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Tom Hanks Tag

Steven Spielberg has made defining movies about the Civil War (Lincoln) and World War II (Saving Private Ryan and Schindler’s List) but the Cold War eludes his grasp in Bridge of Spies, his fourth film to star Tom Hanks. Structured around the construction of the Berlin Wall, Bridge of Spies ends, metaphorically and too easily, with its fall. Lacking the urgency of Munich (2005) and its forward-thinking topicality, the film is more of a museum piece, closer in effect to Amistad (1997).

It is, to be sure, a very handsome exhibit. Cinematographer Janusz Kaminski’s preferred blown-out style of lighting transforms actual locations and the fabrications by Adam Stockhausen (The Grand Budapest Hotel) into splendid period sets, a chess board for spy games that begin in 1957 Brooklyn. Spielberg’s command of

It’s easy to be cynical about a show like The Dean Martin Variety Show. For a modern audience, a show like this one could seem very old fashioned. However, what I gained from digging into a couple of hours of Dean Martin and his gaggle of friends was that his show was a quick witted, loose (very loose) hour of TV that offered a little something for everyone. There was music (well, duh) and plenty of laughs, but there was also a lot of style. Everyone on stage who joined Dean carried with them a sense of class. Most important, everyone on the shows eemed to be having a great time, often at the expense of Dean.

February 4th sees the arrival of the James Cameron-produced Sanctum, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Nothing  goes together quite like “I love you” and terror beneath the sea.

Cameron’s got more than a little bit of an issue with H2O. Aside from producing Sanctum, he’s helmed The Abyss and Titanic and produced films about deep-sea dives to the real shipwreck, including the bet-hedging Ghosts of the Abyss. He’s not the only one though. You still have to reckon with Joe Dante’s Piranha, Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, and if you’re really a masochist, Barry Levinson’s Sphere. Then there were the knockoffs like Leviathan and DeepStar Six starring Greg Evigan (sans Bear or another Dad).

Here are some of the Popdose Staff’s favorite moments thrashing about in those dangerous cinematic waters.

The most fun part of doing this series with Matt Springer has been coming up with a concept for each phase of Bruce Springsteen’s career, then coming up with a way to justify it so that it would come across as plausible to even the most obsessive-compulsive Boss fan. For the two of us to speculate on how Springsteen would act is absurd to begin with (and admittedly creepy), but that’s also why we enjoy it so much (because it’s absurd, not because it’s creepy).

Throughout this series, we’ve tried to stay within the boundaries of our perceptions of the real-life Springsteen, and that the only thing different about him is that his the volume of his released output approaches that of his recorded output. However, there are times when our ideas don’t work out as we had hoped, and the rationalizations, even within our own Land Of Make Believe, strain credibility.

Our original intention was to follow Be True with a straightforward rock album culled from the recording sessions held between October 1979 through June 1980. Our justifications made perfect sense artistically. Since he didn’t tour behind Be True, he went back and delivered an incredible dose of blistering arena-friendly rock. He would follow that up in 1981 with a folk-rock record similar to The River album we described in our last installment, which would easily pave the way for Nebraska.

The problem was that Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band were on the road for nearly all of the first two-thirds of 1981. We didn’t feel it made sense to release our version of The River in the middle of a tour, and Bruce wouldn’t want to spend time after the tour sequencing and mastering an album out of a year’s worth of outtakes. After all, the man deserved a break!

Toy Story 3 (Disney, 2010)

It’s (sigh) Election Day. But cheer up, folks; it’s also “Toy Story Tuesday,” the day that the biggest animated hit ever, Toy Story 3, hits your home theater. So turn that frown upside down and give it up for Buzz and Woody and all their buddies from Pixar.

Synopsis: As I wrote back in July (four months ago already?): “How bad have the summer movies been? So bad that audiences, usually lemmings for any marketing bonanza, have been staying home, depressing the usually robust boxoffice. Leave it to Pixar to get things back on their feet without pandering to the lowest common denominator with Toy Story 3. The digit typically gives me pause but here continues a tradition that bypassed a whole decade and has come back to us none the worse for neglect (only Randy Newman had his eye off the Magic 8-Ball, with a weak theme this time, and the price-boosting 3D is unnecessary if unobtrusive). Forget the two Oscars; Woody, the eternal optimist, is truly Tom Hanks’ signature role, and Michael Keaton revives his intermittent career with his hilarious Ken, the epitome of

I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I am a huge fan of horror films and my favorite type of horror film is the 1980s slasher movie. While the slasher genre arguably got its start during the 1960s and 1970s with films like Peeping Tom (1960), Psycho (1960), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Black Christmas (1975) and Halloween (1978) — all of which make my list of the best horror films ever made — slasher movies had their peak in the 1980s, particularly the early ’80s. In my opinion, some of the genre’s best movies were released between 1980 and 1984.

