I thought since I checked out the new sci-fi sensation Arrival yesterday that I would check out a real sci-fi classic for today. A friend suggested that I watch Close Encounters Of The Third Kind which was directed by Steven Spielberg (E.T.the Extra-Terrestrial) and it so happens to be today’s film. Everything is normal around the country until planes that went missing in the 1950’s mysteriously show up looking like they were brand new. It sets off a chain reaction of events where people around Indiana and other parts of the country come in contact or experience an encounter with UFO’s. One man named Roy (Richard Dreyfuss) and Jillian (Melinda Dillon) whose son was kidnapped want answers as to what it was they saw and why the government is lying about the events. They may just get the answer, but it might be more than they were looking for. The film also stars François Truffaut (Shoot The Piano Player) as Lacombe, Teri Garr (Young Frankenstein) as Ronnie Neary, Bob Balaban (The Grand Budapest Hotel) as David Laughlin, J. Patrick McNamara (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure) as Project Leader, Lance Henriksen (The Terminator) as Robert, George DiCenzo (She-Ra: Princess Of Power) as Major Benchley, and Carl Weathers (Rocky) as Soldier.
One thing that I will say is that the soundtrack to this film is absolutely amazing and we shouldn’t be surprised by that considering John Williams (Star Wars) composed the whole thing. The score did exactly what it was supposed to do and that it is it helped move the film and it complimented it. Now as far as the film was concerned, this is actually an amazing motion picture especially for it’s time. Of course the film was overshadowed by Star Wars: A New Hope, but it deserves some mention and merit because the special effects were great for 1977. The aliens that you see in the film were kind of weird looking and OK, but it does the trick for the time. The shots of the spaceship are awesome and it’s incredible looking. The acting in the film was great especially from Richard Dreyfuss and Melinda Dillon who stole the show. Carl Weathers has a cool cameo as a soldier in the film who threatens Drefuss’s character and a lot of 80’s greats are in this film like Lance Henriksen, etc. Just like in the Arrival, they too have to learn the language of the aliens in order to communicate with them, but this was a better film. The end kind of made sense because you understood why and such. It wasn’t a huge build up to be let down by what the end result was. If you’re a fan of cinema then definitely give this one a watch because I loved it. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.
A couple of weeks ago, they celebrated 25 years since the invention and launch of the internet which was the day society went forwards and backwards. The film I chose for today deals with computers, but in the form of Hackers. Jonny Lee Miller (Trainspotting) plays Dade Williams, a kid who was arrested as a child for creating the biggest computer crash in history. He was banned from using computers until he hit the age of 18. Unfortunately, he gets pulled back into the world of hacking when a friend (Jesse Bradford) uncovers a sinister plot to steal money and blame hackers for the crime. So, Dade and his friends, will get together to try and stop an evil hacker before they are all arrested and put away for good. The film also stars Angelina Jolie (Mr. and Mrs. Smith) as Kate, Matthew Lillard (She’s All That) as Cereal, Laurence Mason (The Crow) as Nikon, Renoly Santiago (Con Air) as Phreak, Fisher Stevens (The Grand Budapest Hotel) as Plague, Lorraine Bracco (Goodfellas) as Margo, Wendell Pierce (The Gift) as Agent Dick Gill, Marc Anthony (Carlito’s Way) as Agent Ray, Darren Lee (Chicago) as Razor, Peter Y. Kim (Louie) as Blade, and the film was directed by Iain Softley (K-Pax).
This was such a typical 90’s film with all the aesthetics from the soundtrack, the shots, the montages with non related computer language going across the screen, etc. The computers they used in the film are so lame looking. Some of them looked like the small portable DVD players you can buy in the stores and others like bigger screened Gameboys. Artistically and stylistically it’s such a 90’s film, but it’s cool because we got some great movies from the 90’s and this is obviously one of them. It’s crazy to see Angelina Jolie in this movie with short hair (she looks sexy), but she was amazing along with her husband at the time (or after the film) Jonny Lee Miller. They definitely played a great onscreen duo because there was chemistry. I usually have a hard time taking Fisher Stevens seriously as a villain, but I feel that this film was tailor made for him. He was the perfect villain for the hacker heroes of the time. You also have to look at the people that starred in this film like Matthew Lillard (who would go on to star in Scream) and Jesse Bradford (who would go on to star in Romeo + Juliet) who was one of my favorite characters because he’s so desperate to belong among the hackers that he causes the dilemma in the first place. If you’re into checking out the 90’s scene which included outrageous attire that I wouldn’t dare touch then check out Hackers. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.
