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Entries in Steven Spielberg (61)

Wednesday
Jun072017

Everyone Joins "The Papers"

by Ben Miller

Steven Spielberg made news a few months back with word that his next film about the Pentagon Papers would bring together two American treasures in Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep.  The film, originally referred to as The Post and now titled The Papers, chronicles the Washington Post’s Vietnam War expose’ with Hanks and Streep as the Post’s editor and publisher, respectively. 

The big news is who else has been cast in the supporting roles.  Rather, who hasn’t been cast...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Apr042017

Doc Corner: Is 'Five Came Back' Netflix's Oscar Moment?

by Glenn Dunks

It can sometimes feel like we’ve seen WWII from so many perspectives that there can’t possibly be new ways to convey the weight of its tragedy. That Five Came Back, a new three-part mini-docu-series on Netflix, manages to succeed at doing this is just one of its many virtues. Adapted from Mark Harris’ book of the same name by Harris himself and directed by Laurent Bouzereau, this is a three-hour documentary about the work of five of Hollywood’s biggest directorial names of the 1930s who enlisted to support the American war effort the only way that they knew how: through film, and the personal battles they fought in order to do so.

They were Frank Capra, John Huston, George Stevens, William Wyler and John Ford – the latter of whom gets the biggest laugh labelling documentaries in the 1930s as “silly things that rich kooks made” – each of whom left behind successful careers without the promise of anything when they came back.

If they came back at all. The series charts their early efforts before America’s entering the war after Pearl Harbour in 1941 before digging more deeply in the works that they produced from the front lines on the ground and in the skies....

Click to read more ...

Monday
Mar062017

Spielberg Getting Topical with Streep and Hanks

Chris here, with one of the biggest powerhouse team-ups we've seen in ages. Steven Spielberg has signed up both Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks for The Post, a historical drama about the Pentagon Papers from a script by Liz Hannah. For the unfamiliar, the Pentagon Papers were classified documents used by The Washington Post to prove President Johnson lied to the public to advance the Vietnam public. So expect a solid dose of topicality to go with the star wattage, and do try to keep the Oscar talk at bay.

Can you believe this will be the first screen pairing of Streep and Hanks? Though Hanks is a Spielberg perennial, Streep has only done voice work for Spielberg on A.I. - it's somewhat depressing that it takes a project that reflects our own terrifying political climate to get this convergence of legends to finally happen. Without a start date announced, we can guess that we might be waiting a bit for the film considering Spielberg's packed schedule. A fifth Indiana Jones has been officially slated for summer 2019 with the director attached, plus Ready Player One in the can for next year and The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara set to shoot this year. The director isn't a stranger to jammed schedules, but he's about to be on his way to a well-earned nap.

Wednesday
Feb082017

Laura Dern Week: "Jurassic Park" (1993)

by Chris Feil

How could we celebrate Laura Dern Week without giving a nod to her biggest box office hit Jurassic Park! While Dern may more quickly come to her fans’ minds for her daring auteur-driven or darkly comedic work, her performance in Jurassic Park is the actress at her peak powers of relaxed charisma. Wouldn’t it be wonderful for some of our other favorite actresses to not only emerge from their big budget forays unscathed, but with a performance so slyly delightful?

The film doesn’t function to serve character, but naturally Dern’s Ellie Sattler is its most vivid, all incisive smarts and genuine heart that never fade into the background. She’s just so damn cool.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jul052016

Review: The BFG

Eric here, with thoughts on the new Steven Spielberg release, The BFG.   

Spielberg lends his patented magical touch to this film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s story The BFG.  It’s the tale of little orphan Sophie (Ruby Barnhill), who meets a friendly elderly giant (Mark Rylance) who instills dreams into children.  They go off together to Giant Country, where we meet other giants who eat children, and Dream Country, where The BFG shows her how he harvests dreams.  Then they enroll the Queen of England in an attack on the bad giants.

