Tag Archive: Steven Spielberg


Review by C.J. Bunce

Raise your hand if you still have your Pizza Hut drinking glasses set, or the sticker they handed out at theaters on opening day that promoted Reese’s Pieces.  Five years ago here at borg I watched E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial return to theaters and reflected on the blockbuster film’s 35th anniversary.  Here we are at #40 and writer Caseen Gaines–whose landmark book on The Dark Crystal I loved–has penned a complete account of the making of the film.  It’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial: The Ultimate Visual History, and it’s one of the best behind-the-scenes chronicles I’ve reviewed at borg.  It’s available now in a big, hardcover edition at all bookstore retailers and here at Amazon.

Gaines is on his way to becoming film books’ next J.W. Rinzler.  Gaines steps back and lets the story tell itself as he begins with Steven Spielberg’s recollections of seeing a UFO with his dad when he was young, and Gaines follows that story as it works its way into a script and then the science fiction classic that would surpass Star Wars at the box office and win four Oscars.  Perhaps it’s because E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is a “simple story”–as Spielberg and executive producer Kathleen Kennedy called it–and that translates to a handful of creators able to provide a detailed account of every step along the way.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Some concept artists light the spark for the visuals of a film or television project.  A few create something truly novel, something that endures.  The late artist and designer Ron Cobb has something of both.  Fans of pop culture know his work even if they don’t know his name.  Now he’s the centerpiece of the next look at the greatest artists and artisans behind the scenes of cinema.  With Titan Books’ new work The Art of Ron Cobb, the publisher adds to the film enthusiast’s bookshelf of sci-fi designers like Cinema Alchemist: Designing Star Wars and Alien, The Artistry of Dan Curry, Tech Noir: The Art of James Cameron, and a stack of books on John Eaves, including Star Trek: The Art of John EavesThe Art of Ron Cobb is available for pre-order now here at Amazon.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

The best documentaries tend to be about a subject you had no interest in before watching it.  I count Michael Apted’s 7-Up documentary series as the best of all time, with the rest of the best to include the World War II story Ghost Plane of the Desert: Lady Be Good, Nova’s biography of Andrew Wiles searching for Fermat’s Last Theorem The Proof, Penn & Teller’s Tim’s Vermeer, Bruce Brown’s Endless Summer, the Bruce Lee biography Be Water, Thor Heyerdahl’s Oscar-winning Kon-Tiki, Stephen Fry’s fandom journey Wagner and Me, Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine, PBS’s The Farthest: Voyager in Space, the FBI scandal story 1971, Kurt Russell family’s The Battered Basterds of Baseball, and one from everyone’s top 10 list, Harlan County USA

But how about a documentary about a subject you know you like?  Lawrence Kasdan’s Light & Magic fits the bill, a docu-series about the making of Star Wars… and more.  It probably won’t get an Oscar nod next year, but sure it has the most nostalgia per minute.  You may think you have seen it all, then Kasdan, Ron Howard, and their friends show up and find this incredible footage and get most of the original creators of Star Wars, Lucasfilm, and Industrial Light & Magic to walk fans through how it all happened.  The six-part docu-series is now streaming on Disney+.  Like ILM’s myriad contributions to movies, the result feels like magic.

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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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