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Showing posts from May, 2011

Empire List #445: Dumb and Dumber

The year 1994 was a good one for Jim Carrey. He exploded into the mainstream with the hit films “The Mask,” “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective,” and “Dumb and Dumber.” These are the kinds of movies my parents thought were stupid beyond description. Meanwhile, my brother and I were busy laughing our heads off at the sight of Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels driving across America in a car covered in fur. They may have been dumb, but they sure were funny.

I can’t recall exactly when I first saw Peter and Bobby Farrelly’s “Dumb and Dumber” but I am positive it was during one of our many family trips when my brother and I had our own hotel room and access to TV channels that showed raunchy comedies. My brother had seen it before I did, so I kept hearing a preview of what was to come. It sounded disgusting, immature, and stupid. SOLD!

Jim Carrey plays Lloyd Christmas, a limo driver, and Jeff Daniels plays Harry Dunne, a pet groomer who drives the aforementioned dog car. To say these two guys are stupi…

Empire List #446: High Fidelity

Here’s the thing about us guys: we love our toys. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about cars, guns, comic books, video games, or vinyl records, we just love to collect stuff and talk about it with other guys. In Stephen Frear’s “High Fidelity” John Cusack plays Rob Gordon, a man who owns a records store in Chicago, talks about music with his friends, and constantly makes “top 5 lists.” Like most guys, he is good at his job; he excels at his hobby, but can’t seem to get it right when it comes to women.

I bought this movie late in the summer of 2009 and watched in an off-campus residence next to the University of Sherbrooke. This is one of those movies that I feel speaks directly to me. It’s filled with characters who have encyclopaedic knowledge of things they like and who use “Evil Dead II” as a metaphor. I actually met a few guys on campus who would have been perfectly at home working in Rob’s store.

The movie begins after Rob’s girlfriend Laura (Iben Hjejle) breaks up with him f…

Empire List #448: A History of Violence

Most of the time movie stars sell movies. On rare occasions, a director has such a unique body of work that he is the selling point. David Cronenberg is one of those exceptions. He has created some of the most psychologically disturbing horror movies to play in Canada and around the world much to the pride/shame of critics. Some of his movies feature monsters that infect you from within and turn you into an abomination. With “A History of Violence”, his first collaboration with actor Viggo Mortensen, he shows the horrible things people can do without the help of monsters.

This movie came out in late September of 2005, just as the summer movie season ended and the fall season began. A perfect release date, since it is definitely not popcorn entertainment, but it does have enough solid performances for award considerations. I saw it on the big screen, during one of those rare times when a movie was released in English in Quebec City. I remember being surprised by the violence. I don’t m…

Empire List #449: Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace

A long time ago, in a studio far, far away, a director named George Lucas created one of the most successful franchises of all time. It was a space opera featuring Jedi knights, dashing heroes, a princess in peril, funny sidekicks, and a classic battle of good vs. evil. It changed fantasy films and spawned generations of fans.

But then unfortunately, George Lucas had to make a prequel and piss off a lot of fanboys.

In his defence, there was no way he could meet the expectations of the fans all over the world. In 1999 “Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace” was one of the most anticipated movies of all times. Even in my middle school in Peru one of my teachers got really excited when he found the trailer online and managed to show it to his students. (Back then it was kind of a big deal to see a movie trailer off a computer.) The whole world was waiting in anticipation to see the next Star Wars movie and the beginning of the most famous saga of all time.

Having seen the original t…