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Showing posts from June, 2015

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #160: Being There

The average moviegoer will know Peter Sellers solely for his work in The Pink Panther franchise, but devout film fans will know one of his best performances was in Hal Ashby’s Being There (1979). Sellers was a performer who could easily inhabit colourful characters, whether that was the bumbling inspector Clouseau or the deranged Dr. Strangelove, but the character of Chance the gardener in Ashby’s film is a person who almost has no personality to speak of. Yet Sellers’ performance and the situations in which the character is plunged ended up making Being There a memorable send off, as it was Sellers’ last film.
The reason I know it was his last film is because I learned it from watching his biopic The Life and Death of Peter Sellers in which he his portrayed by Geoffrey Rush. In that movie, whether it is 100 per cent accurate or not, Sellers pursues the role of Chance in Being There with great enthusiasm because he saw it as chance to prove he could play something other than a comedic …

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #162: A Nightmare On Elm Street

Movies have always had a dream-like quality with the fluid editing, lighting, and impossible situations. Therefore it is only natural for some movies to create a nightmare atmosphere, and in 1984 Wes Craven took that concept to the next level with A Nightmare on Elm Street featuring one of the scariest villains in cinema history, the disfigured Freddy Krueger. It’s already a horrible scenario to have a maniac is chasing you down a dark alley, but what can you do when the alley is your own mind?
With his fedora, stripped sweater, metal claws, and sick sense of humour, Krueger has become ingrained in pop culture ever since he began killing teenagers in their nightmares back in the 1980s. The fact that there have been over half a dozens sequels and a remake has helped keep the character alive, and it has also had the unfortunate effect of lessening his impact. If there is one thing that will make a supernatural monster less scary it is the tenth instalment in his franchise. Still, over t…

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #164: The Searchers

Ever since it was discovered people would pay to see movies, Westerns have been popular in one form or another with many towering American actors willing to strap on a pair of six-shooters and ride into the sunset. I have a preference for Clint Eastwood’s movies, but John Wayne can definitely boast being the king of the genre. His politics off-screen became too far to the right for many audience members as time went on, but he remained an American screen hero until his dying day. In The Searchers (1956), one of many films he made with master director John Ford, Wayne does not play a hero or a straight-up villain, but rather a man caught in between because of his intentions and quest for vengeance. This is what makes this John Wayne movie a great movie whether you like Westerns or not.
Some movies are so good you could write essays on them, which is exactly what I did with The Searchers while spending a semester at the University of British Columbia in 2009. The class was Hollywood Cine…