Steven Spielberg

Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Tobe Hooper is deservedly recognized for making one of the most consequential, game changing titles in horror film history. Few horror movies, then or now, match the raw, urgent dread of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. But the well-earned primacy of that film obscures a career that grew notably diverse as it went on. Rather than a horror auteur known for revisiting styles, genres and a consistent worldview, Hooper’s films have attempted regularly to depart from what he’s done before. In so doing, Hooper’s filmography exhibits a remarkable and confident range of abilities and interests, from the mesmerizing slow burn nightmare of Funhouse to the Spielbergian blockbuster Poltergeist to the campy tribute to ‘50s sci-fi in his Invaders From Mars remake. After all, this is the guy whose only sequel, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, took his most beloved property – a terrifying small-budget gorefest – and turned it into a bizarre slapstick comedy. So here is some free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from the director who taught us never to pick up a hitchhiker in Texas.

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Minority Report Precog

First, they took our TV shows and made them into movies. Then, they took our movies and made them into TV shows. What fresh horror will come next in the adaptation world? Radio, probably. But we’re still in that second phase right now. Case in point: Steven Spielberg is crafting a TV show out of his 2002 film Minority Report. As reported by The Wrap, he will use Amblin Television to front the show, with Godzilla writer Max Borenstein handling script duties. The Wrap presumes (just like every other person who hears this news) that the series will focus around the PreCrime police force, a special group of cops that use mutants with visions of the future to predict crime and then preemptively de-crime it. Spielberg is likely to choose a big-name star for the lead, and 20th Century Fox (who distributed the movie) may or may not have dibs on distributing the series. There is but one major issue with a Minority Report TV show: it’s already been done. Not in name, but in premise.

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Francis Ford Coppola Produced By Conference

This post is in partnership with Cadillac Cadillac and the Producers Guild of America recently launched Make Your Mark, a short film competition that challenges producers to create compelling content with limited resources. Contestants will make a short film over a single weekend in late June, and the 30-second Cadillac spot featuring the grand prize winner’s film will air during the 2015 Academy Awards. The Guild also recently hosted the Produced By Conference, offering some incredibly storytellers sharing their filmmaking experiences, and the event couldn’t have ended on a better note: an hour-long discussion with Francis Ford Coppola. That’s right, the legendary director behind The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, Jack, The Outsiders, and perhaps his most underrated work, and one of my favorite movies, Rumble Fish. If that isn’t reason enough to attend the Produced By Conference in the future, then what is? This panel was easily the most talked about. Up until that point, I hadn’t seen a line as long or a more packed house. Thankfully, the wait was worth it, because Coppola knows how to work a crowd. He’s charming, thorough, and exhibits no signs of an ego he’s earned. Not once did he refer to one of his many landmark films as a “classic.” In the case of Apocalypse Now, he didn’t go much further than saying it’s looked upon more fondly now. Coppola could’ve said he made one of the greatest pictures ever, and everyone still would’ve applauded his modesty. He was that charming. His 1979 epic was one of the many talking points of a panel that everyone would have been […]

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The Money Pit house

Houses famously used as movie locations are often up for sale, and usually their listings make the rounds on movie blogs. Yeah, it’s neat when Cameron’s home from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or the farmhouse from Field of Dreams or the Home Alone home hit the real estate market, but it’s not funny. But the idea of buying “the money pit” from The Money Pit is pretty hilarious, right? After all, the mansion was one of the few non-horror-movie abodes to make our list of cinematic houses you don’t want to live in a while back. What makes the news of its actual listing, via the New York Times, even funnier is that the price is a whopping $12.5m. No, actually the funny part is that the current owners of the Long Island home — which goes by the name The Northway House — bought the thing as, yep, a money pit. Back in 2002, Rich and Christina Makowsky paid $2.125m, which was low for the area. That’s because it was falling apart. “We definitely could have done the sequel,” Rich is quoted as saying to the Times (he’s kinda joking, but I’d have watched that doc option). If only they’d paid more attention to the rumors at the time. Or read the New York Post article from 2001 (when it was listed at $2.95m) warning that “if life does imitate art, you may want to avoid buying this house” and referencing brokers who disputed Sotheby’s claim that it had been renovated to “aesthetically and technically […]

