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Showing posts from May, 2013

Empire Magazine Greatest Movies List - #325: Kill Bill Vol. 1

Quentin Tarantino has, so far, made fewer movies than I have fingers. Yet his films are so distinctively stylistic that every time a new one comes out everyone from the Cannes Film Festival to the Academy Awards pays attention. This explains why when the first trailer for “Kill Bill” came out it proudly said “Miramax presents the 4th film by Quentin Tarantino” as though it was the announcement of a major event. Given the sight of Uma Thurman surrounded by sword-wielding henchmen to the tune of yet another great Tarantino soundtrack, it did indeed look like an affair to remember. When that first trailer came out, Miramax had not yet announced their decision to split the film in two. Given the full film’s four-hour running time, it did make logical and not just financial sense. The man does like to write a lot of scenes, but whether they involve blood flow or word flow, they are always excellent scenes.
This film came out in October 2003, a few months after my family and I had moved back…

Empire Magazine Greatest Movies List - #328: The Truman Show

It seems today you can’t flip a channel without running into a show about competitive singing, competitive dancing, scavenger hunts, or just plain competitive living. Everyone from the airheads on The Jersey Shore to ordinary idiots pretending to live their lives on Big Brother want their every moves recorded so the whole world can see them on their TVs, laptops, tablets or their phones. In 1998 Australian filmmaker Peter Weir and New Zealand screenwriter Andrew Niccol warned us with American film “The Truman Show” starring Canadian Jim Carrey. This international talent pool made a brilliant satire of the rise of reality television by showing us a world willing to watch the life of an ordinary man 24/7. The catch is that man has no idea his whole life is a lie.
This movie came out when I was around 11 years and my family and I were living in South America but we would spend the summer back in Qu├ębec. I had zero interest in reality shows, but I loved Jim Carrey. Movies he had made in th…

Empire Magazine Greatest Movies List - #329: The Lives of Others

Germany had it rough in the 20th century to put it mildly. World War I was quickly followed by World War II, after which the country was carved in two. East Germany was called the German Democratic Republic, but it was in fact a communist nation where people’s every move could be monitored if they were suspected of being against the party, not that that is so different from what modern governments do these days. “The Lives of Others” (2006) tells the story of a Stasi agent in 1984 assigned to monitor a writer to make sure he has no intention of writing anything subversive. However, as the agent listens in on their lives, he realizes there is more that meets the eyes, or in this case the ears.
The 2006 Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Language Film, “The Lives of Others” ended up on plenty of critic’s top ten lists that year. My taste for foreign movies can be hit or miss depending on the genre, but seeing as this one had practically universal love, I rented it a few months later a…