In Ready Player One, in order to fit all the pop culture references, you’re gonna need a bigger boat. Steven Spielberg hovers over a mountain of movies, television shows, video games, and other ephemera of pop culture like so many mashed potatoes, obsessively sculpting them into something that only he can see (a good movie). Like Indiana Jones with snakes, in Ready Player One, it always has to be pop culture references. The film simply isn’t much to phone home about. Schindler’s List.
Steven Spielberg’s latest historical drama The Post is a funny little animal. The film is based on Kay Graham’s decision to publish findings from the classified Pentagon Papers in The Washington Post. Graham, played by best living actor front-runner Meryl Streep, was the first woman publisher of a major newspaper, and the film details her struggle with these responsibilities. As such, The Post has a dual focus: it is part defense of free speech and the right to publish, and part celebration of female empowerment. Spielberg does a great job balancing these, but the film also has a peculiar look to it, with an active camera that feels a little too dizzying. Most of the drama derives from Graham’s decision to publish and how she grows more confident in her abilities. Though it may be a little generic with respect to it’s handling of The First Amendment, The Post absolutely nails the more human side of the story.
Steven Spielberg’s Cold War historical drama Bridge of Spies feels like it may get lost in the 2015 spy film shuffle. It has neither the name recognition of the franchise films released this year (Mission: Impossible and Spectre), nor the comedic leanings or freshness of something like The Kingsman. This would be a shame, as Bridge of Spies proves to be a mature and nuanced investigation of loyalty and integrity. At the same time, it offers a reminder that in fighting demons, we must always make sure not to become one.
In 1985, Don Bluth, John Pomeroy and Gary Goldman joined with Morris Sullivan and formed Sullivan Bluth Studios. The studio was initial founded in Van Nuys, California, but moved to Dublin, Ireland to take advantage of various financial incentives and escape union pressures. Their first two projects were collaborations with Steven Spielberg, but they eventually pursued independent projects as well. For this short period of time in the late ‘80s, Don Bluth animation reached its pinnacle of commercial and artistic success with three spectacular films: An American Tale, The Land Before Time, and All Dogs Go to Heaven.