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      Donation time at JWFan   01/16/18

      Hello!

      For those who may not know, JWFan relies entirely on donations to keep running.  Donations pay for our server bills, as well as keeping our domain and Invision Powerboard fees.
      As an incentive to donate, I am offering a series of free CDS to anyone who donates over a certain amount!   Last time this was a modest success, where I raised $500 of our desired $1,000 and mailed out 3 free CDs to lucky JWFanners.  This time I'll be doing the raffling a littler different!   Our goal is $1000 once again, and I will have four tiers of free CDs you can win once again.  But this time, the more you donate, the more entries into each raffle you'll get!   Each $10 you donate gets your name put into the raffle mug once for the $10 pool, twice for the $20 pool, thrice for the $30 pool, and five times into the $50 pool.  Here is the list of CDs you can win - and I have more to add at a later time when I get a little more organized (I'll post what they are by Friday at the latest)   The $10 pool (Every $10 you donate gets you one ticket into this pool) - will be drawn as soon as we hit $250 donated Tyler Bates - God of War; Ascension (OST, La La Land Records) Danny Elfman - Planet of the Apes (OST, Sony) Danny Elfman - Taking Woodstock (OST, La La Land Records) Christopher Lennertz - Identity Thief (OST, La La Land Records) Christopher Lennertz - Medal of Honor: Rising Sun (OST) Michael Giacchino - Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (OST, Varese Sarabande) Dave Holmes & Various - Ocean's 11 (OST, WB Records) Joel McNeely & Various - Hollywood '94 (Varese Sarabande) Joe Kraemer - Jack Reacher (OST, La La Land Records) John Williams - Born on the Fourth of July (OST, MCA Records)   The $20 pool (Every $10 you donate gets you two ticket into this pool, must donate at least $20 to be eligible) - will be drawn as soon as we hit $500 donated John Barry - First Love (La La Land) Jerry Goldsmith - The Challenge (La La Land) Jerry Goldsmith - In Harm's Way (2009 Intrada edition) Jerry Goldsmith - The Red Pony (Varese) Alan Silvestri - Dutch (La La Land) Shirley Walker - Willard (La La Land) John Williams - Family Plot (Varese Sarabande) or, any of the above CDs if you prefer   The $30 pool (Every $10 you donate gets you three ticket into this pool, must donate at least $30 to be eligible) - will be drawn as soon as we hit $750 donated James Horner - Gorky Park (OOP Kritzerland Edition) James Newton Howard - Outbreak (2CD, Varese Deluxe Edition) Laurence Rosenthal - Clash of the Titans (2CD, Intrada) John Williams - The Fury (2CD, La La Land) John Williams - Jane Eyre (OOP, La La Land) or, any of the above CDs if you prefer   The $50 pool (Every $10 you donate gets you five ticket into this pool, must donate at least $50 to be eligible) - will be drawn as soon as we hit $1,000 donated Jerry Fielding - The Wild Bunch (3CD, FSM) Ira Newborn - The Naked Gun trilogy (3CD, La La Land) Shirley Walker and Various - Batman: The Animated Series Volume 3 (4CD, La La Land) or, any of the above CDs if you prefer     All shipping will be paid by me to anywhere in the world!   I will pull names from a hat for each pool, and you get to pick whatever CD set you want if I pull your name!   To be eligible, leave your JWFan username in the comments area of your donation.  If you want to donate but not be in the running for a free CD, mention that in the comment.   Use this link or the link on the mainpage.       Thank you!   Jason, Ricard, and Andreas.
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Disco Stu

SPIELBERG, Upcoming HBO documentary

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4 minutes ago, JoeinAR said:

I agree about Shitminski's contribution but his reliance on Williams is fine. Sadly hes the dullest director out there, a shell of his former glory.

 

Nah, Ron Howard is much duller. Contemporary Spielberg without the former glory.

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3 minutes ago, Nick1066 said:

 

Nah, Ron Howard is much duller. Contemporary Spielberg without the former glory.

But Howard was never that good so hes never that bad. He never promised greatness. 

SS is the tiger woods of film directing with as many whorish dalliances.

