Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
Empire of the Sun
To survive in a world at war, he must find a strength greater than all the events that surround him.
The story of young English boy who lives with his parents in Shanghai during World War II. After the Pearl Harbor attack, the Japanese occupy the Shanghai International Settlement, and in the following chaos Jim becomes separated from his parents.
Wow, Batman was tiny.
It's freaky just looking at him.
With Empire of the Sun, Steven Spielberg is simply preparing for Schindler’s List, a film that is a superb period piece with fantastic emotional value. With Empire of the Sun, Spielberg creates one of the most tedious films I’ve ever seen.
Young Christian Bale portrays a spoiled British kid who is separated from his parents and experiences a life outside of his comfort. To put it simply, Bale is terrible in his film debut providing no depth, no charisma nor any versatility whatsoever for his age. There have been far superior performances in Spielberg films from younger actors than Bale: Drew Barrymore as Gertie from E.T and Cary Guffey as Barry in Close Encounters of a Third Kind. Both exceptional…
The ending took it up a big notch. Caught me off guard is what happened.
Technically the film is fantastic. Spielberg knows his stuff. The story is a little bit all over the place but Bale really holds it all together. It truly is a great performance. Some other characters do feel underused though. The film tries to rely on Miranda Richardson's character for a couple of emotionally heavy scenes but I felt that she had not been present enough throughout the film to warrant this.
Gotta love the choir singing though.
It seems an odd pairing: Steven Spielberg and his films of emotional warmth and yearning, and JG Ballard, author of detached, forensic examinations of violence. Yet it's easy to see what attracted Spielberg to Ballard's autobiographical novel, as it covers some of the themes he returns to many times over: childhood and family; parental abandonment and a child's adventure; escape and flight as a symbol of transcending ones troubles.
Moreover, Empire of the Sun is about the death of innocence; a boy whose experiences during the Second World War form him into an adult. It's a significant film in Spielberg's body of work as it marks an attempt to shift away from what had been his celebration of the child…
Empire of the Sun is a story about a british boy surviving in a japanese occupied Shangai.
The movie is really beautiful, with really great sceneries and shots. There are some really magical moments, for example when Jim is singing for the three kamikaze.
The acting is really great and what I like about this movie is that infantile feeling as we follow Jim around. Yes, he was a brat and of course those war situations would change him, mature him, but I love how we can watch him still being a kid or befriending a japanese kid, ignoring the hatred of the war. I just didn't like much the way he glamourize the Atom Bomb, but I guess it was his naive way to see it.
This is really a great movie.
Gets pretty Spielberg-y at times—he still hadn't learned to distrust his populist instincts in a purely dramatic context—but the first hour or so, prior to the internment camp, is remarkably strong, not least in its depiction of Jamie as a budding young opportunist who encounters his disreputable future in Basie. (Malkovich gets one of the all-time great entrances here: head down, cap pulled low, just a torrent of wised-up speech; it's ages before we get a good look at his eyes. He'd already won critics' awards a couple years earlier for Killing Fields and Places in the Heart, but this was the role that defined him for me.) Really, you could repair a lot of the damage just by…
An episodic coming-of-age tale unlike any other. Drifts for some time, but finds its way home.
75/100 - Very Good
Once upon a time I read some article by some guy who whined how Westerners don't care about Eastern Europe. One of the examples he brought up was that Spielberg had made movies about German and Japanese concentration camps but hadn't touched the Gulag. That was the only time I'd heard this movie being referenced.
Well for a work that is supposedly condemning Imperial Japanese terror the movie sure has a lot of respect for their fighters. Christian Bale starts off as a young rascal polymath who's taken with the Japs. He plays with their model airplanes and wants to join their air force. You'd expect him to become disillusioned through the course of the film but nope, the admiration…
Although it had a few touching moments, they were ruined from cheesy, cliche one-liners. But it was really cool to see Christian Bale as a kid actor!!
Anyways- my last criticism about this movie *even though it's rating PG, is how they present the internment camps throughout the movie. It makes it seem like it was some kind of summer camp. But, Spielberg famously and successfully changed this flaw in Schindler's List.
The infernal thing about Spielberg is that even when his films are kinda goopy, they're absolutely gorgeous. Empire of the Sun is overlong (man, Tom Stoppard has a checkered record when it comes to film pacing) and incidental where it ought to have a sense of momentum, features a John Williams score with the deft of a pile-driver, and suffers the seven-endings problem that predates Return of the King but I'm still calling Return of the King syndrome. Damn, though, Christian Bale's the perfect, manic, flight-obsessed little ragamuffin and John Malkovich is basically his pirate guru. The crowd work in the Shanghai scenes is staggeringly good: frantic yet comprehensible. There's a sort of saccharine childishness in Spielberg's indulgence of all the giant suns hanging majestically in an expansive sky, sure. But still: super pretty.
I have a love-hate relationship with Spielberg. Even his dullest and corniest efforts are filmed beautifully, and I've always felt where he lacks as a good storyteller, he makes up for as a talented director. (See: War Horse) This is a film that I thought fit that criteria perfectly. I did not think that this was a good movie, but Spielberg knows how to get at the emotions of the audience, and as pandering as the idiotic patriotism and inspirationalism was, it was damn effective.
The biggest problem was pace. Some segments felt plodding, while others in comparison felt almost surreal in the way it seemingly left gaping holes in a mad rush to fit the film under 3 hours.…
Spielberg's stock-in-trade, a privileged yet alienated young boy searching for identity in the world of men, has a boon here in a young Christian Bale, who plays a very evocative example thereof.
While the early scenes of his coddled childhood, as a wealthy British national in war-touched Shanghai, are supposed to be alien and disconnected, that mood persists unintentionally into the later parts too, when colonialism and hatred and grief should be disappearing, or at least becoming less of a curious spectacle.
But it does persist, and what could have been a thoughtful meditation on war and childhood is just a confusing and distasteful combination of mawkishness and violence.
Not surprised at Spielberg’s brutality here, necessarily (after all, he is the same man who went on to make the incredibly traumatic War of the Worlds), but by his ambiguity. At first glance he’s trying to have his cake and eat it too by tempering the gauntlet Jim is put through with a sense of adventure and whimsy, but the bombing run on the prison camp was the Rosetta Stone for me*: it’s actually a film about survival through denial. Jim has to contextualize his experiences through the filter of his adventure comics because otherwise he’d be catatonic with fear, grief and guilt. But the darkness is always creeping in. It’s a challenging and brilliant movie and it never gives…
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
It was great to revisit this. Christian Bale was delightful, and great to see where he has progressed to since. Overall a solid story and great cast give weight to it. I have not read Ballard, but understand his legend status.
- The Racket
- 7th Heaven
- Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
- Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness
- À nous la liberté
- About Schmidt
- Absence of Malice
- Adam's Rib
From the NYT website:
This list is drawn from the second edition of The New York Times Guide to the…
- Raiders of the Lost Ark
- Jurassic Park
- Schindler's List
- E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
This could get ugly. 2 votes maximum. Deadline September 8th. My picks are Schindler's List and Raiders of the Lost…