1941

ET Movie

Within the logo of Amblin Entertainment lies one of Steven Spielberg’s most iconic images: a boy flying on a bicycle with a shrouded extraterrestrial friend in tow. This image also provides a fitting summary of how Spielberg’s films have been popularly understood — as wondrous, spectacular articulations of imagination seemingly possible only through an affirmative style of filmmaking. But there’s also that other side of E.T. that’s absent within Amblin’s logo, that side that’s about the paranoia of a government that coldly quarantines and dissects a force it doesn’t understand, the parts of the film that met your childlike wonder with a stark nightmare. The tensions between these two poles of Spielberg’s work are explored in depth in a new book by film scholar James Kendrick, whose “Darkness in the Bliss-Out: A Reconsideration of the Films of Steven Spielberg” approaches the storied oeuvre of the most successful living filmmaker from the vantage point of his evident but less appreciated darker themes – his propensity to meet wondrous imagination with the worst tendencies of human nature. In fact, Kendrick argues that the dominant way we interpret Spielberg – as something of a reliable architect of affirming cinematic entertainment –prevents us from fully appreciating the depth and complexity of a director whose work oscillates on the pendulum between light and darkness, hope and despair. Here’s what Kendrick had to tell us about the darkness brooding within Spielberg’s films.

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The Newsroom

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Why Watch? Because he’s faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. No one uses the word “bound” as a noun anymore, but Superman is still alive and well. He’s a cultural phenomenon that’s unparalleled, and he’s even seeing Blu-ray releases this week. In honor of that, we’re presenting the Man of Steel’s first appearance on the big screen – as a short cartoon from Max Fleischer that ran before movies. Seven years after the first serial, the character would head to theaters live-action style with Kirk Alyn becoming the first actor to portray Supes. The animation is beautiful, the tale thrilling, and you can play along at home by spotting the character differences in his origin story and characteristics. What does it cost? Just 10 minutes of your time. Check out Superman for yourself:

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Rob Hunter loves movies. He also thinks the 80s are going to be the best decade ever in the world of film. These two joys come together in the form of cash money payments that he receives every week and immediately uses to rent more movies on VHS.

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A major comedic writer might be lending his talents to shape a story about time-traveling, ghost busting heroes from SNL funnyman Dan Ackroyd.

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Looking to rebound off his first career failure, Steven Spielberg is looking for a passable archaeologist/professor/Nazi killer. He thinks he’s found him with actor Tom Selleck, a man you probably don’t know by name, but will probably say “aaaahhh, yeah” when you see him.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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