Tag Archive: Steven Spielberg


Remember the first time you watched Jurassic Park on the big screen?  Steven Spielberg created something like we’d never seen before, taking Michael Crichton’s masterpiece science fiction novel and giving it the visual spectacle it deserved.  Remember the ice cream scene?  When giant dinosaurs are after you, there’s nothing like ice cream.  A new book will take you back to that magic, and teach you not how to walk like a Saurian, but to eat like one.  In Dayton Ward and Elena Craig’s Jurassic World: The Official Cookbook, available now here at Amazon, fans of the original movie and the franchise finally get to sink their teeth into something straight out of the amusement park ride adventure, just as the latest movie, Jurassic World: Dominion, is being finalized for a summer 2022 release.

Take a look inside the book, released this week, courtesy of the publisher:

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From the best source of classic cinema comes a new trivia card game that will challenge the savviest fans of a century of movie history.  Turner Classic Movies’ Ultimate Movie Trivia Challenge is for anyone and everyone who has watched not only the Oscar-winning dramas and late-night noir marathons, but also paid attention to the hosts supplying behind-the-scenes trivia about the directors and stars.  It’s just right for pulling out at a cocktail party of your fellow movie fans, but fair warning: It’s the kind of game where you’ll be lucky to score a right answer in every few cards.

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Did you know Jurassic World was a trilogy?  The last film in the trilogy–and sixth in the Jurassic Park franchise–makes its way to theaters this summer.  Jurassic World: Dominion, which sees a new trailer this week (watch it below) follows 2015’s Jurassic World and 2018’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.  It looks to be a franchise bookend of sorts, with Jeff Goldblum returning as Ian Malcolm–the character that would define Goldblum’s trademark style thereafter–and digging even deeper to bring back Sam Neill as Alan Grant and Laura Dern as Ellie Sadler.  BD Wong is back, too, as Dr. Henry Wu.  So far only the first movie, Steven Spielberg’s landmark 1993 CGI and special effects spectacle, Jurassic Park, has matched the excitement and thrills of Michael Crichton’s original novel.  But what could executive producer Spielberg and director Colin Trevorrow do to light a fire under this franchise?

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Remember the first time you watched Jurassic Park on the big screen?  Steven Spielberg created something like we’d never seen before, taking Michael Crichton’s masterpiece science fiction novel and giving it the spectacle it deserved.  A new book will take you back to that magic.  In James Mottram’s Jurassic Park: The Ultimate Visual History, available now here at Amazon, fans of the original movie and the franchise finally get a behind-the-scenes chronicle worthy of the amusement park ride adventure, just as the latest movie, Jurassic World: Dominion, is being finalized for a summer 2022 release.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

For both film buffs and a new generation of a movie fans, a definitive guide to the most influential film directors–spanning a century of Hollywood creativity–will soon be a fixture in libraries everywhere.   Turner Classic Movies/TCM and film writer Sloan De Forest, author of TCM’s Dynamic Dames (reviewed here) and TCM’s Must-See Sci-fi (reviewed here), chronicle 58 directors, their works, and influence on the filmmaking in TCM’s The Essential Directors: The Art and Impact of Cinema’s Most Influential Filmmakers.  From Charlie Chaplin to Steven Spielberg, these are the directors that film aficionados will be unlikely to quibble with.  Some made their marks as household names, others are legendary auteurs, while others provided a singular film or image that has made them synonymous with Hollywood royalty.  From epic dramas, to laugh-out-loud comedies, readers will find TCM’s Essential Directors as the go-to source for the heavy-hitters behind the biggest movies in history.

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Narragansett 2021 box

Discovery′s annual Shark Week programming is back beginning this Sunday.  From July 11 to July 18 look for your annual fix of shark-centered features.  Shark Week is television’s longest running summer TV event.  That means Narragansett is back with new summer promotions, cans, and tie-ins incorporating artist Roger Kastel′s famous movie poster for Steven Spielberg’s Jaws.  Not only is Narragansett one of America’s oldest beer companies (they turned 21 in 1911), Jaws made its beer famous again in 1975 when Robert Shaw′s character Quint downs a can and crunches it to look tough in front of Richard Dreyfuss′s character Hooper.  Hooper created the funniest moment of the film, who dueled Quint in his own way by crushing his Styrofoam cup.

Shark Week 2021 schedule

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Underexposed cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

Stanley Kubrick’s The Lord of the Rings starring The Beatles.  Peter Jackson’s A Nightmare on Elm Street.  George Miller’s Justice League.  Robert Rodriguez’s Barbarella.  Shane Black’s The Monster Squad.  Two John Carpenter movies you’ve never seen.  If you’re wondering what the best movie was in any given year, you have plenty of options.  You can look for the movie that had the biggest take at the box office.  You can look to critic reviews.  You can scroll through the Internet Movie Database.  You can review awards lists or Alternate Oscars.  Or you can just watch the movies and choose for yourself.  Underexposed! The 50 Greatest Movies Never Made, a new book arriving this month from Abrams, could have been called False Starts–it’s a book about movies that almost made it to the big screen.

