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Thread: Looking for Artistry in the Commercial World: The Spielberg Canon

  1. #276
    Cinematographer StanleyK's Avatar
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    Whoa, I never noticed before that Bryan Cranston is in Saving Private Ryan.


  2. #277
    What is best in life? D_Davis's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Bosco B Thug (view post)
    1941 has a real way of uncommanding your respect. That said, it has to have some of the grandest, prettiest spectacle I've seen from Spielberg, like the delightful dance hall riot and the beautiful and awesome sight of a 1940s plane gliding over a completely realized 1940s Hollywood.

    Watched in portions, it's an often well-done thingamajig with some inspired slapstick (and some wayward morals and sense...).
    In many ways, 1941 reminds of the kind of crazy comedies that were being made in Hong Kong in the early '80s.

  3. #278
    What is best in life? D_Davis's Avatar
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    I watched Jurassic Park a few months ago for the first time since seeing it opening day in the theater. I didn't like most of it. I enjoyed the first half, during the discovery part. But once the action starts-up, it completely lost my interest.

    This is actually how I feel about Jaws as well. I LOVE everything up until the final act, when they get on the boat and go hunting. From that point on, I completely loose interest.

  4. #279
    The Pan Qrazy's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting D_Davis (view post)
    I watched Jurassic Park a few months ago for the first time since seeing it opening day in the theater. I didn't like most of it. I enjoyed the first half, during the discovery part. But once the action starts-up, it completely lost my interest.

    This is actually how I feel about Jaws as well. I LOVE everything up until the final act, when they get on the boat and go hunting. From that point on, I completely loose interest.
    You lose interest in Quint's story about the sailors being eaten alive by sharks? Come on bro.
    The Princess and the Pilot - B-
    Playtime (rewatch) - A
    The Hobbit - C-
    The Comedy - D+
    Kings of the Road - C+
    The Odd Couple - B
    Red Rock West - C-
    The Hunger Games - D-
    Prometheus - C
    Tangled - C+

  5. #280
    Cinematographer StanleyK's Avatar
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    Artificial Intelligence: AI remains a very powerful movie, and it turns out, a very funny movie as well, particularly in the first hour where David is trying and hilariously failing at appearing human. These two factors aren't coincidental; the earlier, lighter scenes are made poignant with the knowledge of what's to come, and they build the emotional engagement which pays off so wonderfully later on. This movie also reinforces my belief that horror is separated from comedy by a very thin line, and it works better when the filmmakers keep that in mind. Some of the funniest moments in AI (David's initial attempts to be human, the smiling robot maid, Gigolo Joe seducing his customer- really, every time he talks or moves. What a great character.) are also the creepiest. I still find that the ending could've been executed better (the dialogue could be significantly cut down, and there had to have been a better way to convey what bringing Monica back to life entailed without the infodump and narration), but I have no problems with it otherwise. It's a great ending.

  6. #281
    Cinematographer StanleyK's Avatar
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    Catch Me if You Can and Minority Report are both good and yet slightly disappointing for different reasons. The first is magnificently entertaining, I could watch it over and over and not get tired, but despite being full of interesting thematic threads, they end up being false starts that don't lead to any fulfilling conclusion. Minority Report, on the other hand, is almost as smart and perceptive as AI, but dramatically not nearly as compelling and it suffers as Spielberg's weakest films do from action that is visually amazing but not involving. I also had a problem with its production design, which I felt was too in-your-face, so to speak, with its sci-fi elements, to the point where it was obnoxious, like they were trying to dangle the cool gadgets in our faces to distract from the story. I don't know, is this a weird complaint? It feels weird, but it was legitimately bugging me.

    I also saw The Terminal. People like to shit on Spielberg's endings, particularly as of late, but so far this is his only film where I can say the last act seriously hurt it. Up until about 90 minutes, it's a slight but amiable and entertaining film; Hanks is great and it's fun watching him adapt to his environment. After that it piles on so much ill-conceived sap that it does away with pretty much all the good will it had built up.

  7. #282
    - - - - - Irish's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting StanleyK (view post)
    Catch Me if You Can and Minority Report are both good and yet slightly disappointing for different reasons. The first is magnificently entertaining, I could watch it over and over and not get tired, but despite being full of interesting thematic threads, they end up being false starts that don't lead to any fulfilling conclusion. Minority Report, on the other hand, is almost as smart and perceptive as AI, but dramatically not nearly as compelling and it suffers as Spielberg's weakest films do from action that is visually amazing but not involving. I also had a problem with its production design, which I felt was too in-your-face, so to speak, with its sci-fi elements, to the point where it was obnoxious, like they were trying to dangle the cool gadgets in our faces to distract from the story. I don't know, is this a weird complaint? It feels weird, but it was legitimately bugging me.

