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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Three Legs… You're Out!

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171 Responses to “Three Legs… You're Out!”

  1. Stella's Boy says:

    So what is good? You say the movie is OK, but nearly the entire review consists of what you didn’t like about it. What did you like?

  2. Eric says:

    From your description it sounds like a B movie. Would you have liked it better had you gone in expecting a B movie?

  3. BluStealer says:

    Wasn’t any good but didn’t suck? Call me nuts but I expect more from Spielberg the Genuis and Cruise the Crazy.

  4. David Poland says:

    Personally, I would have been happy with a B movie. The reason it doesn’t fit that iconography for was that it was not fun in any way.

  5. moviefreek says:

    Dave, you may know a lot about the film industry. But after reading your WOTW review, and remembering how you raved about Solaris and the Matrix sequels, I must say – You don’t know jack about sci-fi. WOTW isn’t just good; it’s freaking GREAT.

  6. LesterFreed says:

    Why make this a serious movie with no laughs? It’s already been done and not done well. They should have thrown everything they could think of into this. Comedy, supporting characters with laughs, weird aliens, Will Smith, Scientologists. It is a story that has been told like what? A million times. Make it different.

  7. Count Mackuluv says:

    But should it be fun? I’m not seeing the movie until tomorrow afternoon, but Spielberg frequently isn’t about that. For instance, a lot of praise went to Joe Johnston’s Jurassic Park III for being the mindless fun that the critically panned The Lost World wasn’t. But Lost World is great because it isn’t shallow escapism. It’s the more surprising, imaginatively visualized and socially conscious of the films. And that’s the cool thing about Spielberg: His movies are never what you think you want them to be.

  8. Semi-spoilers in this post, so skip on by if you’ve never read, listened to, or seen the earlier WotW adaptations….
    (I kinda half-tuned out when you referred to the Holocaust as “The Jewish Holocaust.” You might want to check your history books there, Dave.)
    The “have you seen my family member?” notes? Hardly exclusive to the 9/11 tragedy.
    The complaints about Robbins & Freeman seem like kind of a reach, but hey, it’s your bloggy.
    I suspect we’re in agreement regarding the final “family” scene; Spielberg really needs to get a little tougher with his endings. And isn’t it a little goofy to see that, no matter where he is and what sort of destruction is surrounding him, Cruise always has a nice clear path to drive through? (Sounds like a geekish nitpick, but when something keeps occurring to you throughout the movie, it can be a little annoying.)
    I don’t think the ending is meant to imply that we’ve “earned” our place as Americans (earthlings, whatever) … just that we’ve been here long enough to adapt to our surroundings, whereas these aliens (who really should be smart enough to, y’know, check the planet’s atmosphere for poisons before invading) have not.
    And there’s no E in lightning. 😉

  9. Geoff says:

    Wow, I did not see this one coming! I thought Dave was becoming predictable with his reviews, could see the Sith defense and Sin City bile coming a mile away. But after his vigorous praise of Catch Me, Terminal, and Minority Report, I did not expect him to give the first bad review to this Spielberg film!
    Dave, is it the use of imagery that really got to you about this one? Just curious, because that seems to be the case.
    I am usually agreement with him, but I really want this to be good, despite my distaste for Cruise, right now.
    Man, I just hope he’s wrong about this one like he was about Titus (the pretentious grindhouse film he accused Kill Bill of being, which that was, too) and Pleasantville (funny and touching parable that STILL holds up today).

  10. FollowThemToTheEdgeOfTheDesert says:

    Wow. It’s not the WATER, but the ATMOSPHERE? BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA (pause) AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Yeah. Sure, it does not rip-off Signs. SURE. God damn, I cant wait to laugh my ass off during this movie. This might rank higher on the unintentional comedy scale. Then that scene in Bourne Identity where the Blonde Assasin jumps out the window for no reason what so ever. Hey moviefreek, why dont you get a clue, and understand that Solaris and the Matrix Sequels are about more than just Sci-Fi. Nothing I hate worse than a f’n guy slamming somebody’s taste. When F’N guy clearly doesnt have a clue, never had one, and yet sees certain things on a SURFACE LEVEL. Brother Ken and West need to teach you son. You need some edufication, and quick. Solaris and the Matrix Sequels bad sci-fi? Yeah. If you are concussed.

  11. David Poland says:

    Well Scott, there has been more than one holocaust in the world. Obviously, I know that non-jews were killed, if that’s your issue. But I think it is respectful to acknowledge that we jews don’t have exclusive rights to that noun.
    And are you really suggesting, Scott, that the boards and the ash and the clothes were not 9/11 references?
    You may recall that I really disliked A.I. I do think that Minority Report makes this movie look like a laugher.
    Solaris was an art film painted on a sci-fi background, just as the book and the original film were.
    Titus is great Shakespeare… Pleasantville is still a gimmicky mediocrity.
    My feelings about the Matrix sequels had a lot to do with the directors’ intent. I don’t know what Spielberg’s intent was here… and that is at the core of my problem with the film… it’s not about anything… and alternatively, it’s not fun summer fluff. Either would have been good for me. Both would have been “Old Spielberg.”
    But you know… disagreeing does not require insults. I don’t think Harry Knowles is a moron for falling in love with this film. I just think his standards are very different.

