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Showing posts from March, 2016

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #125: Breathless

I have noticed that the French have a love-hate relationship with the United States, with the love part generally due to Hollywood. One of the greatest examples of that loving relationship is Breathless (1960) a film directed by French film critic Jean-Luc Godard, starring a character attracted to the film persona of American actor Humphrey Bogart, and a French-speaking American expatriate as his girlfriend. The film’s plot is pretty simplistic, but at the time its use of jump cuts was something entirely new, and Godard’s style actually ended up influencing many American filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese, Steven Soderbergh, and Robert Altman.
This movie is a part of cinema history, but upon first viewing it seemed dated to me. I don’t mean the black and white cinematography, that is objectively gorgeous, but rather the story and characters. The movie was played as a double feature at a film club when I was at the University of Sherbrooke and it seemed to me the rest of the audience wa…

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #127: The Sting

It’s never fun to get conned, but you have to admit it is loads of fun to see professional con artists at work. Whereas today any moron with a laptop can exhort money from gullible people by pretending to be a Nigerian prince in need of quick cash in return for a fortune, there was a time when a good con required a team of expert hustlers, hours of preparation, and one devious plan B in case the whole thing went up in flames. George Roy Hill’s The Sting (1973) depicts such a con featuring one of the best on-screen duo in movie history: Paul Newman and Robert Redford, reuniting with Hill a few years after working on another classic, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969).
When watching a movie about a con job, it is almost as though the filmmakers are the con artists and the audience is the mark. The objective of the screenwriters and the director is to have the con artists in the movie pull off their job without the audience knowing exactly how they are doing it. If the audience ca…