Tag Archive: Steven Spielberg


Movie Review: Lincoln

When people think of Lincoln these days they remember the book and movie about him fighting vampires. Otherwise they think of his murder, or that he simply ended slavery, one thing many people don’t think about or even mention is how great a politician he was. If you plan on seeing Lincoln for epic Civil War battles you will let down. The film opens with a battle but that’s mainly it. The film starts with Lincoln’s second term in office. The war is dying down and Lincoln(Daniel Day-Lewis) suddenly must try and pass an amendment to abolish slavery through a House of Representatives filled with detractors.

This movie is easily the best American political film that has been made in over ten years. We see how Lincoln used operatives to try and talk lame duck Representatives into turning to his side. For Lincoln ending slavery was such an American ideal he was going to use every loop hole in the system to make it happen. The script is beyond impressive, written by Tony Kushner, the film is obviously his baby. A lot of time and heart went into the script and it makes the movie shine with a beautiful light. It’s been a while since a movie has come out where you can see why America is such a beautiful place.

Now when a movie is mainly centered around dialogue it’s key for your actors to bring it. Well no worries there, everyone is at there best here. Sally Field plays Mary Todd and it’s one of her best roles in decades, you can feel her pain in almost every scene. She plays off of Daniel Day Lewis perfectly. We also get a wave of stand out supporting cast- David Strathairn, Jackie Earle Haley, Lee Pace. Other stand outs are Tommy Lee Jones who I thought was done acting after MIB3. Jared Harris plays Ulysses S. Grant to perfection. James Spader really stands out and brings a lot of laughs as well.

Of course Daniel Day Lewis is the real stand out here. His performance seems so personal, which I guess makes sense. He doesn’t play Lincoln as a loud man, he is wrapped in blankets for about one third of the movie. His voice is not booming, mostly smooth and soft until he really needs to be heard. He will obviously be nominated for best actor in every award show this year, he deserves it. I just hope that people don’t over look the performance because many will go “Of course he’ll get nominated for Lincoln” and then think it’s too easy to vote for him. Right now Lewis deserves to win every award possible.

The last piece of course is Spielberg, who in my eyes has recently made a strong and amazing come back. The fourth Indiana Jones was beyond silly and a mess. Since then his movies to me have been classics. War Horse and this are perfect movies in my eyes. He allows the actors here to do their thing, the movie feels like a play in many ways. It’s powerful stuff and if you don’t feel something at the end of this film you need to check your heart.

Rating: 10/10

Movie Review: War Horse

Young Albert played by Jeremy Irvine is a young man living and working on a dying farm. His drunken father is tired of being treated like trash by his landlord(David Thelwis) so he purchases a horse for way too much than he should have spent. Albert connects with the animal on a deep level and names him Joey. When WW1 starts his father sells Joey to the British Calvary. From there we follow Joey as he moves from owner to owner and how bravery plays a role, especially with animals during warfare. What we find is a beautiful and epic tale that reminds us what movies should be.

Steven Spielberg is a master, if you have ever doubted this(After watching the end of War of the Worlds or watching Indian Jones 4) then this movie will restore your faith. It’s very hard to make a film where one of the leads doesn’t speak and is not human. We also connect with multiple characters over the stretch of this movie. It’s visually stunning from beginning to end. The balance here is also perfect where we move from the hills of Devon to the battlefields of WW1. The movie also attacks your heart with the beautiful soundtrack and just a strong message of hope even during the darkest and most violent times. It’s also very hard to make a serious film where we follow an animal. Well it works very well here. I found myself very wrapped up in Joey’s story and this film made me think: “It’s not fair we make animals fight in war, they have no choice”. After thinking that the movie became even better.

Once the movie gets into the war we see how WW1 changed everything. Technology changed how men fought each other. At first calvary charges were the norm and it was about honor and bravery. Then machine guns, tanks, artillery changed all of that and war became a blender where men and animals simply died in epic numbers. The images of the war are important for people to see since that war is fading away in people’s memories.

Joey’s story arch is very impressive. He keeps getting handed off to different owners. First is Captain Nichols who is won over by the connection between Joey and Albert. Sadly though Joey doesn’t stay with him long, a German deserter takes him a one point, then a farmer and his sick granddaughter, to a German soldier who sees the humanity in Joey and his devotion to another horse. Albert eventually joins Joey on the battlefield where they both witness the hell which is trench warfare.