 

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Janusz Kamiński, cinematographer on Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, said that he deliberately shot the film to emulate Slocombe's visuals, in order to create an appearance of continuity with the previous pictures.[29]

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Slocombe#Indiana_Jones_films

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Yeah, I think it was about as close as such an idiosyncratic cinematographer as Kaminski was going to get Slocombe's style. But I agree with Disco Stu that a more "brighter-coloured" cinematographer might have been a wise choice. Dean Cundey would have been great for that. Or Allen Daviau, had he been alive.

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I remember reading that at the time.

 

If that's really what Kaminski intended, he didn't pull it off.  

 

4 minutes ago, JoeinAR said:

They are like black and white films except they are in color.

 

Well put!

 

7 minutes ago, Disco Stu said:

The only time I think Kaminski was a mistake was Crystal Skull, where it would've been wiser to just imitate Slocombe.

 

Kaminski's best work for Spielberg was Bridge of Spies, he capture the tone the movie required perfectly.

 

 

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The digital color grading is what is most incongruous between KOTCS and the original Indy trilogy.  That movie was graded to within an inch of its life it seemed to me, maybe I'm wrong.

 

But I should also point out that I think Kaminski's work on films like Saving Private Ryan, Catch Me If You Can, Munich, and especially Lincoln are just genius.  And of course Schindler's List!

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The problem is, for me, that even when they are of a completely different subject matter, many of the later era Spielberg films have a sameness about them, and I think it's at least partially because of his over reliance on continuing to go back to the same people, like Kaminski and Williams. 

 

I get that it's much easier to work with someone you know and who knows you and knows how to give you what you want. It's very comfortable. But being that comfortable can be the enemy of great art. Spielberg and Williams can probably read each other's mind. The result is almost always incredibly competent, because Spielberg only works with people at the top of their game. But who pushes him? Who makes him look at things in a different way?

 

Ever wonder what a Spielberg movie shot by Roger Deakins and scored by Bear McCreary might look like? Too bad, you'll never know.

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I miss when Spielberg made films that looked like real life, only a bit more colorful in some cases. Kaminski has obviously done some great work, but for Spielberg, the results are usually too stylized. I rarely champion Jurassic Park, but that's the last one where it looked like perfect Spielberg. Every scene looked exactly like it would in real life. No blinding light shining through windows, no excessive grain, washed out colors, orange and teal, weird frame rate etc.

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BFG was a mistake.

 

Thematically, it was supposed to be classic Spielberg's bread and butter, the type of thing that made him great.  Then he tried to do it again, and couldn't, and only created a reminder of just how good he used to be telling those kind of stories.

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2 hours ago, Disco Stu said:

And I've always gotten the impression that Thor and I are in the minority with our love of latter-day Spielberg.  I think your opinion is the more common, actually.  Maybe I'm wrong.  I have talked at length in the past about why I think BoS is a brilliant work of cinema and I don't feel like doing it again.  I only get made fun of anyway :( 

 

On here you aren't, but he's gotten most of his actual praise as of late. Personally I really like Spielberg's later day movies, of course he's going through his "biopic seriousness" fase, but all of the movies are usually well-made and competent, and I enjoy them too. Lincoln was 2 and a half hours long, but I was never bored. I also appreciate that Spielberg has a consistent production crew. Plus I actually did enjoy The BFG, I thought it was charming. 

 

Plus that shot you posted of Bridge of Spies, that's some beautiful cinematography. 

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12 hours ago, The Doctor said:

I miss when Spielberg made films that looked like real life, only a bit more colorful in some cases. Kaminski has obviously done some great work, but for Spielberg, the results are usually too stylized. I rarely champion Jurassic Park, but that's the last one where it looked like perfect Spielberg. Every scene looked exactly like it would in real life. No blinding light shining through windows, no excessive grain, washed out colors, orange and teal, weird frame rate etc.

 

That's just a bit of aesthetic window-dressing, though. Why this should sour a man's love for a movie to the degree of 'it sucks ass' i don't know. 

