Sunday, October 2, 2016

#Top10 .....with Emilie Sabourin

#Top10 is a brand new feature to Movie Critical. Each week we will be chatting to a film lover or a member of the film community about their #Top10 favourite films and discussing what makes these films so special to them. We all have different tastes in film and watch movies differently depending on who we are. The object of #Top10 is to share the love of film and hopefully you the reader can find some new favourites.

This week we chat to film buff, Emilie Sabourin about her #10 favourite films!

Emilie is a small business owner from the Canadian Rockies who knew when she walked out of her first film as a toddler (this film is in her list) that she had found her passion. Growing up in a small town, her and her friends main form of entertainment was going to the local cinema and Emilie went on to study Arts and Literature, majoring in Theatre. She has now passed on her love of film to her two young daughters who she has lavish Popcorn-Movie Nights with and introduces her favourite films to them from her childhood.

"There is no better way for me to relax than to sit in a darkened room, with a mouthful of candy, waiting for a much anticipated movie to start" says Emilie.

"It's my happy place!"

The Hand That Rocks The Cradle (1992)

"The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world." ~ William Ross Wallace

I couldn't make a top 10 without including a movie from my favourite genre: suspense/thriller. I know that in this day and age, those type of movies often lack originality, but when this one came out in 1992, it offered a fresh perspective on the subject. Or it did in my 12 year old eyes anyway. I wasn't technically even old enough to watch this R rated movie but it didn't stop me from watching it over and over again.

Watching it now as a thirty something mother of two, it doesn't lose its appeal and it adds a new terrifying aspect to it. Rebecca De Mornay is perfect as the psychotic nanny and Annabella Sciora is likable enough as the head of a family, who at first glance seems to have it all. Unlike most movies of the genre, you know from the get go who the villain of this movie is. You are along for a deliciously disturbing ride as you wait for the others around her to see through De Mornay's character manipulations. Look out for a small part by a then little known Julianne Moore.

A League of Their Own (1992)

I dare anyone to find fault with this movie. For me, it comes as close to a 10 as a movie can get.

Based on a true story, it is the epitome of female empowerment and, as such, it presents incredible performances by a strong and eclectic female cast: Geena Davis, Madonna (in my favourite role of hers), Rosie O'Donnell, Lori Petty and Megan Cavanagh- to name the most famous actresses. Perhaps not surprisingly it was directed by a woman, Penny Marshall and it is filled with stories of friendship and sisterhood. I especially loved the relationships between sisters Dottie and Kit (Davis and Petty) and friends Doris and Mae (O'Donnell and Madonna.) I am not particularly fond of baseball but this movie definitely gave me a newfound respect not only for the sport, but for the challenges that women athletes met at the time and unfortunately still meet to this day.

Of course, one can not bring up this movie without speaking of Tom Hanks. I absolutely loved him in this. We've come to know him as an actor who usually plays the hero or the good guy but he played a different kind of character here. He definitely carries most of the humour in this comedy that sometimes delves into drama. A League of Their Own will make you laugh, it'll make you cry and it will definitely leave a lasting impression on you. The early 90's was a successful time for Geena Davis and this one is my favourite of hers, followed closely by Thelma & Louise.

ET: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

I have a strong emotional attachment to this movie. It was the first movie I saw in theater and I have memories of it even though I was only 3.5 years old. E.T was the first movie character that I fell for, in fact I'm pretty sure I thought he was real. What I remember the most about my first viewing of this Spielberg classic are the emotions I felt. I remember feeling elated, confused, happy and sad all at once. Oddly enough, I feel the same things watching it 30+ years later. It's not a perfect movie by any means, there are significant plot holes and I'm still not sure if it's suppose to be a comedy or a drama. I'm even less sure after watching it with my own kids how appropriate- or interesting- it is for very young children (I had fun trying to explain the scene where Eliot gets drunk to my kids!), but it does have such a feeling of nostalgia attached to it that I can't help but love it. We usually watch it around Halloween while eating Reeses Pieces, my 14 year old E.T. stuffed toy by my side. The child actors made this movie (how can you not love Drew Barrymore in this?!) and E.T. has an undeniable appeal as the poor lost creature who is just trying to survive so he can go back home. The end always gets me, and although I'd love to know if Eliott and E.T. ever saw each other again, I pray and hope they never make a sequel (or a remake).

Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994)

What an epic movie. I have to say first of all that I'm not a huge fan of Anne Rice or vampire stories in general, so don't let that stop you from checking this movie out if that's not your thing. If you are into vampire stories, don't expect it to be the watered down vampire movies and shows you might see today. This movies is dark and gritty, yet deep in unexpected ways. I'm pretty sure that since I was a teenager at the time, Brad Pitt was the reason I went to see this and quite frankly, it is reason enough because he is phenomenal as the main character, Louis. I loved this movie so much, I saw it multiple times in theater. The story is complex enough that each viewing brought about a new understanding and appreciation. Tom Cruise was very effective as Lestat, but he wasn't quite as charismatic and multi layered as Pitt. The true breakout star of this movie though was Kirsten Dunst. Only twelve years old at the time, she had to convey the emotions of an adult vampire stuck in a child's body. She was fantastic and deserved her Golden Globe nomination. Christian Slater and Antonio Banderas played other notable characters in this unforgettable movie. 

Erin Brockovich (2000)

My favourite kind of movies are ones where ordinary people are thrown into extraordinary circumstances and manage to rise above. If those movies are based on true stories, even better. Along came Erin Brockovich.

Now the extraordinary circumstances could at first glance have been boring. They weren't out of this world events, they were grounded in the discovery of small town government corruption. Admittedly the previews at the time didn't catch my attention and I went to see it only when the reviews came back overwhelmingly positive. It quickly became one of my favourite movies. 

The movie is written and edited in such a way that you almost feel like you are watching a documentary. Julia Roberts completely disappeared for me and I was watching Erin Brockovich. The movie wasn't without flaws, I found the main character a bit too much of a caricature at time and the development is predictable. But despite it all, it is a truly an enjoyable feel good movie and to this day, it remains my favourite Julia Robert movie. This movie seemed to be made for her and she went on to win every award she was nominated for, including the Golden Globe and the Oscar. Albert Finney is every bit as good as Julia in this movie, I don't feel like he got the recognition he should have. Marg Helgenberge, pre-CSI fame, is another notable performance. She, along with several other familiar faces, bring forward the human aspect of this tragedy. Some of my favourite scenes are between her character and Julia's. 

Girl, Interrupted (1999)

This movie is such a guilty pleasure for me because it has several of my favourite actors... Angelina Jolie, Winona Ryder, Brittany Murphy, Elizabeth Moss, Jeffrey Tambor, Vanessa Redgrave, Whoopie Goldberg, Jared Leto and my personal favourite (named my daughter after her) Clea DuVall. I have seen it an unreasonably amount of times. It is a brilliant movie and I urge you to watch it if you haven't already. 

It's a great drama filled with powerful performances. It was Angelina's first mainstream role and it is true that she steals the show (as proven by her Oscar win), but truly there isn't a weak link it in the bunch and I consider it an ensemble movie. Jolie does so well in the movie because she has chemistry with every actor and she has a charisma in this role that is hard to resist even if you're not usually a fan of hers. I know Winona's character is supposed to be the main one but my favourite scenes are definitely the ones with Jolie. The movie is based on a memoir and although it differs a bit from the book, the core of the story is intact and it's actually one of those rare instances where the movie is as good, if not better, than the book.

This movie is my favourite Angelina movie, my favourite Clea DuVall movie and my favourite Brittany Murphy movie. Honestly, I haven't seen it since Murphy passed away suddenly. If you've seen the movie, you know the fate of her character in it and so for that reason I've been avoiding it, but I definitely plan on re-visiting it in a near future. 

Playing by Heart (1998)

I discovered this movie when I was making it my mission to watch anything with Angelina Jolie in it. I was happily surprised with this little known movie. It stars big names such as Sean Connery, Gena Rowland and Gillian Anderson among others. It's one of those movies where there's several storylines who are all connected and although those stories seem to be everywhere now, it was a fairly original concept at the time.

