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Showing posts from April, 2011

Empire List #450: King Kong

Now this is why we go to the movies. “King Kong” takes its audience to a mythical island filled with deranged natives, dinosaurs, vampire bats, and giant man-eating bugs. And of course, lets not forget the king of the jungle, the world’s biggest gorilla, Kong. It’s the theme park from hell, and in the 2005 version, director Peter Jackson is the ringmaster.

I saw this movie right where it’s supposed to be seen: on the big screen during the holiday season. December is a bit of an unusual release date for such a movie, since it has more of a summer feel. I guess the summer slate was full and there was no room for a three-hour escapade to Skull island.

If you haven’t seen this version or the 1933 original, you must have seen the plot of the movie pop up somewhere before. Maybe you saw a poster of a giant gorilla holding a blond atop the Empire State Building, maybe you saw a cartoon version of the movie, or maybe you’ve just seen “Jurassic Park” which is “King Kong” without King Kong.

T…

Empire List #451: Speed

“There’s a bomb on the bus!” Remember that line? Nothing gets an action movie going like a bomb with a digital clock, car chases, and a maniacal villain holding dozens of people hostage. Jan de Bont’s 1994 “Speed” combines all of these elements, creating one of the best summer movies of the 90s. This was before Keanu Reeves became known as “The One” and before giant digital robots invaded cinemas. Good times.

Sadly, I never got to see this adrenaline injection on the big screen. To be fair, I must have been around 7 at the time it came out, so I wasn’t into big action movies yet. However, in the late 90s you couldn’t flip a channel without seeing “Speed” playing at night. So I ended up watching it over a long period of time at various places when my family and I had first moved to Chile. We must have watched the last half in a hotel room, and bits and pieces later on in our first house. We could never find a channel where it was playing from the beginning. Maybe when I have the cash f…

Empire List #453: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

A military convoy enters Area 51 in the Nevada desert. The vehicles stop in front of an enormous hangar. Soldiers throw a man out of the trunk of a car. He gets up and puts on his fedora. You can clearly see from the outline of his shadow who this is: Indiana Jones. That’s right, the man with the hat is back, 19 years after “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.” It’s about time.

“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” was my first time watching an Indiana Jones movie on the big screen. I had seen the entire trilogy on VHS in the mid-90s. My brother and I loved everything about these movies: the humour, the action, the characters, and that awesome score by John Williams. It didn’t hurt that they made a pretty decent Super Nintendo game for it too.

After years of bickering and tinkering by George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Harrison Ford, Indiana Jones came back to the big screen in 2008. Man, that was a great year for summer movies. “The Dark Knight”, “Iron Man”, “WALL-E”…

Empire List #454: The Bourne Supremacy

“The Bourne Supremacy” is a classic example of a sequel that takes everything that was good from the first movie and improves upon it. Once again Jason Bourne (Matt Damon), the amnesiac American assassin, must outrun and outthink C.I.A operatives who want to either apprehend him or kill him. The difference is that in this first sequel, they made the mistake of going after him while he was trying to live peacefully with his girlfriend. Big mistake.

I had seen the first movie, “The Bourne Identity”, on an airplane somewhere over the Andes Mountains in South America. It wasn’t the best venue to watch a movie with so many stunts and a relatively heavy plot. For the sequel I got to see the movie where it belongs: on the big screen of a major multiplex during the summer season. It was my second summer in Quebec City; I had just finished high school and was ready for some entertainment before going to college.

I say “entertainment” but the Bourne movies are by no means mindless entertain…

Empire List #456: 28 Days Later

Jim (Cillian Murphy) wakes up from a coma in a London hospital. He is surprised to notice the ward is empty. As he walks around he realises the entire building is deserted. When he steps outside it becomes clear London is a ghost town. What has happened? Animal activists have accidentally released a virus that turns people into raging zombies, and now, 28 days later, Jim’s nightmare is just beginning.
Danny Boyle’s “28 Days Later” came out in 2003, just when I had moved back from South America to Quebec. That was a great year for me in terms of movies, since I could now watch movies in the theatres at the same time as everybody else in North America. For some reason, movies released in the U.S would sometimes come out six months later in Peru. Not so in Quebec, but unfortunately most of the movies are dubbed in French.
Since I wanted to experience the horror in its original language, and since back then my mom was subscribed to the Movie Network, I just had to bid my time. First I saw…