I honestly believe that one of the greatest comedy movie actors of all time or at least in the last 30 to 40 years is Bill Murray (Ghostbusters). Every decade, he surprises us with how relevant he continues to be with every film that he stars in and that is the case with today’s film The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. Steve Zissou (Murray) is a world famous oceanographer who has produced great documentaries of his voyages over the years. After one production, his partner Esteban (Seymour Cassel) is killed by a mysterious shark called the Jaguar Shark. The public questions the existence of the shark, so Steve gathers up a crew that includes his estranged wife, a man who is quite possibly his son, and a pregnant reporter who has a low opinion of him along for the ride. The film stars Owen Wilson (Zoolander 2) as Ned Plimpton, Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man) as Klaus, Cate Blanchett (The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button) as Jane Winslett-Richardson, Anjelica Huston (The Adams Family) as Eleanor Zissou, Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park) as Alistair Hennessey, Michael Gambon (Gosford Park) as Oseary Drakoulias, Noah Taylor (Edge Of Tomorrow) as Vladimir, Seu Jorge (City Of God) as Pele, Robyn Cohen (Burned) as Anne-Marie, Waris Ahluwalia (The Grand Budapest Hotel) as Vikram, and the film was directed by Wes Anderson (Moonrise Kingdom).
I definitely have to check out more films from Wes Anderson cause he definitely has his own style of films that you instantly recognize as his. He is in part the true definition of what François Truffaut and his colleagues coined Auteurs. Wes wrote and directed the film meaning he took full artistic responsibility for the film like an author would for a book. The thing that made me fall in love with this film was the various tones and colors that are present in this film. There are just so many colors that take precedence in this film that makes it truly amazing. Even the wildlife that are presented in the film are very colorful and cool looking even though we know that they are fake. This is probably one of the most amazing films to feature Bill Murray and it was just so well written that he was a natural fit for the part. All of the subplots within the film were even written so well that it was hard for me to find any faults. The film isn’t your typical comedy because it doesn’t contain stupid comedy or slapstick comedy, but it is otherwise a parody tribute to French diver Jacques-Yves Cousteau. The film may have bombed in the box office, but that doesn’t mean that the film is awful, it just means it takes time to recognize real art. I am a huge fan of this film and I think that this is one to put on your list. That is why I am going to give the film The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou an A- because the production sets and the story was excellently done.
There are certain characters in the history of cinema that transcend time and are so iconic they carry their weight for years. James Bond is definitely one of those characters no matter who plays him and that is why I chose Spectre for today’s film. Daniel Craig (Skyfall) once again reprises the role of James Bond in this film as he investigates a new, but familiar threat. The 00 program’s existence is being threatened by the potential merger of all the world’s security/spy programs coming together thanks to MI6, but M (Ralph Fiennes) will try his best to stop it. Something about it just doesn’t add up thanks to a message from someone familiar to James and he is on the case. The closer he gets to the truth the more deceit their is to all of it and this organization known as Spectre. The film also stars Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterds) as Blofeld, Léa Seydoux (The Grand Budapest Hotel) as Madeleine, Monica Bellucci (Passion Of The Christ) as Lucia, Benjamin Whishaw (Cloud Atlas) as Q, Naomie Harris (28 Days Later…) as Moneypenny, Dave Bautista (Guardians Of The Galaxy) as Hinx, Andrew Scott (Saving Private Ryan) as C, Rory Kinnear (The Imitation Game) as Tanner, and the film was directed by Sam Mendes (American Beauty).
First, I wanted to take the time to list all the things that I didn’t like about the film and one big one is the theme song. While I don’t think Writing’s On The Wall by Sam Smith is complete crap, I don’t think that it was a great follow up to Adele’s Skyfall theme. There are so many Bond themes that are better than this one even though it was the only element of the film that won an Oscar. There are three elements that are important to every James Bond film and those are theme song, Villain, and Bond girls and I have already discussed one. Some people may have been pissed that Dave Bautista had literally one line in the whole film, but I think that added to his benefit. You knew he was a bad ass thug with weird thumbs, but he didn’t have to speak to be the henchman. Christoph Waltz is a brilliant actor, but I struggled to find the brilliance in this film. I don’t blame him for that, but rather the writing. The Bond Girls were OK in my opinion, but strange how an almost life/death experience would drive one to want to make love. This wasn’t the best Bond film, but it wasn’t the worst either. I struggled to write what the plot of the film was in the above paragraph because there wasn’t really a plot. There was just action with a lot of nothingness in between all of it. If this was Daniel Craig’s last film then so be it. I think it’s time for some new blood in the role of James Bond anyways. I definitely appreciate all that Daniel Craig did for the Bond series, he was definitely a breath of fresh air at one point for the series. I am going to give Spectre an B- for a final grade.