It's a multi generational story, I think there's something for everyone. There's a good balance of humour and drama and it is filled with memorable one liners. It's one of those movies that I've recommended to people ov9/ er the years and usually people have never heard of it and usually they get back to me to let me know how delightful of a movie it is. It's definitely an underrated little film that has everything going for it. Give it a chance!

200 Cigarettes (1999)

200 Cigarettes is a fun, light hearted comedy that follows the adventures of a colourful bunch of character as they make their way to a New Year's Eve party. The movie takes place in the 1980's and the fashion and soundtrack delightfully reflects the era. It's my favourite movie to watch on New Years. It never fails to make me laugh and it's a joy to watch. It is filled will well known celebrities; the Affleck brothers, Christina Ricci, Kate Hudson, Paul Rudd, Courtney Love and many others.
I came upon it by accident and I gave it a chance because Paul Rudd and Courtney Love are two of my favourites and they happen to play a couple. The movie really took me by surprise with its wit and cleverness. It has some memorable characters and it's so busy at times, you need to watch it more than once, but that's not a bad thing. It's another one of those movies that seemed to fly under the radar even though it is filled with a talented well known cast. There aren't that many memorable movies about New Year's Eve but this one is definitely worth checking out.

My Girl (1991)

Hands down best coming out of age movie, but it truly is so much more than that. It doesn't hurt that I was 12 years old when I first saw it. I remember having to lie about my age as it was rated 14A in Canada, so essentially the same age as the main protagonist. It's probably why it left a lasting impression on me. There is so much emotion in this film. If you've seen it, you know all about the tragedy that unfolds and comes to change young Vada's life forever. I remember there wasn't a dry eye in the theater. I suppose it was a lot more dramatic than us pre-teenage girls expected, but we all loved it nonetheless.

Although this came out in the midst of Macaulay Culkin's fame and he was pretty good in it, the star of the show was definitely newcomer Anna Chlumsky. She held her own along big names such as Dan Aykroyd and Jamie Lee Curtis. Unlike other movies where kids are the main characters, her performance didn't feel forced and I think it was easy to identify with this young girl on the verge of teenage-hood. The movie takes place in the early 1970's which is my favourite era for music and the movie didn't disappoint in that area. I absolutely love the soundtrack and it was just one more thing that made this little gem of a movie one my favourites. I think Anna Chlumsky was such a talented young actress and I'm glad to see that she's made a comeback, more recently in the superb series "Veep".

Poltergeist (1982)

Ah, Poltergeist! I've always had mixed feelings about this movie because although it's a classic in its genre and I absolutely love it, it also completely terrifies me and it was the subject of many nightmares. I was a small child when this came out and a small child I was when I inadvertently saw it for the first time. I don't remember who was watching it (my parents, older sister, babysitter?) when I sneaked out of my room and caught a glance of it...but I remember that the scene I had laid my eyes upon was the "pool scene" with the mom. If you know what I mean, you understand why it frightened my pre-school age self to the core. 

Several years later, I saw it in its entirety at a slumber party. I was hooked. I love movies that manage to terrify you without the use of violence or gore. If you think of it, that movie has very little to none of that. Yet, it manages to be creepy in a way that stays with you. The story of this everyday family thrown into this nightmare is unsettling and it was directed in such a way that the atmosphere is perfectly spooky without actually showing you much of what is going on. The fear factor is in the unknown, it isn't seen but it is felt and Heather O'Rourke as the cherub looking child was perfectly used as the victim. You want to protect her at all cost. It is so sad that the life of this young adorable actress was cut short. I would have loved to see what she'd done after the Poltergeist movies. She always reminded me of a young Drew Barrymore and I have no doubt she could have had that kind of career.  

As for the sequels to this movie, I did not care for them and I think the first one can definitely stand alone. I also hear there is a remake, but I have no desire to see it. I hear it holds very little resemblance to the original.


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