Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
War of the Worlds
They're already here.
The extraordinary battle for the future of humankind through the eyes of one American family fighting to survive it. Ray Ferrier is a divorced dockworker and less-than-perfect father. Soon after his ex-wife and her new husband drop of his teenage son Robbie and young daughter Rachel for a rare weekend visit, a strange and powerful lightning storm touches down.
When 9/11 happened, I was in middle school. I was 13. When the first plane hit, I was just getting settled into second period. At about 9:15, the principal turned on the speaker and delivered the news. But we didn't hear about the planes, because at that point, there wasn't enough information to know about the planes in the first place. All we heard were the buzzwords: "Terrorists" "Attack" "Explosion" So the school was to be evacuated for safety precautions, of course.
It was one of the scariest moments of my life. I saw no explosions that day. I didn't see any death. I just saw the people in my life and strangers completely freaking out, and it wasn't until…
Surprisingly dark and twisted so unlike your typical Steven Spielberg film and I love it! Spectacular Special Effects! As far as acting goes the young upstart Dakota Fanning stole the show!
I could have done without the whole bad dad, teenage angst thang but other than that I truly enjoyed the film and it has become my favorite film adaptation of H.G. Well's Novel!
ONE OR TWO SPOILERS
This project hasn't been going so well so far, but this was a fair bit better even though I wasn't expecting it to be.
I do count myself as a sizeable Steven Spielberg fan even though, before this, I hadn't seen anything he'd made since the excellent Catch Me If You Can. I guess I've always been slightly reluctant to visit his later films because I was worried I would always come into them with the expectation that they would be as amazing as his earlier classics. But I actually came into this with no expectation at all, so maybe I'm ready to tackle them after all!
The apocalypse has never been so dull.
Tom Cruise, as always, shows off his excellent running form. Dakota Fanning screams and cries a lot and is generally obnoxious. Whoever played the teenage son gives a devastating, riveting performance as a one-note angsty butthead who at first is all "I don't like you, Dad" but then is all "Actually yeah I do." That's his entire character arc.
Also featuring some of the dumbest looking aliens ever put to screen and a plot that has less meat than a Buddhist monk's bowel movement, WAR OF THE WORLDS is headache levels of boring. It's supposed to be a grand spectacle but ends up being a grand spectASSle.
oh my god that was horrible
[Originally published on Nerve.com]
A decade or so from now, when academics start publishing scholarly tomes with titles like "The Anxiety of Insurgence: Hollywood Responds to 9/11," Steven Spielberg's unsparing adaptation of War of the Worlds is guaranteed a meaty chapter all its own. No doubt aware that images of people running in terror from collapsing buildings now carry unavoidable topical baggage, Spielberg, with the help of screenwriters Josh Friedman and David Koepp, has refashioned H.G. Wells' classic tale of interplanetary invasion into a unnervingly cathartic simulacrum of that Tuesday morning's apocalyptic confusion and horror. The references fly fast and furious and sans subtlety: onlookers covered in ash, walls papered with handmade MISSING flyers, mountains of rubble dotted with…
Tom Cruise is a terrible father who doesn't know why his son prefers his stepfather or what his daughter is allergic to. We don't quite know what he's been doing instead of fathering, but - because it's Tom Cruise, and because everyone in his industrialised neighbourhood seems to know him - we can make a pretty reasoned guess.
He's separated from his wife Miranda Otto (blink and you'll miss her) and doesn't do grocery shopping. His daughter, a Drew-Barrymore-from-ET-lookalike, loves him anyway, the way young kids who don't know any better often do. His teenage son is less forgiving and harder to access.
But none of the above matters or is any reason to see the film. The movie works…
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
The ending makes no sense with Spielberg's change: if the tripods can been on Earth the entire time, how did they not develop immunity to the bacteria? The whole point of the twist ending in the original novel is that since the invading creatures are new to Earth, they don't have millennia of resistance built up....
But at least it's a classic opportunity for Dakota screams.
It was just as good as the original.
There deserves to be a book written about this film as Hollywood's most improbably haunting response to the events of 9/11 (hell, I might write it myself), as the imagery of the day is repurposed and expanded upon here to a degree unparalleled since.
From the oft-mentioned sky full of ashes to a neighborhood playing host to a downed aircraft to the more abstracted specter of the human body sprayed over a landscape - the harvesting of human blood to produce red weed a transmogrification of a suicide bomber's aftermath into something abstractly beautiful. This suicide bombing imagery is repurposed even further, as Cruise's character utilizes the strategies of a suicide bomber to bring down one of the alien's machines…
Not my blood!
Tom Cruise in the dad role is a nice change of pace from his other more recent action films. (Jack Reacher, for example. Oh, honey, no. You're well past your Top Gun days, it's time to stop being the guy who gets 22 year old models as you punch your way to saving the world.)
With the exception of the Morgan Freeman narrations bookending the film, it's solid. Cruise's performance is chilling as he accepts what he believes needs to be done and blindfolds his young daughter and has her sing a lullaby to herself in order to cover up the sights and sounds of him murdering a troubled man in cold blood. The character arc was also well done; Cruise goes from a sort of deadbeat dad who comes second to The New Guy, to an engaged and semi-competent dad who will stop at nothing to save his daughter.
This movie is incredibly good and can stand with the best of Spielberg and Tom Cruise.
This film very nearly overcomes the presence of Tom Cruise (pause for a shudder), as during the whole flight from the Martians his portrayal of a panicky, worried Joe Lunchbucket dad who is monumentally out of his depth is believable to the point that one almost forgets the terrible pre-Martian segment where he’s established with excruciating insistence as a Joe Lunchbucket dad (with amazing teeth). Once the flight ends, and your warning for this is the appearance of Tim Robbins, it turns into a stupid action movie, with a Joe Lunchbucket dad who hasn’t eaten properly or slept in a couple of days performing heroics with hand grenades, pointing out the unnoticed but obvious state of the attackers, and generally getting a spotlight shone upon him. Alas.
Starts off much stronger than I remember, but gradually declines into almost unbearable garbage. The only highlight of the final hour feels like a do-over of his own (at the time, very recent) material; the scout robot/bathtub scene from Minority Report. That being said, virtually all of the "highlights" feel like a Spielberg touch, so I could see this having been complete trash in someone else's hands.
I'm posting this list earlier than normal as I'm not sure I'll be around much next week.
For the purposes…
I've always been interested in what other people are seeing and watching, and naturally, I love looking at Weekend Box…