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Arts & Culture(Archives)


The Entertainiac

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Life Beyond The Hollywood Sign

If you’re reading this, you are literate. That’s right; you can read and therefore you have all the tools you’ll need to watch a subtitled movie. I’m not talking those melodramatic French love stories in black and white, usually involving long dramatic pauses. No, I’m talking warriors, terrifying creatures, and even a bromance flick about a political revolutionary. These are the kinds of movies that even if you don’t read a single word on the screen, you will walk away loving it simply because they’re cool movies. Here are my top picks if you’re looking to step outside of the box and willing to go international.

A sword-yielding warrior Nameless (Jet Li) attempts the assassination of the King of Qin in 227 BC by distracting him with the tale of three battles which come to life in epic fight scenes. Visually the movie is a masterpiece but, more importantly, the fight scenes are choreographed to stunning perfection. It’s not surprising this was one of the most expensive Chinese films created at its time in 2002 and a major player in international film awards.
Not convinced? How about this: Hero had the backing of Mr. Violence himself, Quentin Tarantino, responsible for bringing it to North American audiences. You know what ‘they’ say… ‘what’s good enough for Tarantino is good enough for me.’ -At least that’s what ‘they’ should say. The movie proves the language of an epic fight scene crosses continents.

Pans Labyrinth
This super creepy tale is brought to you by one of the coolest directors, Guillermo del Toro, made popular by North American audiences for his work on the Hell Boy series.
Pans Labyrinth was inspired by del Toro’s notebooks and sketches. It follows Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) who brings to life a fantasy world while experiencing the perils of life with her sadistic step father in post-Civil wartime in Spain. While this seemingly child-friendly parable may sound heartfelt, in reality, it’s disturbing, graphic, and dark; certainly not kid-friendly, or for the faint of heart.
While the story in the film certainly holds its own, what sets it apart are the creatures bought to life though computer generated imagery (CGI), award-winning make-up, and, my personal favourite, animatronics.
The 2006 film took home Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, and Best Makeup that year at the Academy Awards and netted multiple nominations.

Motorcycle Diaries
In this bromance biopic of Ernesto “Fuser” Guevara (Gael García Bernal) the film answers the question, how does one become the revolutionary Che Guevara? The movie follows the iconic Marxist in 1952 as a young student taking to the road across South America with his friend and realizing the inequality of the classes; spurring what would become his violent anti-authority ideals.
The film brings great insight into the young life of the revolutionary in a way that is entraining, heartbreaking, but also insightful. Consider Motorcycle Diaries a ‘learn through play’ approach to history.

SO BEFORE YOU RULE OUT FOREIGN films, give yourself a break from the paint-by-numbers flicks you’re used to watching and take the opportunity to devour three of the best foreign films of our generation.
Besides, you will look all the more cultured when you add ‘likes to curl up to foreign films’ on you POF account (that’s ‘Plenty of Fish’ for all you committed folks).

Yes, there is life beyond the Hollywood sign. There is an entire world of film out there.

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