A wife helps her husband escape jail: a chase and media circus develops as they cross Texas to be reunited with their child. Excellent road movie/crime drama hybrid with comic and bittersweet touches, and full of directorial promise. Loads to recommend here.
A boy befriends a stranded alien. Still-powerful Christ allegory dressed up as a child-friendly sci-fi comedy. Works in all kinds of ways, and is technically astounding throughout. What shines is the quiet confidence on display, and Spielberg’s ability to tell story through character moments and shot composition. Recommended.
A suburban dad is drawn to a Wyoming mountain after a close encounter with an unidentified flying object. Still hugely-effective blend of heart and smarts: perhaps Spielberg’s most complete film, mixing technical excellence with quest narratives, hard SF and senses of innocence and wonder.
A coastal resort is threatened by a predatory great white shark. Peerless proto-blockbuster and inventor of the summer event movie, Jaws retains its ability to thrill and impress. Character, action, location shooting, direction and a semi-improvised approach to dialogue are counterpointed by a terrific score. Sequels of diminishing quality followed.
An archaeologist and a nightclub singer find themselves facing an ancient occult evil. Though this prequel starts and finishes well, it’s hampered by an absence of narrative causality, two annoying sidekicks, and unfortunate treatment of gender and ethnicity throughout. Some great stuff remains, but this is too awkward too often.
A teenager battles an evil corporation in a quest to control a virtual reality game-world. Sporadically spectacular but narratively dull SF adventure which improves on the source novel but still lapses into pop-culture reference tickbox territory at its lamest.
The Washington Post battles to source and then publish revelations about the Vietnam War. Effective journalistic thriller, which works as a prequel to All The President’s Men and as a contemporary allegory. Good performances all round, especially from Streep.
A rescue mission to a second island – where the original film’s dinosaurs were engineered – goes awry. Patchy sequel to the original, stronger on set-pieces than on logic or story, with borrowings from a dozen monster movies.
After a bureaucratic foul-up leaves him stateless, a man is forced to live in an airport terminal. