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Showing posts from May, 2012

Empire Magazine Greatest Movies List: #394 - Cloverfield

“Cloverfield” directed by Matt Reeves and produced by J.J. Abrams, is America’s answer to Godzilla. It features a monster that crawls out of the sea and decides to use New York as its new nesting ground, creating all sorts of havoc in a city that has already been destroyed countless ways on screen. On paper you would expect the filmmakers to tell the story on a grand scale, with wide shots of F-16s taking shots at the monster, but instead they decide to tell the story from the point of view of a few young party-goers whose night definitely does not go as expected.
This being one of J.J Abram’s special projects, a considerable amount of work went into building buzz for the movie without revealing too many details about the plot, or what the monster would look like. This included the mysterious teaser trailer featuring the head of the Statue of Liberty landing in the streets of New York and a viral marketing campaign. The teaser trailer sold me, but apparently the viral marketing campaig…

Empire Magazine Greatest Movies List - #395: Casino

In 1990 Martin Scorsese made “Goodfellas” one of the definitive movies about organized crimes in the United-States. Along with “The Godfather” trilogy, it provides an impeccable depiction of the gangster lifestyle. Yet, maybe because I saw it first, I find “Casino,” his tale of the mob’s power hold in 1970’s Las Vegas, more entertaining. Both movies are very stylish, have first rate performances by Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci, provide a detailed look at a criminal organization, and actually make you root for these criminals. “Casino” however, does not only depict a gangster lifestyle, but also depicts the unusual marriage between the mafia and the entertainment industry. De Niro’s character does not only have to juggle his personal life with his criminal life: he also has to juggle in front of the cameras when he gets his own TV show.
I first saw this cinematic masterpiece on TV about six years ago. The channel, MPIX, is one of those channels where they show classics or really good c…

Empire Magazine Greatest Movies List - # 396: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

At his peak, the outlaw Jesse James was the most famous outlaw in America. Brad Pitt is one of the most famous movie stars in the world, so it was a no brainer to cast him as the lead in Andrew Dominik’s “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.” But as the long title says it, this isn’t just about James, but about the smaller man who tried to rise from under his shadow. Like Brad Pitt, James had many admirers, and in the case of Robert Ford, the kind movie stars fear: an obsessive fan with deadly ambitions.
I saw this movie as a result of a scriptwriting class at the University of Sherbrooke in 2008. To be honest I didn’t find the teacher to be very knowledgeable. He was telling us about a screenwriters’ strike that happened in the 1980s, but he didn’t even know there had been one that very year. My guess is, he was learning about this stuff just as we were. Still, he mentioned Andrew Dominik’s Jesse James movie a few times, praising the script. That weekend I deci…