  12. Joe E says:

    The fact that some of AICN’s opperatives had unprecedented access to the set I’m sure had nothing to do with his review.
    I got to AICN for scoops on things. I stopped going there for reviews years ago. Those guys are way off the charts for giving thumbs up to dreadful schlock. I’ve had a feeling this one would be bad, but I’ll be in line this weekend. No doubt about it. What do you think over the six days? $150, $175 million?

  13. jj says:

    David, you’re being kind. Saw it last night as well. It’s lame (you did get the boring part right).
    Will still make a shitload of money.

  14. FollowUsToTheDennysDude says:

    AICN have had it in for the FF for over a year now, and I would not doubt WOTW having something to do with it. Sucking ass will hinder the movie making efforts. Pearl Harbour made money. Doesnt make it a good movie.

  15. Cryptic Ned says:

    I’ve had a feeling this one would be bad, but I’ll be in line this weekend.
    I don’t know about you, but I see a lot of movies, and I’ll be in line for Batman Begins, Land of the Dead, or both this weekend. Got some catching up to do from the previous two weekends, plus all the indie movies that have been kept from us and are now all coming out at once.
    War of the Worlds really should have been the first big movie of the summer, instead of the fourth, if it wanted to be a gigantic critic-proof phenomenon.

  16. jeffmcm says:

    Dave P, are you saying that Harry Knowles has lower standards than you do?
    And re: The Matrix sequels, if you say that it was the Wachowski’s intentions that you were interested in does that imply that their execution fell short?
    The fact that Dave preferred the mediocre Terminal over AI says a lot to me about how he views Spielberg.

  17. Cryptic Ned says:

    I’ve had a feeling this one would be bad, but I’ll be in line this weekend.
    I don’t know about you, but I see a lot of movies, and I’ll be in line for Batman Begins, Land of the Dead, or both this weekend. Got some catching up to do from the previous two weekends, plus all the indie movies that have been kept from us and are now all coming out at once.
    War of the Worlds really should have been the first big movie of the summer, instead of the fourth, if it wanted to be a gigantic critic-proof phenomenon.

  18. Cryptic Ned says:

    Okay, so it’s impossible to italicize things in these comments. Sorry about the double post; the first sentence was a quote from someone else.

  19. Geoff says:

    Dave,
    Obviously, we are never going to agree on Titus, but just because the film uses Shakespeare’s dialogue and characters does not shield it from being the aimless-bag-of-tricks that it ended up being.
    Hey, no doubt, the visuals were great and some of the performances were interesting, but it was as if Tim Burton and Terry Gilliam formed an alliance to create the most grandiose Shakespeare “spectacular” ever put on celluloid. And this is coming from some one who has enjoyed Baz Luhrman’s films.
    And the whole presence and performance by Anthony Hopkins just ends up being one too-clever in-joke that is crystallized in that final dinner scene.
    And yeah, you’re dead right about A.I. That film fell apart way before the goofy ending.

  20. teambanzai says:

    I was surprised they chose this story, it’s been done to death first as a radio play, then the 1953 film, then several rip offs with similar plots where they really only bothered to change the name and the simplistic way of defeating the aliens (Signs Independence Day). Then again with all of the people I have seen accusing this film of ripping off Signs then obviously most people don’t know the book was written over a hundred years ago.
    I will be surprised if this film is a huge hit, Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow and similar films suck ass but they are somewhat easier to watch with the clunky dialog, and who doesn’t like watching Los Angeles and New York getting blown to pieces. WOTW doesn’t offer that, destroying parts of New Jersey would most see that as an improvement?
    In the context of when the book was written I always thought the ending was ironic. We were in the middle of a technological boom the world was getting smaller and man felt they could handle anything, along comes a superior race that squashes our technology only to be beaten by germs? Kind of puts both races in their place. By the way anyone that doesn’t know about the ending must have been living in a cave for their entire life.
    I’ll go but I know what to expect.

  21. jeffmcm says:

    Geoff, I tend to agree with you about Titus. It had a lot going for it, but was rather unfocused and gimmicky, just sort of rambled on until it stopped.
    Teambanzai, are you saying that Independence Day and Day After Tomorrow are made easier to watch with the bad dialogue? Because that makes them into B-movies, so they don’t have to be taken seriously? In that case WOTW is probably doomed because Spielberg is not going for escapist, it seems.

  22. Mason says:

    It’s not just Knowles — if it was I’d be skeptical. But both Chud and Dark Horizons say it’s the best movie of the summmer by far. In fact, the only negative review I’ve seen (other than nitpicking) has been from DP.

  23. teambanzai says:

    That’s exactly what I was saying, perfect discription of what I was trying to express. It’s almost as if you can do the MST3k thing in your head when you’re watching them.

  24. moviefreek says:

    Even Jeffrey Wells likes it, and he hates all sci-fi stuff. Although he seems to have some reservations about the ending.

  25. Terence D says:

    Apparently the ending is the same as the book. I hear they hold pretty strong to the source material. Well, as much as you can when it is 100 years behind the times. I’ll see anything with Spielberg directing.

