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Showing posts from September, 2014

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #211: Moulin Rouge!

Part 3 in Baz Luhrmann’s Red Curtain Trilogy, the 2001 musical Moulin Rouge! is the one that fits best in that thematic series since that is literally what the title means in French. There are indeed a lot of red curtains at the Moulin Rouge cabaret in Paris, but in Luhrmann’s version in addition to curtains there is a giant elephant, hundreds of dancing extras, and very anachronistic pop songs given the fact the film is set at the very beginning of the 20th century. This Moulin Rouge with an exclamation mark after all. The story is a tragic love story, but it is still a heck of a show.
I will be honest, I don’t have that vivid a memory of seeing the actual movie so much as seeing the music video with Pink, Christina Aguilera, Lil’Kim and Mya where they all dress in lingerie singing Lady Marmalade. I was around 15 years old at the time, so lets just say it made quite an impression especially given what the lyrics of that song mean. But it’s not just me; the video won a Grammy and has g…

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #215: Jackie Brown

Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown (1997) is somewhat of an anomaly in the director's repertoire. The only one of his films to be based on a novel, it is relatively low on action, and it is not one of his most financial successful endeavours. Some saw it as a step down after he took the world by storm with Pulp Fiction while others rightfully believe it showcases some of his best work. It shows QT doesn’t need buckets of blood to make good entertainment. Sometimes it can be all about the story.
I first saw Jackie Brown sometime after Kill Bill had come out, which in contrast goes full-tilt boogie in terms of violence. By then I was hooked on his filmmaking and was very enticed every time I would see the cover for the Special Edition DVD at HMV. I wasn’t too familiar with Pam Grier since she rose to fame in the 1970s, but if I see Robert De Niro, Samuel L. Jackson, and Michael Keaton on a poster I take at a sign this is something good. Watching it for the first time I was surprised by…

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #217: The Magnificent Seven

If there is one thing better than a western about a hero riding into town to save the day and fight the bad guy, it’s seven heroes riding into town to fight a whole army of bad guys. It was a genius idea for Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai and it worked equally well for American audiences in 1960 when John Sturges remade the movie as The Magnificent Seven with seven gunslingers instead of samurais. As a western it is somewhat dated by today’s standards, but it did achieve history by having some of the biggest stars of the time riding together into adventure.
This film was made before Sergio Leone changed the game for Westerns with his Man with No Name trilogy and also with Once Upon a Time in the West. I enjoyed those movies immensely years before watching The Magnificent Seven on Netflix last March so by comparison John Sturges’ movie seems a bit tame in terms of the violence and themes. However I certainly know who Yul Brenner and Steve McQueen are so seeing them together in the same …