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items tagged with Schindlers List

Spielberg Takes a Riveting Trip to "Munich": Also, "The Family Stone"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-12-28 00:00:00

Eric Bana and Geoffrey Rush in MunichMUNICH

He may be revered – and often reviled – for his sense of childlike wonder, but no Hollywood director shoots scenes of violence with the no-frills grimness of Steven Spielberg. In the helmer’s taut, ambitious Munich – which focuses on Israeli retribution for the murders of nine of their athletes at the 1972 Olympics – Spielberg, as he did in Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan, doesn’t distance himself from the carnage on the screen, and doesn’t let us distance ourselves, either. There’s nothing self-consciously “artistic” about the numerous killings we’re shown here; bullets tear through flesh with terrifying force, bombs rip limbs apart, and most of these atrocities are portrayed with an almost shocking matter-of-factness – we recoil from the violence because Spielberg’s presentation of it is so intentionally artless. (The murders in Munich come off as almost painfully realistic.) Yet although Munich is a brutal work, it isn’t brutalizing; Spielberg is too much of a natural showman – and natural entertainer – for that. The film is a riveting and intelligent political thriller, and although the director can’t fully rein in his expectedly sentimental impulses, Munich is probably Spielberg’s strongest directorial accomplishment in more than a decade. It’s a gripping and, for Spielberg especially, refreshingly tough-minded piece of work.


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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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Newly Arrived Oscar Nominees Unmissable: "Far from Heaven," "The Pianist," "Dark Blue," and "Gods & Generals"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2003-03-05 00:00:00

Julianne Moore and Dennis Haysbert in Far from HeavenFAR FROM HEAVEN and THE PIANIST

While huge movie markets such as New York and L.A. had to content themselves with only one major new release this past weekend – Cradle 2 the Grave, featuring the long-awaited pairing of Jet Li and Tom Arnold – we’re being treated to the area debuts of Far from Heaven and The Pianist, two of 2002’s greatest achievements and the recipients of 11 Oscar nominations between them. Both movies are so good that it’s almost churlish to recommend one over the over – by all means see both – but if pressed, I gotta give the edge to Todd Haynes’ Far from Heaven, which is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.


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