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Showing posts from March, 2012

Empire Magazine Greatest Movies List - #402: Little Miss Sunshine

With the success of the show “Toddlers and Tiaras” I now have even more appreciation for the 2006 film “Little Miss Sunshine.” It follows a dysfunctional family travelling from New Mexico to California so that their seven-year-old daughter Olive (Abigail Breslin) can participate in a beauty pageant. My favourite scene is when Uncle Frank (Steve Carell) and older brother Dwayne (Paul Dano) step into the pageant hall. You can actually count up to seven seconds before the two of them walk out of that room. They’re not saying it, but you can tell they’re thinking it: “this is wrong and we can’t let them do this to Olive.”
A major success at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, “Little Miss Sunshine” had a lot of good buzz by the time it expanded to major theatres late in the summer. At that time I was just beginning to learn about different film festivals so having read the good reviews, I was curious to see the movie. I saw it while living at Sherbrooke University, at a theatre that showed bo…

Empire Magazine Greatest Movies List - #403: Do the Right Thing

Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing” (1989) depicts a hot-summer day in Brooklyn, New York, that slowly boils into an explosion of racial tensions. Its wide cast of characters have many things in common: they all eat and shop in the same streets, they each endure the oppressive summer heat, they all have more or less the same economic background, and they all have that indelible New York identity. Unfortunately as the day goes by, small conflicts make them forget their similarities and make them only focus on their differences resulting in tragedy.
When it was first released, several newspapers stated the film could incite black audiences to riot. Even though no such riots occurred, Lee criticized the critics for implying black audiences could not restrain themselves. As a white Canadian male who randomly saw the movie on TV in Quebec City two years ago, I can’t really speak to the racial tensions of the times in that part of the world. The most I know about African-American culture is wha…

Empire Magazine Greatest Movies List - #404: RoboCop

I know a few things about the city of Detroit: it has a world-renowned car industry, it has had economic hard times, it has a great KISS song named after it, and it is the setting for Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 dystopian action movie “RoboCop.” Detroit’s citizens have so embraced the character there was a campaign to build him a statue, which actor Peter Weller endorsed in a Funny or Die video. Appropriate, since much of the film is a satire of society, much of which still holds up today.
Though it came out in the late 80s, I became familiar with the character of RoboCop during the late 90s through various shapes or forms. There was a live-action television series, two inferior sequels, and even an animated TV series, which I used to watch in Spanish while living in South America. I did see bits and pieces of the original film, which at age 14 was somewhat of a clandestine activity considering the level of violence. The scene where Paul McCrane is almost melted by toxic waste was particula…