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Canon Of Film: ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’

In this edition of Canon Of Film, we take a look at Steven Spielberg‘s sci-fi classic, ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind‘ for it’s recent 40th anniversary. For the story behind the genesis of the Canon, you can click here.

Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (1977)

Director/Screenplay: Steven Spielberg

Close Encounters of the Third Kind‘ is an accomplishment is tension-building and then, pulling off an ending that actually matched the amount of tension we had. The first part of that, is tough, the second part is damn-near impossible. ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind,’ kinda unfairly gets ranked as that, other sci-fi film Steven Spielberg did after ‘E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial‘, and hell, I might rank it third and put ‘Minority Report‘ above both of them some days, but it doesn’t play like a sci-fi film. It plays more like a conspiracy theory thriller, an Altermanesque multi-narrative with divergent parts,
See full article at Age of the Nerd »

‘Spielberg’ Review: Star-Studded HBO Documentary Gets Personal, But You’ll Learn More From His Movies

‘Spielberg’ Review: Star-Studded HBO Documentary Gets Personal, But You’ll Learn More From His Movies
Steven Spielberg is a director who likes to push himself, but doesn’t like to be pushed. The Oscar-winning helmer says as much himself in Susan Lacy’s new documentary, “Spielberg.”

When discussing “The Color Purple,” Spielberg mentions how he “got in trouble” from film critics for not taking the romantic relationship between Celie (Whoopi Goldberg) and Shug (Margaret Avery) far enough. His explanation: “I might’ve done that had I made the move 10 years later. I was just timid,” he says. “I was a little embarrassed. I just wasn’t the right guy to do that.”

Later, while examining “Schindler’s List,” Steven’s sister Anne Spielberg said, “He had the book for over 10 years, and if anyone pushed him on it, he said, ‘I’ll know when it’s time.’ And then the time came.”

To be fair, he was right — he knew the right time to make
See full article at Indiewire Television »

‘Spielberg’ Review: Star-Studded HBO Documentary Gets Personal, But You’ll Learn More From His Movies

  • Indiewire
‘Spielberg’ Review: Star-Studded HBO Documentary Gets Personal, But You’ll Learn More From His Movies
Steven Spielberg is a director who likes to push himself, but doesn’t like to be pushed. The Oscar-winning helmer says as much himself in Susan Lacy’s new documentary, “Spielberg.”

When discussing “The Color Purple,” Spielberg mentions how he “got in trouble” from film critics for not taking the romantic relationship between Celie (Whoopi Goldberg) and Shug (Margaret Avery) far enough. His explanation: “I might’ve done that had I made the move 10 years later. I was just timid,” he says. “I was a little embarrassed. I just wasn’t the right guy to do that.”

Later, while examining “Schindler’s List,” Steven’s sister Anne Spielberg said, “He had the book for over 10 years, and if anyone pushed him on it, he said, ‘I’ll know when it’s time.’ And then the time came.”

To be fair, he was right — he knew the right time to make
See full article at Indiewire »

10 Things We Learned From HBO's 'Spielberg' Documentary

10 Things We Learned From HBO's 'Spielberg' Documentary
Susan Lacy's documentary Spielberg debuts October 7th on HBO, trots out an all-star team of interviewees – from film critics to famous friends, the Toms (Cruise and Hanks) to God herself, a.k.a. Oprah Winfrey. The voices film buffs will undoubtedly want to hear from the most, however, belong to his fellow "movie brats": Francis Ford Coppola, Brian De Palma, George Lucas and Martin Scorsese, who all talk at length about their heady New Hollywood days alongside Spielberg in the early Seventies. All of them partied together, bounced
See full article at Rolling Stone »

Star Struck: "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" at 40

  • MUBI
In the cinema of Steven Spielberg, to say nothing of the cinema of science fiction, of Hollywood, and of practical effects, Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) is a landmark, like the silhouette of a small mountain in the night skyline. Spielberg’s Duel (1971), carried over from television to movie theaters, was a wisp of a story elevated by its visual dynamism. His theatrical debut, The Sugarland Express (1974), was another 70s American road movie, notable today for the way it combines the appealing grit of the New Hollywood (and of Duel) with a much warmer, more charitable view of America and its culture. It contains the director’s first broken family unit—a key theme in his career—and was his first film scored by John Williams, even if it has almost none of the Williams trademarks. Jaws (1975) was the breakout smash, a lurid bucket-of-blood movie turned into a light day-at-the-beach movie,
See full article at MUBI »

Why Elizabeth Banks's Inaccurate Comment About Steven Spielberg Majorly Backfired

  • BuzzSugar
What was supposed to be an empowering speech about women in film ended up majorly backfiring for Elizabeth Banks. The Pitch Perfect 2 director was the recipient of the Excellence in Film Award at the annual Crystal + Lucy Awards in La on Tuesday, where she used her moment in the spotlight to discuss gender equality in Hollywood and criticize Steven Spielberg for always casting men as the leads in his films. "We can't do it by ourselves. We need dudes. We need the guys," she said. "It's our responsibility to bring the men along. I went to Indiana Jones and Jaws and every movie Steven Spielberg ever made, and by the way, he's never made a movie with a female lead. Sorry, Steven. I don't mean to call your ass out, but it's true." Immediately actress Shari Belafonte, who was sitting in the audience, yelled out "The Color Purple!" Banks
See full article at BuzzSugar »

Elizabeth Banks apologises for criticising Steven Spielberg

  • ScreenDaily
Elizabeth Banks apologises for criticising Steven Spielberg
“I messed up.”

Elizabeth Banks has apologised after she claimed in an awards speech that Steven Spielberg had never directed a film with a female lead.

While collecting the excellence in directing prize at the Woman in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards, Banks said: “I went to Indiana Jones and Jaws and every movie Steven Spielberg ever made… he’s never made a movie with a female lead. Sorry, Steven. I don’t mean to call your ass out, but it’s true.”

Banks was criticised for the comments on social media, with many pointing out that several Spielberg films, including The Sugarland Express, The Colour Purple and The Bfg, had actresses in lead roles.

Later Banks posted an apology on Twitter. She wrote:

“I messed up. When referring to Steven Spielberg at the Woman in Film awards, I framed my comments inaccurately. I want to be clear from the start that I take full responsibility for what
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Wif Crystal Award Winner Elizabeth Banks Apologizes For Calling Out Steven Spielberg Over Lack Of Female Leads

Wif Crystal Award Winner Elizabeth Banks Apologizes For Calling Out Steven Spielberg Over Lack Of Female Leads
Updated, Thursday, 4:15 Pm: Elizabeth Banks, who called the legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg out on Tuesday night before 900 people attending the Women in Film Crystal Awards for not directing films with female leads (he has with such films as The Color Purple and The Sugarland Express), has tweeted out an apology for her remarks this afternoon, saying she was wrong and she was sorry for the error. Deadline was first to report the remarks she made while accepting the…
See full article at Deadline »

Elizabeth Banks Puts Steven Spielberg On Blast For Lack of Female Lead Characters

  • Indiewire
Elizabeth Banks Puts Steven Spielberg On Blast For Lack of Female Lead Characters
Elizabeth Banks was in Hollywood last night at the Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards to receive an honor for excellence in feature directing, and she used her time on stage to put none other than Steven Spielberg on blast.

Criticizing the director for his lack of female characters in lead roles, Banks said, “I went to ‘Indiana Jones’ and ‘Jaws’ and every movie Steven Spielberg ever made…he’s never made a movie with a female lead. Sorry, Steven. I don’t mean to call your ass out, but it’s true.”

Read More: Steven Spielberg Does What He Wants: 6 Things Every Fan Must Know About Hollywood’s Biggest Director

It’s important to note that Banks’ statement isn’t completely true. Spielberg’s theatrical feature debut “The Sugarland Express” features Goldie Hawn in the lead role, while other efforts like “The Color Purple” and “The Bfg” were also centered around lead actresses.
See full article at Indiewire »

Lovers on the Run

An exclusive video traces from Bonnie and Clyde to Mickey and Mallory and all stops between.

One of the most tried and true tropes in all of movie history is that of lovers on the run. They can be petty thieves, master criminals, wrongfully-accused innocents, chance acquaintances, fleeing victims, or escaping wards, but whatever the impetus they are two lovers, usually young, who take to the open road to get away from whatever unforgiving lives they come from. Films about lovers on the run differ from other duos in similar situations because no matter how wicked said lovers are, the fact that they are in love always generates empathy from an audience, even if we can’t connect to the impulses or decision-making skills of the characters, we can understand their motivation to avoid capture and stay together no matter what: they’re in love. And yes, sometimes that love is an anchor and sometimes it’s
See full article at FilmSchoolRejects »

Goldie Hawn Retrospective to Screen at the Quad Cinema in NYC

Goldie Hawn in “Private Benjamin

The upcoming mother-daughter comedy “Snatched” marks Goldie Hawn’s first film since 2002’s “The Banger Sisters.” To celebrate the end of Hawn’s 15-year sabbatical, the Quad will hold a retrospective of the Oscar winner’s films, a press release announced.

The Golden Goldies retrospective will see beloved Hawn films like “Private Benjamin,” “Swing Shift,” “Death Becomes Her,” and “The First Wives Club” screen on 35mm.

“No Hollywood actress in recent memory has come closer than Goldie Hawn to capturing the ebullience and whip-smart comic timing of the great screen comediennes of the ’30s and ’40s, a modern Joan Blondell or Carole Lombard,” the release states. “Though she won an Academy Award for one of her first roles (in 1969’s ‘Cactus Flower’), critics have tended to underestimate the depths of [Hawn’s] talent. The forthcoming film ‘Snatched’ marks her long-awaited return to the screen after a 15-year absence, and we’re celebrating the occasion with a greatest-hits retrospective, a veritable masterclass in the delicate art of cinematic comedy.”

It’s great that Hawn’s contributions to cinema are being recognized. However, while researching the Golden Goldies films as well as Hawn’s entire filmography, we noticed the actress has never worked with a female film director. From what we can tell, she has only collaborated with a woman director once, on a 2013 episode of the kids show “Phineas and Ferb.” Sue Perrotto co-directed the ep.

This is disappointing, but not a complete surprise. Last year Cosmopolitan published a story detailing how many big-name actors have never worked with a woman film director. Among them are Sean Connery, Sylvester Stallone, Ben Stiller, Matt Damon, Tom Cruise, and Tobey Maguire. And to be fair to them and Hawn, there are plenty of actresses who have never appeared in a woman-helmed film. Shailene Woodley, for example, has not appeared in a feature film directed by a woman

Still. We wish both male and female power players would follow Jessica Chastain’s lead. “I’m looking to work with a female filmmaker every year,” she told Variety. “That’s my goal. They’re not given the same opportunities so if I have any influence in choosing a film or a script or finding a director I’m absolutely going to make a difference. That doesn’t mean I’m excluding men — it means I need some balance in my life.”

And she’s achieving it; Chastain has worked with female directors like Kathryn Bigelow, Liv Ullmann, and Susanna White. Her most recent collaboration with a woman director is Niki Caro’s “The Zookeeper’s Wife.”

The Golden Goldies retrospective will be May 6–11 at the Quad in New York City. The featured films and their synopses are below, courtesy of Quad Cinema.

“Death Becomes Her”

Robert Zemeckis, 1992, 104m, U.S., 35mm

Sun May 7 & Mon May 8

When glamorous narcissist Meryl Streep steals her fiancé Bruce Willis, Hawn finds revenge in an elixir of youth (and immortality) supplied by a seductively devilish Isabella Rossellini. Rivalry escalates to murder as Hawn and Streep battle it out in the land of the undead in this cult black comedy about all-consuming vanity.

The First Wives Club

Hugh Wilson, 1996, U.S., 103m, 35mm

Mon May 8

Spite never sleeps in this gleefully vindictive comedy about getting even and the bonds of sisterhood. Hawn stars opposite Bette Midler and Diane Keaton as a once-acclaimed actress plagued by ageism and out for revenge against her ex-husband and his perky new muse. But acrimony eventually gives way to a new sense of liberation, culminating in an ever-endearing rendition of Lesley Gore’s anthem of female independence.

Overboard

Garry Marshall, 1987, U.S., 106m, 35mm

Wed May 10

Wertmüller’s “Swept Away” reimagined as big studio farce, with Hawn’s shrill heiress mistreating blue-collar carpenter Kurt Russell, who then proceeds to enact romantic revenge after she’s afflicted with amnesia. Despite the retrograde sexual politics, the chemistry is palpable and the comic timing immaculate.

Private Benjamin

Howard Zieff, 1980, U.S., 109m, 35mm

Wed May 6 & Thur May 11

After husband Albert Brooks dies on their wedding night, spoiled rich girl Hawn is convinced by military recruiter Harry Dean Stanton to join the U.S. Army, where she comes up against a tough-as-nails C.O. Eileen Brennan. Both Hawn and Brennan were nominated for Academy Awards in this beloved box-office hit.

Seems Like Old Times

Jay Sandrich, 1980, USA, 100m, 35mm

Tue May 10 & Thu May 11

Hawn hits her comedic stride in this irresistible Neil Simon farce as a characteristically zany public defender torn between district attorney husband Charles Grodin and her ex, Chevy Chase, a writer charged with bank robbery. Things escalate towards a fever pitch when she decides to represent him in court.

Shampoo

Hal Ashby, 1975, U.S., 110m, Dcp

Mon May 8 & Wed May 11

The dream team of Ashby, screenwriter Robert Towne, and actor-producer Warren Beatty set their biting farce and undisputed ’70s classic on the eve of Nixon’s 1968 electoral landslide, with over-sexed, in-demand, and increasingly vexed hairdresser Beatty juggling frustrated girlfriend Hawn, taxing client Lee Grant, ex-girlfriend Julie Christie, and potential business partner Jack Warden as America lurches to the right.

The Sugarland Express

Steven Spielberg, 1974, U.S., 110m, 35mm

Sat May 6 & Mon May 8

After losing their baby son to the state, small-time crooks Hawn and William Atherton snatch him right back and go on the run, with seemingly every law enforcement officer in Texas in hot pursuit. Spielberg’s first feature refines the technical mastery of Duel, but Hawn’s performance as an exasperated, manically determined mother gives this picture a more resonant pathos.

Swing Shift

Jonathan Demme, 1984, U.S., 100m, 35mm

Sun May 7 & Thur May 10

When hubby Ed Harris ships off to fight WWII, housewife Hawn finds herself via a factory job — and a fling with hunky trumpet player Kurt Russell. Despite her contentious relationship with her director, Hawn displays her greatest emotional range here, and Demme’s deft touch for humanist comedy shines through. Featuring Christine Lahti, Fred Ward, and Holly Hunter.

Goldie Hawn Retrospective to Screen at the Quad Cinema in NYC was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

Someone to Watch Over Me: Spielberg and Surveillance

Exploring the director’s fascination with spying.

The cinema of Steven Spielberg is one that’s built around fascination and a need to understand. As a director he is an explorer, but not one interested in unearthing grand artifacts, rather one in search of intimate treasures, an explorer of explorers, so to speak, someone to whom the process of discovery is much more interesting than the discoveries themselves.

As such, his films are rife with surveillance, characters spying on or otherwise surreptitiously watching other characters, tracking their behavior, their actions, their being, for the purposes of gathering information, good and bad. Think of the Nazis on the trail of Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark peering over newspapers, or the future crime detectives in Minority Report scanning time for illegalities, or the government scientists after E.T. creeping about suburbia.

Spielberg is constantly exploring surveillance and the various mindsets behind it, and
See full article at FilmSchoolRejects »

Cool Stuff: The Ultimate Collection of John Williams Music from Steven Spielberg’s Films

  • Slash Film
Cool Stuff: The Ultimate Collection of John Williams Music from Steven Spielberg’s Films
You’d be hard pressed to find such an iconic pairing of director and composer as Steven Spielberg and John Williams. The two enormous talents have been working together for 42 years now, starting all the way back with The Sugarland Express in 1974 and stretching up through The Bfg last year. The only two Spielberg […]

The post Cool Stuff: The Ultimate Collection of John Williams Music from Steven Spielberg’s Films appeared first on /Film.
See full article at Slash Film »

Steven Spielberg’s Strange History With ‘Cruising’

  • Indiewire
Steven Spielberg’s Strange History With ‘Cruising’
Back in the early 1970s, while George Lucas was immortalizing the “cruising” culture of teens and their cars in “American Graffiti,” his future frequent collaborator Steven Spielberg was exploring a different kind. Nearly a decade before director William Friedkin created a scandal with the Al Pacino-starring “Cruising” (released 37 years ago today), the wunderkind filmmaker—who has won over generations of audiences by evoking a childlike sense of wonder—almost made his leap from TV to features with the most adult-themed project imaginable.

It all started with producer Philip D’Antoni, who had won an Oscar for the 1971 drug-bust saga “The French Connection” and was looking for a filmmaker to helm another New York City-set crime project. He had just bought the rights to the novel “Cruising,” written by The New York Times feature writer Gerald Walker, in which an undercover cop descends into the leather bars of Greenwich Village as he tracks a homosexual murderer.
See full article at Indiewire »

Spielberg at 70: bullies, monsters, and the 1970s

Paul Bullock Dec 15, 2016

The Sugarland Express, Duel, Jaws, Close Encounters, and the work of Steven Spielberg in the 1970s...

To celebrate Steven Spielberg's 70th birthday on December 18th, here's part one of a daily series of articles working through his output, decade by decade. Beginning with the 1970s, Duel, Jaws and more..

See related Star Wars: Rogue One review

The boy is planning something. Something big. It's the kind of mischievous scheme he'll fictionalise in his movies, put into the personalities of Chunk, Elliot, and young Indiana Jones. For now, however, this particular plan belongs to a young Steven Spielberg, and it'll require a colour wheel, a white sheet, a few extension cords, a little help from his sister Anne, and a lot of the kind of theatricality he'll eventually become famous for. It's the height of the Christmas season in the largely gentile neighbourhood of Crystal Terrace in Haddonfield,
See full article at Den of Geek »

Missing From Movies: William Atherton’s Dick

Some actors were just born to be typecast.

“This man has no dick.” And neither do the movies anymore.

If you’re going to write a part specifically for William Atherton, it’s probably going to be inspired by his three most famous roles. That was clearly the case when he was cast for an episode of the TV series Lost, in which he plays a slimy high school principal character who was conceived with him in mind. It was a throwback to the assholes he embodied in Ghostbusters, Real Genius, and the first two Die Hard movies. Another one of his dicks.

Unfortunately, there aren’t enough people writing dick parts specifically for Atherton to play on the big screen. It’s been 20 years since his last (slightly) memorable movie continuation of the type, in Bio-Dome, and many of his fans probably aren’t even aware that he’s still alive and working regularly. Mostly
See full article at FilmSchoolRejects »

Forget The Bfg, Spielberg ain’t past it yet…

Tony Black on what the future holds for Steven Spielberg following the box office disappointment of The Bfg

This week, The Bfg joined this year’s list of ‘illustrious’ flops, at least in the Us where it tanked hard as it released off the back of Indepedence Day: Resurgence and the much more successful Finding Dory. That puts it in the same house as The Huntsman’s Winter War, Gods of Egypt & Zoolander 2. A Steven Spielberg movie. Based on a legendary children’s book by Roald Dahl. This can’t be right, surely? Well for whatever reason, nobody wanted to smell what The Bfg was cooking, and almost immediately commentators and sites decried this box office failure as the metaphorical ‘death of Spielberg’, suggesting the master of modern cinema has lost his magic touch with the takings and, moreover, has lost that special ingredient which made him arguably the
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

John Williams’ 12 Most Underappreciated Musical Cues

  • Indiewire
John Williams’ 12 Most Underappreciated Musical Cues
Close your eyes and you can hear the music of John Williams without trying too hard. You know the greatest hits and can probably hum through most of them from start to finish, even if the extent of your musical career is plunking out “Heart and Soul” on your grandparent’s piano.

The legacy of Williams’ music extends beyond the cinema. The “NBC Nightly News” theme? That was him. That fanfare you’ll be hearing once the Olympics arrive? Him, too. A fan of that “Sunday Night Football” march that leads up to kickoff? Guess who.

And even though the world now recognizes Williams for his trademark triumphant horns and sweeping orchestral strings, this was a composer who, a year before “Jaws,” was penning acoustic love themes so ’70s they would make Burt Bacharach blush. So as much as we remember the soundtracks to dizzying flights across space and wide shots of dinosaurs in paradise,
See full article at Indiewire »

Cue the Theme! John Williams Returning to Score Fifth Indiana Jones Film

  • PEOPLE.com
Cue the Theme! John Williams Returning to Score Fifth Indiana Jones Film
Good news about the upcoming Indiana Jones sequel! Legendary composer John Williams will be returning to score the fifth installment of Steven Spielberg's iconic series. Williams has scored all four films in the franchise, including the hero's last outing, 2008's Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which raked in $786 million worldwide. "John Williams will come back and score [the film], absolutely,” Spielberg confirmed to Et Thursday at the American Film Institute event honoring Williams with the AFI Life Achievement Award at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. The 84-year-old composer - who has been nominated for 50 Academy Awards throughout
See full article at PEOPLE.com »

AFI Honoree John Williams Looks Back on Six Decades of Iconic Themes

AFI Honoree John Williams Looks Back on Six Decades of Iconic Themes
Star Wars.” “E.T.” “Jaws.” “Indiana Jones.” “Superman.” “Harry Potter.”

Admit it: You can’t think of any one of those films without hearing the score in your head.

John Williams, who wrote all those classic themes [and dozens more] will receive the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award on June 9 from frequent collaborator Steven Spielberg. It will be the first such honor given to a composer in the 44-year history of the award.

“This man’s gifts echo, quite literally, through all of us, around the world and across generations,” says AFI president-ceo Bob Gazzale. “There’s not one person who hasn’t heard this man’s work, who hasn’t felt alive because of it. That’s the ultimate impact of an artist.”

Over six decades in Hollywood, Williams has written some of the most memorable music in movie history. His 100-plus features have earned 50 Academy Award nominations [making him the most-nominated living person] and he’s won five times.
See full article at Variety - Film News »
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