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Entries in Steven Spielberg (60)

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? 

Thursday
Apr142016

Steven Spielberg and Mark Rylance's Shotgun Wedding

After two consecutive casting announcements from Amblin Entertainment, it’s official: Steven Spielberg and Mark Rylance are, like, totally BFFs! As if collaborating their way to a Best Supporting Actor Oscar and finally bringing the Roald Dahl classic The BFG to the big screen weren’t enough, it looks like this dynamic duo – what are we calling them - Stark? Ryberg? Spylance? – are gonna shack up for two more big screen ventures. You won’t see us complaining. If Bridge of Spies was any indication, this fusing of sensibilities has the makings of a director-actor partnership for the ages.

While we’re on the subject of theatre and film titans merging, the plot thickens. As spilled on Twitter by Mark Harris, the entertainment industry’s atom-splitter emeritus, Lincoln’s dream team of Spielberg and Pulitzer Prize (and, in a just world, Oscar) winner Tony Kushner is triangulating with Rylance to bring The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara to theaters in 2017. Rylance will portray Pope Pius IX in this custody tale of a young Jewish yet baptized boy torn from his Italian family and thrust into a life in the Vatican. Giving Francis a run for his money in the saying a lot with a little department, one can expect Rylance to cheekily intone conflicts of dogma and birthright with a little more papal pomp and circumstance than his Academy Award-winning role. While the pedigrees will likely be polarized, one can’t help but think of the captor or savior complex of John Goodman in 10 Cloverfield Lane …but with much more silver-tongued, gold-hatted gravitas, to be sure.

And then yesterday, the Hollywood Reporter filled us in on the fact that Rylance is set to join Spielberg’s sci-fi actioner Ready Player One as an “enigmatic figure with shades of Howard Hughes and Steve Jobs.” Get a room, you two! Per the chronological tradition of Indiana Jones, by the time the credits for Ready Player One are about to roll – this, the fourth in their series – expect the pair to tie the knot with guest Shia LaBoeuf awkwardly linking arms on the side. This fistful of rice is about to explode.

As Steven Spielberg and Mark Rylance prepare to team up in cinemas again and again and again, what are some of your favorite director-actor combos in film history?

Thursday
Mar172016

Screening Room Attempts to Recreate Theater Experience In Your Living Room By Subtracting Everything That Makes It A Theater Experience

Daniel Crooke, here. In one corner: art house cinemas, regional and independent theater chains, and the flickering hope that sitting in a dark room while watching strangers’ problems projected onto a screen will warm you from the inside out. In the other: Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Peter Jackson, Justin Timberlake in The Social Network and the redheaded squirt from The Andy Griffith Show. Somewhere beyond the ropes, off in the stands, or wherever spectators chill in a sports metaphor: you, the audience, wondering how the hell you can just lean back and watch a damn movie. The fight: whether Sean Parker’s in-home moviegoing composite, Screening Room – which offers the chance to stream day-in-date releases of top shelf studio releases in the comfort of your own home – accessibly accessorizes or fundamentally destroys movies as we know, watch, and profit from them. Is it a forward thinking, easy-making application or Napster’s file sharing, older sister with a Friedkin poster on the wall? A brave new venture or a brave new world?

Doomsday scenarios and potential benefits after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Mar042016

Links: Nina, Natalie, Sebastian, and Shang-Chi

THR profiles the last living silent star: Baby Peggy who is now 97 years old and at peace with the lost fortune her parents spent
The Cut talks to the immortal Bernadette Peters about her diet and exercize regimen. Takeaway: never aging in the past 30+ years is strictly regimented work!
Decider Today in TV History looks back at that great Natalie Portman episode of SNL  


AV Club Steven Spielberg's career in 30 iconic shots
Angry Asian Man the nonsense Asian actors have to deal with for bit parts 
MNPP The Sebastian Stan Strut 
THR Have you been keeping up with this Nina biopic drama? The Nina Simone estate is NOT having it with the new biopic starring Zoe Saldana (opening in April). But Simone's daughter feels bad for the backlash against Zaldana 
Variety R2-D2's model builder Tony Dyson dies at 68 years of age 
i09 More diversity blunders/handwringing: Marvel is adding an Asian character to Iron Fist but Iron Fist himself they still cast with a white actor (Finn Jones) despite everything about his history screaming to correct the character (the 1960s were a lot different people. You don't have to adhere to fear of creating ethnic heroes now! 

Gayness
The Advocate Caitlyn Jenner continues to reveal that she's one dense trans woman and hasn't absorbed all the wisdom the LGBT community has been trying to give her. She's supporting virulently anti-gay Ted Cruz for president
Towleroad Mark Hamill "Of course Luke Skywalker might be gay". Oh my. Despite being a big 'mo I have to say that I am entirely unamused by this retroactive teasing that's becoming popular from storytellers -- like JK Rowling's thing with Dumbledore. If storytellers are going to have a gay character just have a gay character. Stop being so coy and don't try and take credit for having gay characters when you don't actually have them.
Playbill Luke Evans tweets out a picture from a recording session of Disney's upcoming live action Beauty and the Beast (2017) - a 93 piece orchestra! (the movie's getting three new songs)