Re-Watch: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Raiders of the Lost Ark
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Lawrence KasdanGeorge Lucas, Philip Kaufman
Cast: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, Ronald Lacey, John Rhys-Davies, Denholm Elliott, Alfred Molina, Wolf Kahler, Anthony Higgins, Vic Tablian
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 24.9.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is a professor of archaeology, but one who likes to get his hands dirty every once in a while and go on proper adventures. When the US government approaches him to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis can get their hands on it, it seems the perfect moment for another one of those adventures. To find it, Indy has to first his ex Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) who inherited an important clue as to its location. But Indy isn’t the only one who knows about that.

Raiders of the Lost Ark is an entertainment classic for a reason: a joyful, spirited adventure story that comes with sexism and racism as is to be expected for a story of its time, though that doesn’t make it any more fortunate. Despite that, I managed to enjoy a lot of it.

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The BFG (2016)

The BFG
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Melissa Mathison
Based on: Roald Dahl’s novel
Cast: Ruby BarnhillMark RylancePenelope WiltonJemaine ClementRebecca HallRafe SpallBill Hader
Seen on: 26.7.2016

Plot:
Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) lives in an orphanage that isn’t exactly the best place. One night Sophie watches as a huge person in a cloak runs through the city of London. And then that person sees her watching and simply grabs her. Soon, Sophie finds herself in the country of giants, the mysterious cloakwearer turning out to be a giant himself. Fortunately for Sophie, he’s the smallest and only friendly giant which is why she calls him the Big Friendly Giant (Mark Rylance). But when Sophie hears what the other giants are up to every night, she knows that she has to do something.

The BFG is in many things a very nice adaptation of the book, although it does lack a bit of the novel’s magic. Nevertheless I enjoyed it a lot.

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Bridge of Spies (2015)

Bridge of Spies
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Matt Charman, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Cast: Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Alan Alda, John Rue, Billy Magnussen, Amy Ryan, Austin Stowell, Jesse Plemons
Seen on: 28.12.2015

Plot:
When Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance) gets arrested for being a Russian spy in the USA, the FBI want to make really sure that his conviction sticks. So they ask lawyer James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks) to defend Abel. Donovan is well known for being scrupulous and correct. Even though Donovan knows how much hatred will come his way if he defends a known spy, he accepts Abel as a client. A decision that has far-reaching consequences as it leads to Donovan being asked to handle the negotiations about the release of an USAmerican soldier who was captured by the Russians.

It fells like Bridge of Spies went almost completely unnoticed, despite the fact that it’s the newest Spielberg film with Tom Hanks. There was barely any marketing and nobody seemed to show much interest in the film at all. I myself almost didn’t watch it. This obscurity (well, obscurity for a Spielberg movie) is a fate the film certainly doesn’t deserve.

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Re-Watch: Jaws (1975)

Jaws
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Peter Benchley, Carl Gottlieb
Based on: Peter Benchley‘s novel
Cast: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, Carl Gottlieb
Seen on: 11.7.2015

Plot:
Police chief Brody (Roy Scheider) moved to Amity Island in the hope of a calmer life with his family, although he doesn’t like the water. And he likes it even less when people start dying in it, apparently from shark bites. But Amity’s income and survival hinges on the money made from tourists visiting their beaches, so the locals don’t want to hear about closing the beach for safety. But as people keep on getting hurt, something needs to give. Finally, Brody decides to hunt the shark down himself, together with marine biologist Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and under the leadership of veteran fisherman Quint (Robert Shaw).

I hadn’t seen Jaws since I was a kid and it was both more gruesome and funnier than I remembered it ot be. In any case, it was excellent.

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Re-Watch: Poltergeist (1982)

Poltergeist
Director: Tobe Hooper
Writer: Steven Spielberg, Michael Grais, Mark Victor
Cast: Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth WilliamsDominique DunneOliver Robins, Heather O’Rourke, Beatrice Straight, Zelda Rubinstein
Seen on: 1.6.2015

Plot:
The Freelings move into a new home, in the estate father Steve (Craig T. Nelson) is helping to sell the houses in. Mother Diane (JoBeth Williams) takes care of their three children, Dana (Dominique Dunn), Robbie (Oliver Robins) and Carol Anne (Heather O’Rourke). Diane soon realizes that there are strange occurrences in their house. Her initial excitement and scientific curiosity give way to terror though, when Carol Anne goes missing inside their house – and can still be heard on the TV, talking to them. Since their circumstances are extraordinary, they start to seek extraordinary help as well.

I remember I caught Poltergeist on TV a few years ago, in the German dubbed version which I usually abhor. But I was so caught up in the film, that I barely realized it was dubbed. And on second watching (in English this time) I can honestly say: the film is still fantastic.