With Halloween approaching, I thought it would be fun to share a list of some of my favorite 1980s slasher films. You’ll notice that this list doesn’t include any films from the biggest slasher franchises — Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Child’s Play. To me, those are obvious selections, so I left them out. Of course, you might think all of the movies on my list are obvious selections. But, c’est la vie.

Since I know you’re going to comment and tell me all the movies I forgot from my list and that my list is worthless without them, let me say that I’m not claiming these are the greatest ’80s slasher flicks, nor are these the only slasher films I love — I could easily make a list of 50. So, before you tell me how much I suck because I didn’t include your favorites, keep that in mind. That said, I’d love to know what some of your favorite ’80s slasher flicks are — what would your list look like.

OK, here we go — in no particular order. (And just to warn you — some of these trailers are NSFW).

A homework pass to the first commenter who can identify what inspired this column’s headline – without resorting to the Google (honor system!) – and can tell us why The Man is so unhip.

Class, today’s discussion concerns the first five chapters of Ayn Rand’s symphony of self-centeredness, Atlas Shrugged. I’m not the world’s fastest reader, so I’m sorry to disappoint anyone who’s managed to read ahead of me over the four days since I commenced this adventure in politically contrarian scholarship. But I gotta tell you … and here’s an obscure cultural reference … as I’ve worked my way through 125 pages of Rand’s polemic disguised as a novel, I’ve felt like I had mistakenly picked up the first couple of theme-notebook volumes of Henry Fool’s “Confessions.” (If you don’t get the reference, put the bizarre Hal Hartley film in your Netflix queue.) I’m already wondering if this thing is ever going to end.

That said, I must admit that Atlas Shrugged is far more gripping than I expected it to be – even if, half the time, it’s gripping in the way that a gruesome five-car collision commands the attention of passers-by on the freeway. I’m a sucker for stories full of workplace intrigue and political manipulations, so I’m having a surprisingly easy time tolerating Rand’s endless exposition and the most unfathomable attempts at dialogue I’ve ever read. As for the Objectivism … I suppose if I’m to read one work of delusional right-wing fiction this holiday season, I’m glad it’s this rather than, say, Going Rogue.

How funny is The Hangover? Funny enough to get the two guys in the next row off their Crackberries for minutes at a time. I used to go to the movies in the early afternoon, when no one was there. Now, I go to the last show of the evening, which is often the same, except that the few who are at last call are sleepier. So it was gratifying to sit with a full, and mostly attentive, post-10pm audience for a change.

I watched The Hangover with ’80s flashbacks in mind. Its crassness isn’t a lot different than, say, that of 1984’s Bachelor Party, a credit in the “other work” section of Tom Hanks’ resume these days. The Hangover is Bachelor Party cross-bred with Martin Scorsese’s After Hours (1985), with the Vegas section of the underrated Go (1999) thrown in. It’s a hybrid that runs on its own steam, and despite the lateness of the hour I would’ve texted “LOL!” to all my buddies if I had a device handy (no, I wouldn’t have). The only annoying thing about it is that I may have to check out the two other hit comedies written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, Four Christmases and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, to see how they got here. Someday.

They specialize in stories centered on visiting and revisiting, and their idea this time was clever: Take all the standard wild-night-in-Vegas business and turn it into a comic mystery. Laid out end-to-end, the movie wouldn’t be as amusing as it is. Removing 12 hours from the story, then retracing them, was inspired. Director Todd Phillips, who made the semi-classic Old School (2003), paired the concept with actors who come to mesh as a team. Bachelor Justin Bartha, who sits out most of the movie, gets the film in gear with his disappearance but doesn’t really count. The heavy lifting is done, and done well, by a slyly misogynistic Bradley Cooper (who I figured for a big push when he co-starred with Julia Roberts and the rising Paul Rudd in the headline-grabbing Broadway revival of Three Days of Rain a couple of seasons back), Ed Helms (purposefully aggravating on The Office, more appealing here as a strait-jacketed single) and the out-to-lunch Zach Galifianakis, referred to in the movie as “Fat Jesus,” and a natural for Hagar the Horrible if he ever makes it to the big screen.

