Posts Tagged ‘Steven Spielberg’

‘Stranger Things’ random thoughts: Of burgers and quibbles

September 23, 2016

stranger things titles.jpg

Having just finished screening Season 1 of Netflix’s Stranger Things, I’ve got some random thoughts on the ’80s-set saga of a Goonies-style gang of young nerds, a mysteriously powered small girl and a determined mom and sheriff tackling a scary other-dimensional threat in an Indiana town after a boy disappears.

Yes, the reviews are gushy (pushovers), but honest carping counts too, and someone’s gotta play devil’s advocate.

To wit:

Natalia Dyer, as the allegedly alluring (how’s that for alliteration — again!) teen lusted after by a big-haired dude at school, is too thin — make that emaciated — make that nearly skeletal — for the story’s time setting. Her stick-figure form is 2016 talking, and it undercuts the series’ 1980s period-piece veracity. If I’d been the casting director, I’d have told her she’s a fine actress and has the part — provided she eats some burgers.



Blue-ray Review ‘Beautiful Creatures’: When CG Isn’t A-OK

May 19, 2013

Beautiful CreaturesOK, I’m a name-dropper. Can’t help it — because some things need to be said.

In 2005 I had a lengthy interview with Steven Spielberg about his then-new film Minority Report. It was filled with special effects of the CG (computer generated) variety — effects which it needed, given the futuristic and technologically oriented story.

Yet still, I had mixed feelings about such effects in general, and I sensed Spielberg did too.

So I asked him: “If you’d had CG when you made Jaws in 1975 . . . ”

And he finished for me: “It wouldn’t have been as good.” (more…)

DVD review: ‘South Park’ twelfth season rips George and Stevie

March 10, 2009

As South Park: The Complete Twelfth Season hits DVD, fanboys will note the three-disc set’s generous extra features — specifically, making-of materials on each disc.

Yes, they’re nice, especially the explanation of how a show about Barack Obama’s election aired the day after the election. But what really makes me stand up and cheer about this release is seeing yet another twisted South Park yarn forever preserved on DVD which qualifies as a “You’ll never work in this town again” episode.

Say what? By that, I reference the old Hollywood adage that if you go against certain powers in the company town, you’ll be blackballed forever, and you might as well go back to Ohio to join the Rotary Club.  Yet South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have thumbed their nose at Hollywood repeatedly, and they’re still standing tall in So Cal, having turned their Colorado roots into the most cheeky and irreverent mind-warp comedy on television.

In the process, they’ve offended almost everyone, but most notably such largely untouchable types as Tom Cruise in the Trapped in the Closet episode of Season Nine.

And this time, the boys have bashed even bigger fish: George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. In the new DVD’s The China Problem, the kids of South Park are traumatized by having metaphorically witnessed the “rape” of Indiana Jones by Spielberg and Lucas in the fourth Indy film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

It’s all in their minds, of course, yet it’s still re-enacted in excruciating detail, as George and Stevie accost poor Indie on screen and proceed to have their way with him — or the nearest handy Star Wars Stormtrooper.

My favorite is the Deliverance sendup where the movie moguls behave like inbred backwoods rapacious scum. Take that, Trey and Matt seem to be saying. We hated your badly botched movie that you made just for money (uh, Trey and Matt — you’re out to make a buck, too), and now you’ve gotta live with our scathing scorn.

But to mercilessly rip such giants as George and Stevie? My gosh — those boys will never work in La La again.

Or will they? After all, stunts like this haven’t stopped them before. And besides, it’s all in the family. South Park, like Indiana Jones and the Crystal Thingamadooey, is from Paramount, and as they also say, no publicity is bad publicity. Beyond that, I’ve met all four of these fellows and can say they’re all congenial men who should be able to get along.

So hey, Trey and Matt — you guys free for lunch? George and Stevie and I want to take a meeting with you at 5555 Melrose and talk about turning South Park into a big animated movie event that’ll make us all tons of money.

What? You’ve already done that? Shoot. Well, can you say “Sequel”?