The first third of the picture establishes the meet-cute of our two leads, and it’s standard fantasy fare, albeit with a sleek look that blends the live action and CGI material quite successfully into one neat universe.  It’s all a little sparkly and cute, and pitched as most kids’ movies are to generate response for twinkly endearment.  At the end of this act, when we meet the bad giants, the film gets its first jolt of real gas... 

Click to read more ...

Friday
Apr222016

"Time 100" is Oscar-Obsessed

Magazines may be a dying business but the few mega magazines that remain all have annual traditions to entice buys. And so it is with the "Time 100" an annual list of "Most Influential" though as with any such list it's highly subjective.

Here is a list of the movie & television people who made it this year in one of their five sections (the only section that does not include at least one actor is "Leaders")

Pioneers Aziz Ansari and Gina Rodriguez

Titans Dwayne Johnson, Wang Jianlin, and Kathleen Kennedy 

Taraji is the modern-day Bette Davis, touching audiences with her honesty and intensity. When you are on set with Taraji, she listens, but she also questions. She challenges everyone to go the extra step to get it right. She has a deep understanding of the human condition, and she displays it with her eyes—the pain, the happiness, the love, the laughter. She probably would have been a great silent actor, but then the world wouldn’t have had Cookie.

Before Empire, she was underappreciated by white America and Hollywood, while African Americans heralded her as our Meryl Streep. I’m so proud that Cookie has moved her into the zeitgeist. What Taraji has done with the role made the world finally appreciate who she is—quite simply, a tour de force on and off the screen.
-Lee Daniels on Taraji P Henson 

 

I offered Mark Rylance a significant supporting role in 1987 in my film Empire of the Sun—and he turned it down. A play had caught his fancy, and anyway, I sensed he was suspicious about film acting. Who could blame him? For actors who have given their lives to theater, making movies must be like lurching in the backseat of a car while the driver keeps working the brake. When Mark does a play, nobody says, “Cut,” only “Curtain” after a few uninterrupted hours. Legions of young thespians look to Mark as their muse and inspiration. From Boeing-Boeing to Jerusalem to Twelfth Night, the impact he’s had on classical and contemporary theater is the stuff of legend. A winner of three Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards and now an Oscar, Mark glimpses these honors with gratitude and humility, but his heart belongs to a good story. His soul is pure. He just loves to act.
-Steven Spielberg on Mark Rylance 

Artists Gael García Bernal, Taraji P Henson, Melissa McCarthy, Ryan Coogler, Idris Elba, Oscar Isaac, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Mark Rylance, Charlize Theron, and Priyanka Chopra 

Icons They went full Revenant here honoring both Leonardo DiCaprio & Alejandro González Iñárritu

What's the takeaway?
It always amuses us when people call the Oscars "irrelevant" since the very fact that people get so up in arms about them every year is quite the indication that they remain the most relevant of movie institutions (even if movies themselves aren't as central to pop culture as they once were). They matter to people. Even the act of rising up against The Academy is underlining their stature as the house of the definitive golden idol of Hollywood. Time's movie lists are extremely unsubtle about sticking it to the Academy yet again over #OscarsSoWhite. Note that they ignored all but three Oscar nominees (the three big male winners) while honoring both Ryan Coogler & Idris Elba. Not that Coogler and Elba aren't worth honoring as they did have great years! But if they weren't trying to shame the Academy yet again they might well have considered Cheryl Boone Isaacs for this list since she's in the media so much of late and has been trying so hard to make a difference on the issue of diversity in Tinseltown. On the other hand, even as Time slaps Oscar's hand, they're embracing its other status quo #OscarsSoMale (in a manly back-patting kind of way) since they included all three of the Academy's most high-profile male winners (Rylance, DiCaprio, and Iñárritu) and neither of the big female winners.

Do you think of all these people as influential? Whose part do you suppose Spielberg wanted Rylance to play in Empire of the Sun?