Underexposed 6A

Peppered with movie poster mock-ups from art group PosterSpy, filmmaker and film enthusiast Joshua Hull tracked down interesting histories of some of the best and most quirky movies that almost got made, but were either abandoned, had legal rights issues, lack of funding, lack of interest, or simply were not made to save audiences from a bad idea.  They aren’t from obscure creators, either.  The list includes projects from Alfred Hitchcock to Stanley Kubrick and Steven Spielberg–and some are ideas that sound like they could have been pretty great.  What were they thinking?  Find out in this book.  

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Review by C.J. Bunce

If Chris Columbus and Steven Spielberg didn’t get paid for the screenplay for the new Netflix kids’ adventure movie Finding ‘Ohana, they should.  Usually an homage borrows bits and pieces from the source material.  Finding ‘Ohana is different–it is a remake (albeit unofficial remake) of the 1985 classic coming of age adventure The Goonies, updated to bring it into the 21st century and change the setting from Oregon to Hawaii.  ‘Ohana, which you’ll know from previous Hawaii-themed series and movies, means family, which reflects the film’s theme of Hawaiian culture and families reunited.  Ultimately the effort is a mixed bag–a movie that could be great fun for younger kids, but will make everyone else crave the movies it pulls its ideas from.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

With the second season opener “The Marshall,” I thought the new season would be more of the same (see my review here).  A bit light on plot, and so similar to a few episodes from the first season, I figured Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni, & Co. were going to deliver some more good entertainment, but not take too many risks.  Not one week later I had to take that back, as the episode “The Passenger” delivered a spectacular single-story episode reminiscent of Alien and The Thing.  The fourth episode of the season, “The Siege,” was a return of characters from season one and more of the single most important, far-reaching draw for any age group or other demographic, Baby Yoda, given the name Grogu in last week’s episode.  But if you take a look at this season, especially episodes 11, 13, and 14, what you may find is the third greatest Star Wars movie.  Or at least your third favorite.  I’ll avoid spoilers for yesterday’s new episode “The Tragedy” below except to mention the director and that the episode blew me away, but let’s dig into this season so far.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

As movies go, few successes were as unlikely as Steven Spielberg’s Jaws It was a film that from its inception never seemed like anyone knew how to get their arms around the project.  Spielberg’s driving force was refusing to film in a tank as seen in the Spencer Tracy clunky version of The Old Man and the Sea.  It was to be the real ocean or nothing.  And there never was any alternative to building a full-sized shark.  Art director-turned production designer Joe Alves partnered with Spielberg, and it was his first instinct to render his charcoal concept drawings explicitly to show the violent shark attack scenes, all for a set of pitch materials to help sell the idea of the film to the studios.  These drawings by Alves, his storyboards, his location scouting notes, and his pages of production outlines are now reproduced for the first time in Joe Alves: Designing Jaws, a new look at cinema’s original blockbuster.

A lot has happened since Jaws.  Would Paul Allen have taken on searching for and discovering the sunken USS Indianapolis but for the film sharing the sailors’ story?  Nearly 45 years later it seems impossible that a new book could be written about the adaptation of Peter Benchley’s 1974 hyped novel Jaws (reviewed here), which was (incredibly) being published at the same time the film was being made.  The definitive book for years about the making of the film has been (and remains) screenwriter Carl Gottlieb’s insightful work The Jaws Log (reviewed here), but we’ve since seen periodic looks back at the production, as in Jaws: Memories from Martha’s Vineyard (reviewed here).  No doubt if there’s something more to learn about Jaws, the film’s fans (including me) are going to get our hands on it.  Access to something like Joe Alves’s personal archive of artwork and production notes is as surprising and rare as it gets, so Joe Alves: Designing Jaws is going to be a no-brainer for movie buffs to add to their bookshelves.

Jaws was by no means Alves’s first film.  He began in the cinema creating special effects for Forbidden Planet, and later Night Gallery, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and after Jaws he’d design films like Escape from New York, Freejack, and Geronimo: An American Legend.  Somehow all the competing ideas for Jaws would come together, and Alves would be best known for his work on the film.  His charcoal concept art illustrates how removed from the final vision the creators of Jaws began with, beginning with an assumption that Spielberg would actually be showing the shark a lot.  As readers will learn in this book, the film we know only came together in the editing room.

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