By Brian Surber
Follow-ups are hard. Making The Dark Knight Rises, The Matrix Reloaded, Jaws 2, Weekend at Bernie’s II, The Hobbit, and countless others was probably very hard. What is timeless about the James Bond franchise is that there really aren’t any follow-ups. Each sequel is, more or less, its own story. Spectre, the 24th film in the franchise, is a direct follow-up to the 2012 global sensation Skyfall and, while the film’s problems don’t completely rest on the continuation of Skyfall’s storyline, it does appear the film is so damn concerned with making that film, and Daniel Craig’s two previous appearances as Bond, connect, that Spectre forgets to be a movie all its own. “You are a kite dancing in a hurricane, Mr. Bond.” Unfortunately for the audience, Spectre is too.
by Brian Surber
It is a difficult and interesting task to critique a Steven Spielberg film. He is arguably our country’s greatest cinematic storyteller; whose wide-ranging and history-defining filmography is among the most impressive ever seen. It’s only natural at some point to judge his new film among his past works and therefore there tend to be a few challenges. First of which being that his best works (E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, Schindler’s List, Munich, etc.) rank with the best films of all time. The second being that his weaker films (Amistad, The Terminal, War of the Worlds, etc.) are still pretty damn good. Putting a film lower on his list may seem like a mark against it, but it usually means it’s just really really good. And so we come to Bridge of Spies, Spielberg’s fourth film with Tom Hanks (and 3rd best, again not a bad thing), a film so good and so well made it merely counts a mid-level Spielberg. It’s really a shame more movies aren’t simply average Spielberg.