  26. Brett says:

    Poland has lost his mind.
    :-) j/k

  27. bicycle bob says:

    if jeff wells likes it then u know its garbage and pretentious

  28. patrick says:

    It has a 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes right now, but if you read the little blurbs about half of them seem back-handed.

  29. bicycle bob says:

    there are 4 reviews there. thanks so much for the large sample

  30. moviefreek says:

    actually, there are 14 reviews on there right now.

  31. Stella's Boy says:

    Hey, sometimes a 1 is tough to see.

  32. LesterFreed says:

    15 reviews ain’t much of a sample size. Lets all see the rating there on Friday. Might change a little, ya think?

  33. patrick says:

    I’ve read reviews on other sites not listed there, and they have all been positive too.

  34. bicycle bob says:

    i don’t even look and get within shouting distance of the actual number. wow

  35. Brett says:

    I’ll remember that if I ever owe you $14.

  36. Terence D says:

    I really don’t see how you can go off a sample size that small in regards to reviews. It just doesn’t work.

  37. moviefreek says:

    headline on the review at villagevoice.com: “Spielberg’s Best – and Darkest – in Years.”

  38. Stella's Boy says:

    I’d say the current sample is fairly predictable, too, in terms of who is writing the positive reviews thus far.

  39. bicycle bob says:

    14 good reviews. that means it has oscar written all over it. polish off that mantle steve o

  40. Mark says:

    It will be well reviewed. Critics love Spielberg and will give him all the benefits of the doubt. He has earned it.

  41. Anonymous says:

    drudge has a link up to the Variety review. “a gritty, intense and supremely accomplished sci-fier about some distinctly unbenign alien invaders.”

  42. Angelus21 says:

    I think this movie is review proof. Ask Day After Tomorrow how the reviews were. They are still swimming in money.

  43. Wrecktum says:

    Hmm…Variety, HR, AICN. Everyone loves it. Not enough sleep, Poland?

  44. Mark says:

    If AICN says its good it must be really good. They have a great track record over there.

  45. moviefreek says:

    Maybe he was just crabby because he couldn’t bring a guest.

  46. Telemachos says:

    FWIW, the NY Times (courtesy of AO Scott) has a very positive review up as well. Perhaps they’re not trendy enough to be Spielberg-bashers, but then again, they’re hardly mindless pro-Steve too.

  47. Count Mackuluv says:

    Rumour is that Ebert doesn’t like it either, and gave it 2-stars.
    Unlike most critics and cinephiles, Ebert seems to make some effort to understand Spielberg as an artist. But I’m not sure what to make of this. He expressed mild disappointment with AI (the best movie so far this century). And he loved the cripplingly literal, visually dead Batman Begins.
    It’s not affecting me. I’m psyched about War of the Worlds like no movie in years!

  48. jeffmcm says:

    Ebert can be hard to predict. All I know is he almost always loves colorful spectacle and he has a soft spot for certain attractive actresses. Must be the Russ Meyer in him.
    I agree with Bi-Bob for once – if Jeff Wells loves something, I lose respect for it.

  49. joefitz84 says:

    I use the Wells meter too. Do the opposite of what he likes. That way you avoid the all out bores he loves so much. It is time tested.

  50. David Poland says:

    I brought a guest. And I was not embargoed.
    In NY, they were forced to sign a paper embargoing until Wednesday.
    In Chicago, no guests.
    The screening last night was still a bit of a cluster fuck… but I don’t review based on the screening experience… and as I explained in a personal exchnage this morning, it kind of sucks that being honest with readers about what’s going on gets thrown back in my face while those who don’t write about what’s happening (and all of my “they’re not letting us see it” coverage came from major print outlets) go unquestioned. The trades saw the movie two weeks ago with the LA Times and EW and had two weeks to formulate their reviews. Is that why they are so good? Did they measure the tracking to see how they should lean? I don’t think so.
    And no, I’m not saying Knowles’ standards are lower… just different. He gets a lot more excited by the “stuff” of it all. I require a working story and relationships, as a rule. Higher, lower… there is no way to quantify. All I can really say about all the geek love is “Sky Captain.”

  51. joefitz84 says:

    Knowles is not a reviewer and shouldn’t even be in the same sentence as one. He is a fan who can and has been bought and paid for. Why he continues with this sham as a reviewer is crazy.

  52. Mason says:

    Please, DP. It ain’t just the geeks with special access (and they piss me off too) who love this flick — it’s pretty much everyone.

  53. David Poland says:

    Uh… who LOVES this flick, Mason? Besides the geeks?
    Not The New York Times.
    Not Variety, though it is a positive review.
    Not the AP.
    Look… I am happy for people to review this through the roof… no skin off my ass. They reviewed Cinderella Man as though it was Oscar gold and I didn’t like it at all. I got to be Simon Cowell there (America voted with me), but I get no joy over a movie like that tanking. And I am not out to kill War of The Worlds.
    I just wish it was more than okay.

  54. Anonymous says:

    Variety called it “extraordinary” — but I guess that means they just thought it was okay.
    Kenneth Turan even loved it! Kenneth Turan!

  55. David Poland says:

    “It’s easy to see why Spielberg wanted the commercial cushion of an above-the-title superstar, but this is no more a performance-based picture than “Jurassic Park,” and might have proven more balanced and artistically effective with a no-name cast.” Variety
    And Anon… you sucked the life out of your own argument… Kenneth Turan! Kenneth Turan!
    “Spielberg’s “War” is a perfect fit for our paranoid, potentially apocalyptic age, a film that considers the possibility, however obliquely, that the world as we know it could end.”
    Yeah… running out to enjoy that…
    And he also said, “an exercise in hackneyed tedium that repeats the clich

  56. Mason says:

    Man you are hanging on, I’ll give you that. Check out the reviews — there are a lot of raves and a lot of “good not greats.” You didn’t like it — that’s fine. But don’t go acting like the overwhelming majority of critics didn’t either.

  57. Anonymous says:

    Almost every positive review of Batman Begins had qualifiers as well, does that mean it wasn’t a well-reviewed movie?

  58. David Poland says:

    Have I ever said anything about overwhelming majority of critics disliking it, Mason?
    If I have, find it and I’ll send you something nice in the mail.
    I have no idea how reviews will go. And I don’t much care.
    There is obviously going to be a huge audience for this movie this weekend… and my honest guess is that qord of mouth will slow, rather than speed things up by Saturday or Sunday. Theaters won’t empty. But my guess is that a few days in, parents won’t want to take kids so much, daters will wonder if they get laid after this, and anyone over 21 will not be in a rush to get back to the theater.
    But that’s just my opinion. Grain of salt it all you like.

  59. Anonymous says:

    Oh, I see — Spielberg should take factors like “will daters get laid after the movie is over?” into account when making a movie about the end of the world.

  60. David Poland says:

    That wasn’t the sense I got on the Batman Begins reviews. Almost everyone had third act issues, as the film turned into a comic book after being pretty serious until then. But that is different.
    It’s like A.I. Whatever side you were on, there was a respect for the work and then, a disagreement on the values.
    Here, the reviews read like, “It’ s overwhelming… relentless… Dakota Fanning is amazing… the book was a really rich mine of stuff… Tim Robbins was kinda irritating… the son was kinda irrtiating… hyper Tom was a little irritating…but the machines were really cool… and this feels so commerical… and did I mention Dakota Fanning… and I read the book as a child…” etc, etc.
    The entire film is basically four characters. And if only one is really great… and most of what she does is to express love or terror…

  61. David Poland says:

    Anon – you really want to fight.
    No. Spielberg should make the movies he wants to make. He was right to make A.I., even if I didn’t like it. He was right to make Minroity Report, even if others on this blog feedback area didn’t like it. I have NEVER question a director’s right to make his or her vision.
    But is War of the Worlds an art film? Or is it about money? You tell me.

  62. Angelus21 says:

    My girl Dakota is always the best thing about any movie she is in. Look back. She always is.

  63. moviefreek says:

    Of course it’s about money. But so were Raiders of the Lost Ark and Jaws and Temple of Doom and every other movie Spielberg has directed. Does that make them any less worthy?

  64. Telemachos says:

    Who ever thought WOTW was about anything *but* money? It’s a garguantuan summer blockbuster, spectacle above all else.

  65. David Poland says:

    No… of course not.
    But if they are, daters getting laid (aka having fun together before the evening is over) is an issue.

  66. Anonymous says:

    Seems pretty simple to me. Poland didn’t like the movie. Almost every other critic did — some more than others of course.

  67. Joe E says:

    If Anonymous turns out to be Jeff Wells, I’m framing this blog.

  68. David Poland says:

    Jeff wouldn’t fight that hard… I’m guessing it’s someone with the intials C.W. or L.S… but I could just as easily be wrong.

  69. David Poland says:

    Rips or Raves?
    “With War of the Worlds [Spielberg] has made what is arguably one of the best 1950s science fiction films ever.”
    — Kenneth Turan, LOS ANGELES TIMES
    “Spielberg seems to have resigned himself to the fact that he’ll never match the impact of the radio show, but he’s making no bones about going after that FX Oscar.”
    — Jeff Strickler, MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE
    “Steven Spielberg’s reasonably entertaining rendering of the 1898 H. G. Wells novel is an elemental story of predator and prey.”
    — A.O. Scott, NEW YORK TIMES

  70. Anonymous says:

    You amaze me, DP. You conveniently leave out how Turan goes to write “and I don’t mean that as a backhanded compliment.”
    Some think it’s good, some think it’s great. Not sure why you feel compelled to prove that the good reviews are actually bad reviews.

  71. Anonymous says:

    “With ‘War of the Worlds’ he has made what is arguably one of the best 1950s science fiction films ever, and that is not a backhanded compliment.” — Turan
    “Exploring the dark side of his old films E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Spielberg more than does justice to the granddaddy of all alien-invasion tales, H.G. Wells’ still terrifying novel published in 1898.” –Hollywood Reporter
    “It’s the human struggle that makes this a sci-fi masterpiece.”
    — David Edelstein, SLATE
    “It’s a rare thing — a summer movie that demands to be taken as a serious emotional experience.”
    — Michael Atkinson, VILLAGE VOICE

  72. David Poland says:

    These were direct,unedited pulls from Rotten Tomatoes…

  73. David Poland says:

    Again… methinks you are proving my point, Anon.

