When I tell people that my favorite director is Steven Spielberg, I tend to get a lot of eye rolls from fellow movie buffs. He’s considered too popular or mainstream, he plays it too safe and isn’t edgy or artistic enough, he’s too sentimental and melodramatic, his only interest is in spectacle, etc. Cinephiles love to hate on the man who is probably the most successful (critically and commercially) filmmaker of the last fifty years, and are often quick to point out alternative artists who they feel has a similar career but does everything better (Christopher Nolan frequently pops up in these discussions). But from now on when anyone brings up these hackneyed Spielberg criticisms I will simply point them to one scene from The Post and ask them to show me another filmmaker who could make that scene any better.
Today Disney released the first full trailer for The BFG, directed by Steven Spielberg and based on the book by Roald Dahl. I hope to have a longer breakdown of the trailer later this week, but for now take a look below and let me know what you think. I’m personally thrilled that Spielberg and Disney are finally teaming up on a film, and I’m excited to see Spielberg returning to animation (even if The BFG is not fully animated). I loved what he brought to The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, which felt 100% like a Spielberg movie while still capturing the essence of what makes animation special. The BFG will feature a lot of motion capture, including new Oscar winner Mark Rylance (from Spielberg’s previous film, Bridge of Spies) as the titular character, but it appears that Ruby Barnhill’s performance as Sophie will be live action. The BFG is one of the few Roald Dahl books I haven’t read, so I can’t speak to the film’s faithfulness in adapting the original story, but Spielberg is my favorite director and I have faith in his ability to craft a compelling story. And it’s nice to see him return to family movies every now and then. But take a look at the trailer and let me know what you think, and hopefully I’ll be back to talk about it some more later in the week complete with screencaps!
When is a spy movie not a spy movie? Bridge of Spies has all of the trappings of a spy movie, espionage, hidden communications, interrogations, secret identities, a race against the clock, and worldwide consequences hanging in the balance, but it’s as far from a “spy movie” as you can get. Instead, Bridge of Spies is a film about spies. Steven Spielberg has teamed up once again with Tom Hanks (with a script by the Coen brothers) bring us a true story from the height of the Cold War, a story of subtle legal and political maneuvering with the fate of not only two spies but two nations hanging in the balance. The result is a tense, thrilling, yet beautifully quiet film that focuses on the human element of international espionage, and the way the lives of those who only wish to serve their country are used or discarded as situations change.