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Evgenia Eliseeva

Of all the men, in all the years, it be hard to argue that Bryan Cranston is not, in fact, having the best of them all. After an Emmy Award-winning run of the spectacular Breaking Bad finally and majestically came to a close, the actor got in some blockbuster experience with Godzilla, where he played the coveted role of being the crackpot who actually knew from the beginning what was actually going on beneath the Earth’s surface. Not content to just coast on his laurels, he’s been filling his downtime in New York City, portraying President Lyndon B. Johnson in the play All the Way for which last night he took home the Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Play. But lest you think he’s decided to leave movies behind, it looks like a collision of those two worlds is in order. Steven Spielberg is eyeing All the Way — which also took home a Tony last night for Best Play — to be transformed into a miniseries. The Robert Schenkkan play follows President Johnson beginning with President John F. Kennedy’s assassination and his subsequent inauguration, throughout his first year in office. It’s a packed first year too; Johnson uses his new power to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and goes on to win enough favor that he stays in office for a full term. And if the Tony’s are any indication, Cranston plays the former president to cranky old man perfection.

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Close Encounters of the Third Kind gas masks

When there’s a new remake out in theaters, the most obvious instruction I can have for you is to watch the original. Unless it’s a remake of something bad, I guess, but even then I think it’s necessary to go back and see the previous effort, for historical sake. With Godzilla, there are tons of predecessors. There’s another list to be written — and I think a few sites already have done so — recommending which past movies starring the King of the Monsters are worth seeing. I’ve actually only seen the first one from 1954, so I couldn’t be the authority on that anyway. As far as I know, there might even be something worthwhile in the 1998 remake that everyone hates. I never saw it (though I did see a bit being filmed when I lived near one of the locations) so I can’t argue for or against it. Instead, this week’s recommendations consist of other movies that clearly influenced the newest version (and some, the original), as well as some necessary earlier films of talent involved in the remake, plus a few titles that I was reminded of while watching that I think are relevant. And to make it easy on you, to ensure that you catch up with all of these titles  I’ve chosen, I note the easiest way for you to check out these films right now, thanks to the website Can I Stream.it?. As always, this list contains spoilers for the movie in focus, so only read […]

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The BFG Book

I’m not too familiar with Roald Dahl‘s book “The BFG.” When everyone else seemed to be reading it in middle school, I always had this idea, based on the cover illustration depicting a very large man holding a tiny girl, that the initials stood for “Big Fucking Guy.” Really, though, it’s all about a “Big Friendly Giant” — the only friendly one, in fact — who kidnaps then befriends that tiny girl, who isn’t really tiny but just normal sized. There are some other giants in the story, too, and the new pals aim to stop them from eating people. The Queen of England becomes involved. Honestly, I’m just going by the Wikipedia page and book cover synopsis, so I’ll stop there before I mess anything up or spoil the ending. The important thing is that they’re making another movie of the book, this one live-action. And by “they,” I mean none other than Steven Spielberg has reportedly signed on to direct The BFG, as adapted by none other than his E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial screenwriter, Melissa Mathison (who also adapted the varying-sized pals story The Indian in the Cupboard). Not only that, but it’ll be produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall, both of whom also worked on the classic 1982 movie about a boy and his alien BFF (that one stands for “best friend forever”). Interestingly enough, “The BFG” was published the same year E.T. first arrived in theaters. 

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The Goonies

Whether you saw it in the theaters in the 80s, or watching it dozens of times while it played on HBO in the 90s, The Goonies has become an essential part of the childhood movie diet. That’s pretty impressive for a film that includes that many pre-teen curse words, sexual references and dangerous situations. Billed as a collaboration between producer Steven Spielberg and director Richard Donner, it was one of the few hits from the 80s that didn’t get an immediate sequel. Whether you’re still waiting around for that sequel – and whether you think that sequel is a good idea or not – you can still enjoy The Goonies in a variety of home video formats. Back when the DVD was released in the 2001, the cast reunited with Richard Donner to provide a commentary track that has been preserved on subsequent Blu-ray releases. Even though the commentary track is almost as old now as the movie was when the commentary was recorded, it still has some fun insight into the film, including the mysterious message that Sean Astin wanted to share with Cyndi Lauper.

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indytruth-1

Personally, as a die-hard Indiana Jones fan, I’m quite forgiving of a lot of the problems people have with the series (which shouldn’t be surprising, considering I will defend the Star Wars prequels as well). Still, I cannot deny some of the goofy things that happened in the fourth installment six years ago. I’m not just speaking of Shia LaBeouf’s Tarzan-like swings from jungle vines (that kid makes a career out of stealing other people’s shticks), but also the dreaded nuking of the fridge. This got me thinking… was nuking the fridge really the most ridiculous thing that happened in the Indiana Jones series?