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Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)

Twilight Zone: The Movie (is an anthology movie based on various episodes of the Twilight Zone show)
Prologue
Director: John Landis
Writer: John Landis
Cast: Dan Aykroyd, Albert Brooks
Segment Time Out
Director: John Landis
Writer: John Landis
Cast: Vic Morrow, Doug McGrath, Charles Hallahan
Segment Kick the Can
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: George Clayton Johnson, Richard Matheson, Melissa Mathison
Cast: Scatman Crothers, Bill Quinn, Martin Garner, Selma Diamond, Helen Shaw, Murray Matheson, Peter Brocco, Priscilla Pointer
Segment It’s a Good Life
Director: Joe Dante
Writer: Jerome Bixby , Richard Matheson
Cast: Kathleen Quinlan, Jeremy Licht, Kevin McCarthy, Patricia Barry, William Schallert, Nancy Cartwright, Dick Miller
Segment Nightmare at 20,000 Feet
Director: George Miller
Writer: Richard Matheson
Based on: Richard Matheson‘s short story
Cast: John Lithgow, Abbe Lane, Donna Dixon, John Dennis Johnston, Larry Cedar, Dan Aykroyd
Part of: /slash Filmfestival

Plot:
In the Prologue we see a driver (Albert Brooks) who picks up a hitchhiker (Dan Aykroyd), but things don’t go exactly as planned.
In Time Out, racist and antisemit Bill Connor (Vic Morrow) gets shown the error of his ways through involuntary time travel.
In Kick the Can, the residents of a senior home get another chance to play when Mr. Bloom (Scatman Crothers) joins them.
In It’s a Good Life, little Anthony (Jeremy Licht) has the power to make his life just as he wants it to be – something that Helen (Kathleen Quinlan) gets to experience herself when she meets him.
In Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, John Valentine (John Lithgow) battles with his fear of flying during a flight. But this time his fear might not be entirely unfounded.

I have never really seen the show, but I did like the movie. It was a nice and entertaining anthology, even though it didn’t blow me all away.

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Lincoln (2012)

Lincoln
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Tony Kushner
Based on: Doris Kearns Goodwin‘s book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, Hal Holbrook, John Hawkes, Jackie Earle Haley, Bruce McGill, Tim Blake Nelson, Joseph Cross, Jared Harris, Lee Pace, Michael Stuhlbarg, David Costabile, Walton Goggins, David Oyelowo, Lukas Haas, Dane DeHaan

Plot:
In the middle of the US American civil war, Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis) got reelected for his second term of presidency. And he uses that position to make another push to finally do away with slavery in the US for good by adding an amendment to the constitution. But he faces a lot of opposition, not only from the Democrats, but also from within his own Republican party. As the war draws closer to its end, Lincoln and his staff have to work really hard to pass the amendment in time.

Oh boy, Lincoln is one hell of a boring movie. It’s really long, and it feels even longer. The cast is generally fantastic, but the script is unfocused and Steven Spielberg is really off his game in this one.

Lincoln

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War Horse (2011)

War Horse
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Lee Hall, Richard Curtis
Based on: Michael Morpurgo‘s novel
Cast: Jeremy Irvine, Peter Mullan, Emily Watson, David Thewlis, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, David Kross, Niels Arestrup, Celine Buckens, Toby Kebbell, Eddie Marsan, Liam Cunningham

Plot:
Albert (Jeremy Irvine) has fallen in love with his neighbor’s foal and is out of his mind with joy when his father (Peter Mullan) actually buys the by now grown horse. Unfortunately they can’t actually afford it. But Albert begs until his mother (Emily Watson) allows him to keep Joey and together they find a way. That is, until war breaks out and Joey is bought by Captain Nicholls (Tom Hiddleston) and shipped off to war. Will Joey and Albert ever find each other again?

This movie was so freaking long, I don’t even have words for it. And my 12 year old me would hate me for saying this but: there was just too much of this damned horse.*

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The Adventures of Tintin (2011)

The Adventures of Tintin
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Stephen Moffat, Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish
Based on: Hergé‘s comics
Cast: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Cary Elwes, Toby Jones, Daniel Mays

Plot:
One day Tintin (Jamie Bell), a young reporter, stumbles upon the model of The Unicorn, a ship that was lost at sea (and with it, the treasure it was carrying). Tintin just thinks it’s nice but when several people immediately try to buy it off him (for outrageous prizes), he is intrigued and starts to investigate. But Mr Sakharine (Daniel Craig) one of the prospective buyers, doesn’t give up easily and even resorts to kidnapping. And so Tintin is whisked away on an adventure, together with the eternally grumpy Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis).

Tintin is a gorgeous looking movie* with a good voice cast. Unfortunately, it is also a Tintin movie.

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