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Showing posts from June, 2014

Empire Magazine Greatest Movies List - #228: No Country for Old Men

If you want a gritty look at crime in America, look no further than the work of the Coen Brothers. From Blood Simple to Fargo they depict crime and murder as horrible things, but that takes place in the real world and usually performed by actual human beings. No Country for Old Men (2007), their most uncompromising work so far, has a lot of violence and a villain so terrifying he is compared to the Bubonic Plague. The scariest thing is we eventually see he is just as human as the rest of us.
When first released in the fall of 2007 the movie justifiably received a lot of hype and eventually went on to receive many awards come awards season. Being a fan of the Coen Brother’s work, I got in line for a ticket on opening weekend, which was during my days at the University of Sherbrooke. Unfortunately that meant watching a version dubbed in French, which I hate because I wanted to listen to the original actors’ voices, but I didn’t feel like waiting for the DVD release. Like most audience me…

Empire Magazine Greatest Movies List - #230: Howl's Moving Castle

Watching a lesser film by Hayao Miyazaki is like listening to the worst song by The Beatles: it’s not as good but it’s still The Beatles. Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) has many of the Japanese master filmmaker’s trademarks, from the gorgeous hand-drawn animation to the magical creatures, and a strong female protagonist. Yet the story is not as enticing and one particular character comes off as underwhelming. On the plus side the titular castle looks great and it does do a lot of moving.
My first experiences with Miyazaki’s films were watching some of his best work at a film club at the University of Sherbrooke. I got around to seeing this one while looking for my first job after graduating from Sheridan College in 2011. In between jobs, low on cash, and staying at home in Quebec City, I was not spending a lot of money of movies. Good news for me, my brother buys as many movies as I do and he likes Japanese animation. He was very enthusiastic about it, saying the animation of Howl’s castl…

Empire Magazine Greatest Movies List - #231: Shaun of the Dead

If a movie is made by filmmakers who hardcore genre fans, odds are those filmmakers are going to make sure fans like them are pleased. Thus the success of Shaun of the Dead (2004) is explained. Horror comedies can be a hard sell, and a British horror comedy even more so, but since co-writers Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg are both fans of George A. Romero’s Dead trilogy, they were going to honour the genre while having loads of fun. Fortunately for the audience, the result was a new zombie classic that was so good it earned Pegg and his frequent co-star Nick Frost cameos on Romero’s Land of the Dead.
Before the movie came out Wright the director and co-stars Pegg and Frost had already made a name for themselves in the U.K with the sitcom Spaced, but it was Shaun of the Dead that put their names on the map. It was also the beginning of their Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy, named after a running joke about the British ice cream product and its supposed effect as a hangover cure. Like many…