Posts Tagged ‘ spielberg ’

A Quiet Place (2018)

a-quiet-place-john-krasinski-noah-jupe-millicent-simmonds

Pretty good film. Very suspenseful and tense, and Spielberg-lite at times, channeling the original Jurassic Park quite directly in certain scenes, especially (**SPOILERS**) near the end in the grain silo, and with the kids hiding in the car as the monster alien thing tries to get them. Wasn’t expecting Krasinski would sacrifice himself, though, which was a very nice touch and just about assures he won’t have to pull double duty if he decides to direct the sequel, probably. It was also quite an emotional scene without being corny, wrapping that story element up in a perfect little bow. Well done.

The monsters, though, seemed pretty stupid, and I had a hard time believing humans wouldn’t have figured out a way to kill them before all this. It’s kind of obvious; the monsters have ultrasonic hearing, so maybe turning up the volume to a frequency that would irritate them might be the way to go. It’s not rocket surgery. (**END SPOILERS**)

Anyway, a good film overall. They probably could have milked the suspense a bit more, or done more with the monsters, and some scenes were a bit stupid or didn’t make much sense, like the (**SPOILERS**) water cascading into the sound proof underground booth thing. What the heck was going on there, exactly? All that water came from Blunt’s character leaving the faucet on? Really? And this is the end of the world, you’d think they’d be more careful to not leave potentially valuable water running like that for so long in the first place. (**END SPOILERS**) A really out-of-place moment in an otherwise pretty logically sound film.

But as a film that’s almost entirely silent, and made up of only a handful of characters, it’s incredibly effective, especially thanks to the acting, which is across the board excellent. An effective, entertaining, highly suspenseful little film.

The Adventures of Tintin (2011) – 4/5

Exciting, action packed cartoon of sorts that doesn’t do anything new story-wise but is pretty dang entertaining nonetheless, with plenty of great, epic Spielbergian action set pieces and visuals and such, and a fantastic performance from Andy Serkis who plays a human for once, finally, sort of. And he steals the show too, bringing the character to life in a way that makes you wonder why he’s been mostly reduced by Hollywood to roles that really only require him to play mute subhuman CGI  type creatures. The man can clearly hold his own playing “normal” roles as well, so let him do more of those, damn it.

Anyway, the film’s story doesn’t reinvent the wheel, and the CGI is questionable at best at times, with faces looking oddly stiff and inhuman, though Tin Tin himself is animated pretty well. The action scenes are great, though, and clever, especially the whole **SPOILERS** pirate ship flashback battle thing, and the long take action scene near the end when Tin Tin and co. practically destroy half a town trying to get the pieces of paper back from the evil villain guy and his bird. **END SPOILERS** It’s a scene of truly epic proportions. Just pure Spielberg. Loved it. And the final “crane” battle at the end was great too, and clever.

Overall, I liked the film. It’s not the most original or unique, and you could really replace the Tin Tin character with just about any other action type hero and get essentially the same film, but it’s very entertaining for what it is: a fun family action adventure film with above average set pieces and some great performances, especially from Serkis who really ought to be given more roles like this, or even, god forbid, a few non-CGI roles. But will that every happen? Who knows.

Anyway, worth watching, definitely.

The Color Purple (1985) – 0.5/5

Ughh. Terrible. Truly, unbelievably bad. I’m going to come clean here and admit that I did something with this movie that I usually never do: I stopped watching a little more than half way through. I just couldn’t take it anymore. An hour and a half of this two and a half hour monstrosity was all I could stomach before I had to call it quits lest I lose the remainder of my sanity. There was just so little of it left by the hour and a half mark, I just had to.

But seriously. I can’t remember the last time a movie so irritated me, to the point where the mere thought of continuing to watch it started to make me physically ill. And a Spielberg movie no less, an Academy Award nominated Spielberg movie! Eleven Academy Awards, including Best Picture?!? Are you kidding? They’re insane. They’re all insane. Who the hell could honestly say they enjoyed watching this trite, shoddy, poorly written/directed/acted/made garbage, let alone think it worthy of awards? This is Spielberg’s worst movie, and one of the worst I’ve ever seen, by far, my god.

The biggest problem with the film, and there are many, and the reason why it’s such an unpleasant watch, is its tone. What the hell was Spielberg thinking giving a movie about incest, rape, racism, spousal abuse, child abuse, and prostitution a goofy, comical, Disney-esque tone? And not just in one or two scenes, but throughout, even during the rape/incest/abuse scenes. Huh? Who is the audience supposed to be here, exactly? Children? Cause this goofy Mickey Mouse crap certainly isn’t aimed at adults.

