Sunday, August 19, 2012

war of the worlds [2005]

okay, don't hate but i'm not the largest fan of steven spielberg's films.  a few early ones, like jaws [1975] and duel [1971] are awesome.  his more recent work is, to my taste, rather schmaltzy.  that does not detract from spielberg's talent as a filmmaker.  he's very, very good.

which brings me to this flick.  i'm kinda live-blogging as it is playing as i type.  i'm up late, as usual.  we'd come home after seeing a play tonight with our good friends b. and c.  the play, a musical, was quite entertaining about love gone wrong , then right, in a north florida trailer park.  now i'm having a beer and watching spielberg's revision of director byron haskins' classic h.g. wells' adaptation from 1953.

i've pressed the pause button [we have a dvr which is great because we can record our favorite programs and pause live tv for a while when we want to] at the scene where tom cruise loses his son on a hilltop when the u.s. military is getting its ass handed to it by the invading aliens and tom and his daughter take refuge in tim robbins' house.  robbins turns out to be an utter psycho that endangers cruise and daughter so cruise kills robbins because of. . .um. . .i'm not sure.  i mean cruise could leave robbins to his insanity and his house.  but he doesn't.  out of desperation cruise knocks off -- conveniently off-camera for despite the dire circumstances of an alien species systematically killing off earth's dominant species this is still a family film -- robbins. 

but then that's why i'm watching the flick, other than the terrific special fx.  spielberg does great at creating these large tableaux of human drama.  the panic and horror in the crowd scenes are fantastic, master classes of filmmaking.  the scene where cruise is trying to drive thru a crowd of people to get to a ferry but is stopped by the crowd is beguiling.  spielberg's thing, or theme, is ordinary people caught in extraordinary circumstances.  he does that very well.  makes watching some of his more sentimental films bearable when crowd scenes are boiled down to the scale of individual drama.

good movie?  i'll leave that up to the individual viewer.  good, bad, whatever.  films are finally drawn to individual tastes.  i like this film for the crowd scenes.  i'm still not a cruise fan.  he is a good, but overrated, actor.  at least he is to me.  but what do i know.  whenever i watch a cruise film -- and surely each film he is in is a cruise film -- i'm humbled by his charisma, good looks and his abilities as an actor that i have to rethink my own opinions about him and the choices he has made as an actor.

i'll leave that out of this piece for the moment.  i'm going to hit the play button and watch this movie for as long as i can. 


At 8:00 AM, Blogger Jim McCrary said...

appreciate your thoughts on the 'big' summer movies....what about small ones. curious to what you think of Beasts of Southern Wilds for instance. we just saw it. pretty damn good way to spend a couple hours in a big dark room. great movie...are there any these days...doesnt matter.

At 9:17 PM, Blogger richard lopez said...

haven't seen it, jim. the reviews are stellar and i hope to watch it when the movie is released to dvd.

i've not been going to a lot of movies this summer. i've only been to two pics. and yes both big summer films. and not the smaller indie features that should renew the faith of any moviegoer who thinks the world of cinema is a fetid and fould piston to fire up the lumpen masses.

there are always good movies to watch. the world is large and we now have access to the cinemas of allthe nations that produce movies.

but bummer man. i was cleaning the house today and dusting off a few shelves of dvds. i pulled various discs out and looked at their release dates. nearly all of them were released around 2000-2004. i already look at those years as a golden age of film when all sorts of movies were discovered and rediscovered and lovingly restored by small, indie companies run by people who have a deep and abiding love of film. now the world has changed. most flicks watched at home are streamed via netflix or other. the days of those littel round, plastic discs written with binary code are numbered.


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