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Showing posts from May, 2015

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #166: Goldfinger

Goldfinger (1964), one of four Bond films directed by Guy Hamilton, is the one that set the template for the rest of one of the most successful franchise in history. Dr. No was the first, but it was a small first step. From Russia With Love is great, but it can pass as a regular Cold War spy film. With Goldfinger however, we get the cold open followed by a song interpreted by a popular artist, a villain with a dastardly plot, a henchman with a special weapon, life-saving gadgets provided by Q branch, an Aston Martin, and a vodka martini; shaken, not stirred. Then of course you have the women. I know it was the 60s, but seriously, Pussy Galore?
As I grew up in the 90s, my first Bond was Pierce Brosnan in Goldeneye, after which I was hooked. I then spent hours playing the best-selling game on Nintendo 64, I watched every new movie on the big screen, and I made it my goal to get every Bond movie on VHS, from Sean Connery to Timothy Dalton. I got a an illustrated book detailing all of Bond…

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #167: Don't Look Now

If you want horror movies that are psychologically disturbing and scratch the surface of the human psyche, go back to the 1970s when you had filmmakers who explored what made people tick. Although Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now (1973) does feature a serial killer and an explicit sex scene (for the time) it deals with themes of grief, the otherworldly, and the impact the death of a loved one can have on a relationship.
This is one of those thrillers with a twist that make you rethink everything you have seen before, and because it is so famous it was spoiled for me before I got to see it. I saw the ending as part of those 100 Scariest Movie Moments list, so it wasn’t as scary or powerful when I saw the film in its entirety last year on Netflix, but I was still impressed by the technical achievement. Also given the story deals with premonitions, you could say it is slightly appropriate to know the fate of one character as the big moment approaches.
Right from the beginning you see Don’t Lo…

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #168: Tootsie

They say to understand someone else you should try to walk a mile in their shoes. With Sydney Pollack’s Tootsie (1982) Dustin Hoffman got to get a glimpse of what women in the acting industry go through by playing an actor who pretends to be a woman in order to get a role and of course a good paycheck. Given what we know today about the gender pay gap between men and women in Hollywood, this makes the whole premise of Toostsie even funnier in an ironic way.
The concept of men pretending to be women has of course been a premise for many comedies, some crude (White Chicks) and some classics (Some Like it Hot). One of the first movies I saw in that sub-genre was Mrs. Doubtfire, which some people felt was ridding on the coattails of Tootsie. When I got to watch Tootsie a few years ago when it was playing on TV I sort of understood that point given the similarities in plot. However Pollack’s film has a lot more interesting things to say, some about working actors, and many about working wom…

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #173: Memento

Christopher Nolan’s Memento (2000) is fascinating for many reasons, the most obvious being its reverse order that brings the viewers back to the beginning. Or is it the ending? That this was only Nolan’s second film proved this guy is a master storyteller, which is probably why Warner Bros. went to him to resurrect Batman after Joel Schumacher had buried it under layers of campiness in Batman and Robin. The protagonist of Memento probably sees himself as a hero since he is trying to avenge the death of a loved one, but as Nolan would shows in his Dark Knight trilogy sometimes revenge is not black and white.
I first saw the film while I was studying at the University of Sherbrooke and it was being shown in the local film club as part of a double feature along with Nolan’s first movie Following, which seen together can spark interesting conversations about morality. One film has a character following strangers and getting into all sorts of trouble. The second is about a mentally damaged …