dark knight wreckage

February is the shortest month, and yet this February seemed extra-long somehow. Maybe that’s just how life is now. But March is almost upon us, and it’s bound to be a weird one, because we’re about to enter a full year of dealing with COVID-19. Feel free to distract yourself from all of this with some movies and TV, folks.  To help with that, here are the best TV shows and movies coming to Netflix in March 2021.

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21st Century Spielberg Ranked From Worst to Best

21st Century Spielberg Ranked

Now that the 21st Century Spielberg column/podcast has come to a close (at least until West Side Story arrives in December 2021), it’s time to look back at Steven Spielberg‘s films from the 2000s and 2010s and see how they all stack up. Overall, the 21st century has produced some of Spielberg’s most interesting, challenging, and rewarding work – but not all of it worked.

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21st century spielberg the bfg ready player one

(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: The BFG and Ready Player One.)

What do you think of when you think of a Steven Spielberg movie? There are a variety of answers, but “blockbuster” tends to be at the top of the list. After all, it was Spielberg’s Jaws that gave birth to the idea of the summer blockbuster, and ever since then, he’s been riding that high. Steven Spielberg is a man who makes big movies. Big spectacles. Big special effects. Big emotions. Everything is bigbigbig. And yet, in the 21st century, Spielberg adapted. He entered the new century riding high off of finally scoring multiple Oscars for titles like Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan. 

After decades of being thought of as nothing more than a creator of harmless pop entertainment who made oodles of money, it could no longer be denied that Steven Spielberg was a real artist. And he parlayed that into the films he would make in the 2000s. He kicked things off with the special-effects heavy A.I. and Minority Report, but after that, he would begin turning out smaller things. Well, smaller for Spielberg, at least. He was crafting historical dramas and character-driven stories. He was showing us all that he had more on his mind than T-Rexes and killer sharks.

Now and again he would return to his roots, bringing back Indiana Jones for Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and finally making the Tin Tin movie he had been dreaming about for years. But mostly, Spielberg seemed content to try new things. And then something happened. He got that old itch to entertain. To summon up a spectacle. To fire up as much digital effects trickery as he could manage and forge entire digital worlds where nothing is real. It was nothing he couldn’t handle, right? Steven Spielberg is a filmmaker who knows all about technological advances in movies just as he knows all about crafting big, loud, popcorn entertainment. In other words, he knows how to give the audience what they want. As Robert Kolker wrote in A Cinema of Loneliness, “The frequency, success, and influence of [Spielberg’s] films over three decades have made them a kind of encyclopedia of desire, a locus of representations into which audiences wished to be called.”

With effects-heavy titles The BFG and Ready Player One, Steven Spielberg was coming home. He was returning to his roots. He was giving the audience what they wanted. What could go wrong?

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Ben-Hur will be Summer 2016's Biggest Box Office Bomb

Summer 2016 has seen a fair share of box office disappointments and bombs, but the biggest loser is Timur Bekmambetov‘s remake of Ben-Hur which will see a projected loss of over $120 million. Learn more about the biggest money losers of this summer, after the jump.
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2016 summer movie recap

The summer movie season is over and you know what that means – it’s time to hand out pointless imaginary awards to the best, worst, and weirdest films of the past four months!

Welcome to the 2016 Summer Blockbuster Awards, which is like the Oscars if the Oscars only covered a specific release window, were decided by one person, and were also really dumb. Here’s how this works: I have created 24 categories, from “Best Performance” to “Movie Most in Need of a Hug” and have awarded one winner and one runner-up. At the name of these awards imply, the focus here is on wide releases that arrived between May and August of this year. So while you really should go out of your way to see indie gems like Swiss Army Man and Don’t Think Twice, they won’t be the focus here. Got it? Good. Let’s just dive right in.

Be warned there are spoilers ahead for some of this summer’s films.

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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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steven spielberg directing The BFG

Steven Spielberg‘s The BFG hit theaters this weekend and landed with a “gigantic” thud. The $140 million Roald Dahl adaptation earned a measly $19.6 million in its opening weekend, which is a huge disappointment anyway you look at it. Is Spielberg, credited for creating the summer blockbuster with 1975’s Jaws, no longer the big box office draw that he once was?

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the bfg featurette

There’s a new Steven Spielberg movie in theaters in less than a month and that is a reason for celebration. Or it should be a reason for celebration. The BFG seems to be flying under the radar, lost in a sea of other big summer releases. And that’s a shame because it certainly looks lovely. Spielberg’s inherent humanity and author Roald Dahl‘s sly wit feel like perfect complements for one another. Plus, how can anyone with good taste not want to see another collaboration between the greatest populist director of all time and the wonderful Mark Rylance, who took home an Oscar earlier this year for Bridge of Spies?

A new featurette about the film focusing on the casting of Rylance as the titular “Big Friendly Giant” has arrived and it only confirms my suspicions that I could listen to Mr. Rylance talk all day long.

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Ruby Barnhill

Steven Spielberg has gotten some exceptional performances out of child actors throughout his career. Rarely does a child’s performance in a Spielberg film ring false. Empire of the SunE.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, A.I.: Artificial IntelligenceJurassic Park, and The Temple of Doom star kids giving naturally charismatic and completely present performances. The director’s goal has always been to talk to them like people, not just treat them like children–and that’s evident in the video below featuring The BFG star Ruby Barnhill playing a round of Spielberg trivia with the director.

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The BFG Trailer

After premiering at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival this weekend, one more trailer for Steven Spielberg‘s fantasy film The BFG has arrived. Based on Roald Dahl‘s classic children’s novel of the same name, the film follows a young girl (newcomer Ruby Barnhill) who finds herself in the world of giants after befriending one of the 24-foot inhabitants, played by Bridge of Spies star Mark Rylance.

In the latest The BFG trailer, we get to see much more of the giant world and impressive visual effects. Just from a technical standpoint, this already looks better than the recent giant adventure Jack the Giant Slayer, though it’s clearly a much more family friendly, whimsical tale. See for yourself in the new trailer after the jump. Read More »