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items tagged with John Williams

Not-Even-Close Encounters: “Super 8”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2011-06-12 22:57:16

Elle Fanning and Joel Courtney in Super 8SUPER 8

Though many of us might agree with the sentiment, saying that writer/director J.J. Abrams’ Super 8 stumbles in its last half hour isn’t entirely accurate. For one thing, “stumbles” implies a relatively minor disruption, and what happens to this Spielberg-influenced sci-fi thriller as it nears its climax is hardly minor; the movie, in its final 30 minutes, doesn’t stumble so much as fly off a cliff, fall onto a bunch of land mines, and explode.


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Superhero Worship: "Superman Returns" and "Poseidon: The IMAX Experience"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-07-05 04:28:14

Brandon Routh in Superman ReturnsSUPERMAN RETURNS

It takes a while - nearly half an hour - to reach the first truly wonderful scene in Superman Returns. In it, a group of reporters (including Kate Bosworth's Lois Lane) are on an airborne jet's P.R. junket when the electronics suddenly fail, causing the plane to hurtle toward the earth. Thankfully, Superman (Brandon Routh), who has been M.I.A. for the past five years, is there to save the day, which he does by catching the jet and gently guiding it to the middle of a major-league ballpark (during game play, no less). He checks on the passengers, makes a comment (echoing a similar line in Richard Donner's 1978 Superman) about how air flight is "still the safest way to travel," and exits the plane to the deafening cheers of the baseball fans in the stands, and the rousing Americana of it all - baseball and Superman! - produces an extraordinary, joyful rush; you're hard-pressed not to cheer along.


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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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Lucas’ Revenge: Goodwill Triumphing Over Evil: "Star Wars, Episode III - Revenge of the Sith"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-05-25 00:00:00

Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen in Star Wars, Episode III - Revenge of the SithSTAR WARS, EPISODE III - REVENGE OF THE SITH

I’ve spent a lot of time – both in print and in person – making fun of George Lucas’ Star Wars prequels, and for a reason: It’s pretty easy. The prosaic (and endless) exposition, the flat staging, the unspeakable dialogue, the ba-dum-ching! clunkiness of the comedy, the videogame-inspired mayhem, Jar Jar Binks … there’s practically no end of topics worth goofing on.


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Hollywood Marketing Triumphs with Two Bad Movies: "Rock Star" and "The Musketeer"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2001-09-12 00:00:00

Jennifer Aniston and Mark Wahlberg in Rock StarROCK STAR and THE MUSKETEER

If you were to guess based solely on their previews, you’d probably imagine Stephen Herek’s Rock Star to be a kitschy, affectionate look at heavy metal in the ‘80s – like This Is Spinal Tap played straight – and Peter Hyams’ The Musketeer to be a brisk reinterpretation of the Alexandre Dumas classic with a martial-arts bent – Crouching Tiger, Hidden D’Artagnan.
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