For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison, with whom he made E.T. nearly 35 years ago. Another story of an unlikely friendship, this film is even more wondrous and earnest, and also much more reliant on effects. But it's also hugely involving, with a terrific cast and of course a delightful story with a wry sense of humour.
It's set in a timeless London, where Sophie (newcomer Ruby Barnhill) lives in an orphanage. One night she spots a stealthy giant (Mark Rylance) prowling the city streets, so he grabs her and takes her back to Giant Country so she can't reveal his secret existence. As she gets to know him, Sophie discovers that he's an outcast in his own community, half the size of the nine giants (including Jemane Clement and Bill Hader) who live around him and bully him mercilessly because he doesn't eat human beans. This has earned him the nickname Big Friendly Giant, which Sophie shortens to BFG as she accompanies him into a colourful parallel world in his job collecting dreams and nightmares. Then when the bullies' threats grow stronger, Sophie comes up with a plan to get help from the Queen (Penelope Wilton) and her staff (Rebecca Hall and Rafe Spall).
Continue reading: The BFG Review
Okay, while this 20th anniversary reissue makes a few changes, it's not quite that radical... but if you haven't seen this film since you were 10 years old (like me), it is well worth another visit to the movie. Never mind the updates and alterations -- it's amazing how much I'd forgotten from the original -- which means the update is just as fresh and exciting as it was in 1982. But Steven Spielberg has been tinkering -- and not really in an obvious way like Lucas did with Star Wars. Most notable among the changes (which add about 5 minutes to the running time) are a repaired and expanded opening sequence, wherein we meet E.T. and his alien family, which is forced to leave him behind when those pesky feds get too close.
Continue reading: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial Review
The film I'm talking about is Martin Scorscese's Kundun, the Dhali Lama film of 1997 that was nominated for four academy awards but walked away with none (sadly). With a cast that no one's heard of it still managed to pull off what is becomming impossible: make a great film about a religion that is, for the most part, misunderstood. Make you sympathize with the Tibetans, and hate the Red Chinese, and, at the same time, illustrate the drama of the Dhali Lama's early life.
Continue reading: Kundun Review