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Showing posts from October, 2014

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #204: The Bride of Frankenstein

The horror genre is full of iconic figures, yet only one of them is female and she is not much of a monster in the first place. The Bride in James Whale’s The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) is not a blood thirsty ghoul terrorizing the villagers or even a murderer, but a creature brought to life to be a companion for the Monster from the first movie who doesn’t want to be alone in his existence. Their time together is very brief, yet The Bride’s look is so iconic it has had an impact on pop culture decades after the movie was released. You can see her influence in everything from Marge Simpson’s hairstyle to, more obviously, lesser horror films like Bride of Chucky, which actually features footage from Whale’s film.
Appropriately enough I saw this classic a few days before Halloween 2013 when it became available on Netflix. Given the film’s notoriety I was a little surprised by some of its more humorous aspects and its more melodramatic moments. It has aged for sure given it was released …

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #206: The Exorcist

How about that? It is almost Halloween, I am working my way up the list of Greatest Movies, and next up is William Friedkin’ The Exorcist (1973), also known as one of the scariest movies of all time. I couldn’t possibly have planned this.
I did not plan on watching it last year, but the uncut version became available on iTunes for 99 cents just a few days after Halloween so now I was out of excuses. Here is a movie that has been terrorizing audiences and influencing other horror movies for decades, so I might have had a smidge of apprehension. When the uncut version was released in 2000 I was living in Peru and the trailers were talking about it like it was a major movie event for this thing to be back on the big screen. I knew it had to be scary, because my dad strongly advised against seeing it. The closest I came to seeing it at a young age was when seeing Scary Movie 2 in 2001. You know, the scene where James Wood, Andy Richter and Natasha Lyonne are target vomiting at each other? …

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #208: The Departed

The Departed will go down in history as the movie that finally gave Martin Scorsese an Academy Award for best director. Many could argue it was a career award as there are plenty of other movies he made that could have earned him the prize decades earlier. Goodfellas and Raging Bull come to mind, but The Departed easily earns its place among them. Scorsese had tackled stories about organized crime before, however this one has a particular Irish feel not to mention one hell of a story about criminals, cops, and the choices they make.
The film was released in the fall of 2006, right in time for awards season. A smart move since it ended winning the Oscar for best picture. That fall I was spending my first semester at the University of Sherbrooke and couldn’t wait to see it after seeing the superbly edited trailer featuring not just The Rolling Stones’ Gimme Shelter (of course), but also I’m Shipping Up to Boston by The Dropkick Murphys and a cover of Comfortably Numb by Van Morrison. Lik…

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #210: Platoon

The phrase “like father like son” applies really well to Martin and Charlie Sheen. In 1979 Martin Sheen starred in Apocalypse Now, an intense Vietnam War movie that puts its actors through hell. Not to be outdone in 1986 Charlie Sheen was put through an actual boot camp training for Oliver Stone’s Platoon. Sadly nowadays the younger Sheen is better known for starring in sitcoms and behaving wildly offscreen, but Platoon shows there is a great actor buried beneath the tabloid fodder.
Platoon can definitely be described as a guy film in the sense that it features a mostly all-male cast that spends most of its time doing very violent things. A romantic comedy this is not. So obviously I watched it when I was in my late teens with my brother. I am pretty sure we had already seen Apocalypse Now, but even so there are scenes of violence in Platoon that will rattle your cage the first time around. Oliver Stone based the film on his own experiences in Vietnam to give an accurate portrayal of …