    I also saw The Terminal. People like to shit on Spielberg's endings, particularly as of late, but so far this is his only film where I can say the last act seriously hurt it. Up until about 90 minutes, it's a slight but amiable and entertaining film; Hanks is great and it's fun watching him adapt to his environment. After that it piles on so much ill-conceived sap that it does away with pretty much all the good will it had built up.
    I don't think that's weird at all.

    MR, when you get down to it, is nothing more than a chase movie. It could have been set at any time and any place, so the sci fi elements feel extraneous. I'm still mystified that Spielberg and Cruise excised the more interesting elements from Dick's story and turned out something so bland.

    Gotta disagree with you about AI. It's unfocused and formless, and Spielberg should have taken Kubrick's inability to work out a script as a big, big clue. The biggest problem is the source, which while clever is only about 1000 words or so. Unless you're doing something like The Killing -- ie taking the story to a completely different place after 15 minutes of screen time -- you just don't have enough material to build a movie around. Especially one with an absurdly long running time give the subject matter. What still shocks me is that these two guys, no dummies, couldn't see that Supertoys, at least as a basis for a feature, presents an incredibly flawed premise. Seriously, wtf? How does that happen?

    Spielberg isn't good a subtlety or nuance, or, really, emotional depth. Catch Me and Terminal display that problem in spades, as do his other films from this period. Every big budget promises some kind of "summer thrillride" bullshit in its ad copy, but Spielberg actually delivers on it. Other stuff, not so much.

  8. #283
    Cinematographer StanleyK's Avatar
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    War of the Worlds: Great movie, aptly thrilling and horrifying, engaging drama and a fitting ending. My main gripe is that they actually showed the aliens; coming as it does after an already pretty tense hide-and-seek scene, having the characters scurry around hiding from them again feels like overkill, not to mention it's always better to keep some mystery hanging. Come on, Spielb, have you forgotten about Jaws?

    Munich: Probably his most meditative and morally complex film yet. The shot with the terrorist as he's being televised, the first assassination, the shooting of the female agent, all sublime moments. I used to not really like its final stretch, and while it does drag a bit towards the end and makes explicit questions that would have been better left impied, I feel like it ends on a pretty good note (slo-mo sex scene aside).

    Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Crystal Skull: Yeah, it's pretty bad. The best example is the pale imitation of the desert truck chase from Raiders of the Lost Ark that is the jeep fight in the jungle. In Raiders it was all practical effects; here there's lame green-screen. In Raiders the scene pitted only Indy against truckfuls of Nazis, here they extended screentime to all his annoying sidekicks. The scene in Raiders was dialogue-free for seven minutes, here there's plenty of retarded banter. And of course, there's Shia Labeouf swinging through the vines with monkeys, which strikes as an indefensible choice. Who could've thought that was a good idea or entertaining to watch?



    All caught up! Now I only have left his current releases (which will be the first time I see a Spielberg movie in theaters, so I'm pretty excited), but I'll leave that for their respective threads.



    Amblin' (1968) ***
    Duel (1971) ***
    The Sugarland Express (1974) ***
    Jaws (1975) ***
    Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) ****
    1941 (1979) **
    Raiders of the Lost Ark
    (1981) ****
    E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) ***
    Kick the Can [Twilight Zone: The Movie]
    (1983) *
    Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
    (1984) **
    The Color Purple (1985) **
    Empire of the Sun (1987) ****
    Always (1989) *
    Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
    (1989) **
    Hook (1991) **
    Jurassic Park (1993) ****
    Schindler's List (1993) ****
    Amistad (1997) **
    The Lost World: Jurassic Park
    (1997) **
    Saving Private Ryan (1998) ***
    Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001) ****
    Catch Me if You Can (2002) ***
    Minority Report (2002) ***
    The Terminal (2004) **
    Munich (2005) ***
    War of the Worlds
    (2005) ***
    Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Crystal Skull
    (2008) **

  9. #284
    For me:

