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Showing posts from March, 2015

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #179: Toy Story 2

Films like Toy Story 2 (1999) are staggering examples of how sometimes the sequel can be just as good, if not superior to the original. That the geniuses at Pixar managed to pull the hat trick again with the third instalment in the series speaks volumes about the talent of their writers. Surprisingly Walt Disney Studios was initially considering releasing the second movie straight-to-video, and the production was apparently very troubled. However director John Lasseter not only salvaged a children’s movie, but also delivered a great movie for all ages.
The first Toy Story ended up in the VHS collection my parents dutifully provided for my brother and I, and I loved the idea that toys had their own adventures going on between them. Just like Andy in the films I have been growing up with the release of each film, but was still young enough to go see the sequel in theatres when it came out in the Christmas season of 1999. This was one of the rare times when my family and I went home to Ca…

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #180: To Kill a Mockingbird

Courtroom dramas make for great movies, and even though the trial does not occupy the majority of To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) it is one of the best trials in cinema. Especially significant is its landmark racial element. By having one of the greatest actors of all time, Gregory Peck, play a white lawyer in 1930s Alabama defending a black man accused of rapping a white teenage girl, it daringly indicated that things were changing in America.
Before the classic movie there was of course the classic book by Harper Lee, which is one of the books all students must read in English class. I certainly had to read it when I was at an American high school while living in Chile, and I liked it a lot better than Catcher in the Rye. To anyone who disagrees with that I have only one question: where is the movie adaptation of Catcher in the Rye? Lord of the Flies has children going feral and fighting one another, but that story has been adapted twice.
Although I read the book and watched the movie b…

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #184: Dirty Harry

“Do I feel lucky? Well do you punk?” You know a movie is iconic when one of its lines of dialogue still sounds just as badass over 40 years later. Dirty Harry (1971), directed by Don Siegel, cemented Clint Eastwood’s status as a movie star after he had conquered the Western genre in the 1960s with Sergio Leone. As San Francisco Detective Harry Callahan he plays somewhat of a modern gunslinger, taking out bad guys with a .44 magnum revolver, and often working outside the bounds of the law in the process. He may not be a model for real-life cop, but Callahan served as the template for hard-boiled cops for decades to come.
Eastwood’s characterization and dialogue from the film has been so ingrained in pop culture I had a rough idea of who Harry Callahan was long before ever seeing Dirty Harry. Jim Carrey parodies the “feel lucky” speech in The Mask (1993) and in the 90s I would watch the Lethal Weapon movies, which essentially had Mel Gibson playing a modern-day Harry Callahan. Then durin…