All posts tagged: Tom Hanks

Film Review: “Bridge of Spies”

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

'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 …

Farkakte Film Flashback: Off-Kilter Christmas Movie Edition

When I was a kid, every year around this time I would watch Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. I did this despite the fact that critics regularly put this 1964 movie on their list of the worst films of all time, probably because of its inane plot, juvenile dialogue, bargain-basement costumes and the fact that it appears to have been filmed entirely in a single room that may or may not have been made of cardboard. I think I may have watched it because as a child, it’s comforting to know that Santa, in addition to bringing you toys every year, is also capable of warding off an alien invasion if necessary. Also, New York’s Channel 9 scheduled it on a Saturday afternoon every December — your choice was either that or reruns of “Hee-Haw” on Channel 11, and Roy Clark certainly never conquered any aliens, with the possible exception of Minnie Pearl. (Incidentally, I’ve embedded the entire Santa Claus Conquers the Martians below via Hulu, in case you ever have a spare 80 minutes …

Political Culture: I’ve Been Ayn Randed!

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 …

Political Culture: Hell Week for Catholics

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 …

Cutouts Gone Wild!: Various Artists, “Dragnet Original Soundtrack”

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.