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items tagged with Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Heavy Duty: "Norbit," "Hannibal Rising," and "The Messengers"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2007-02-14 08:36:24

Eddie Murphy in NorbitNORBIT

Eddie Murphy's latest latex comedy, Norbit, is an unusual mixture of abject stupidity and sheer genius. If you've seen the previews - and is there anyone left who hasn't? - you've pretty much gleaned the plot, which finds our nerdy, titular hero (Murphy) trapped in matrimonial hell with the punishing, frighteningly obese Rasputia (Murphy again), and yearning to win the heart of his one true love (Thandie Newton). From beginning to end, director Brian Robbins' movie is formulaic, repetitive, obvious, and not nearly as hysterical as it wants to be. It's also one of the few comedies of recent years to be touched with something approximating brilliance.


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When the Spielberg Touch Goes Deeply Wrong: "War of the Worlds"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-07-06 00:00:00

Tim Robbins, Tom Cruise, and Dakota Fanning in War of the WorldsWAR OF THE WORLDS

My first thought after seeing Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds was: Thank God for the aliens, because although the creatures themselves aren’t particularly memorable – a gooey blend of the director’s beatific Close Encounters visitors and H. R. Giger’s 1979 Alien design – their spacecrafts certainly are. The ships’ enormous tripod legs, crushing everything in their paths, exude a wriggling, snakelike suggestiveness, and they have vicious talents besides; these tentacles have the ability to either incinerate their victims instantly – making the human race resemble ants at the mercy of a magnifying glass – or toss them into the spaceships’ grotesque “mouths,” producing more grisly, prolonged executions. (A couple of killings are reminiscent of Steve Buscemi’s demise in Fargo.) To the War of the Worlds aliens, humans are a combination of entertainment, nuisance, and snack, and whenever Spielberg gives us evidence of just how queasily horrifying an attack of this nature might be, his movie is gripping and evocative.

My second thought was: Steven Spielberg has lost his mind.


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