When the long-awaited, religiously incendiary sequel to The Da Vinci Code arrives in theaters and the anticipated uproar is reduced to a low roar, you know it’s gotta be a rough week for the Catholic Church.

The church’s most dedicated followers of dogma have bigger post-Lenten fish to fry at the moment than the debut of a film – even if that film is Angels & Demons, an anticipated blockbuster that features a poisoned pope, kidnapped cardinals, a threat to annihilate the Vatican, and a secret Catholic sect as the presumed bad guys. No, the threat posed to the church by another Dan Brown-Tom Hanks-Richie Cunningham collaboration is nothing next to the menace of abortion-rights infidel Barack Obama receiving an honorary doctorate from Catholicism’s most prominent academic outpost this weekend.

Venerable South Bend, Indiana, had taken on a carnival-like atmosphere nearly a week before Obama addresses Notre Dame graduates on Sunday. It’s entirely likely that the number of antiabortion protesters on hand this weekend will dwarf the 2,600 graduates in attendance – and the demonstrators already include such revered figures as never-elected-to-anything Alan Keyes and Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry.

Randall Terry!!! Who exhumed that guy? Anyway, if Terry’s in the house you know the show is going to be classy – and true to form, throughout the week somebody’s been paying for a plane to be flown over South Bend, trailing a banner that depicts an aborted fetus. After all, why stop at holding up yucky posters at a rally that people can avoid, when you can put fetal remains up in the sky where everyone can see them?

Normally Bob Cashill does a top-ten list of films he’s looking forward to each summer and fall. As he’s “out of town” this week (which, in the writing industry, is code for “on a bender and can’t be found”), I’ve been asked to step up to the plate and cover for him while he’s “away.”

I’ve chosen ten summer films — well, nine as far as Hollywood’s definition of summer goes (the beginning of May all the way to Labor Day weekend), so forgive me for cheating with my first choice.  I will now give my reasons as to why I’m either looking forward to these films or hope they die miserable, lonely deaths at the box office. Please be aware that while the majority of release dates have been locked down, film studios are sometimes fickle, and some later dates may be subject to change.

1. The Soloist (April 24), starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr., directed by Joe Wright.

I’ve been looking forward to this film, based on the true story of celloist-violinist Nathaniel Ayers, an extremely talented musician who suffers from schizophrenia, for quite some time in spite of the semi-mediocrity of its trailer. While I’m certain the film will deliver the expected highs and lows of the friendship between Foxx’s Ayers and Downey Jr. as the reporter who befriends him, all replete with the expected script beats (pg. 50: “Have characters realize they’re more alike than different in spite of their dissimilar backgrounds”), the real reason to see this movie is for the act-off between two great thesps, and to begin the debate about which one will deserve to walk home with a statue come next year’s Oscars.

2. X-Men Origins: Wolverine (May 1), starring Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber, directed by Gavin Hood.

Yes, this film’s already hit the Internet, so most of you have probably already seen it. I’m waiting till it actually hits theaters, though, because I’d prefer to see the completed effects, thank you very much. Although I don’t understand the fascination with Schreiber (overrated in my book), the real reason for me to see Wolverine is that it’ll be cool to see Jackman as the title character once again. Fanboys and fangirls who vowed to boycott this Fox film due to the studio’s lawsuit brought against Warner Bros. for partial rights to Watchmen profits will more than likely shut the hell up and see it regardless; it could very well be one of the biggest actioners at the box office this year despite its illegal release on the Web. I’m borderline on the story and characters, but I’m looking forward to Jackman’s Wolvie taking a long list of names while he kicks ass.


Various Artists – Dragnet Original Soundtrack (1987)
purchase this album (Amazon)

You know, writing about cutouts in the digital age is more difficult than it looks. Not a week goes by that some knucklehead doesn’t decide to start up a reissue label, hoping to license crappy old records on the cheap and siphon mythical big bucks out of niche markets. (For instance, as we discovered last week, both the Village People’s Rendezvous and The Ethel Merman Disco Album are in print.) To find an album that’s both out of print and worth writing about is easier said than done. (For instance, I’ve had a copy of the last Quarterflash album in the Cutouts Gone Wild! on-deck circle for close to a year.)

But this? This, friends, is the magic fucking bullet. Today we gather to discuss an album that will never be in print so long as Tom Hanks, or any of his heirs, walk the earth.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Dragnet soundtrack.