  74. David Poland says:

    And if you really want to play…
    “His relationship with son Robbie is as much a trial to us as it is to the two of them, an exercise in hackneyed tedium that repeats the clich

  75. Angelus21 says:

    The critics after years of getting the shaft by Tom’s people have the knives out ready to pounce on him.

  76. Joe Leydon says:

    Angelus21: I’m afraid you’re ever so correct.

  77. Geoff says:

    Wow, Dave, I have never seen these guys engage you so much!
    It’s alright to not like a film that most critics are giving good reviews to, hell, you should wear it like a badge of honor like you did for Kill Bill. What’s the big deal?
    Anyways, we were just getting into that debate over Titus;)

  78. David Poland says:

    Now I’m confused, Joe & Ang….
    Isn’t the film getting good reviews?
    My back and forth with Anon is really about degree and his insistence that I am on an island. But basically, the reviews do seem positive.
    So how is that a knife against Jumping Tommy?

  79. Lota says:

    “if anyone other than SS had directed it,it wouldn’t be getting the positive reviews.” I have been hearing this from peeps who saw it (and aren’t supposed to talk about it).
    It kinda sounds like an AI (didn’t like) with a minority report ending + colorful interim Destruction.
    I was going to go see it while in LA, and now I think I’ll wait. I am too tired for Destruction Cinema with sparse character development.
    very disappointed in what I am reading. Maybe I’ll go rent Lost Skeleton of Cadavra if i can find it. Now that’s some B movie action.

  80. Paul V says:

    I’m the only person in America To Like the Minority Reports ending?

  81. Joe Leydon says:

    I’d say you’re one of two, Paul.

  82. KamikazeCamel says:

    “My girl Dakota is always the best thing about any movie she is in. Look back. She always is.”
    egads! She’s the scariest thing since Leatherface!
    anyway, I don’t see why people are trying to change David’s opinion on the movie. He didn’t particularly like it, so what? There’s always people who don’t like certain movies.
    I was going to be seeing it right now but my friend fell sick so… tomorrow or Saturday it will be unfortunately.

  83. FollowThemToTheEdgeOfTheDesert says:

    All this carrying on about D-Po’s opinion on one a film are a tad ridiculous. So he did not like the flick. Im probably going to laugh my ass off at all of the unintentional comedy in it! DAMN! GETTING TO BOSTON HAS NEVER BEEN THIS HARD! Wow. Just, WOW! Again, if I ever make films. I hope I am beloved. Since the beloved people can make total shite, and get praise from just about every other critic in this country. At least D-Po does not pander.

  84. Brett says:

    “I hope I am beloved. Since the beloved people can make total shite, and get praise from just about every other critic in this country. At least D-Po does not pander.”
    This assumes that Dave’s ‘opinion’ is somehow ‘correct’ whatever that means. And we all know what happens when we assume.

  85. bicycle bob says:

    i think daves feeling the backlash now from these jokers who mind u have yet to even see the film.

  86. Lota says:

    how is someone’s opinion ‘correct’ Brett? It can only be an opinion. However, it is a critique and not a cheerleading session, unlike many other of the star-struck maybe-Spielberg-will-remember-
    I-didn’t-flame-his-expensive-Wasted-opportunity type of critics, so his opinion is qualified in why he did not like it. AT least D-Po said WHY he didn’t like it. ANd it makes sense from what I heard from Europeans on WOTW that he wouldn’t like it, based on his reaction to AI. D Po is thus consistent. round of applause.
    Funny how many critics thus far have not said much about WHY they even liked it and are just gushing about such non-essentials like mood and darkness and used words like Riveting and Astounding etc. YAWN. I never thought WOTW would be a “critics movie”. And like a critics movie, I doubt WOTW will be remembered much more than any other Blowed EM up real good blockbuster in five years.

  87. LesterFreed says:

    How about all you people out there bashing D Po’s review actually see the film today? Ain’t so hard to do right?

  88. Dave,
    You missed the point. SPOILER WARNING. Spielberg twists the metaphor of the laiens during the Robbins sequence. His comments indicate we are supposed to read the aliens as our American fighting forces, unfamiliar with Iraqi culture and unable to “adapt”. “Occupations always fail,” Robbins says.

  89. BluStealer says:

    Thanks Perry for the spoiler since the movie comes out today. What is the matter with some people out there? Why ruin things for the rest of us?

  90. Brett says:

    “how is someone’s opinion ‘correct’ Brett?”
    Yikes! That was exactly the point I was making.

  91. BluStealer says:

    I still don’t see why you have to quote what you are responding to. It’s not like there’s a million messages here.

  92. Joe Leydon says:

    BlueStealer makes same complaint about quoting that Bicycle Bob makes. Using almost the very same language. Could it be…. could THEY be….? Hmmmmm.

  93. BluStealer says:

    Yeah, people can’t share the same thought without Joe Leydons conspiracy shaking the ground. Should I quote what you said ahead of this Joe? Will that make you know what I am talking about here?

