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Showing posts from July, 2012

Empire Magazine Greatest Movies List: #379 - Ratatouille

Brad Bird’s “Ratatouille” (2007) shouldn’t work. Rats can’t cook and they certainly do not belong in the kitchen of a Paris restaurant. Yet because this is a film made by Pixar, the studio with a nearly impeccable track record, that rat is not only depicted as a great cook but as also looks kind of cute, or as cute as an animated rat can be. Imagine the challenge if this had been a live-action film. As for the food, the dishes devised by the rat look a lot healthier than the frozen food the movie’s antagonist wants to peddle to his customers.
This was yet another occasion when I wanted to wait until the movie came out on DVD so I could watch the original English version and not the French dubbed version. It would actually have made more sense to see it in French since it is set in Paris, but it is funnier to hear Americans speak English with a phony French accent. Besides, the DVD had plenty of funny extras, such as short film about the misconceptions of rats towards humanity. I stil…

Empire Magazine Greatest Movies List: #380 - Children of Men

Alfonso Cuaron’s “Children of Men” (2006) imagines a bleak future that is not the result of a nuclear war, a fallen meteor, or the ever-popular zombie outbreak. This possible future planet earth is going down the drain because humanity itself is slowly ebbing away after eighteen years of infertility. Set in not-so-distant future in the United Kingdom, the film shows a world overrun with pollution, corruption, massive immigration, and a totalitarian police force. You know it is the future, since all of the bright colors are gone.
I first saw this movie at an art-house cinema during my first year at Sherbrooke University. The bleak future reminded me of the PC game Half-Life 2. This game, much like “Children of Men,” featured a city controlled by a totalitarian police force. Except, while the game was senseless fantasy, the movie has a much more visceral feel since it is much more grounded in reality. You just need to look at the news footage to think we are one global catastrophe awa…

Empire Magazine Greatest Movies List: #381 - Monty Python and the Holy Grail

You know a comedy group is part of pop culture, nay culture itself, when they are included in a dictionary. Pythonesque: after the style of or resembling the absurdist or surrealist humor of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, a British television comedy series (1969-74). British comedians Terry Jones, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Graham Chapman, and American Terry Gilliam changed the face of televised comedy, paving the way for Second City, Saturday Night Live, Kids in the Hall, The Simpsons, and even South Park. And then, in 1974, the gang decided to make movies. The result: “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” Horses not included, but coconuts were available.
Funny thing about the very first time I saw this Holy Grail of comedies. It was in Spanish. I don’t exactly remember where, but this was back in the late 90s when my family and I were living in South America. It was playing on TV and since my dad used to live in England, you can bet he knew who the Pythons were. I didn’t k…

Empire Magazine Greatest Movies List: #383 - Serenity

“Serenity” is what happens when you give free reigns to Joss Whedon. It is a movie that is cool as can be, a space western featuring a rag tag crew of pirates/mercenaries on the run from an evil empire hell-bent on killing one of their passengers. It features a charismatic lead, strong female characters, witty dialogue, sword fights, fist fights, gun fights, and of course space battles. The crew’s spaceship, Serenity, is of course a pile of junk. Don’t you love underdogs?
The movie is based on a TV show that is somewhat of an underdog itself. “Firefly,” premiered on Fox in 2002 and was cancelled after 11 episodes. That would normally have been the end for any show, but then all episodes were released on DVD. Then many people bought them, lots of people wondered why some idiot at Fox cancelled such a fun show, fan clubs were formed, and comic books continued the story. Eventually Joss Whedon thought there was enough support to get the band back together and make a movie.
I only saw prev…