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Showing posts from September, 2013

Empire Magazine Greatest Movies List - #281: Interview with the Vampire

When it comes to movie monsters, vampires go in and out of fashion with mixed results: sometimes you get a great retelling of Dracula, sometimes you get Twilight. In between, you get the work of Anne Rice, whose Vampire Chronicles has not had the same success on the big screen as Stephanie Myers’ books, but her first entry is one of the best exploration of what it must be like to be a vampire. Interview with the Vampire (1994) features the life and times of two vampires, one a complete sociopath who sees humans as cattle, and the other a man with guilt over the people he has destroyed. In a brilliant casting stroke, they are played by two of the biggest movie stars in the world.
If you are behind on your horror movie watching, October is a great month because all the movie channels play the old classics, or just the successful ones. So during a holiday from the university while staying in Quebec City, I saw Neil Jordan’s adaptation of Interview with the Vampire on MPix and was glad to …

Empire Magazine Greatest Movies List - #282: The Godfather Part III

When it comes to trilogies, usually the first one is good, the second raises the bar, and the third falls short of the second one. There are of course exceptions (The Bourne trilogy, the Indiana Jones series), but that’s usually the way it goes. When The Godfather Part III came out in 1990, the universal consensus was that the first two were masterpieces and the third one was nowhere near as good. There are indeed problems in Michael Corleone’s swan song. The story is a bit hard to follow, Robert Duvall is no longer there as family lawyer Tom Hagan, and Sofia Coppola was probably not experienced enough as an actress to play Michael’s daughter. That being said, it does have its moments of greatness, including the uttering of the line “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”
I am going to end up repeating this part two other times as I move up Empire’s list, but the first time I saw The Godfather trilogy was when my parents, my brother and I rented it from ye old video stor…

Empire Magazine Greatest Movies List - #284: Scarface

In the gangster genre, it is an unwritten rule that the bad guy must fall by the end. That was certainly true in the Howard Hawks film Scarface from 1932 in which gangster Tony Montana pleads for his life before making a run for it and getting mowed down by the police. In Brian De Palma’s 1983 remake however, there is no begging for mercy and Tony does most of the mowing down, with the classic line “Say hello to my little friend!” In terms of general plotting, the two films are very similar, but you could say the remake is the same story “on steroid,” or more accurately “on cocaine” as Montana spends most of the third act abusing his product as he nears his downfall.
There are movies you have seen before actually seeing them and that was certainly the case with Scarface. Like Pulp Fiction and Fight Club, it has had a major impact on pop culture, and even crime culture. Would-be rappers want to emulate Tony Montana’s rags-to-riches tale, while would-be gangsters want to imitate his bus…

Empire Magazine Greatest Movies List - #288: Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Wouldn’t it be cool if cartoons co-existed with human beings? Let me rephrase that: how awesome would it be if Daffy Duck and Donald Duck were to have a duel of pianos at a members-only club in 1940s Hollywood? Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), based on the book Who Censored Roger Rabbit? by Gary K. Wolf, successfully imagines such a world and most importantly manages to convince the audience cartoons are actually interacting with human beings. Its director, Robert Zemeckis, has always been a master at mixing groundbreaking special effects with an engaging story, so if anyone was going to get this story right, it had to be him. Pulling the strings at the top of the production chain was none other than Steven Spielberg, who although better known for his directorial work, has produced some of the most memorable movies of the 80s, including this one.
But just how do you classify Who Framed Roger Rabbit? I first saw a French-dubbed version of the film on VHS in the early 90s while living in …