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bttf2truth-1

Contrary to what a dozen or so faulty Facebook memes say, we have not reached the day that Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) travel to in Back to the Future: Part II. That won’t happen until next year, on Wednesday, October 21, 2015, to be exact. However, as we look ahead to that day in all of its post-Avengers 2 and pre-Star Wars 7 glory, we can assess what still needs to happen for the 2015 of 1989 to become a reality. Obviously we don’t have hoverboards or Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactors in every kitchen, but revisiting the classic Back to the Future series got me thinking: Is any of the stuff we saw happening yet?

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Those in the elite rungs of society often have expensive taste. Nicolas Cage bought himself a pyramid to preserve his physical form after he’s gone (presumably as a mummy). Bleeding Gums Murphy had a $1,500 a day Faberge Egg habit. And Steven Spielberg has recently been binging on legendary, unproduced Hollywood screenplays. First came Napoleon, Stanley Kubrick‘s massive historical epic – the epic that was declared unfilmable once Kubrick enlisted the entire 50,000 Romanian army to stage the battle sequences (and after several other Napoleon films had just bombed at the box office). Spielberg is already hard at work, transforming that one into a TV miniseries. And now, according to Deadline, Spielberg may be adding another priceless gem to his “to-do” list: Dalton Trumbo‘s Montezuma. Here’s how the story goes. In 1947, Trumbo was exiled from Hollywood after refusing to testify in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee, and in 1950 spent eleven months in prison (something we’ll all undoubtedly learn more about when Bryan Cranston finishes his Dalton Trumbo biopic). Kirk Douglas finally fixed things for Trumbo in 1960, by hiring him to write Spartacus, and then publicly announcing Trumbo’s involvement (whereas before, the blacklisted Trumbo had to pen his screenplays from behind pseudonyms). After that collaboration was such a rousing success, Douglas and Trumbo were all ready to team up again for Montezuma, a similarly-sized epic about the relationship between Hernan Cortez and the titular Aztec ruler he befriended and eventually betrayed and imprisoned. Yet somehow, Montezuma fell […]

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IntroGenre

By no means are directors expected to make the same movie over and over again – but they also don’t tend to fly genre to genre like some kind of bipolar carnival game either. Here are a few directors who – if they were to put on an autograph signing – would find themselves in the midst of a very polarized crowd of fans.

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Jurassic Park

After building a theme park populated by dinosaurs, eccentric old billionaire John Hammond invites two top dino-scientists, a rock star chaos theory expert, and his grandchildren to come check it out. Fortunately for everyone involved, a horrible security breach unleashes the dinosaurs, and their lives are all terribly threatened.

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like father like son 02

Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize winner and Palme d’Or runner-up Like Father, Like Son is getting the remake treatment from Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks. The Japanese film, from director Hirokazu Kore-eda, is the story of a family that discovers their six year-old son is not theirs at all; he was switched at birth with their biological son in the hospital. They, along with the parents of the other child, must now deal with the impossible – do they give up the child they’ve been raising as their own and take back their biological son, or do they keep quiet and pretend nothing happened? “When I saw the film at Cannes, I was so impressed by its power to bring such a human story to the screen. Here at DreamWorks Studios, Stacey and our team recognized that it was a story we wanted to remake to bring to our audiences throughout the world,” said Spielberg in a statement. “I thank Hirokazu Kore-eda and Fuji TV for giving us this once in a lifetime opportunity.” Spielberg will not be directing the film, nor has he announced who will nab that role. Kore-eda will still have involvement though, in some capacity, as he stated that he’s looking forward to working with Spielberg.

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On this fun size edition of the program, Geoff defends Steven Spielberg’s unfairly maligned War of the Worlds, and I defend the unfairly maligned dumping ground of September-October as one of the very best times of the year for movie fans. It’s a magical two months for one very important reason. We’d also like to thank all of you for pushing us over 125,000 downloads last week. It means Geoff can finally afford shoes. You should follow the show (@brokenprojector), Geoff (@drgmlatulippe) and Scott (@scottmbeggs) on Twitter for more on a daily basis. And, as always, if you like the show (or hate it with seething fervor), please help us out with a review. Download Episode #34 Directly Or subscribe Through iTunes

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tim blake

The first three weeks of October 2002 was a tense time for anyone living around the Nation’s Capital. Living in Maryland I vividly recall the amount of fear the Beltway Snipers created, leading to special precautions at schools and people avoiding crowded areas. The movie that tells the story of those two snipers, Blue Caprice, captures that uneasiness with slow-building, methodical filmmaking. There’s a few familiar faces in Alexander Moors‘ film, including Tim Blake Nelson, playing Ray, an “unwitting accomplice” to one of the snipers. While he’s most famous for playing one of the many lovable morons in O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Nelson has been working successfully as a writer, director, and, for the past year and a half, a member of James Franco‘s camp. Nelson has now acted in two of Franco’s films, As I Lay Dying and Child of God, making for a collaboration that has put a pep in Mr. Nelson’s step. We discussed that artistic partnership with Nelson, as well as Blue Caprice, humanizing transformations, and why an actor always needs to have their antennae out:

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news eastwood sniper

It’s been about two weeks since Steven Spielberg dropped out of American Sniper, the upcoming biopic that will star Bradley Cooper as Navy Seal Chris Kyle. Apparently, two weeks is just enough time to line up another hugely popular director- as reported by Twitchfilm, Clint Eastwood is in talks to become Spielberg’s replacement. For Eastwood, this is a pretty big ego boost since he’s apparently the next best thing when Mr. Spielberg is unavailable. For the movie-going public, this news is slightly less terrific. Eastwood’s got a masterful eye for direction, but that masterful eye has been conspicuously absent for his last few pictures- J. Edgar, Hereafter and Invictus all fall somewhere within the ‘mediocre’ category. Perhaps American Sniper will see the actor-turned-director hitting Unforgiven-level heights (or at least Gran Torino-sized ones).

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jawstruth-1

We learned that there are few things in the world that are more dangerous than a 25-foot-long great white shark in Steven Spielberg’s Jaws. Namely, aluminum SCUBA tanks. Why someone would strap on a mini-bomb of such design to their backs is beyond me, but divers do it every day. Of course, they rarely spontaneously explode, most likely because there isn’t a small-town sheriff firing a rifle at them while they dive. As Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) begin their mission aboard the Orca, one of Hooper’s SCUBA tanks falls over. Hooper immediately explains how dangerous this is and how the compressed air inside the tank could basically ignite the entire ship and wipe out life as we know it on planet earth. Okay, so he maybe doesn’t say those exact words, but the implication is clear: SCUBA tanks are hella dangerous and have the potential to explode. Fast-forward 45 minutes, and we find out that Jaws has sent Hooper fleeing to the continental slope, snacked on Orca captain Quint (Robert Shaw), and left the Orca sinking in a slick of oil and chum. In a last-ditch effort to save the day, Chief Brody climbs to the tilting mast and starts firing a rifle at the charging shark. With one of the best final dispatching lines in movie history (“Smile, you sonofabitch!”), he shoots the SCUBA tank lodged in Jaws’ jaws, and the shark explodes like a trailer park meth lab. So it got us wondering: […]

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3

What’s the perfect zombie-killing weapon? We settle the question with writer/director Joel Morgan, who may or may not be opening a crowbar store in the near future. And if one Apocalypse isn’t enough, we’ve got another in the form of comments made by Steven Spielberg about the inevitable “meltdown” of the Hollywood studio system. Geoff and I get our hands dirty with that one before appreciating and responding to this screenwriting post by Scott Myers at Go Into the Story. Grab your crowbar and prepare yourself. For more from us on a daily basis, follow Joel Morgan (@joelmorgan23), the show (@brokenprojector), Geoff (@drgmlatulippe) and Scott (@scottmbeggs) on the Twitter. And, as always, we welcome your feedback. Download Episode #21 Directly Or subscribe Through iTunes

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966243

You can tell Man of Steel is the movie of the summer because none of us can stop writing about it. Would it be more or less covered if the Superman movie actually got mostly favorable reviews? It’s hard to say, as much of our and other outlets’ think pieces are a mix of pre-planned stuff on the character in general as well as superhero movies in general and reaction posts both about what the new movie gets wrong and right. All I know is I could have devoted this week’s whole Reject Recap to the ol’ Caped Kryptonian (is that not one of his nicknames?). Let me just point out that it’s deserving. While the official FSR review is fairly negative, I’ll admit that I love it. And it’s definitely worth seeing even if you have problems with much of it. As is clear, there’s so much to talk about. There’s a bunch to discuss on other topics and movies, too. We had two big stories involving the future of Hollywood, thoughts on some older favorites and some other characters’ announced returns, an update on real-life versions of characters from one of this week’s new releases and also a geeky comparison between video game consoles complete with their relevance to movie fans. Before we get to your week in review, here’s some trivia regarding the headline above: all are tied to Superman. Steven Spielberg and Arnold Schwarzenegger were both linked to Superman: The Movie and, well, some interns probably […]

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