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Showing posts from March, 2014

Empire Magazine Greatest Movies List - #240: Forrest Gump

I always thought Forrest Gump’s signature quote never made any sense. “Life is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re gonna get.” Of course you know what you’re gonna get, the flavours are listed on the back of the box. This minor plot hole aside, I love all the flavours that are included in Robert Zemeckis’ 1994 highlight reel of all the major American events from the 1950s through the early 1980s. Through the eyes of simpleton Forrest (Tom Hanks) we see everything from the civil rights’ movement to Vietnam and even the rise of Apple Inc. And then there is the soundtrack. Two albums of pure goodness with artist like Elvis Presley, The Doors, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Simon & Garfunkel.
As Forrest Gump covers plenty of events that happened before I was born but that happened during my parents’ lifetime, they were of course the perfect target audience for the movie. It eventually ended up in our ever-growing VHS tape collection we were accumulating while living in South Ame…

Empire Magazine Greatest Movies List - #242: King Kong

The original 1933 version of King Kong is the one that started it all, or at least you can say it’s the one that would influence many generations of filmmakers despite the fact it was made in the early 20th century. By now the effects are dated, but somehow it still works. It is the ultimate adventure story: a ship finds an island with an ominous name populated by restless natives, dinosaurs, giant bugs, and the world’s biggest gorilla. Without King Kong you don’t have Godzilla, Jurassic Park (What do they have in there? King Kong?), and of course the 2005 Peter Jackson remake.
Speaking of the remake, since we live in an age where hit movies are redone every year, this is another case where I had not seen the original first. I saw the Peter Jackson version on the big screen, as you should, in the holiday season in Quebec City without having the black and white Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B Shoedsack version. That being said, I still knew where Jackson was going. The story has been arou…

Empire Magazine Greatest Movies List - #244: Dazed and Confused

American Graffiti was George Lucas’ love letter to the teenage life in the 1960s. Feeling the need to do the same for his childhood experience, in 1993 Richard Linklater made Dazed and Confused, which followed a bunch of teenagers during their last day of high school in 1970s Austin Texas. In addition to a similar concept, Linklater’s film also features many actors in their early days who would later find varying degrees of success in much bigger films. You have Milla Jovovich who would later become the world’s best-known zombie killer with the Resident Evil franchise and Matthew McConaughey who would eventually win an Academy Award for Best Actor. Not bad considering his signature line in the movie is: "That's what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age."
The movie perfectly captures the high school experience no matter the decade, yet watching it for the first time it really made me feel like I missed out a lot. True, they probabl…

Empire Magazine Greatest Movies List - #245: Downfall

How do you make a movie about Adolph Hitler without making him too human? Answer: you can’t, which was the point of Oliver Hirschbiegel 2004 film The Fall. It depicts the final days of Hitler as the Allies and the Soviets are advancing upon Berlin and the most hated man in history sees his empire crumble. Based partially on the book of one of Hitler’s secretary it depicts him not just as mad man but as a human being like everyone else, which is all the more frightening when you think about it.
When this particular movie came out I was not too eager to see it like most people. A movie about Hitler, even his last days, is no popcorn movie. Inglourious Basterds this is not. But after being encouraged by a few people who had seen it and after it got its fair share of acclaim during the 2005 award season, I decided to rent it during my first year at the University of Sherbrooke. Clearly I was not the only young person who watched it since over the years the scene where Hitler loses it and g…