  94. Terence D says:

    I hate spoilers myself. Especially on opening weekend. There is just absolutely zero need for that. We are not AICN here are we?

  95. No we are not AICN. The line I quoted from the film does not reveal any plot point or surprise twist and would not have been included here if it had. I simply wanted to make a case that Dave’s reading of the film is a little narrow. I offer apologies to anyone whose experience of the movie was actually harmed by reading my previous post.

  96. bicycle bob says:

    joe leydon is really me. u didn’t know?

  97. Kernan says:

    I saw it last night and I was disappointed. WOTW is not a bad film but it’s not great. I would say it’s comnbination of Signs, a movie I really liked and Independence Day, a film I really disliked. That makes WOTW mediocre at best, in my opinion.

  98. Brett says:

    I like it a lot.

  99. bicycle bob says:

    opinions on this one are going to be all over the map

  100. Andrew says:

    I saw it last night and thought it was great. Not a perfect film, but a very, very good one. Much like Batman, I thought the first hour was incredible, then went slightly downhill from there.

  101. Terence D says:

    I think Spielberg is saving his award winner for Vengeance come December.

  102. bicycle bob says:

    i think i’d see herbie before i see war of the worlds. maybe it was being over-cruise’d the past month but i really got no motivation for this one.

  103. Stella's Boy says:

    Wow. bob’s favorite movie of the year is Herbie. That is pretty pathetic bob. Nice taste you have there.

  104. LesterFreed says:

    Do you ever have anything nice to say? All you post is about how much you hate Bicycle Bob. Get a life man. No one cares about your hate for him.

  105. Stella's Boy says:

    Nice of you to stick up for bob Lester. I’m sure he is touched. You are such a compassionate human being. Get a life? Are you 12?

  106. Terence D says:

    Sometimes Stella’s Boy has good things to contribute. But he does have a blind hatred for Bob. Reminds me of Dem’s blind hate for Bush. If he would rise above that hatred he would be much better off since he has some things to say on movies. And his views would be more explained without the hate and the bitterness that seeps into some of his posts.

  107. bicycle bob says:

    lester don’t worry about me. i have been hated by better than guys like stella. he just makes me laugh. in his arguements to his forgetfulness to his anti star wars stance to his pro honeymooners stance. hes comedy.

  108. BluStealer says:

    I can’t believe a film fan has never seen Star Wars. It is like a baseball fan never caring to know about Babe Ruth. A head scratcher.

  109. Terence D says:

    I’ll see this no matter what the reviews or people say. There is nothing out there at the moment anyway. May as well see this.

  110. Anonymous says:

    Man, the reviews are all over place, which is usually the sign of an interesting film. Stephen Hunter, my favorite critic and even a better novelist, called it brilliant in today’s Washington Post. Definitey looking forward to seeing this thing.

  111. Lota says:

    I don’t know if all over the place reviews are a sign of an interesting movie. There is defintely a nerve struck somewhere since the movie is getting 10s and 1s on IMDB. The weighted avg on IMDB is usually an annoying and often meaningless device, but from the comments the divergence in opinion seems to come from the ending/resolution of the build-up and the ‘rationale’ or plan of the aliens invasion itself.
    I’ll see it anyway too.

  112. Anonymous says:

    I just want to know if it’s better than “Win a Date With Tad Hamilton” — you know, that Dreamworks flick Dave loved and predicted was going to be a huge hit.

  113. Anonymous says:

    Wells weighs in —
    War of the Worlds is, on a certain level, a close-to-great, sonically haunting, occasionally scary summer superflick…and anyone who dismisses it by saying things like “it doesn’t suck but it’s not very good either” is being disingenuous, really and truly.

  114. Andrew says:

    Wells — “As bad as the shitty stuff is, it doesn’t get in the way of the portions that are stunning. I can’t emphasize enough that I was knocked flat and awestruck throughout most of it.”
    Exactly how I felt.

  115. Terence D says:

    It is directed by Spielberg. You can’t get much better than that in the awestruck department. He has been on some nice little streak here headed into this film.

  116. BluStealer says:

    It had better be better than Tad Hamilton. Or I may ask Steven to give back his Oscar.

  117. TheBrotherhoodOfTheLostSkeletonOfCadavra says:

    Lota posted:
    “Maybe I’ll go rent Lost Skeleton of Cadavra if I can find it. Now that’s some B movie action.”
    Rent?? Whaddya mean, rent?? Buy!!!! :-)

  118. David Poland says:

    Anon –
    Don’t forget to rip me for The Rundown, Terminal and God… dear God… don’t forget to pull Phantom of the Opera out of your ass.
    And do forget my reads on Cinderella Man, Sky Craptain, The Notebook, Sideways, Million Dollar Baby, etc, etc, etc…
    And scratch your head over Minority Report, Kill Bill, and Sin City.
    It’s just an opinion, Anon. Some will agree with me, some will not. I doubt anyone in here is skipping the movie because I didn’t love the film. They are only here because they are engaged thinkers (for better or worse) and can make up their minds for themselves.

