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Showing posts from July, 2014

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #363: Good Morning, Vietnam

Generally speaking Robin Williams has worked in two modes throughout his movie career: very dramatic or extremely comedic. Good Morning, Vietnam (1987) mostly goes for his stand-up comedic persona to great effect as he plays a radio DJ entertaining American troops, but also occasionally veers into dramatic territory since it takes place during a war. The result is a movie filled with many laugh-out-loud moments, especially if you are a fan of Williams’ material, and with some moments that have smart things to say about the complexity of war.
Since this movie came out one year after I was born I of course missed it when it came out in theatres, but my parents did not and had a lot of laughs. When it was playing on TV back in Quebec a about 10 years ago my mom especially recommended it, emphasizing the film’s signature line “Gooood Morning, VIETNAM!” This is indeed a nice classic to watch with your family, but I am pretty sure we had missed the beginning so I watched it again last week …

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #225: Get Carter

Is there a bigger British movie star than Michael Caine? Nowadays he you can find him in major Hollywood films playing distinguished gentlemen such as Bruce Wayne’s butler in Batman, but over his long career he has played a variety of smooth criminals, spies, soldiers, and hardened gangsters. The most hardened of these gangsters is depicted in Get Carter (1971) a film that was somewhat ahead of its time. Caine’s Jack Carter is a London gangster who doesn’t care who he hurts on his path for revenge, which was seen as too immoral back in the 1970s. Nowadays this character would get his own TV show.
Like many of Caine’s film it has been remade, and like many remakes the original is better. Sylvester Stallone starred in the 2000 version, unseen by me since it looked pretty grim and disposable. Back then I had no idea it was based on an original 1970s movie, but learned about it as my interest in older movies grew. I bought the DVD with one of those cheap three-for-one deals at HMV while in…

Empire Magazine Greatest Movies List - #226: Romeo + Juliet

The work of William Shakespeare has been adapted to the stage countless times so when cinema became mainstream it was only a matter of time before countless movie adaptations would also follow. Of course most young movie audience don’t exactly have the ear to understand dialogue from the age of Queen Elizabeth hence the abundance of gunfire in Baz Luhrmann’ Romeo + Juliet (1996), which moves the location from Verona to modern-day “Verona Beach.” The result might upset stuffy purists, but nobody can deny it makes for one memorable night of theatre.
Even though the actors speak using more-or-less the Shakespearean dialogue, upon its release the movie was a box-office success and helped launch the careers of young Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes as the star-crossed lovers. Further proof of its success the film was eventually shown in Shakespeare studies classes, much to the delight of many students. I heard a little about it from my older brother’s class while we were living in South A…