Tag Archives: steven spielberg

Bumblebee Trailer #1 (2018) *Every Adventure Has a Beginning*

The tagline for the first spin-off in the Transformers franchise is “Every Adventure Has A Beginning.”  That’s a little ironic since it looks like Bumblebee will be the end of the line for the Bay-verse Transformers.  The film, which stars Hailee Steinfeld, opens December 21st, and will be the first live-action Transformers film directed by someone other than Bay.  Travis Knight will be helming the film, but as the trailer hearkens back to the original Transformers movie, the franchise is at a crossroads.

Transformers: The Last Knight was the fourth horrible sequel in a row for Transformers, but the first one that actually managed to underperform at the box office for Paramount.  Two weeks ago, the studio removed the planned seventh Transformers film from their schedule for 2019.  Hasbro, which owns the rights to the franchise, is reportedly looking to reboot the franchise with greater creative control over content, which will require a renegotiation with Paramount before proceeding with future installments.  More from Coming Soon below.

Directed by Travis Knight (Kubo and the Two Strings), the film stars Hailee Steinfeld (Edge of Seventeen), Pamela Adlon (Better Things), John Cena (Daddy’s Home 2), Stephen Schneider (Comedy Central’s Broad City), Jorge Lendeborg Jr. (Spider-Man: Homecoming), Jason Drucker (Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul), Kenneth Choi (American Crime Story), Ricardo Hoyos (Degrassi: Next Class), Abby Quinn (Landline), Rachel Crow (Deidra & Laney Rob a Train), and Grace Dzienny (Zoo).

On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie (Steinfeld), on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken. When Charlie revives him, she quickly learns this is no ordinary, yellow VW bug.

The film is produced by Transformers franchise veterans Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Michael Bay, along with executive producers Steven Spielberg, Brian Goldner and Mark Vahradian. Chris Brigham (Argo, Inception) will also executive produce. The screenplay is written by Christina Hodson (Unforgettable).

Bumblebee will be released in the U.S. on December 21, 2018.

Bumblebee Poster

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My Favorite Scene: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) “Father & Son”

 

Raiders of the Lost Ark is undoubtedly the best Indiana Jones film, but if I’m going to pop one in to just have a great time, I’ll go with Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (where the series should have ended).  Where Temple of Doom was a diversion from Indy as a relic-seeking archaeologist, The Last Crusade brought back everything that made Raiders great.  In a fantastic opening sequence, a young River Phoenix plays Indy (spawning a short-lived TV series) in an early adventure that explains virtually every tic and hiccup about the character we’ve come to love over the two previous films..  It’s one of the best openings of any Spielberg movie, and a brilliant idea to reintroduce audiences to Jones after the five-year gap between Temple and Crusade.   Continue reading My Favorite Scene: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) “Father & Son”

My Favorite Scene: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) “Bridge Battle”

Before Crystal Skull, if there was a weak link in the Indy series, it was 1984’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (now it looks like a masterpiece).  Set before Raiders, because Lucas convinced Spielberg that Jones should be like Bond with a different girl in every film.  The original second movie was going to revolve around Karen Allen’s father, Indiana’s mentor, but Lucas wanted to do something darker.  George was going through a divorce and one of the darkest periods of his life, so instead of meeting Marian’s family, we got a Kali death cult in India that kidnapped children and performed human sacrifices.  Dark times for George.

Dark enough that the violence in Temple of Doom upset so many parents that the MPAA created the PG-13 rating directly as a result of this film (which is pretty tame compared to most PG-13 films now, but good luck getting the MPAA to do anything about revising the ratings system).  I can’t stand Kate Capshaw’s incessant screaming, and the opening club/musical number kind of makes me wince, but you can’t deny the awesomeness of Short Round and a number of the action pieces, especially the iconic mine car sequence, but the best piece in the film is Indy’s stand on the bridge.  It’s one of the best moments in the series, hands down.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Poster

My Favorite Scene: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) “An Idol Births an Icon”

Raiders of the Lost Ark is, to my mind, the greatest action-adventure movie in film history.  It has so many iconic moments and set pieces, but none more so that its opening,  The journey through the temple to find the idol was pure excitement, but it also established Indiana Jones’s character by 10 minutes into the film.  It’s one of Spielberg’s greatest sequences, and the greatest movie icon to come out of any of his films.  Given where the franchise is headed in the future, I thought we’d revisit what had been before any more news about Indy 5 and beyond came out.

Spielberg gave an interview this week saying that the franchise will continue after 2020’s Indiana Jones 5, but that it would be Harrison Ford’s farewell.  I’m not sure if they plan to reboot or recast, but Spielberg seemed very intent on gender-bending it saying, “Of course we’d have to change the character’s name to Indiana Joan.”  It’s really hard from a print interview to tell if he was kidding, because not only does that make no sense, but there already is a female Indiana Jones and her name is Lara Croft.  He acts like this is a huge franchise, when it should have been left at three films made in 8 years in the 1980s.  It does not HAVE to go on, and-if it does-he should not be doing it any more.  People seem more focused on Harrison Ford’s age than Spielberg’s inability to deliver a film like Raiders any more, but I don’t want him anywhere near this creation.  I’d like to think Disney is smarter than that.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t include the one-off in the marketplace also; a take on the classic “don’t bring a knife to a gun fight” trope.  It actually was scripted as an epic fight, whip vs. gun, that was going to include a huge amount of stunt work from Ford, but on the day of filming, he was siiiiiiiiiick.  He had a fever and food poisoning and could barely stand, so he suggested…..”Why don’t I just shoot him?”  Worked out much better, and Ford went back to his hotel.

 

Movie Review: Ready Player One (2018) *All Pop Without the Culture*

Tye Sheridan in Ready Player One
What happens when reality gets to be too much?  Well, most of us depart it as soon as possible.  “Humankind cannot bear very much reality,” (little T.S. Eliot for you) and it’s true.  Especially in the hypersaturated information age, reality is an overwhelming non-stop sensory onslaught.  People need to check out to stay sane.  Some find healthy ways of doing this, others not so healthy, but the need for escapism remains.  In Ready Player One, the enter world has escaped a depressing society into a virtual reality playground known as the OASIS.  Inside, the whole world is engaged in a treasure hunt to find three keys that will unlock the ownership of the OASIS embedded in the system by its deceased founder.  If that sounds like an awesome premise for a story, you are correct.  The book is one of my favorite of the last decade.  Whether you like Ready Player One or not, is probably going to depend on whether you have read the book or not and know just how much better THAT story is than the one Steven Spielberg delivers. Continue reading Movie Review: Ready Player One (2018) *All Pop Without the Culture*