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Showing posts from August, 2011

Empire List #436: Beauty and the Beast

Chances one of the first movies your parents showed you was a Disney movie. Disney is the safe choice: its movies always have cute and cuddly characters, moral lessons you can carry with you for the rest of your life, scenes depicting good triumphing over evil, and often, singing characters. Occasionally the Mouse House breaks new grounds in animation and gets a shot at an Academy Award for best film. “Beauty and the Beast” the 1991 version by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, is one such film.

I have to admit, the very first time I saw this movie parts of it scared me. In my defence I must have been around six years old and what the titular Beast got mad, I wouldn’t have liked to be sitting in his lazy-boy. It wasn’t even my choice. It was movie time in the first grade so of course the teacher went with the Disney catalogue and closed the curtains as we sat on the carpet. I am not sure if I even understood everything the first time since back then I was living in Corner Brook, Newfoundla…

Empire List #437: Spider-Man

Growing up I used to watch two superheroes on T.V: Batman and Superman. To me Spider-Man was just this old cartoon from the 60’s with a cheesy theme song. So when I saw the first teaser trailer for Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” that was to come out in 2002 (infamously showing a helicopter caught in a web between the twin towers) I didn’t think much of it. “Spider-Man? Who cares?” Shows what I know.

Months after 9/11 I had moved from Lima, Peru to Santiago, Chile and was starting over yet again in a new high school. This was to be my last year in South America before going back to Canada. “Spider-Man” had been released in North America months before and was being hailed as one of the summer’s biggest hits so it was probably worth the admission price after all. Back then I used to hang out with just a few expatriates from Quebec so me and another Quebecer went to see it with our parents. Call it one last evening out before leaving it all behind.

This being a superhero movie, we go through t…

Empire List #438: The Lost Boys

Before Joel Schumacher went ahead and temporarily ruined the Batman franchise for all of use, he actually directed a terrific horror movie. The decade was the 80s, the cast included Corey Haim and Corey Feldman, and the monsters were vampires. Despite featuring one of the most overexposed movie monsters of our time, “The Lost Boys” stands out in the genre for its combination of horror, comedy, and great effects.

This being a cult film from the 80s, I first heard about it from movie websites and magazine articles. Mostly the articles complained about how the sequels that came out decades later were simply not as good as the original. Ever noticed that whenever a studio waits twenty years to make a sequel, it’s never as good as the original? Looking at you “Indiana Jones 4.” I got to see the original in this franchise when it was playing on TV on Halloween. I don’t know about the sequels, but this movie does seem pretty hard to top.

The film begins when Lucy Emerson (Diane Wiest) a just…

Empire List #439: Grosse Pointe Blank

One of the most immoral things you can do in life is kill someone. If you kill people for money than you are trying to win the award for immoral person of the year. However, what if you were a killer who can rationalize his actions and you see murder for hire as a job no different than selling furniture? Now imagine you have been invited to your high school reunion. That is the premise for George Armitage’s “Grosse Point Blank” (1997) starring John Cusack as the hitman. A wise casting choice since Cusack gained prominence playing romantic leads in 80s teen comedies. What if that same character came back to this John Hughes universe but his job was to kill people?

This is one of those movies that I have watched progressively over the years. I missed it at the movie theatres, but I saw bits and pieces of it while living in Chile. Eventually I decided to watch the whole thing and found it in a Montreal HMV store as one of those double features the store uses to get rid of its old movie…