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.
[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…
One of my favorite Spielberg films.
I never really understood what many complained about concerning this film. It's structured beautifully-it's suspenseful-the effects are terrific-it's not your typical Sci-Fi film-they didn't spend the entire film showing us fighting these aliens-it focuses on a dysfunctional family and their fight for survival and through their journey rediscover their unconditional love for each other.
I adore Spielberg's camera work in this film-there are hundreds of amazing shots-numerous sequences that through the brilliant use of digital effects come off as one shots that dazzle the eye.
The score is fantastic-from the opening notes to the finale-great score.
Tom Cruise does a wonderful job-a man who finds the hero within himself-not the most responsible Father but…
If Steven Spielberg was indeed, as it has been stated, attempting to make his way back into fun blockbusters the sort of Raiders of the Lost Ark, then War of the Worlds is not correct approach to such a set goal. Hardly an awful movie but one that lacks any magic, fascination, excitement or touches of brilliance that is present in every Steven Spielberg classics, War of the Worlds is one of the director’s weakest films.
Tom Cruise returns following his work with Spielberg on Minority Report, a brilliant film that contained energy from Cruise despite his weak performance. Here, Cruise portrays an estranged father attempting to reconcile with his two children as an alien invasion occurs, therefore becoming a…
A mildly entertaining two hours that never really bored me, but never did anything to really grasp my attention. Both of Tom Cruise's kids characters, played by Justin Chatwin and Dakota Fanning, were extremely annoying and frankly I was rooting against them for this reason. The ending elicited a "that was it" from me too - the thought behind it was solid, but the execution left something to be desired. Check this out on cable / HBO in the afternoon if you're interested in this type of stuff or are a Tom Cruise fan.
Part of the 5 Directors x 5 Unseen Films – Round 1 Project
Spielberg's last outing into alien endeavours is both his most ambitious and the most flawed. Set in 21st century, this new take on the story follows Ray Ferrier (Tom Cruise), a divorced dockworker who gets his kids over for the weekend right before the start of an alien invasion. Now, from my point of view, this could either develop into an heartfelt humane drama about the plight of a family faced with catastrophe or into a dumb "pew pew" type of sci-fi film with a dumb plot and unrelatable characters. Spielberg, from the top of all his might, manages to achieve both.
War of the Worlds starts…
Beautifully mounted and often disturbingly surreal, War of the Worlds captures the pure pandemonium and the flurry of emotions (from sorrow to rage to pure, unadulterated fear). Marred by some touches that almost seem parodic of Spielberg, including a happy ending that undoes the commitment to heartbreak and woe that otherwise made this one of the most mature of epic disaster films. Still sorely underrated.
I hadn't seen this film since it came out, and it's definitely worth a rewatch. I think this is Spielberg's most subversive film since it wears the face of a blockbuster. It stars Tom Cruise, it was a summer tentpole, and Spielberg snuck in a 9/11 movie with some seriously dark and disturbing stuff.
The aliens aren't really the antagonists. They're a CAUSE, but the real darkness comes from humanity. It's people trampling each other and ignoring each other. The malevolence is innate, and Spielberg plays the reality of the fear. Even good intentions, like the couple trying to "help" Rachael (Dakota Fanning in one of her best performances), become disturbing.
Some parts worked better for me the second time…
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
One of the most underrated science fiction films of recent times in my opinion. Spielberg's War of the Worlds has awesome effects, a captivating story, a solid lead performance from "The Running Man" Tom Cruise, and perfectly captures a sense of urgency and peril with it's tone. I saw this in the cinema when it first came out in 2005 and it scared the crap out of me, and even on a re-watch 9 years later it still gives me the creeps.
Deals with 9/11 much more obviously than Munich did. At one point a character even asks "is it terrorists". But what this allows Spielberg to do is capture all of the paranoia and fear that came with 9/11, where Munich was only able to capture our need for righting the wrong that was done. Though Munich does out do War of the Worlds as far as subtlety, but War of the Worlds showing the slaughter of millions is able to connect with the audience much more by connecting with their own fears.
Although it might be a bad movie, and the story just seems unfinished, the cinematography of Janusz Kaminski has it's gorgeous moments.
Tom Cruise can run, I get it. Good CGI.
First half is better.
I should first declare that the only version of War of the Worlds I have much time for is the big-budget Victorian-set version starring John Hurt as the journalist (with Paul Bettany as the artilleryman and Anthony Hopkins as the preacher) that only exists in my head.
That out of the way, this was pretty mediocre. Spielberg does the big spectacle well and there are some great set-pieces and a few very haunting visuals - the bodies floating down the river, the neat format of burning army Humvees. However, there's an almost stereotypical amount of syrup thrown in (did anyone believe for even a fraction of a second that the son died, or that the mother wouldn't be waiting in Boston?) and showing the aliens was a big mistake. Inside the well-designed tripods they're a mysterious force of nature. Outside as a smoothed down version of the bad guys from Independence Day not so much.
War Of The Worlds is a nice-looking and well set film, it has seeming potential on a superficial level.
Starting this review over, War of the Worlds is a clunky shitshow of a movie. A laugh riot, an exercise in self-parody. A motion picture featuring a screenplay that makes one wonder if the writers have ever talked to another human being or if they have restricted themselves to anus-resembling extraterrestrial devices. Also featuring occasional interesting visuals. Featuring often poorly designed visuals (including anus-resembling extraterrestrial devices, that was quite idiosyncratic). On my book, a film deserving of a tasteful critical pan for being so ungodly dumb.
How can a film such as this one, that manages to indulge in every cliché…
- The Racket
- 7th Heaven
- Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
- Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness
- Dead Man's Letters
- The Ugly Swans
- Morel's Invention
- The Man from Earth
I'm posting this list earlier than normal as I'm not sure I'll be around much next week.
For the purposes…
- 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…