(Welcome to 21st Century Spielberg, an ongoing column and podcast that examines the challenging, sometimes misunderstood 21st-century filmography of one of our greatest living filmmakers, Steven Spielberg. In this edition: Bridge of Spies and The Post.)
The Spielbergian hero is someone who not only does the right thing, but goes above and beyond. Someone who risks it all – life, limb, and reputation – for the greater good. And not some wispy, intangible greater good, either – oh, no. It’s not the belief in a better world; it’s the belief that the world we already have is as good as it’s going to get, if only we allow it. Spielbergian America is a place where the power is in the hands of the people, and all the people need do to make the country live up to its lofty goals is to fight for what’s right, no matter how daunting the fight may be. Two of Steven Spielberg‘s 21st-century films personify this perfectly, and, coincidentally enough, both star Tom Hanks: Bridge of Spies and The Post.
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The Trial of the Chicago 7 is nothing if not a showcase for great performances. Writer-director Aaron Sorkin has his flaws – some of which are on display here – but one thing he does very well is creating the kind of punchy, snappy, rat-a-tat dialogue that good actors love to sink their teeth into. Some of that dialogue may not always sound natural – indeed, it often borders on speechifying. But Sorkin’s way with words, and a good actor’s talent for delivering those words, usually makes all the difference.
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If the new The Trial of the Chicago 7 is any indicator, the movie will undoubtedly be a key player in the upcoming awards season. The timely and relevant story focuses on the peaceful protest at the 1968 Democratic National Convention that turned into a violent clash with police and the court case that followed when seven protesters were charged by the federal government with conspiracy. What followed was a case full of biased politics, unabashed corruption, and absolute prejudice. Sound familiar? Read More »
It’s film festival season, which means we’re getting a surge in casting news for arthouse dramas that feature a few buzzy stars and are helmed by a rising auteur. And that’s what we’re getting with The Brutalist, a “sweeping immigrant drama” from Vox Lux director Brady Corbet which has landed quite a star-studded cast of stars who look good in 1940s fashion, including Joel Edgerton, Marion Cotillard, and Mark Rylance.
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Aaron Sorkin‘s next movie as both a writer and director is The Trial of the Chicago 7. The true story follows the infamous 1969 trial of seven men charged by the federal government with conspiracy following the counter-cultural anti-Vietnam protests in Chicago at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. What started as peaceful protests turned to a violent clash with police and the National Guard. It’s a story that feels more relevant than ever in our current political and social climate, and the first look photos that have just surfaced showcase the all-star cast bringing this pivotal moment in history to life. Read More »
Aaron Sorkin‘s upcoming drama The Trial of the Chicago 7 was meant to be released in theaters this fall by Paramount Pictures. The studio had slated the movie for a limited release on September 25 followed by a wide release on October 16. However, Netflix is now negotiating to acquire the global rights to the movie from Cross Creek Pictures, which would give the streaming service another awards contender.
UPDATE: Deadline reports Netflix has officially picked up global distribution rights for the movie with a $56 million deal. Our original story from June 22, 2020 follows below. Read More »
Samuel Goldwyn Films has released a trailer for its star-studded period drama Waiting for the Barbarians, based on the the J.M. Coetzee novel of the same name. Mark Rylance, Johnny Depp, and Robert Pattinson star in the historical drama, which marks the English-language debut of Colombian filmmaker Ciro Guerra (Embrace of the Serpent). Watch the Waiting for the Barbarians trailer below.
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Nearly a year ago, pre-production on Aaron Sorkin’s long-gestating true story of The Trial of the Chicago 7 was suddenly shut down in order to allow the acclaimed writer some time to work on his Broadway adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird. But a few months later, the movie was getting back together with a stacked cast assembling. Now the movie has added Michael Keaton, and Paramount Pictures has set The Trial of the Chicago 7 release date right at the start of awards season. Find out more below. Read More »
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Terrence Malick is already at work on his next film, The Last Planet, which finds the acclaimed director telling the story of everyone’s favorite holy carpenter, Jesus H. Christ. And since you usually can’t tell a story about Jesus without Satan popping-up somewhere, it looks like Old Scratch is going to be represented in the film as played by Mark Rylance. But Rylance isn’t just playing one Satan – he’s playing four different versions of the character.
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(In our Spoiler Reviews, we take a deep dive into a new release and get to the heart of what makes it tick…and every story point is up for discussion. In this entry: Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One.)
Steven Spielberg has spent nearly his entire career proving his critics wrong. When the filmmaker rose to prominence as a blockbuster wunderkind, there was a prevailing sense among critics that Spielberg was little more than a purveyor of harmless, artless pop – not a serious filmmaker. “If there is such a thing as a movie sense — and I think there is, Spielberg really has it,” critic Pauline Kael said. “But he may be so full of it that he doesn’t have much else.” Yet Spielberg did have much else, and he proved it time after time, crafting a lifetime worth of fantastic, heartfelt, downright magical films.
It’s taken nearly 44 years, but with Ready Player One, Spielberg has finally proven his critics right. Here, on the heels of The Post – a wonderful, important film that had the 71-year-old filmmaker still firing on all cylinders – Spielberg offers up a muddled, downright hideous catastrophe. It’s official – Ready Player One is Steven Spielberg’s worst film.
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