I understand many will try and throw this movie in the mud, it’s high on optimism even during the darkest times. The film basically makes the claim that animals are beyond brave for being forced into these wars and never blinking, which to me is true. This film will make you cry for multiple reasons. It shows you that even during the war that should have ended all wars that humans can still treat each other with respect, that humanity can live on. This film is a masterpiece that no one should skip.

Rating: 10/10

We follow reporter Tintin and his dog/partner Snowy who we understand have already had some outstanding adventures together. After inadvertently acquiring a model ship that seems to be sought by several different people, one of those include Sakharine(Daniel Craig) who wants the ship for a villainous reasons. As Tintin follows the story he and Snowy befriend a drunk sea captain named Haddock, played by the amazing mo-cap actor Andy Serkis. Together they try and put the pieces together and stop a man with a mission of revenge.

When I was younger I loved the Tintin comics made by Herge. I loved them so much that I even had some written in French, not being able to read the language I just made up my own dialogue for Tintin. I was a little uneasy about the mo-cap here. Recently the technology has come off as creepy and I was worried it would ruin Tintin. Thankfully it doesn’t ruin anything here. Spielberg used the technology to make Tintin’s world come alive. Using his Indiana Jones knowledge he brought a spirit to this film that is hard to explain. The fun of adventure is the life line in this film. I will tell you right now that Tintin is leagues better than the recent Indiana Jones film. Spielberg also uses the technology and has some fun with it, everything really flows together nicely in this film.

Jamie Bell is the voice of Tintin and is frankly amazing. His voice works perfectly. Tintin is also just a lot of fun, he looks like a boy, yet owns his own apartment and carries a gun. That is Tintin! The dog also is an actual character who has his own moments in the action. It’s not annoying or eye rolling, you find yourself cheering for the dog all the way through. One has to realize how impressive it is that this worked. Rarely animal characters in animated films become anything more than annoying. Haddock is a great character and looks amazing. You can always count on Serkis to bring it hard for these mo-cap films.

The action scenes move very well, one thing I was worried about, I shouldn’t have worried at all. The two best set pieces is one that mimics Indiana Jones. Tintin, Snowy and Haddock escape his own ship and the gun fight is very impressive. Towards the end of the film there is a motorcycle chase that is out of the world. It just keeps going and around every corner something else is being thrown at you, pretty amazing.

This movie works on pretty much every level, it has action, multiple funny moments. To me a film like this is a great family film. It’s a real movie, not some trash filled with pop culture references and easy fart jokes. This film is a real treat and if you have kids I would suggest taking them to it. Years from now they may thank you for it.

Rating: 8.5/10

I love the Tin Tin comics. I know in America not many people know who Tin Tin and his little dog are. Still the movie is coming at us this December and the new trailer really packed a solid punch. So it’s really no surprise that Sony and Paramount have basically allowed the process to start for a follow up. Tin Tin could become a tent pole franchise. Early word is the first film is a really strong family film. I get the vibe this really could be an animated Indiana Jones. The comics were filled with really well written stories mixing real world historic elements with just pure fantasy. I hope people do go out and see this film. I’d like to see this one go on and be a franchise, Tin Tin rocks. Seems as if the script has already been written and Peter Jackson is already confirmed as the director with Spielberg lined up to produce. I’m so in.

Jurassic Park is a franchise that hasn’t been tapped in a while. The first film is a classic and the second film has some amazing moments but over all is just a bit off. The step daughter using gymnastics moves to beat the crap of a raptor. A T-Rex rampaging through San Diego with very little response to it happening. I’m sorry but if that ever happened people would freak out. The third film was released and was really just met with shrugs from audiences. It feels like the second and third films should have been combined and the plots would have worked. Now the idea of a fourth film has been bouncing around for a while. Rumors are the Beard is working with screen writers for a… REBOOT. No, make a third sequel, not a reboot to Jurassic Park, no one wants to see the dino’s escaping again! Simply give us what we all really want. Military going into the jungle for a rescue mission, getting eaten, stomped, and just plain wrecked by dinosaurs.

