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Showing posts from October, 2013

Empire Magazine Greatest Movies List - #279: National Lampoon's Animal House

Nowadays the movie branch of the National Lampoon magazine is mostly associated with straight-to-DVD comedies that the general public will barely notice. However between the late 1970s and 1980s they were responsible for two classic Chevy Chase films and for National Lampoon’s Animal House, the king of gross-out comedies. Starring a cast of then unknown actors and directed by John Landis, it tells, not so much the story, but the antics of the craziest fraternity to ever be allowed on a college campus. The point of this film is to deliver laughter on a minute-by-minute basis and boy does it deliver.
Is there any better place to watch a movie like this than on a university campus? I watched it as part of a double feature organized by the film club at the University Sherbrooke and I believe the other half of that double feature was The Kentucky Fried Movie. Suffice it to say we laughed our asses off that Friday night. I also realized how tame my university experience was. How come we didn…

Empire Magazine Greatest Movies List - #484: The Fountain

George Carlin once said the answer to the age-old question “why are we here” just might be: “Plastic! Assholes!” That is way too simple of an answer for most people, so for thousands of years people have been debating about the meaning of life, what happens after death, and why the bloody hell do we have to die in the first place. The Fountain (2006) by Darren Aronofsky is a convoluted exploration of some of those questions as it follows a version of the same character in three different eras. In each he seeks eternal life, not for him but for the love of his life. It helps she is played by Rachel Weisz.
Before the movie was released it gained notoriety for its troubled production, as it had to shut down because of production costs. If I recall well, they were even auctioning off props of the movie at one point. But then Aronofsky tinkered the script, found ways to make the effects for cheap, and shot the whole thing in Montreal to save money. Upon its release it did not exactly set t…

Empire Magazine Greatest Movies List - #280: Mad Max 2

Mad Max 2 (1981) a.k.a The Road Warrior, is one of the reasons why Mel Gibson was once of the biggest movies stars in the world. Who is Mad Max? He is the lone hero in a post-apocalyptic world, he is the last warrior in a war-torn Australia, and the deadliest man behind the wheel of a car. George Miller’s film is a true product of the 80s. It’s all practical effects and stuntmen as cars pummel and tear each other to pieces in a battle to get the last remnant of oil after a devastating war. Everyone is dressed like they have raided a leather clothing store and they stopped at a sporting goods store for armour. There was never a lot of optimism about the future back then in the 80s, but on the plus side it made for some pretty kick-ass movies.
I have seen the entire Mad Max franchise completely out of order. The third one I saw when it was playing on TV in Spanish back in the 90s when I was living in Peru (whose roads and drivers sadly reminded me of the movie sometimes). I got to the se…