I just don’t understand what he was thinking here. It’s the worst possible decision any filmmaker could have made, filming something meant to be tragic and serious in a fun, goofy, comical way. And it’s terrible, god awful, inappropriate and offensive, to a degree I’ve rarely seen in cinema. I get that he had only made entertaining, borderline goofy movies before this and wanted to try doing something more serious, and there’s nothing wrong with experimenting with genre every once in a while, but come on. You don’t have to be a genius to see why turning a grim novel about the misery of a tortured black woman into a slapstick comedy would be inappropriate. So I have to ask, again: what was Spielberg thinking here? Was he thinking?

And the acting, god. Danny Glover is horrible here; over the top, one-dimensional. A perfect cartoon villain, in other words. And the two kids at the beginning, ughhh, and that whole scene where Glover separates them and throws the sister out had to be one of the worst, most horrifically melodramatic, pompous, manipulative things I’ve ever seen in my life. Ughh so so bad, just thinking about it makes me sick.

I’ll give Whoopi Goldberg credit, though; she’s pretty good here. Very believable and sympathetic, and kind of cute in a way. But the shining star of the movie is Oprah Winfrey. I had no idea the woman could act. She steals the show whenever she’s on-screen, and is probably the only thing about this movie that actually deserved any of its award recognition. She ought to have been in more films, actually. She’d have had a good career, not that she needed any more money at that point, or presently for that matter. But a great, powerful performance. A shame it was wasted on such crap.

There are many other problems, too. The writing is awful, the story is unpleasant, the situations are implausible and silly, the cinematography, though beautiful, is inappropriate, and so on and so forth forever and ever amen. Granted I didn’t watch the whole thing, and maybe the moment I stopped it and smashed the DVD to pieces was the moment the movie turned around and became this big amazing masterpiece worthy of all the praise and award nominations, but I doubt it.

Ultimately, it’s crap. Completely schmaltzy, terrible, awful, offensive, poorly made crap. I wouldn’t wish this movie on anyone unless they needed to be tortured for whatever reason, and even then I’d be a bit hesitant to actually go through with it. It’s a truly awful film, one of the worst I’ve ever seen, and I recommend you stay as far, far away from it as possible.  Save yourself. Avoid.

 

Poltergeist (1982) – 4/5

This is one slimy movie. Mud, blood, sweat, inter-dimensional goop: you name it. Just slimy. It certainly appealed to the inner kid in me, (someone whom I had thought good and dead), though why I can’t quite say. It’s not a great movie, at least not the first half, but it gets better as it goes along, and the inclusion of the “false” ending totally took me by surprise. It’s also quite crazy, and the fact that little to anything is explained in any kind of detail, though off-putting at first, serves to only make the film better by the end. Sort of. You can also get a good sense of all the films this inspired, like Evil Dead 2 and Dead Alive, just to name a few. This film’s influence is all over those films, as well as many other over the top horror/comedy type films that have been made over the years.

The excessive product placement was extremely annoying though; couldn’t they have at least tried to make it a little more subtle? You know you’ve sunk to a new low as a filmmaker when you have a character in your film essentially stop the action so he can deliberately hold up a bag of chips to the camera for 10 seconds and let the audience in on exactly what brand he’s eating. Come on. And the special effects were extremely dated, though not terrible. Still, the film is very 80s, very Spielberg, and brought back fond memories of “simpler” days, before computers and the internet ruined everything for everyone everywhere forever. Damn childhood stealing technology.

And what a great performance from Zelda Rubinstein. Why didn’t they bring her in earlier? She made the movie. Everything before her appearance was strange and didn’t quite work, but after, wow! Way better. She essentially kick starts the movie, which, unfortunately for us, isn’t until a good hour in. And the little girl was adorable. A shame she died at such a young age. That’s not a spoiler; she actually died a few years after this film was made. And strangely too. As did the girl who plays the teenage daughter in this. The two most adorable people in the movie, in other words. Fun fact to keep in mind while you’re watching. You’re welcome.

Overall, yeah, good movie. Not Spielberg’s best, though he didn’t direct it, or so he claims, and I’m inclined to believe that as it doesn’t quite have that famous Spielberg charm. It looks and sounds like one of his films, but it doesn’t quite feel like it until the last third. Oh, and that scene with the guy in front of the mirror was extremely graphic for a movie aimed at kids. Geez. Definitely worth watching, though, despite the zany plot and buckets and buckets of slime.