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Showing posts from November, 2015

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #137: Dances with Wolves

Westerns traditionally portray Native Americans as either vicious antagonists or sidekicks for the hero. Even though it stars a white Hollywood movie star in the lead role Kevin Costner’s Dances with Wolves (1990) must be credited for being one of the few films in which Native Americans are portrayed as a group of people with their own culture and customs. When a technologically advanced civilization encounters a less advanced culture, the less advanced one always ends up being absorbed by the more advanced civilization, but if there is only one member of that advanced civilization facing the less advanced one then that one member must either fight them and lose, or actually learn about them and adapt.
Seeing the movie for the first time it really plunges you into the old American west. With a 180 minute running time it may come off as slow moving at first, but that is actually the point. When Costner’s character is isolated on the American plains he has no one to talk to so the arriva…

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #140: As Good As It Gets

If a movie is going to have a complete dick as a protagonist, said dick better be played by one charming movie star like say, Jack Nicholson. Hence the success of As Good As It Gets (1997) James L. Brooks’ comedy-drama in which Nicholson plays reclusive New York City author Melvin Udall for whom good manners is a foreign concept. Melvin does many bad things throughout the story, the first one being throwing a small dog down a garbage chute. Luckily for him and the audience, Helen Hunt is his favourite waitress and she does end up melting his icy heart revealing a more or less kind man. It’s cheesy, but it works and it is often hilarious.
This was one of my first Jack Nicholson films and it came out right around the time I was living in Santiago, Chile, because of my dad’s job. As transplanted Canadians living in a Spanish-speaking country we of course had to learn to speak the local language and luckily for us the American movies came out in English with Spanish subtitles. So when Nich…

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #141: Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs

Odds are you know the story of Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs by heart, and the odds are greater still that the first you became familiar with the story was when you saw the 1937 Walt Disney animated musical, directed by David Hand. The Brothers Grimm were the ones who first popularized fairy tales in the 19th century, but it was the creator of Mickey Mouse who created the versions we all know in the 20th and 21st century. Comparing the work of the Brothers Grimm with the cheerful films of Uncle Walt is like comparing Game of Thrones to Frozen: they both feature princesses and elements of fantasy, but one has a lot more blood and murder.
Of course by removing the more mature parts of the Grim fairy tales and using colourful animation as well catchy tunes to tell the story, Walt Disney pictures managed to reach millions of viewers and cemented their movie as the definitive version of the fairy tale. Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs was Hollywood’s first full-length animated feature and …