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Empire Blogs

Empire StatesMy Encounter With Shia LaBeouf

Posted on Thursday February 13, 2014, 01:14 by James White in Empire States
My Encounter With Shia LaBeouf

There are some moments in life that really help crystalize your standing in the world. Today was one of mine. One of my colleagues recently got to train to be a spy, shoot guns and hang with Sir Kenneth of Branagh. Me? The magazine’s West Coast Editor? I was going to sit across a table from Shia LaBeouf in an art gallery in the middle of Los Angeles. Yes, really. Instead of (mock) mortal peril, I was risking sun exposure and the chance of aching legs from standing around.

Let’s back up a little. First came the controversy. Last December, LaBeouf – best known for his sterling work shouting “NO!” a lot as Sam Witwicky in the first three Transformers movies – released a short film called Howard Cantour that was, the world quickly established, largely cribbed from a Daniel Clowes graphic novel. LaBeouf used skywriting to apologise to Clowes...

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Empire StatesEmpire Meets Chris Hemsworth’s ‘Rush’ Alter Ego

Posted on Monday January 27, 2014, 17:18 by Ally Wybrew in Empire States
Empire Meets Chris Hemsworth’s ‘Rush’ Alter Ego

It’s been a while since anyone was killed on a press day – it’s bad PR – but I still had survival in mind when I arrived at the McLaren Technology Centre to interview Niki ‘Hollywood’ Faulkner, Chris Hemsworth’s driving stunt double in Rush, and drive the rocket-like McLaren 12C. And I was hardly imbued with confidence by the brief chat I had with Faulkner before climbing into the supercar. “I’ve been blown up in a car,” he points out with the nonchalance of a man recalling his lunchtime sandwich. “I had to drive along, this bomb went off and the whole back of the car got blown off.” Right. “That’s nice,” we mutter, sweeping the McLaren for explosives. Sure, it was an unlikely eventuality on a £170,000’s worth of supercar, but you never know.

Feigning calm, I stepped into the 600ph car. But would my driving experience be anything like James Hunt’s antics in Ron Howard’s BAFTA-nomina...

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Empire StatesThe Case For The Wolf Of Wall Street, Surprisingly Feminist Film

Posted on Friday January 17, 2014, 12:18 by Helen O'Hara in Empire States
The Case For The Wolf Of Wall Street, Surprisingly Feminist Film

*This blog contains spoilers for The Wolf Of Wall Street. Frankly, I doubt they'll actually spoil your enjoyment of the film, because it's great, but please take that into account.*

There's been criticism of The Wolf Of Wall Street for its depiction of women, and it's easy to see why. Numerically speaking, the majority of women in the film are prostitutes, and the film's male characters uniformly grope and harrass them - when they're not engaged in frequently demeaning sex. I can't think of a single scene where these prostitutes were not partially or entirely naked. Besides the call girls, there are a number of female employees glimpsed on the brokerage floor, one of whom volunteers to have her head shaved in return for $10,000, which she reportedly plans to use on breast implants. Another has public sex with a colleague. The two leads are both married to women they cheat upon frequently, and the film's most importan...

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Empire StatesThe Movie Drinking Games Too Dangerous To Attempt

Posted on Thursday January 16, 2014, 16:05 by Helen O'Hara in Empire States
The Movie Drinking Games Too Dangerous To Attempt

Titanic was on TV recently, and one thing leapt out: the number of times that the names "Jack" and "Rose" are said. I joked that you could build a drinking game around it, but then I watched a little further. In total, there are something like 130 mentions of both - particularly concentrated during the sinking, as you'd expect - and it seems like even the barest sip per mention would soon see you completely stocious (particularly if, as suggested by one Tweeter, you drank Jack Daniels when his name was mentioned and rosé for her). So please, please, do not try this at home*. But in a spirit of public awareness, the Empire team and I then brainstormed the other film drinking games that you should definitely not attempt.

We can't stress this enough. We're listing these as a joke. ON NO ACCOUNT attempt these.

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Empire StatesScreen To Stage: From Here To Eternity

Posted on Thursday November 7, 2013, 09:24 by Helen O'Hara in Empire States
Screen To Stage: From Here To Eternity

From Here To Eternity is not the easiest sell in the world, as musicals go. After all, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory: The Musical seems like a natural fit for the stage, with all the bright colours and general insanity. But a World War II movie about GIs butting heads before the war is even joined, falling for married women or prostitutes and getting thrown in the stockade? It's a little harder to see immediately where you fit in the high kicks and the sequins. What's more, we're talking about a story by the famously somber author James Jones, also responsible for The Thin Red Line, who was there in Hawaii during the attack on Pearl Harbor and who then fought his way across the Pacific. To make light of that legacy would be to lose your audience before you even begin. Luckily, the show treats its characters with respect, and turns out better than we had any right to expect.

