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Showing posts from December, 2013

Empire Magazine Greatest Movies List - #266: Ghost World

Filmmaker Terry Swigoff has so far only five movies, which at first glance may seem difficult to pin down. He gave the world Crumb, the fascinating documentary about underground cartoonist Robert Crumb and also Bad Santa, the 2003 hillarious comedy about a drunken mall Santa played by Billy Bob Thornton. He also directed Ghost World (2001), a much tamer comedy about two teenage outsiders. Definitely not as gut-busting funny as Bad Santa, but definitely worth seeing if only for seeing Steve Buscemi as a reclusive records collector.
This one I first saw while doing a 2009 summer session at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Having some time to kill one evening, I was browsing iTunes and thought I would check another cult movie off my to-watch list. Bad Santa is one of my favourite Christmas movies and Steve Buscemi is one of my favourite actors so I thought this has to be good. The tone of the movie and the characters were unexpectedly cynical and Buscemi is more introverte…

Empire Magazine Greatest Movies List - #273: The Maltese Falcon

People who don’t like black and white movies don’t know what they are missing. Sure, most of the times it means the movies are very old, the dialogue and attitudes are dated, and there is a lot less action compared to today’s hyper-frenetic blockbusters, but many of those films are timeless classics. Case in point: The Maltese Falcon (1941) the first major film noir stars screen icon Humphrey Bogart as private investigator Sam Spade who is trying to stay ahead of a bunch of shady characters who want to get their hands on a mythical jewel-encrusted bird. Hallmarks of the genre include low-key lighting, a complicated plot, and of course a femme fatale.
I first saw The Maltese Falcon on a boring Sunday morning while in college in Quebec City. It was playing on the CBC, probably because they thought many old people would be watching at that time of the day, but since I like movies new or old I had no problem with diving back to the 1940s. Also I was curious to see it since this is such a …