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Showing posts from January, 2011

Empire List #469: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Here’s a semi-interesting fact: I spent approximately eight years in South America, four of them in Peru, and I never did any drugs. No one at any of my schools ever offered me any and I know for a fact know somebody had some because in Peru sniffer dogs were once brought in and lockers were searched. This may sound lame to some people, but in my lunchbox all I had was…well, my lunch. No weed, no blow, not even a cigarette. The only drug-related experience I have ever had is watching drug-related movies such as “Traffic,” “Easy Rider,” “Blow,” “The Big Lebowski.” and “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”

I found “Fear and Loathing…” at a video store in Sherbrooke while I was studying English at the Universite de Sherbrooke (no drugs there either). Not much of a video store, since you could see the evolution of home entertainment as you walked down the aisles. They had Blu-rays, DVDs…and VHS tapes…in 2007. Seriously, time to go with the flow and dump the old tapes. But you had to hand it t…

Empire List #471: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Right off the bat, I will go straight ahead and say it: I am a 24-year-old guy who enjoys the Harry Potter movies. I am actually surprised when I hear people dismiss it. They say it’s just a series of stories for kids. Maybe the first book, but by the fourth book, a teen gets tortured in a cemetery while another lies dead by his feet. Yeah, kids’ stuff.

In terms of context, this movie felt like a really nice buffer for me. I had just finished my very last year of high school, or in my case secondaire cinq, since I had just moved from South America to Quebec City the previous year. Next stop was College, I felt like enjoying my summer and was glad to dive into a world filled with wizards, werewolves, soul-sucking dementors, and hyppogriffs. Plus, I was really enjoying watching movies during the right time of the year for a change. See for some reason in South America movies are released months after they have been released in North America. The summer movie season was new concept for m…

Empire List #473: Into the Wild

There is a small cinema in Quebec City located in a mall that is shaped just like a pyramid. That cinema mostly plays foreign movies or art films. The screens are tiny and whenever I go there most of the audience is above the age of 40 so I guess that qualifies it as an art house. It is called “Le Clap” although I am not sure if I would translate that literally into English. It would be kind of weird to say: “I went to the Clap to see “Into the Wild,”” which is what I did in the fall of 2007.

If I recall well it was my week off from university in Sherbrooke so I was in Quebec City at my mom’s place. As usual, all of the big movies were dubbed in French, which I hate, so we opted for a well-reviewed movie with Oscar potential directed by Sean Penn. The movie actually had English subtitles, which didn’t bother me: I used to learn Spanish by watching American movies with Spanish subtitles. Dubbing I hate, subtitles I don’t mind because they allow you to both enjoy the original dialogue …

Empire List #475: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

Don’t you just love it when sequels get it right? With Gore Verbinski’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” everything goes right. There are greater sword fights, more characters, bigger set pieces, and bigger special effects. But what really got me with this franchise are the characters, specifically Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow. All of the characters have their very own motivations and schemes, which drive the plot. You actually have to think about you are seeing to keep up with the story.

I remember having a lot of anticipation for this particular movie. The first one had been one of the highlights of 2003, when I had first moved back from South America and returned to Quebec. For the 2006 sequel I was finishing my last year of CEGEP at College Merici and was spending my free time during the summer scanning the newspaper for movies that were coming out in English in Quebec City. Like many fans I found the trailer to be very promising. Weeks before the release I was …