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Showing posts from December, 2016

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #96: American Beauty

The suburbs can be a fascinating place in America. On the surface it seems idyllic, with its white picket fences, happy parents who love their kids, and perfectly mowed grass. However you don’t have to dig too deep to find kids selling drugs, crumbling marriages, and middle-aged husbands having fantasies about their daughter’s friend in the cheerleading squad. Such is the suburb depicted in Sam Mendes’ American Beauty (1999) featuring Kevin Spacey as one of many men from that world having a mid-life, and potentially existential, crisis. However you have to admire the fact his character seems intent on having not just a regular crisis, but the mother of all mid-life crises.
Mendes’ film went on to win four Oscars including Best Picture and Best Actor, which at the time I found quite surprising because I was really pinning for The Hurricane starring Denzel Washington as Ruben Carter. I was having a hard time understanding how a movie about a dead-beat dad could be better than a story abo…

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #97: Reservoir Dogs

One of the most surprising things about Quentin Tarantino’s debut film Reservoir Dogs (1992) is the fact that it has never been adapted for the stage. They will make a show out of Beauty and the Beast, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and even Spider-Man, but somehow a movie in which most of the action takes place in a warehouse has never made it to Broadway? In any case, this was the movie that announced the arrival of the insatiable film fan that could regurgitate everything he had learned watching movies at the video store into stories filled with sudden bursts of violence, sharp-dressed characters, awesome soundtracks, and crackling dialogue.
Since this violent piece of American cinema came out at a time when I was still learning basic math in elementary school there was no way I would watch this on the big screen. However as the years went by it became a cult classic, and even a classic of the independent movies genre, and was re-released on special edition DVD for its 10th and l…