    Duel - 70
    Sugarland Express, The - 44
    Jaws - 94
    Close Encounters of the Third Kind - 67
    1941 - 9
    Raiders of the Lost Ark - 70
    ET - 81
    Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom - 68
    Color Purple, The - 51
    Empire of the Sun - 60
    Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade - 61
    Always - 57
    Hook - 39
    Schindler's List - 78
    Jurassic Park - 77
    Lost World: Jurassic Park, The - 59
    Amistad - 46
    Saving Private Ryan - 73
    A. I. - 59
    Minority Report - 66
    Catch Me if You Can - 57
    Terminal, The - 48
    Munich - 71
    War of the Worlds, The - 58
    Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - 48
    Last 10 Movies Seen
    (90+ = canonical, 80-89 = brilliant, 70-79 = strongly recommended, 60-69 = good, 50-59 = mixed, 40-49 = below average with some good points, 30-39 = poor, 20-29 = bad, 10-19 = terrible, 0-9 = soul-crushingly inept in every way)

    El
    (1973) 70
    The Day After
    (1983
    ) 63
    Duck, You Sucker (1971) 68
    Young Mr. Lincoln (1939) 71
    Norikos Dinner Party
    (2005) 61
    The Third Murder (2017) 56

    /Audition
    (1999) 85

    /Toy Story
    (1995) 65
    Vice (2018) 57
    The Counterfeit Traitor (1962) 62

    Stuff at Letterboxd
    Listening Habits at LastFM

  10. #285
    Guttenbergian Pop Trash's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting StanleyK (view post)
    I still find that the ending could've been executed better (the dialogue could be significantly cut down, and there had to have been a better way to convey what bringing Monica back to life entailed without the infodump and narration), but I have no problems with it otherwise. It's a great ending.
    On my latest viewing of this near-masterpiece, I also noticed that John Williams' score, which is brilliantly modernist and non-Williams-y for most of the film, segues into schmaltzy major-key typical Williams tripe. I think that was another reason so many people didn't like the ending initially, what with Williams ratcheting up the sentimentality of it.
    Ratings on a 1-10 scale for your pleasure:

    Parasite - 8
    Good Boys - 5
    Scream 2 - 7
    Black Christmas (1974) - 9
    Joker - 7
    Ad Astra - 8
    Toy Story 4 - 8
    IT Chapter Two - 5
    Desperately Seeking Susan - 7
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood - 9

  11. #286
    Moderator Dead & Messed Up's Avatar
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    I dislike War for a lot of the dull, generic reasons that most do. The weird alien inconsistencies and the crap with the son in particular. I do enjoy Cruise's performance, and some of the individual sequences are horrifying and unexpected (especially the people freaking out over the car). But as far as big-budget-9/11-anxiety-based-inexplicable-alien-attack-PG-13-horror-thrillers go, I prefer Cloverfield.

  12. #287
    The Pan Spinal's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting StanleyK (view post)

    (which will be the first time I see a Spielberg movie in theaters, so I'm pretty excited)
    That's pretty astonishing.
    Coming to America (Landis, 1988) **
    The Beach Bum (Korine, 2019) *1/2
    Us (Peele, 2019) ***1/2
    Fugue (Smoczynska, 2018) ***1/2
    Prisoners (Villeneuve, 2013) ***1/2
    Shadow (Zhang, 2018) ***
    Oslo, August 31st (J. Trier, 2011) ****
    Climax (No, 2018) **1/2
    Fighting With My Family (Merchant, 2019) **
    Upstream Color (Carruth, 2013) ***

  13. #288
    Guttenbergian Pop Trash's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Spinal (view post)
    That's pretty astonishing.
    StanleyK is apparently 12.
    Ratings on a 1-10 scale for your pleasure:

    Parasite - 8
    Good Boys - 5
    Scream 2 - 7
    Black Christmas (1974) - 9
    Joker - 7
    Ad Astra - 8
    Toy Story 4 - 8
    IT Chapter Two - 5
    Desperately Seeking Susan - 7
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood - 9

  14. #289
    something real elixir's Avatar
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    I've never seen a Spielberg film in theaters either.

  15. #290
    The Pan Spinal's Avatar
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    I guess if you're 20 or so, it's not as surprising, but still. Here's the ones I've seen in the cinema:

    The Adventures of Tintin
    Munich
    War of the Worlds
    Minority Report
    A.I. Artificial Intelligence
    Saving Private Ryan
    Amistad
    The Lost World: Jurassic Park
    Schindler's List
    Jurassic Park
    Hook
    Always
    Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
    Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
    E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
    Raiders of the Lost Ark
    Coming to America (Landis, 1988) **
    The Beach Bum (Korine, 2019) *1/2
    Us (Peele, 2019) ***1/2
    Fugue (Smoczynska, 2018) ***1/2
    Prisoners (Villeneuve, 2013) ***1/2
    Shadow (Zhang, 2018) ***
    Oslo, August 31st (J. Trier, 2011) ****
    Climax (No, 2018) **1/2
    Fighting With My Family (Merchant, 2019) **
    Upstream Color (Carruth, 2013) ***

  16. #291
    Kung Fu Hippie Watashi's Avatar
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    I've seen in theaters:

    War Horse
    The Adventures of Tintin
    Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
    Munich
    War of the Worlds
    The Terminal
    Minority Report
    A.I. Artificial Intelligence
    The Lost World: Jurassic Park
    Jurassic Park
    Hook
    E.T.
    Raiders of the Lost Ark
    Close Encounters of the Third Kind

    I can't imagine not seeing a single Spielberg film in theaters.
    Sure why not?

    STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (Rian Johnson) - 9
    STRONGER (David Gordon Green) - 6
    THE DISASTER ARTIST (James Franco) - 7
    THE FLORIDA PROJECT (Sean Baker) - 9
    LADY BIRD (Greta Gerwig) - 8


    "Hitchcock is really bad at suspense."
    - Stay Puft

  17. #292
    A Bonerfied Classic Derek's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Watashi (view post)
    I can't imagine not seeing a single Spielberg film in theaters.
    If you haven't seen Hook in theaters, you haven't really seen it.

  18. #293
    Kung Fu Hippie Watashi's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Derek (view post)
    If you haven't seen Hook in theaters, you haven't really seen it.
    Well, yeah. The New Beverly should have monthly midnight shows of it.
    Sure why not?

    STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (Rian Johnson) - 9
    STRONGER (David Gordon Green) - 6
    THE DISASTER ARTIST (James Franco) - 7
    THE FLORIDA PROJECT (Sean Baker) - 9
    LADY BIRD (Greta Gerwig) - 8


    "Hitchcock is really bad at suspense."
    - Stay Puft

  19. #294
    Cinematographer StanleyK's Avatar
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    My cinephilia only started around 2006, and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull didn't look very interesting. Anyway, I'm already embarrassed enough, no need to rub it in.

  20. #295
    Kung Fu Hippie Watashi's Avatar
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    I wasn't a cinephile, but like most kids in the 90's, I was in love with dinosaurs and saw the shit out of Jurassic Park.
    Sure why not?

    STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (Rian Johnson) - 9
    STRONGER (David Gordon Green) - 6
    THE DISASTER ARTIST (James Franco) - 7
    THE FLORIDA PROJECT (Sean Baker) - 9
    LADY BIRD (Greta Gerwig) - 8


    "Hitchcock is really bad at suspense."
    - Stay Puft

  21. #296
    something real elixir's Avatar
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    I'm 19 and didn't really go to many movies until 2008/2009. Dinosaurs don't really do much for me either.

  22. #297
    Guttenbergian Pop Trash's Avatar
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    I think I've seen every single post 1980 Spielberg movie in the theater with the exceptions of The Color Purple and Amistad.
    Ratings on a 1-10 scale for your pleasure:

    Parasite - 8
    Good Boys - 5
    Scream 2 - 7
    Black Christmas (1974) - 9
    Joker - 7
    Ad Astra - 8
    Toy Story 4 - 8
    IT Chapter Two - 5
    Desperately Seeking Susan - 7
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood - 9

  23. #298
    A Bonerfied Classic Derek's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Pop Trash (view post)
    I think I've seen every single post 1980 movie in the theater with the exceptions of The Color Purple and Amistad.
    Pop Trash doesn't care about black people!

  24. #299
    Guttenbergian Pop Trash's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Derek (view post)
    Pop Trash doesn't care about black people!
    I knew that was coming.
    Ratings on a 1-10 scale for your pleasure:

    Parasite - 8
    Good Boys - 5
    Scream 2 - 7
    Black Christmas (1974) - 9
    Joker - 7
    Ad Astra - 8
    Toy Story 4 - 8
    IT Chapter Two - 5
    Desperately Seeking Susan - 7
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood - 9

  25. #300
    The Pan Spinal's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Derek (view post)
    Pop Trash doesn't care about black people!
    Coming to America (Landis, 1988) **
    The Beach Bum (Korine, 2019) *1/2
    Us (Peele, 2019) ***1/2
    Fugue (Smoczynska, 2018) ***1/2
    Prisoners (Villeneuve, 2013) ***1/2
    Shadow (Zhang, 2018) ***
    Oslo, August 31st (J. Trier, 2011) ****
    Climax (No, 2018) **1/2
    Fighting With My Family (Merchant, 2019) **
    Upstream Color (Carruth, 2013) ***

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