Steven Spielberg

‘Poltergeist’ and the Inherent Frustrations of Movie Remakes

The key difficulty in talking and writing about movie remakes is simple: it’s very hard to not just spend 500 or so words asking, over and over, “Why?” Such films seldom improve upon their original, at least anymore; once was the time when a John Huston would remake an unloved picture like The Maltese Falcon, but these days the entire reason for a remake is to capitalize on name recognition and leftover nostalgia. Yet such qualities are what end up crippling the remakes, ensuring a curiosity factor (and, y’know, dollar) but little more. And the essential paradox of the remake has seldom been as explicitly — and often frustratingly — actualized as it is in Gil Kenan’s new Poltergeist, which assembles a very gifted group of people to go through another movie’s paces, a cover band you wish would just play their own songs. … Read More

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Brad Bird’s ‘Tomorrowland’ Should Have Been Great — So What Went Wrong?

It seems safe to bet that deep inside every filmmaker, there lurks a burning desire to make a movie in the exact style of his or her favorite director. It’s the best way to explain the scores of filmmakers doing mini-Scorsese movies in the ‘90s; young filmmakers of the late ‘90s and early ’00s gave us plenty of junior Woody Allen pictures. And when a certain kind of filmmaker (most likely one who was a kid in the 1980s) gets access to a big budget and a summer berth, they apparently want to make a Spielberg movie. J.J. Abrams did it a few years back with Super 8; Colin Trevorrow is reportedly making his Jurassic World, due next month, less a sequel than a Spielberg homage. And then we have Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland, with enough nostalgic golden glow, characters gazing off in a wonder, and John Williams-esque music cues to seem, in spots, like a Spielberg cosplay. Yet Bird seems to have learned the hard way what Abrams did in Super 8: the aesthetics are easy to ape, but one should never underestimate the value Spielberg places on tight, clear, logical storytelling. … Read More

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10 Great Road Movies About Women

Wild, director Jean-Marc Vallée’s film version of Cheryl Strayed’s bestselling memoir, hits DVD and Blu-ray this week, and is well worth your time — both on its own merits and as part of the fascinating and ongoing history of the female road movie. While tales of the open road often focus on male buddies (Easy Rider) or lovers on the run (Badlands, True Romance, Natural Born Killers), some of our favorite road movies track the physical and psychological journeys of women. Here are a few… Read More

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One and Done: 10 Directors Who Exited Movie Franchises After the First Film

The rumors were swirling for a while, but now she’s made it official: Fifty Shades of Grey director Sam Taylor-Johnson won’t be back for the remaining two (or, if they’re following the unfortunate current trend, three) film adaptations of E.L. James’ bestsellers. “While I will not be returning to direct the sequels,” she told Deadline, “I wish nothing but success to whosoever takes on the exciting challenges of films two and three.” This “one and done” pattern is surprisingly prevalent among big movie franchises. While many series keep the same director for multiple entries (Spider-Man, X-Men, Pirates of the Caribbean), if not all the way through (Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones, Transformers, The Dark Knight), some filmmakers go through the work of creating a world, making crucial casting decisions, and starting a franchise, only to decide — or have someone decide for them — that they’re not going to go through it all again. Here are a few other filmmakers that were in for a penny instead of a pound. … Read More

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Jennifer Lawrence and Steven Spielberg Confirmed for Adaptation of War Photographer Lynsey Addario’s Memoir


Deadline reports that Warner Bros. is finalizing a deal for Lynsey Addario’s memoir What I Do: A Photographer’s Life… Read More

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Steven Soderbergh Turned ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ into a Black-and-White Silent Movie

Steven Soderbergh’s website Extension 765 serves several purposes, most of them commercial: he sells his artwork and… Read More

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