All posts tagged: Steven Spielberg

'Pixels' opens July 2015.

10 movies to look forward to that aren’t ‘Star Wars’

As I’m sure you’re aware if you’re a watcher of movies, if you were to put together a pie chart measuring anticipation for movies being released in 2015, about 60 percent of it would be taken up by “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” 25 by “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and 10 by “Jurassic World,” with a tiny little 5 percent sliver for everything else, both with colons in their titles and without. It’s not right. So to give those other flicks a fair shake, I’ve listed here my top 10 OTHER movies that haven’t come out yet, in as many disparate genres as possible, followed by my top 5 most likely stinkers of 2015, because pop culture writers can never be completely positive. It’s a law. POTENTIAL WINNERS: 1) “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water” (February): If you thought they couldn’t improve upon the first SpongeBob movie, in which SpongeBob meets David Hasselhoff, think again: This one features live-action 3-D versions of SpongeBob and friends. And while it doesn’t have Hasselhoff, it does have Antonio Banderas, Seth Green …

INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE

The Great Summer Movies: Fish Make Love In It

My dad didn’t take me to see Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I went with my friend Jack and his dad. But my dad took me to see Batman a few weeks later, in that perfect summer of 1989. He took me to see Return of the Jedi, and Star Trek V, and Total Recall, even though that last one was probably a bit too much for a thirteen-year-old. When he’s in town, we still find time to see a big and frequently stupid movie. I’m good with my dad. The same can’t necessarily be said of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. As the two major fathers of the modern blockbuster, it’s appropriate that both have father issues. Lucas’ father was a spendthrift who opposed his son’s pursuit of filmmaking. Lucas went on to create the greatest evil dad of all time, Darth Vader. As for Spielberg…his parents were divorced when he was 19; for many years he blamed his father, and so in his movies, dads are absent (E.T.) or insane (Close Encounters). …

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The Great Summer Movies: Hold On To Your Butts

It is the summer of 1983. I sit in the River Oaks Theaters with my dad. I watch R2D2 get blasted by a stormtrooper, and I gasp. It’s the summer of 1993. I sit alone in the theater at Chicago Ridge Mall. I watch a Tyrannosaurus Rex attempt to eat an obnoxiously precocious child, and I gasp. It’s 2003. I sit at the AMC Lowes Streets of Woodfield with my fiancé. I watch Laurence Fishburn fight an albino on top of a moving semi truck, and I gasp. It’s 2013. My Father’s Day present is a ticket to watch Kirk and Spock once again attempt to save the galaxy. At some point, I probably gasp. (apologies to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons) I can’t let go of summer movies. It’s still a near-perfect form of escape. Writing about them lets me escape too, a kind of critical nostalgia that lets me pretend I’m participating in a conversation that actually ended decades ago. All those summer afternoons and evenings, escaping into the chilly coccoon of an …

The Director Directs

The Great Summer Movies: A Perfect Engine

Drunk naked lady ventures into water after dark. Shark eats drunk naked lady. Resort town goes nuts. Police chief, oceanographer, and batshit crazy fisherman go after shark. They’re gonna need a bigger boat. Batshit crazy fisherman tells batshit crazy story about 700 sailors being eaten alive. Shark attacks. Shark explodes. Roll credits. The bare bones read like something Roger Corman might have made in six days. Exploitation trash. But Jaws is a masterpiece of suspense, and not exploitative at all. Okay, maybe the dude’s head floating into the hole in the bottom of the boat is a little trashy. And the floating severed leg is pretty bad. But other than that, it’s not. There’s a tension in Jaws between the primal fear of its central concept—there’s sharks in the water and they are waiting unseen to devour you—and the skill and polish with which its story is told. Steven Spielberg is in his infancy here as a director, but he’s already mastered storytelling tricks that will keep him at the top of his game for …

10 Movies…That Are Narrative Remakes of Documentaries

Kon-Tiki hits American theaters this week, months after it was nominated for the Best Foreign Film Oscar. It’s a narrative retelling of Kon-Tiki, the 1951 Academy-Award winning documentary directed by Thor Heyerdahl about his voyage across the South Seas in a raft of his own creation. Here are some other compelling real-life stories caught on film…that were then scripted and remade. Rescue Dawn (2006) In 1997, Werner Herzog made Little Dieter Needs to Fly for German television, a documentary about a German-born American pilot named Dieter Dengler who was shot down and captured in the Vietnamese War but later successfully escaped. About a decade later, Herzog wrote and directed Rescue Dawn, based on the events of Dieter. Party Monster (2003) Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato produced and directed Party Monster: The Shockumentary in 1998, based on Disco Bloodbath by NYC club kid James St. James, which focuses on the life and murders of fellow club kid and horrifying sociopath Michael Alig. The duo remade it as a narrative film in 2003, with Seth Green and …

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Blu-ray Review: “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial 35th Anniversary Edition”

There are some movies I find difficult writing about because I feel that the film is so beloved what more could I possibly add to the conversation. Case in point, E.T. The Extraterrestrial. Here is a film that continues to thrill audiences, move them to tears and make them cheer. E.T. triumphs because it touches the hearts of children and adults alike, reaching across generations. Using science fiction and fantasy elements, it’s a populist movie that, on the surface, is the adventure of a young boy and the alien he finds in his garage. Dig deeper and you find a movie about family, something all can relate to, whether you’ve met an alien or not. That E.T.is beautifully produced and features one of the greatest film scores of all time is icing on the cake. This new Blu-ray of Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece presents a film that has not aged a bit in thirty-five years. It now looks as crisp as it did when it was originally released in theaters… maybe better.  The movie has received …

Size2Shoes POPDOSE Cover

Popdose Investigates Size2Shoes’ Absurdly Unbelievable Bio

My wife is entrenched in Seattle’s yoga community, so when a friend invited us to a free concert this Friday at the Center for Spiritual Living, I figured what better way to end the week than a few hours incense, sitar and chakra cleansing. Much to my surprise, the headline act is going to be an Irish pop band called Size2Shoes. Always on the lookout for the next big thing, I went to the band’s website to preview their music. They seem like nice, wholesome lads; and their music recalls a lite Barenaked Ladies filtered through the Flight of the Conchords. Their completely unbelievable bio, however, namedrops more celebrities than a USC School of Film grad trying to talk his way into Quentin Tarantino’s pool party. Reading it, I felt like an American tourist being played by the charming locals while pub crawling thru Europe. So I tracked down the Brothers McMullen O Suilleabhain, Moley and Owen, to do a little fact checking: So a guy walks into a bar, in this case Oscar-winning actor Russell …

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He Came to Me: Remembering “E.T.,” 30 Years On

On this day, three decades ago, Universal Pictures released E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, the then-latest film from super director Steven Spielberg. It’s a date I’ve had committed to memory for years – a moment in time where everything changed for filmmakers, sci-fi enthusiasts, dreamers, and me. And like nearly everything I’ve ever waxed nostalgic on for Popdose, it’s kind of an extreme thing to laud, as the release date predated my own birth by five years. But before I allowed myself to be consumed by outdated cultural touchstones from Duran Duran to Indiana Jones, E.T. was the subject of a brilliant singular focus in my young life. I remember finding the videocassette of the film in my grandparents’ house one evening, and pestering the family to watch it. The first six minutes were pure nightmare fuel – for me, the shrieking of our title character as he attempts in vain to chase after his departing spaceship was far worse than anything else anyone has ever feared about the film – but I eventually warmed up to …