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Showing posts from November, 2013

Empire Magazine Greatest Movies List - #274: Sin City

If I have one problem with comic book movies in this day and age it’s that they are all so audience-friendly. When Wolverine claws his way through 20 armed gunmen at most he gets one bloody scratch on his face and is allowed to say the word “fuck” only once in the whole movie, otherwise Hollywood loses that precious PG-13 rating. Not so with Robert Rodriguez’ adaptation of Frank Miller’s Sin City (2005) in which, just like in the graphic novels, the characters bleed red, female characters strip butt naked, and male characters curse like they don’t give a fuck. The film is also a gorgeous piece of art, as it is shot in exquisite black and white, except for specific objects and persons that require colour, such a character called The Yellow Bastard.
As it is definitely a movie geared towards the 18-35 male audiences, I first saw Sin City in early 2005 with my brother in Quebec City. Apart from a supporting role in Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003) this my first time seeing Mickey Rourke …

Empire Magazine Greatest Movies List - #276: Layer Cake

I’ve always had mixed feelings about drugs. On the one hand, I don’t really care about what people do with their body as long as it doesn’t endanger anybody else. On the other hand, on the very rare occasions someone has offered drugs I never went the extra mile and actually tried it. If the main character from Matthew Vaughn’s crime thriller Layer Cake (2004) had his way, I could one day make that decision by walking into a pharmacy and legally buying whatever I want. Until that day, we will still get brilliant films such as this one about criminals in the drug business trying to make a living as though it was just another day at the office. Welcome to the layer cake son.
This was an interesting film to watch at the time it came out given its director and star. Matthew Vaughn was known as the executive producer of the Guy Ritchie films Snatch and Lock, Stock and Tow Smoking Barrels so expectations were for another gangster comedy featuring characters with exocentric names like Big Chr…

Empire Magazine Greatest Movies List - #278: Carlito's Way

Throughout his career Al Pacino has played many criminals, but as he aged so did the gangsters. In 1983 he played the demented Tony Montana in Brian de Palma’s Scarface, setting the bar for ambitious drug lords the world over. Ten years later Pacino and De Palma reunited for Carlito’s Way, which asked the question: what if Montana got caught, sent to prison, released back into society, and then tried to be a good boy? Well as Pacino said in The Godfather Part III:“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”
The movie came out in 1993 when I was seven years old so of course this is not a movie I saw on the big screen. Too bad, because it is filled with De Palma’s visual flair, specifically in a climactic shootout at a train station. Fortunately I eventually caught up with it about 15 years later when it was playing on the Movie Network, which is always a great help if you want to catch up on classics during a long weekend. Chronologically it worked out great since I had alread…