Posts Tagged ‘Steven Spielberg’

Summer Movie Flashback: War of the Worlds

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

tn_waroftheworlds

2006

2005

Wow – WAR OF THE WORLDS holds up. I remember it being the most intense PG-13 movie ever, but I thought maybe with the escalation of that rating since the Joker stabbed a guy with a pencil in DARK KNIGHT maybe it wouldn’t seem as harsh by today’s standards.

Nope. This movie is a fuckin nightmare! It starts as an anxiety dream (oh shit, what if my kids come over and I show up late and forgot to clean up and my ex-wife and her husband see that I don’t have any food and…) then one of those ones where you see weird shit in the sky (a strange electrical storm) and in the distance (3-legged alien attack machines), and then it’s a disaster one (mobs attacking your car at night, thousands of people trying to climb onto the same ferry), then a war one (running into the hills at night as tanks roll in the other direction) and then a more intimate things-that-go-bump-in-the-night one (alien in the basement). All of this executed with the classic Steve Spielberg filmatistic chops.

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Jurassic Park 3D

Monday, April 8th, 2013

tn_jurassicparkSomehow I’ve gone all these years and never reviewed a JURASSIC PARK movie. Somewhere in a notebook I think I have a partly written review of THE LOST WORLD from the last time I watched it, and I could’ve sworn I reviewed part 3 back when it came out, but no. Nothing. Until now. So hold onto your butts… IN 3-D!

JURASSIC PARK would be a hard one to find a new angle on. It’s been around for 20 years, widely seen since day 1, broadly enjoyable and rightfully appreciated. In the rankings of Spielberg’s summer blockbuster movies I’d have to put it way below big daddy JAWS, because the characters are less nuanced, their actions are less believable, the quiet moments aren’t as deep, the emphasis is more on spectacle (if only because the special effects worked this time), the whole feel is more artificial. But just holding it up against these type of movies in general it places pretty fuckin high on the totem pole.

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Lincoln

Monday, November 12th, 2012

After the election on Tuesday, which brought us 4 historic gay rights ballot victories, the first openly gay Senator and the most women in the Senate ever, it was a no-brainer to spend Friday night watching Spielberg’s movie about Abraham Lincoln and his people’s fight to eke together a coalition to pass the 13th amendment to the Constitution, ending 400 years of slavery. Also, SKYFALL was sold out.
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Poltergeist

Monday, June 4th, 2012

tn_poltergeistBack when I was doing the Spielberg marathon somebody suggested I should review POLTERGEIST, and I thought it was a good idea. Oh shit, today is the 30th anniversary of the movie’s release! I guess we’ll do it today.

It definitely fits in with the Spielberg marathon. Tobe Hooper is the credited director, but Spielberg was a very hands-on producer and writer, and it seems way more like his directorial works than his other productions do. It has good, natural performances by kids and adults, smoothly choreographed camera moves, a suburban mid-west setting, state-of-the-art-at-the-time visual effects, people looking in awe at glowing light. Like E.T. (which came out one week later) it has a little boy with a room full of STAR WARS toys. The score is by Jerry Goldsmith, but is used similar to how Spielberg uses John Williams. There’s a group of scientists in a specialized field (like JAWS, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, even JURASSIC PARK). There’s not as much that reminds me of Hooper – just TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2′s Lou Perryman in a bit part as a guy working on the house, and a pit of rotting corpses at the end. That part seemed like something he’d be into.
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War Horse

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

tn_warhorsespielbergSteven Spielberg’s WAR HORSE is the story of a horse named Joey. He is distinguishable because he is brown with a white mark on his head and above his hooves. Otherwise I’m not sure I could pick him out in a lineup. He’s just a horse. Doesn’t talk or do math problems or anything.

The story begins with Joey’s birth and ends with his ascension to the stars like E.T. (note: some facts have been altered) and in between he goes through a harrowing journey in turnip farming, WWI, etc. His primary equine-human relationship is with a youth named Albert (Jeremy Irvine), who is there at his birth and later becomes his owner and trainer. Despite going way beyond anyone’s expectations in his indentured servitude, the purchase of non-plow-ready pretty boy Joey financially ruins the family, their lives are destroyed and they have to sell him for cheap to the army for even more cruel and unusual treatment by different noble, handsome Englishmen. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Terminal

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

tn_terminalspielbergI was sort of dreading THE TERMINAL, because I’d heard only bad things, and because I was pretty sure it wouldn’t stand up to SCHINDLER, AMISTAD and PRIVATE RYAN all in a row. Well, it’s not something a consider a good movie. It’s a hacky comedy script that squeezes cute bullshit out of a great real life premise. (read the rest of this shit…)

Saving Private Ryan

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

tn_sprspielbergNo joke, I never saw SAVING PRIVATE RYAN before. I’ve never been big on war movies and I think back when it was a recent movie I was real cynical and suspicious of any type of flagwaving. I thought movies like this were just brainwashing kids to join up in case they needed to blow up Iraq again.

But that’s stupid. This one’s about “the good war” and still makes it look like something to avoid at all costs. The famous Omaha Beach invasion sequence near the beginning is a total bloodbath, soldiers pouring off the boats into waves of machine gun bullets. They might as well just be jumping from a diving board directly into a giant fan, it seems like. (read the rest of this shit…)

Amistad

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

tn_amistadWith AMISTAD Spielberg brings his historical dramas closer to home, dealing with slavery in America through the story of an unusual court case. The case deals with a group of Africans captured as slaves and transported on a schooner called La Amistad. Cinque (Djimon Hounsou) leads an uprising and takes control of the ship, but they end up taken into custody along American shores. (read the rest of this shit…)

Schindler’s List

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

tn_schindlerslistspielbergYou know what movie’s good? SCHINDLER’S LIST! Why did nobody tell me this before?

Would you believe this was my first time seeing SCHINDLER’S LIST? It’s getting toward 20 years old and I remembered I hadn’t gotten around to seeing it yet. It’s kind of a heavy decision to make one day: hey, I got 3 hours before I gotta leave for work, maybe I should watch SCHINDLER’S LIST? Never had the urge I guess. (read the rest of this shit…)

Hook

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

tn_hookspielbergHOOK, man. What went wrong? Let’s try to figure it out.

One thing I noticed about HOOK: it’s not called PAN. The title HOOK implies a new perspective on the PETER PAN tale, like we’re gonna see it from the pirate’s perspective, or even like it’s gonna be a Captain Hook biopic. Maybe we would learn about his struggles growing up, how he wrote his first hits, rose to the top of the charts, substance abuse, falling in love, the thing with the crocodile, etc. (read the rest of this shit…)