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Showing posts from April, 2015

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #174: Superman The Movie

Between the grim realistic tone of Man of Steel and the ever-growing scale of the Marvel movies, Richard Donner’s Superman The Movie (1978) seems somewhat quaint by today’s standards. When this first major comic book movie came out nobody batted an eye at an actor wearing blue tights, and talking about standing for truth, justice, and the American way. Now costume designers try to make “realistic costumes” for a man who can fly, and it is not politically correct to stand for the American way when you have to worry about pleasing overseas audiences. Still, you have to give credit to Donner for being the first director to launch a successful movie in this genre leading to the new age of comic book movies in which we now live.
Prior to seeing Superman’s first movie I had never read any of his comic books or seen any of the TV shows. I grew up in a French-Canadian household, so I mostly read Tintin and Astérix, who have also had their days on the big screen. I first saw Superman The Movie

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #175: Rushmore

If you are ever flipping channels and you start watching a film that has already started, it shouldn’t take you too long to realize you are watching a Wes Anderson film. Rushmore (1998), his second feature film, has him finding his groove. It is filled with his signature symmetrical compositions, flat space camera moves, quirky and dry humour, and beautiful art direction. It is also Anderson’s first collaboration with the great Bill Murray, with whom he would work again on every one of his movies. Could there be an alternate universe in which these two have worked on Ghostbusters 3?
The first Wes Anderson movie I ever saw was his third, The Royal Tenenbaums, which can be a bit jarring if you are not used to his style. Everyone can agree he has topped himself with 2014’s The Grand Budapest Hotel by not only delivering a beautiful and funny film, but showing us there is a great comedian within the master of villains that is Ralph Fiennes. Since Rushmore is set in a school there is probab…

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #177: City of God

Fernando Meirelles and Katia Lund’s City of God (2002) has been compared to Goodfellas since both films deal with criminal organizations, but the crimes committed in the Brazilian film are much more chaotic, and in a way much more horrible. In fact, while Martin Scorsese’s crime masterpiece showed how the Italian-American mob handled crime like a business, City of God illustrates how crime in the impoverished favelas of the beautiful Rio de Janeiro is not “organized” so much as loosely controlled chaos. It is a scattering look at the underbelly of paradise, and leaves you shaken upon first viewing.
Having lived in South America for quite a few years in the mid-90s, I had a rough idea of what favelas look like, but was lucky to have only seen them from afar. I never saw violence remotely resembling what is depicted in the film, but I have seen levels of poverty that make me grateful to live anywhere in Canada. If you think your city is bad because it’s too small or polluted, then be gra…