Another little rumor going around is that Michael Bay is officially done with Transformers(Yes!) after Dark of the Moon. So who would step up and make the fourth film? We all know a fourth film is coming, this franchise simply makes too much money for there not to be one. Is it possible that Spielberg would come in and direct? I highly doubt it. Maybe possibly if it was a straight reboot where the story line could die down. I mean look at the second movie, nothing made any sense but the epic scale shot through the roof. Spielberg would need a real plot and theme to ever get behind one of those films. Transformers has pushed away plot and theme and went for explosions and hidden racist jokes. So I highly doubt he’ll touch that property.

Movie Review: Super 8

Sometimes, very rarely there is a movie that comes along and makes you thankful that movies exist. One’s that help you remember that movies are suppose to be filled with wonder. Super 8 is that movie. This in a way is director JJ Abrams attempt at thanking Spielberg for all of his masterpieces. From here on there will be some SPOILERS. So I’m warning you now. If that makes you stop reading just know this, you must see this movie. Alright the film is set in a small town in Ohio in the summer of 1979. We follow a group of teens or tweens as they try and make a zombie movie. As they film a scene at a small train station they witness a truck crashing and derailing a military train. Something escapes from the train crash and starts praying on their small town.

Even though the film is made to look like a movie from the 80’s it sure does feel new. Sure many will compare it to E.T. or Jaws. This film though has a lot of layers to it. The film is less about the monster and more about being able to let go of things that are hard to do so. It’s also about forgiveness. What is great is how the film gets these points across. The kids in the movie a re frankly amazing, most films these days throw kids into movies to get an easy way for adults to care about the characters in peril. Or mostly kids are annoying as hell is movies. Here each kid has a very different personality and never do you find yourself annoyed or rolling your eyes at the film. At the beginning we follow them as they make a zombie movie, and no doubt that alone would have made a great film. The actors are engaging and demand your attention which is impressive with them being kids and all.

Once the monster does show up things are taken up a notch but man does it make you want people to take note of this film. When it attacks it will leave you tensing up in your seat. SPOILER: The creature is an alien. One that had been captured by the military. The aliens story line is also very interesting and in a time where alien movies are coming out every other month, this film takes a very interesting turn with the idea. The alien though isn’t seen very much at the beginning. It is hidden from the audience which notches up the tension a lot. My only complaint is towards the end I feel like we see too much of the creature. That is a minor almost microscopic problem though.

Super 8 is frankly a love letter to movies. Every scene feels important and special. Every performance seems to have more to it than other films. Sure would I have enjoyed even more background on the alien? Sure. But that’s not the point the characters we follow go through an evolution, one we can all understand and that is what makes this movie special. Unlike movies like Cloverfield or Battle: Los Angeles where the leads simply are looking to fight or survive. The characters in Super 8 have so much more going on that the alien is a second thought at times. It’s beautiful movie and a real summer treat. Do not miss it.

9.5/10

Steven Spielberg has a long to do list when it comes to films. I guess the Lincoln biopic that was heavily rumored was going into production was all true. The amazing Daniel Day-Lewis will star as Abraham Lincoln, the story is based off the best selling book “Team of Rivals” and adapted into a script by playwright Tony Kushner. The film has been on Spielberg’s to-do list since around 2004, and rumor was he planned to make it with Liam Neeson directly after Munich. Things changed and Spielberg focused on Indiana Jones(Sadly) and Tin-Tin(Hell yes). The film will focus on Lincoln and his cabinet towards the end of the Civil War. Count me down as excited and waiting for this film to open.

This is not a joke, now I’m not sure how much I believe this. Spielberg has been attached to a large number of projects. Currently working on a Tin Tin movie(Awesome) and a World War I picture called War Horse. Both of those will be amazing. So I know what you’re asking: “What is Robopocalypse?” Well it’s novel coming out next year about robots trying to over throw mankind. I do hope the story has an interesting twist to it because the idea is very been there done that. Spielberg has many to win back after the last Indiana Jones film. Now I might have had problems with it(Every scene with Shia) but a lot of the problems were script related and George Lucas producing a more “family friendly” film. Spielberg can’t avoid all the blame for the corny crap in Indy because he pulled some silly shit before like in The Lost World, remember the girl kicking the Raptor out the window? I do and I still shudder from it. So I’m down for the Berg to return to science fiction A.I. and Minority Report were sweet. Win us back Steve! I’m ready for it!