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Showing posts from November, 2012

Empire Magazine Greatest Movies List - #366: Predator

Some movies are made to examine the human condition, to try to find meaning to life, to explore the tribulations of ordinary people through dialogue and subtle cinematography. Then there are movies filled with super soldiers butchering disposable bad guys with automatic weapons, grenades, bows and arrows, machetes and their bare hands. The 80s was prime time for such examples of the 7th art, and Austrian import Arnold Schwarzenegger was one of its biggest champions. In John McTiernan’s “Predator” (1987), he was surrounded by other muscle mountains such as Carl Weathers, Jesse Ventura, Bill Duke and Shane Black, who would later pen the first two “Lethal Weapon” movies. This is no “Schindler’s List,” but the unapologetic old school action makes it a classic of the genre.
I watched this testosterone funfest during my last year living in Chile around 2002. Appropriate, since the movie is set in the South American jungle. I actually went to the jungle during a 7th grade school trip, althou…

Empire Magazine Greatest Movies List - #368: Airplane!

Say it with me: “Surely you can’t be serious?” “I am serious. And don’t call me Shirley.” Now is that comedy gold or what? A lampoon of all the disaster movies set on airplanes during the 1970s, “Airplane!” (1980) was the blueprint for movie parodies for years to come. Unfortunately this would lead to the inferior and unimaginative “Scary Movie,” “Disaster Movie,” and “Epic Movie.” All of those movies were filled with cheap gags and references to movies that came out less than a year ago, whereas “Airplane” is filled with jokes and gags that still hold up 30 years later.
When I rented the movie to watch it for the first time while finishing high school, I knew the late great Leslie Nielsen was in it, and that was enough. Even when he was in a sub-par comedy that great Canadian import always did his best to make the audience laugh. For examples, see “The Naked Gun,” “Spy Hard” and Mel Brook’s “Dracula: Dead and Loving It.” I was watching the movie with my mom, and the moment she recogn…

Empire Magazine Greatest Movies List - #369: The Breakfast Club

Every year, major movie studios spend millions of dollars to make blockbuster movies that feature explosions, gunfights, scantily clad women, exotic locations, hundreds of special effects and cheesy one-liners. It’s fun if it is well done, but it’s not always particularly memorable. However, some writers and directors can tell a story that will define a generation by using one or two locations, half a dozen characters and dialogue that people actually use in real life. In 1985 that movie was “The Breakfast Club” by John Hughes, a director whose work is a source of inspiration for many young filmmakers today.
I was born in the mid-80s, so I only discovered his work retroactively. The only movies of Hughes I saw around the time they came out were “Home Alone” and its sequel, but those were movies he produced, not directed. It might explain why they are not as influential. Seeing “The Breakfast Club” on TV, a few years after I was done with high school, it made think of the people I had m…