The thing to remember is that Les Miserables isn't exactly an obvious source for a musical either, and the dying...

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Empire StatesThere's No Pixar Film In 2014. Here Are 7 Steps To Help You Survive The Wait

Posted on Thursday September 19, 2013, 16:01 by Helen O'Hara in Empire States
There's No Pixar Film In 2014. Here Are 7 Steps To Help You Survive The Wait

Today Pixar announced that they are moving the planned release date of The Good Dinosaur from 2014 to 2015, to allow more time to rejig the movie following the removal of Bob Peterson as director. Originally due in May next year, the film will now be out in late 2015, after the summer release of Inside Out. Finding Dory, originally down for 2015 as well, has been shunted to 2016. This all means that 2014, for the first time since 2005, will be A Year Without A Pixar Film. How will you cope? Well, we have a few suggestions.

1. Cultivate zen
Realise, deep within your soul, that it's a better idea to change a film's planned release date to have the time to get it right, than to rush something out before it's ready. Contemplate a nearby tortoise or snail or something, sniff some incense and breathe deeply through your nose. Everything ...

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Empire States‘Is Jackie Chan Dead?’ And Other Amazing Film Questions From Google’s Auto-Suggest Function

Posted on Tuesday September 17, 2013, 15:53 by Ali Plumb in Empire States
‘Is Jackie Chan Dead?’ And Other Amazing Film Questions From Google’s Auto-Suggest Function

Type the word ‘is’, followed by a space, into Google, and you’re given four auto-suggestions. They are: ‘is it down’; ‘is jackie chan dead’; ‘is shingles contagious’ and ‘is nelson mandela dead’. One of these is regretably understandable (Mandela is elderly and in poor health but happily, at the time of writing, is not dead), one is pretty dumb (shingles are contagious, yes), another is nonsensical (is what down?) and the other... is incredibly worrying (Chan, who is not that old or that unhealthy, despite his frequent bone-breaking).

This inspired me to see what other cinematic Auto-Suggest gems I could find. Using the starting words of “Why”, “Is” and “When”, here are just ten examples based on characters from The Avengers....

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Empire StatesThere's No Excuse For Misogyny In Space

Posted on Monday September 2, 2013, 17:40 by Helen O'Hara in Empire States
There's No Excuse For Misogyny In Space

It is a truism and a truth that science-fiction reflects the norms of the time in which it is written more than it accurately predicts the future. For every Arthur C. Clarke or Isaac Asimov story that correctly envisaged some future piece of technology, there are ten that feature antediluvian attitudes to women and patronising (at best) sexism. The original series of Star Trek, justifiably lauded for its multiracial cast and forward-thinking parables, still couldn’t quite stomach a female First Officer (she was jettisoned after the pilot) and put its women in secondary roles as nurses and communication officers. But that was then. It’s 50 years later, and here we are, still struggling with science-fiction that envisages a future where women just aren’t good enough to lead men....

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Empire StatesAre The Studios Trying To Kill Blu-Ray?

Posted on Monday September 2, 2013, 15:00 by Helen O'Hara in Empire States
Are The Studios Trying To Kill Blu-Ray?

The standard-issue Star Trek Into Darkness Blu-ray comes with a mere seven featurettes in the US. But there’s much more content out there! Buy the movie from iTunes and you get the director’s commentary; buy it from BestBuy (or Sainsburys, in the UK) and you get another selection of exclusive extras; buy it from Target and you get a few more. If you’re a US completist, in other words, you’re going to need quite a few copies. Here in the UK, it appears that we get six featurettes, and if you want the commentary there's a code for you to download it free from iTunes. People are riled, and on some level one has to wonder: are the studios intentionally throwing Blu-ray under a bus? Have they given up on the format?...

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Empire StatesCornwall Actually: Your Ultimate Movie Travel Guide

Posted on Monday September 2, 2013, 14:00 by Phil de Semlyen in Empire States
Cornwall Actually: Your Ultimate Movie Travel Guide

I’ve always wondered what it’s like to live in Cornwall. All that beauty. All those pasties. Sean Pertwee in a wetsuit. Poldark. Cream teas. It’s very far away from my house, sure, but it’s more tranquil than a thousand Terrence Malick cornfields, and a perfect place to get away from it all. Unless, of course, you’re a crab, in which case your life is just a perpetual, grinding quest to avoid Rick Stein.

But the county’s major export, apart from tin, fine ales and the eyepatch, has been some of the most spectacular cinescapes to have ever graced the big screen. The Wreck Of The S.S. Paris, a 1899 short with a whiff of silent-era Bayhem (“Paris! Wrecked! Again!”), was followed by Alex Korda’s The Thief Of Baghdad, filmed on The Lizard’s sea-sharpened rocks. Hitch came here in 1939 for Jamaica Inn. There’s been Blue Juice. Sense & Sensibility. Th...

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