Yeah, I’ll stand by what I said in the title: Steven Spielberg is a master of moviemaking. His work might be too mainstream or hopeful for a lot of cinephiles, but the amount of craft on display shouldn’t be denied. And the weight of his impact on the art form is immeasurable. Raiders of the Lost Ark and Jurassic Park are among my all-time favorite films, and movies like Saving Private Ryan, Munich, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Schindler’s List and Jaws… I mean, come ON, how do you argue with that resume!?!? But to me, I think my favorite section of his career came right around the turn of the 21st century, with the three movies that have become collectively known as the Running Man Trilogy: A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Minority Report, and Catch Me If You Can.
(Spoilers for all three, and Close Encounters, after the jump)
While September (especially this year) is essentially The Island of Misfit Movies, October is considered the true beginning of “Oscar season”- i.e. when Hollywood starts putting out the serious big guns. This month has some big-time movies on the docket, including some that have been tipped as Oscar front-runners, but outside of those heavy hitters there isn’t much else that really catches my eye. But if these few live up to the hype that’s been built around them, I’ll still consider it a great month at the movies.
It seems like the apocalypse has been showing up in our movies a lot more often recently; from huge, city-destroying battles in Man of Steel to the post-calamity hellscapes of Oblivion and After Earth to the comedic insanity of This Is The End or the more meditative considerations of something like Melancholia, the end of the world seems to be on everyone’s minds. However, despite the inherent grimness of the subject matter, the apocalypse can actually provide a hopeful point of view on the world, and this was most apparent to me in my two favorite movies this year: Pacific Rim and The World’s End. Spoilers abound for both, after the jump:
2013 has been an overall mediocre year for movies for me. Aside from the few standouts I mentioned in my Year-So-Far review, it’s mostly been a lot of shrugworthy middle-of-the-pack material, momentarily entertaining and then mostly forgettable. There were, however, a few high-profile disappointments. Man of Steel was all about the action while painting the dialogue and characters with such broad strokes they might as well have been using spraypaint. Elysium retained a lot of the stylistic signatures you’d expect from Neill Blomkamp, but dumbed it down a ridiculous degree from District 9. But above all, the biggest and most infuriating disappointment this year has been Star Trek Into Darkness. And while Trekkers might complain about the various continuity alterations and the blockbuster-ing of their favorite franchise, my issues boil down to one simple thing: the script, and how awful it is.
(SPOILERS FOR EVERYTHING)
There’s a part of me that really REALLY hates the fact that I’m writing about The Room. To the point that I don’t even want to search Google for the poster image to put at the head of this post. I’ve never seen it, and I really have no intention of ever doing so. However, I was recently given some up-close exposure to the whole phenomenon (such as it is) and it helped arrive at my own conclusions about the concept of movies that are “so bad they’re good” and why they frustrate me so much.
So…. yeah. Kind of a slow month as far as I’m concerned. It’s not a huge surprise though, as September is a notorious dumping ground, either for genre films that aren’t expected to break the bank or prestige films that aren’t expected to be major awards players. Despite the fact that the last two Septembers featured the likes of Looper, Drive, Moneyball, The Master, Dredd, Warrior, 50/50, Contagion, and Take Shelter, the industry still tends to turn up its nose at this stretch of the calendar. It’s something I’ve never fully understood, especially given a list like the one in the previous sentence (but it’s Hollywood, since when did they need to make sense?). At any rate, there’s still a couple of potential diamonds in the rough, even if I’m not as excited for these as I was for some of those aforementioned September releases of years past. More after the pseudo-jump…
As I’ve been reminded several times the last few days, life hardly ever works out exactly the way you want it to. The best laid plans, blah blah blah. When I was first planning this blog I was going to do Trimester Reviews where I gave capsule reactions to every movie I’d seen so far this year. As you’d expect the resulting posts were pages long and bloated like crazy. So instead, I think I’m just going to do recaps where I pick out my favorite movies of the year up to the time of the post. Maybe that’ll change down the road but I think this is the best option right now. Anyway, now that I’m done ranting about blog logistics, time to rant about movies. Huzzah!
More after the… jump? (Sorry I’m still figuring out the formatting stuff)