  119. David Poland says:

    And allow me to suggest, Anon… if you showed your face, readers would take you more seriously.
    If you work for Paramount, they would probably take that with the grain of salt it’s due – like the grain they offer me – and still be willing to engage your arguments. Just because you might have a vested interest doesn’t make your arguments less valid. The same way you throw my history at me when you disagree, allow us all the courtesy of doing the same.
    This is the fatal flaw of AICN and the web in general… our vulnerability is anonymity. Because of it, lies and truth are all open to interpretation.
    You don’t have to put your name up… just call yourself “Someone with a vested interest.” Or haven’t you noticed that you are the only Anon in the room… even though many have fake names. At least they are, even behind a mask, acountable on some level.

  120. bicycle bob says:

    hes probably brad grey

  121. moviefreek says:

    somehow, “engaged thinkers” and bicycle bob just don’t go together to me. but that’s just me.

  122. moviefreek says:

    for what it’s worth, ew.com just posted owen gleiberman’s review. His grade: A minus. “War of the Worlds is an attack-of-the-aliens disaster film crafted with sinister technological grandeur

  123. Anonymous says:

    I’m no one (unfortunately). And I didn’t think the movie was a masterpiece — I just thought it was good, not great. Like most critics. What bothers me is you trying to say all the positive reviews were really negative reviews when that just isn’t the case.

  124. David Poland says:

    Still, “Still Anon” – I continue to ask… when have I said or inferred that?
    I have said that many of the positive reviews were more mixed positive. And your goading has kept me going back to the well to prove the point. This is not an RT chat room. I don’t need to discuss other writers/critics. It’s my opinion.

  125. Lota says:

    Well since the “Brotherhood” mentioned it, can I buy it on DVD? Does the BrotherhoodoftheLostSkeletonOfCadavra really exist? Like a Lodge where y’all wear funny hats? Pay dues? Have bumper stickers? Have summer block party festivals? Sell beer? That would be a good beer brand. “Cadavra Beer…only 20 calories…but we don’t ask what’s in it because it’s out of this world”.
    ol Stevo rolling out the annoying Family-reuniting aliens made me try to think of aliens that are kick ass. And Larry Blamire is a riot so I should buy it.
    Next paycheck.

  126. LesterFreed says:

    Anon just likes getting a rise out of you, David. Your point is clear and well made.

  127. bicycle bob says:

    somehow moviefreek and sanity don’t go together for me

  128. GdB says:

    Man, I am really on the fence if I want to see this right away or not…I’m thinking of doing my own little protest to all the TomKat crap and wait until the third weekend to go.

  129. J-Dub says:

    Taken that nickname back from our no-account point guard. The bastid. Lota, if you have Encore or Starz, they show the Lost Skeleton of Cadavra all the time. Easily one of the most bizarre films ever made. It’s funny as hell, and that skeleton comes a cross like a real ahole.

  130. J-Dub says:

    and if you dont want to rent it or buy it first. The Lost Skeleton of Cardavra comes on tomorrow at 10:00 am eastern/pacific on Encore Mystery.

  131. Panda Bear says:

    Can I be Earl Watson?

  132. Lota says:

    Most skeletons are a-holes. They make all us womenfolk feel fat.
    I might be able to catch the beginning then, before i have to get on a plane thanks for the info.
    I am going to buy it anyway because I can get Bubba Hotep at the same time for a reasonable price…and the newish HP lovecraft book…all on the same amazon. Amazon always sets a trap for me.

  133. joefitz84 says:

    I dig the Memphis Griz references but both those guys are goners this summer.

  134. Joe Leydon says:

    THIS IS NOT A SPOILER. IT IS A WARNING, REGARDING “WAR OF THE WORLDS.”
    Pay very close attention to a reconciliation scene near the end of the film. Spielberg obviously went out of his way to set up a sly visual allusion to an earlier dramatization of Welles’ novel — but, strangely enough, because of the way he framed and edited the scene, even folks who might otherwise catch it and appreciate it likely will miss it. When you see the film, you’ll know what I mean.

  135. J-Dub says:

    True, he’s a goner, but still my initials yo. And yes Panda, you can be Earl Watson. Now, who wants to be Brian Cardinal? Come on! WHITE CHOCOLATE DEFENDING ABILITY! Someone wants it.

  136. MF says:

    WOW. Now the RT tomatometer is down to 71%.
    Doesn’t look like Dave Poland was so far off the mark with his disappoinment review afterall.

  137. jeffmcm says:

    Joe L, are you talking about Mr. Barry and Ms. Robinson?
    I don’t know what movie Dave Poland was watching. It’s no Schindler’s List or Private Ryan, but I was thoroughly entertained.

  138. KamikazeCamel says:

    Anonymous people remind me of Spirited Away. Like, they’ve had their name and their personalities stolen from them.
    Except instead of working in a bathhouse they haunt Dave Poland’s blog.
    scary thought.

  139. J-Dub says:

    So Jeff liked WOTW! HOMER! Homer, homer, homer, homer, homer, homer, homer, homer, homer, homer, (pause), homer, homer, homer, homer, homer, homer, and times that by 4,000,000. You homer!