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13 hours ago, The Doctor said:

I miss when Spielberg made films that looked like real life, only a bit more colorful in some cases. Kaminski has obviously done some great work, but for Spielberg, the results are usually too stylized. I rarely champion Jurassic Park, but that's the last one where it looked like perfect Spielberg. Every scene looked exactly like it would in real life. No blinding light shining through windows, no excessive grain, washed out colors, orange and teal, weird frame rate etc.

 

I know what you mean, and I'm not a fan of what Kaminski brought to Spielberg movies either, but Jurassic Park is a bad of example. It's a completely unremarkable film visually speaking.

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1 hour ago, Quintus said:

 

I know what you mean, and I'm not a fan of what Kaminski brought to Spielberg movies either, but Jurassic Park is a bad of example. It's a completely unremarkable film visually speaking.

 

I disagree. I think the look of JP works perfectly and is deliberate.


I believe that as a general rule, the more fantastical elements a film has, the more "grounded" and natural the cinematography should be. It's one reason why things like LOTR, the Star Wars OT, Battlestar Galactica, Game of Thrones and in particular Pan's Labyrinth work where the Prequel Trilogy and The Hobbit, for example, failed.  Had JP or E.T. or CE3K looked like BFG or AI or BOS I don't think those films would have worked nearly as well.  Just compare Raiders to Crystal Skull.

 

Soft focus, light streaming everywhere, and generally making everything look like an impressionistic painting has its place...it can create mood in a film like BOS or Minority Report. And even with fantasy films sometimes you want to convey a fairy tale look...LOTR would occasionally veer that way, but used stuff like that sparingly, and effectively, because the rest of the time the look was very grounded. But just as often I find it can take you out of a film, especially one that's not firmly rooted in the "real" world as it is.

 

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15 hours ago, JoeinAR said:

Raiders and especially TOD are sumptiously shot. They are like black and white films except they are in color.

Excellently put. TOD would look incredible in B&W. The beautiful high-contrast lighting would shine through regardless of colour.

 

15 hours ago, Disco Stu said:

The digital color grading is what is most incongruous between KOTCS and the original Indy trilogy.  That movie was graded to within an inch of its life it seemed to me, maybe I'm wrong.

Yes! Early reports from insiders suggested Kaminski would personally supervise the grade to ensure it matched Slocombe's work, but it ended up resembling a fucking cartoon! When you see ungraded shots in the trailers/BTS vision (plus the pre-CGI jungle chase) you can't help but scratch your head and wonder what Spielberg was smoking.

 

Ironically KOTCS closer resembles the SW prequels, rather bizarre when you consider they shot on film in animorphic, were attempting to match the original trilogy, and Kaminski is notorious for heavy grain -- yet the film looks scrubbed clean as if it were shot digitally.

 

I believe this was his first DI so maybe he got too excited by the new toys? With photography, it doesn't take much manipulation of the image before it enters that realm of being unrealistic/tampered with (nobody believes Instagram posts labelled #nofilter).

 

14 hours ago, Nick1066 said:

BFG was a mistake.

 

Thematically, it was supposed to be classic Spielberg's bread and butter, the type of thing that made him great.  Then he tried to do it again, and couldn't, and only created a reminder of just how good he used to be telling those kind of stories.

 

Schindler's List changed him and there's an obvious pattern ever since. His darker, more mature films that continued his evolution as a filmmaker (Munich, A.I., Minority Report) are vastly more interesting than his attempts at recapturing his past and former self (KOTCS, TLW, BFG).

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15 minutes ago, crumbs said:

Schindler's List changed him and there's an obvious pattern ever since. His darker, more mature films that continued his evolution as a filmmaker (Munich, A.I., Minority Report) are vastly more interesting than his attempts at recapturing his past and former self (KOTCS, TLW, BFG).

 

This!  He hasn't made a truly unassailable action-blockbuster romp since Jurassic Park.  Certainly Lost World and especially War of the Worlds have their fascinating aspects (especially for an armchair Spielberg scholar like myself). It's why I'm not at all excited for Ready Player One.  I don't think he has that kind of movie in him anymore.  I'm much much more interested in The Post and (hopefully) The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara.

 

[cue the Tintin defense force appearing]

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Boy, will people be in for a shock when Indy 5 is just as disappointing as Indy 4 (especially with certifiable hack David Koepp writing the screenplay again -- did Spielberg seriously not pay any attention to what was wrong with the last one?)

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19 minutes ago, crumbs said:

Schindler's List changed him and there's an obvious pattern ever since. His darker, more mature films that continued his evolution as a filmmaker (Munich, A.I., Minority Report) are vastly more interesting than his attempts at recapturing his past and former self (KOTCS, TLW, BFG).

 

Yes.

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12 minutes ago, Disco Stu said:

 

This!  He hasn't made a truly unassailable action-blockbuster romp since Jurassic Park.  Certainly Lost World and especially War of the Worlds have their fascinating aspects (especially for an armchair Spielberg scholar like myself). It's why I'm not at all excited for Ready Player One.  I don't think he has that kind of movie in him anymore.  I'm much much more interested in The Post and (hopefully) The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara.

 

I largely agree with this sentiment. It seems like Spielberg has lost some of that "childful glee", while simultaneously being more sophisticated with darker material. But I hope I'm wrong, and that he'll make another good blockbuster romp at some point. Whether that is READY PLAYER ONE or something else.

 

I've never understood the pervasive cynicism I often see in such discussions ("He's lost it! He hasn't made a good film in 20 years! He's too old! The party is over; everybody go home!").

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I think it boils down to this: pessimistic & cynical Grandpa Spielberg (in line with, well, reality) is a hell of a lot more interesting than the saccharine, optimistic & idealistic Grandpa Spielberg.

 

He's grown as a person and, unsurprisingly, his attempts at recapturing that youthful idealism will always come across as forced and false. I have no idea what to expect from RPO but I suspect it will continue this trend (unless it's vastly more dystopian than expected, in line with MR and WOTW).

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I don't think it's cynicism, I think it's being wrong! :D 

 

1 minute ago, crumbs said:

I think it boils down to this: pessimistic & cynical Grandpa Spielberg (in line with, well, reality) is a hell of a lot more interesting than the saccharine, optimistic & idealistic Grandpa Spielberg.

 

He's grown as a person and, unsurprisingly, his attempts at recapturing that youthful idealism will always come across as forced and false. I have no idea what to expect from RPO but I suspect it will continue this trend (unless it's vastly more dystopian than expected, in line with MR and WOTW).

 

Whoa what?  Did you watch Bridge of Spies or Lincoln?  He's incredibly idealistic still!  It's just tinged with a streak of realism and interest in how "the real world works."

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Yes I watched Bridge of Spies and yes it was incredibly idealistic. I also didn't see what all the fuss was about, despite the technical proficiency on display.

 

But it's a great example (as is CMIYC) of Spielberg balancing these conflicting viewpoints, whereas most of his other films have tipped heavily in one direction or the other, for better or worse.

 

Personally though, I'm far more engrossed watching him explore his disturbed, nihilistic sensibilities -- the part of him that gave us A.I.

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I long ago gave up on finding anyone on this forum who likes BoS as much as me.  It's ok, I'll be over here enjoying this great movie on my own.  Bloodboal's insults cannot penetrate my thick outer shell!

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8 minutes ago, BloodBoal said:

People are not allowed to have this opinion without it being branded as cynicism?

 

Well, they are if the opinions are well-founded. But all too often, they're ripe with sweeping generalizations and an inability to evaluate a work on its own, individual terms. This goes for all discussions I've seen on this topic, btw, not only here on JWFAN.

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While I'll reserve judgement until I see the movie, I think Spielberg was probably the wrong choice for Ready Player One. Spielberg may have been a huge part of the 80's, but the 80's weren't a formative era for him. And setting aside the fact that he's apparently not going to reference any of his own work in the film (odd, given the source material), I just think modern Spielberg's sensibilities are all wrong for this project. It should have been directed by someone (like Abrams) who grew up loving an absorbing that stuff, including Spielberg's films. 

 

And frankly the trailer didn't give me a lot of hope.

 

1 hour ago, Thor said:

I've never understood the pervasive cynicism I often see in such discussions ("He's lost it! He hasn't made a good film in 20 years! He's too old! The party is over; everybody go home!").

 

Hey Thor, can you please provide the direct quotes for any of these?


Cheers!

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3 minutes ago, Disco Stu said:

Ready Player One is practically begging to be directed by circa-2009 JJ Abrams.  Although he's starting to say that he wants to move away from being the 80s nostalgia guy.

 

Indeed. Also the first director to come to mind. But I'll reserve judgement untill I've seen it.

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32 minutes ago, Disco Stu said:

Ready Player One is practically begging to be directed by circa-2009 JJ Abrams.  Although he's starting to say that he wants to move away from being the 80s nostalgia guy.

 

Yeah. The thing is, if Spielberg really wants to direct a film, he gets it.  And he gets films made that otherwise would never get a green light.

 

I know at one point he wanted to do Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's/Philosopher's Stone, though I can't recall if he was ever actually attached to it. I think I read that he wanted Haley Joel Osmant to play Harry, and that he was planning on making to make changes to the book, and make it more of combination of elements from the first four books. All of which would have been a disaster, so we dodged a bullet on that one. 

 

I know Rowling had very specific ideas and input on everything from script to casting, and clearly would not have been comfortable with any of that. So I wonder why Spielberg ultimately ended up not doing the film.

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So this is an interesting quote from Spielberg about why he didn't direct Harry Potter. And it's especially ironic considering how BFG turned out.

 

Quote

 

"I purposely didn't do the Harry Potter movie because for me, that was shooting ducks in a barrel. It's just a slam dunk. It's just like withdrawing a billion dollars and putting it into your personal bank accounts. There's no challenge."

 

 

Uh-huh. Guess recapturing the old magic isn't as much of a slam dunk as he thought. It's also an uncharacteristically douchey thing for Spielberg to say.

 

He also says he didn't do it because he had a responsibility to make movies that were more "authentic." His next film was A.I.

 

He also apparently wanted to make Harry Potter animated, and combine the books, something Warner didn't want. This sounds like one of the few instances where the studio suits were actually right, the director was wrong, and thankfully Spielberg didn't get his way and left the project.

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14 minutes ago, Nick1066 said:

Uh-huh. Guess recapturing the old magic isn't as much of a slam dunk as he thought. It's also an uncharacteristically douchey thing for Spielberg to say.

 

Not at all. It makes perfect sense. He's never been one to "cash in" on established, popular titles. The popularity of some of his films have been a by-product, not a goal.

 

He actually goes into this in the documentary. The one time he DID think sorta like that, i.e. "I'm the king of the world, I can do anything -- even a comedy -- and succeed", he failed miserably (1941).

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I'm always surprised when people here offer Abrams' name for anything, since he's not even a remarkable talent. He like the time-served CEO who gets brought in to sort out a flagging company after a bad personality at the top has been removed by the board. Safe, reliable hands. But he'll never have his own equivalent of the iPhone/Jaws.

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12 minutes ago, Thor said:

 

Not at all. It makes perfect sense. He's never been one to "cash in" on established, popular titles. The popularity of some of his films have been a by-product, not a goal.

 

He actually goes into this in the documentary.

 

That's not the point. Everyone know's Spielberg isn't short of cash. But he says it wouldn't have been a challenge, and would have been a slam dunk.  Yes, that's a pretty douchey way to describe himself, especially since what he said isn't a given.  He didn't even think it could be done as live action, and wanted to make it animated. Not to mention the awful idea of combing the four existing books into one film. Thank God Rowling didn't want him or fracking Haley Joel Osmant.

 

Adapting the book was in fact a challenge, and BFG showed that these kind of movies for Spielberg aren't exactly a "slam dunk."  And luckily, both Peter Jackson and Spielberg's protege Columbus went on to show how epic books like this can in fact be done justice with a live action film...something not a given in 2001.  Say what you will about what Chris Columbus did, but at least he was faithful to the source material, cast British actors, and wouldn't have made some forgettable animated film that would have stopped the series cold (see TinTin).

 

I love Spielberg, but his instincts were all wrong on Harry Potter and his suggestion that making it would have been a slam dunk for him is just unjustified hubris. He doesn't know how to make films like that anymore, and except for BFG, he wisely doesn't try.

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