Tag Archives: Steven Spielberg

‘The BFG’ movie review

Fun, but lacks the Spielberg magic we all know and love


Steven Spielberg holds a special place in my heart as a lifelong fan of motion pictures. “Jaws” came out the year I was born. As a child of divorce, I totally identified with Elliot’s isolation in “E.T.”. And of course, Dr. Jones was my first taste of adventure. He wasn’t a super hero. He was just a man. I was pretty sure someday I could be Indiana Jones.bfgposter

As an older, jaded film critic — I’ve long given up my dreams of becoming a filmmaker (although I have several bad ass scripts lying around, give me a call…) — I still hold a certain fondness for Spielberg, even if lately it seems like most of his movies have been adaptations. Where’s the originality?

Okay. Let’s skip the “originality is dead in Hollywood” stuff for today. “The BFG” is in theatres. It’s directed by Steven Spielberg. It’s written by Melissa Mathison (pssst…she wrote “E.T.”) — and yes, it’s based on the book by Roald Dahl.

Let’s just get this out of the way. It’s good. Not great, good. Certainly one of the best of the summer. That’s not saying much considering the awful, watered down summer movie season we’ve seen plummet down a steep hill ever since Iron Man and Captain America broke up.

The BFG (Disney)
The BFG (Disney)

From what I could tell, Spielberg stays pretty true to the book, at least as much as I could recognize. It’s been a spell since I’ve read the book, but it absolutely feels like Roald Dahl’s classic brought to life. The BFG, (Big FRIENDLY Giant, as I’m having to constantly remind myself) is played by Mark Rylance, who recently stole Sylvester Stallone’s Academy Award out from under his nose at this year’s Oscars — in all fairness Rylance was amazing in”Bridge of Spies” (also Spielberg).

Rylance brings the character to life through the magic of motion capture. It’s an impressive performance, although not quite the realism we’ve seen in the past from Andy Serkis, but it’s still a solid, humanizing performance that only rarely looks more animated than real. The BFG for the most part blends seamlessly into his live action surroundings.

The BFG (Disney)
The BFG (Disney)

Ruby Barnhill plays Sophie, the human child who is swept into the kindhearted BFG’s life when she catches him rummaging through the streets of London late at night. She’s a cute kid and this is her first big movie. She delivers a fine performance as a precocious orphan who befriends the BFG. But it’s the connection between Barnhill and the motion capture of the BFG that never quite establishes the emotional connection it needs to.

While Spielberg reunites with “E.T.” scribe Mathison, the movie never quite seems to capture the magic and awe he introduced us too back in the early 80s. The movie is fun, interesting and touching, but it just seems to be missing something. Perhaps it’s the humor, which is aimed primarily at younger audiences. Look out for a lot of flatulence jokes. If you’ve read the book, you know what’s up. But the film also pushes 2 hours in running time, which is likely to test the patience of the core audience it’s aiming for.

That being said? It’s a fun movie. It’s Spielberg, so it’s expertly directed and looks gorgeous. Adults may not be struck by the nostalgia of Spielberg the way we are accustomed, but your kids are gonna love it.

The BFG (Disney)
The BFG (Disney)

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Written by Melissa Mathison

Based on the book by Roald Dahl

Starring Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill, Penelope Wilton, Bill Hader, and Jemaine Clement

Disney’s The BFG Official Website

Photos and video property of Walt Disney Films

Summer Movie Preview — July 2016


The summer movie season hits its groove, starting with Spielberg’s BFG and ending with Matt Damon’s return to JASON BOURNE. In between there’s laughs and sequels and remakes, as per usual.


THE BFG: A girl named Sophie encounters the Big Friendly Giant who, despite his intimidating appearance, turns out to be a kindhearted soul who is considered an outcast by the other giants because unlike his peers refuses to eat boys and girls. Starring: Rebecca Hall, Bill Hader, Mark Rylance Dir: Steven Spielberg.

LEGEND OF TARZAN: Tarzan, having acclimated to life in London, is called back to his former home in the jungle to investigate the activities at a mining encampment. Starring: Margot Robbie, Alexander Skarsgård, Samuel L. Jackson.


CELL: When a mysterious cell phone signal causes apocalyptic chaos, an artist is determined to reunite with his young son in New England. Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Isabelle Fuhrman, John Cusack Novel: Stephen King.

MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES: Two brothers place an online ad to find dates for a wedding and the ad goes viral.Starring: Zac Efron, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza.

SECRET LIFE OF PETS: Taking place in a Manhattan apartment building, Max’s life as a favorite pet is turned upside down, when his owner brings home a sloppy mongrel named Duke. Starring: Ellie Kemper, Jenny Slate, Lake Bell.


GHOSTBUSTERS: 30 years after Ghostbusters took the world by storm, the beloved franchise makes its long-awaited return. Director Paul Feig brings his fresh take to the supernatural comedy, joined by some of the funniest actors working today. Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon. Dir: Paul Feig.


ICE AGE COLLISION COURSE: Scrat’s epic pursuit of his elusive acorn catapults him outside of Earth, where he accidentally sets off a series of cosmic events that transform and threaten the planet.

STAR TREK BEYOND: Plot unknown. Starring: Idris Elba, Zoe Saldana, Chris Pine. Dir: Justin Lin.


JASON BOURNE: Jason Bourne, now remembering who he truly is, tries to uncover hidden truths about his past. Starring: Alicia Vikander, Matt Damon, Julia Stiles Dir: Paul Greengrass.

BAD MOMS: When three overworked and under-appreciated moms are pushed beyond their limits, they ditch their conventional responsibilities for a jolt of long overdue freedom, fun, and comedic self-indulgence. Starring: Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Christina Applegate.

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Spielberg’s ‘Linconln’ is crafted for Oscar glory but at times is a bit of a snooze — movie review

Steven Spielberg has tried for years to bring the story of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, to the big screen. The main problem with telling the story of the man who is arguably one of, if not the greatest American President, is deciding which story to tell. It took Spielberg over ten years to bring “Lincoln” to the big screen. At one point, Liam Neeson was attached to play the Great Emancipator before he backed out and Daniel Day Lewis took the part. It’s definitely a case where karma was kind to those involved here, even though the film is more bloated at times than it is epic. (Continue Reading at Examiner.com)