  140. Anonymous says:

    Don’t get it. Simpsons?

  141. jeffmcm says:

    Yeah, so did all my lame-ass friends. Objectively. No masterpiece, a little thin thematically, but thumbs up. Sorry to be predictable.

  142. Joe Leydon says:

    Jeff: That’s what I was referring to, yes. And would you agree that, as it’s presented, the shot is easy to miss?

  143. bicycle bob says:

    its down to 70%. what now stella??? when it goes down to 60% when its all thru are we gonna hear u say how rotten tomatoes isn’t a real site?

  144. Terence D says:

    “It’s no Schindlers List Or Private Ryan.”
    Who thought it was going to be? You are really out of the loop.

  145. BluStealer says:

    You mean to tell me that Steven S isn’t shooting for an Oscar with War? Now you’re talking crazy.

  146. LesterFreed says:

    The first hour of War was a great start. Bogs down in hour 2 but it is still worth the ride.

  147. Kevin says:

    First hour was fantastic, second hour was just okay.
    Why does the CGI in Spielberg’s movies look so good compared to other movies?

  148. LesterFreed says:

    Because hes Spielberg. What makes him worth it.

  149. Kevin says:

    If only Jackson and Lucas knew his secret when it came to CGI.

  150. LesterFreed says:

    Those guys ain’t complaining. And everyone goes to ILM for all of this anyway.

  151. Terence D says:

    I haven’t heard many people complain about the CGI from Rings and Star Wars. You may be alone on that.

  152. Joe Leydon says:

    $21.8 million opening day for “WOTW.” That’s not shabby.

  153. Joe E says:

    Not too shabby at all. That’ll make it a $120 mill by Monday morning. Judging by the lavish premieres elsewhere in the World, the international b.o. should be extreme.
    I rate The Last Samurai as a total stinker and I can’t believe it didn’t completely bomb in the US, but it made a ton in Japan. Cruise is a god over there.

  154. bicycle bob says:

    how was samurai a total stinker? some really great action scenes and cruise was great. call far and away a total stinker.

  155. Joe Leydon says:

    Bob: It shocks me to say this, but we’re in agreement on “Samurai.” Very under-rated movie. And it did wind up making a bunch of money worldwide. For various reasosn, some people get off on slagging Tom Cruise, whether it’s for his good looks, or his height, or his over-enthusiastic post-9/11 Oscar speech, or whatever. I’m sure he’s crying all the way to the bank.

  156. jeffmcm says:

    Last Samurai was a totel stinker. Bad dialogue, boring Dances With Wolves-ripoff plot, just tedious and predictable all the way around. “SAKE!” was hilarious.
    Terence: No, I wasn’t expecting the movie to be like Spielberg’s Oscar movies. But I don’t want people to think that I’m raving unreservedly about the movie. It’s good but not great. Does that meet with your approval?

  157. bicycle bob says:

    leydon, embrace it. i’m always right. say what u want about cruise and his wacko stuff now. but the guy is in really good movies and always comes to play.

  158. Terence D says:

    One thing Last Samurai was not was Dances with Wolves. At least Samurai didn’t drag on for four hours of boredom. If you weren’t into the last 45 min of Samurai then I can’t help you. That meets my approval.

  159. Mark says:

    Cruise is easy to rip on now with his whole over the top, Scientology, aliens in the backyard, I love women thing. But he still packs the houses for flicks.

  160. Joe E says:

    didn’t mean to start a whole off shoot there. In true form I did like The Last Samurai when I saw it the first time…
    when it was called GLORY.

  161. joefitz84 says:

    Oh yea. I forgot Glory was about a fall down drunk and shell of a former warrior who becomes a warrior again with the help of a foreign tribe and redeems himself. I’m sorry. I totally forgot that.

  162. Joe Leydon says:

    Well, OK, both films WERE about white guys who lead non-Caucasians into battle. But…

  163. Joe E says:

    There’s a scene where the Japanese shoulders are doing target practice and Tom Cruise starts shooting his pistol to shake their nerves. sound familiar? they even have the same loud Irish Drill sargeant character barking orders.

  164. GdB says:

    Yep. They’re pretty similar. Samurai and Glory.

  165. Anonymous says:

    Looks like a monster hit. I’m so surprised.

  166. Joe Leydon says:

    Well, actually, the loud Irish drill sergeant goes all the way back to John Ford and “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon.” And, oh, I dunno, about a hundred other movies. Sorry, Joe E., but I’d say you could make a more forceful argument that “Samurai” knocked off some Kurosawa films.

  167. Joe Leydon says:

    Gee, isn’t it funny how long it’s taking for Dave to post anything on MCN (or here) about the “WOTW” grosses? You don’t think his dislike for the film has anything to do with his news judgment, do you?

  168. moviefreek says:

    Don’t be silly, Joe. Of course Dave NEVER lets his personal tastes/biases get in the way of his news judgment.

  169. Angelus21 says:

    Glory is about a crew of slaves lead by a white officer. How is this Last Samurai? Have we seen both movies are just using the fact that they were directed by the same guy as a basis for them being alike?

  170. Terence D says:

    The debt people have got us.

The Hot Blog

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This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin