Ready Player One cover

In Ernest Cline‘s “Ready Player One,” there are several references to director Steven Spielberg‘s body of work, including many of the famous films he produced in the 1980s. In one part of the book, for example, Wade Watts/Parzival (Tye Sheridan) is driving a DeLorean in the OASIS — which is one reference Spielberg intends on keeping in his adaptation. He’s currently shooting Ready Player One, and a few of the sci-fi adventure movie’s references have been spotted on the set.

Below, check out some set photos showing a few Ready Player One references.

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Jurassic Park Visual Effects

It’s been 23 years since Jurassic Park trounced into theaters, giving audiences one of the most beloved and entertaining blockbusters of all time. Director Steven Spielberg brought dinosaurs to life on the big screen as nobody had before, and the result was a mesmerizing adventure that brought the creatures who lived 65 million years ago right in front of our eyes.

Steven Spielberg and his crew brought dinosaurs to life back in 1993, when digital effects and computer animation was still in its infancy. Somehow those visual effects still hold up to this very day, outshining some movies with state of the art visual effects from today. How is this possible? A new video essay explores why the Jurassic Park visual effects still hold up today when compared to the effects a a modern day blockbuster like, say, Jurassic World. Read More »

The Phantom Simon Wincer interview

On February 17, 1936, Lee Falk’s comic strip hero The Phantom was introduced to the world. Over the following years—as the character reached millions of fans through an unparalleled-for-that-era level of worldwide syndication—The Phantom became an international sensation. The comic strip (clearly) excelled in many countries around the world, but perhaps none more so than Australia. So it seems fitting that, six decades later, the man who would finally bring this hero to the big screen would be an Australian himself: Simon Wincer.

To learn about how The Phantom was made, I spoke at length with Simon Wincer. But it took a little while before we even got to talking about the masked crusader. Because, frankly, there was just too much to talk about. Like how Wincer swooped into to replace the original director of Free Willy (and ended up helping to save that film). Or how he helmed an Emmy-dominant, prestige miniseries (years before such things were du jour). We spoke about all those things and much more (like the cinematic value of manure).  Below is a copy of our conversation…

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Hook reunion

For children of the 90s, there is a lot of love for Steven Spielberg’s fantasy sequel Hook. The 1990 film was a legacyquel more than 20 years before they became all the rage in Hollywood. As someone who grew up on the movie, I’ll be the first to admit that the film hasn’t aged well, has plenty of flaws, but still holds a special place in my heart. And that sense of nostalgia is even stronger for the kids lucky enough to star alongside Robin Williams in it as The Lost Boys of Neverland.

It’s hard to believe it’s been 25 years since Hook hit the big screen (or at least it will be this December), but in honor of the milestone anniversary, a company called 22 Vision (specializing in celebrating pop culture through viral content) rounded up all of The Lost Boys from Hook for a little reunion photoshoot, and it’s probably one of the coolest things you’ll see today.

Check out the Hook reunion photo after the jump. Read More »

Steven Spielberg Documentary

There was a time when it wasn’t easy to watch videos taking us behind the scenes of our favorite movies. Today, cinephiles are spoiled with featurettes, documentaries and more that show how movies are made. But there was a time when you had to be at the right place at the right time to catch a glimpse of your favorite director hard at work, showing how movie magic brings their latest vision to life. Thanks to the magic of the internet, we get to see one of those videos online today.

Back in the 1980s, a Japanese TV crew was given unprecedented access to director Steven Spielberg, resulting in an hour-long documentary that shows the iconic filmmaker in the middle of his booming career. Tour Spielberg’s office and home at a time when he had already directed Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark and E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, but hadn’t yet moved on to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. It’s a fascinating and eye-opening documentary into the life and career of a filmmaking legend when he was just in his mid-30s.

Watch the Japanese Steven Spielberg documentary after the jump. Read More »

Video: Stranger Things Film References Side By Side Comparison

Yes, Stranger Things is very much an homage to the movies of the 1970s and 1980s, but I think it’s a bit too simplistic to say it’s just an Amblin homage. It’s not just another Super 8, and it’s more than repackaged nostalgia. I’m only a handful of episodes into the first season, and it seems that the series is more of a tribute to the cinematic adaptations of Stephen King and the era horror films than Steven Spielberg. Regardless of the inspirations, Stranger Things is must-see television. There aren’t many movies this summer that are more worth your time than this Netflix original series.

Ulysses Thevenon has put together a fantastic four-and-a-half-minute video showing side-by-side comparisons of some of the films that the Duffer Brothers pay homage to in this television show. Hit the jump to watch the Stranger Things Film References Side By Side Comparison video.

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steven spielberg ranked

I had no intention of writing a Steven Spielberg ranking until too many people started dismissing The BFG as the film disappointed at the box office. After all, I approach Mr. Spielberg with the respect and devotion a churchgoer has for a saint – there are few cinematic storytellers I value more. So watching the internet erupt in headlines about whether or not Spielberg was over felt like blasphemy. Of course he’s not over. The man who made made Jaws and Raiders of the Lost Ark will never be over. Like every other director, he will have his peaks and valleys…and if The BFG is a valley, then his low points dwarf the work of most filmmakers.

This is the internet, so you know the drill. I’m going to rank Spielberg’s theatrically released (sorry, Duel) films. You can then argue about them in the manner you see fit.

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Oscar Isaac Steven Spielberg

Even before Star Wars: The Force Awakens hit theaters last December, Oscar Isaac was already a pretty hot commodity. Leading up to his role in the massive sci-fi franchise, he had already made waves with outstanding performances in Ex Machina, A Most Violent Year and Inside Llewyn Davis, quickly turning him into a coveted talent on the big screen. Plus, even though most were not impressed with X-Men: Apocalypse, that had nothing to do with Isaac, and his profile hasn’t been hurt by that stumble at all.

Now Oscar Isaac is preparing to add another notch to his professional acting belt with news that he is taking a role in The Kidnapping of Edgardo Montara, the next film from director Steven Spielberg. Read More »

Evolution of Steven Spielberg

This past weekend, The BFG hit theaters. Unfortunately, director Steven Spielberg didn’t enjoy the kind of big box office debut that his films usually garner. The film debuted at #4 at the box office, earning just $18 million this weekend ($22 million for the holiday weekend) on a budget of $140 million. That’s pretty disappointing, but we’ve already talked about how this doesn’t mean Spielberg doesn’t have the magic he once had.

Instead of focusing on the failure of The BFG at the box office, we’d like to look at the evolution of Steven Spielberg’s work throughout his career. A new video runs through the filmmaker’s entire career up through today, including some of his early short films that you have maybe never seen before. Watch the evolution of Steven Spielberg after the jump. Read More »