilson's book Space Vampires. Starring Steve Railsback, Peter Firth (The English Patient) and Patrick Stewart (Dune, Star Trek: First Contact, Star Trek: Insurrection). Best known for Mathilda May strolling about nude for most of the film. Special effects by John Dykstra (Star Wars).

Blade Runner (1982)

Classic Ridley Scott film based on Philip K. Dick's masterpiece, the book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. Starring Harrison Ford and Sean Young. This version is the director's cut, which removes the cheesy narration and includes some added scenes which raise questions about Deckard's past.

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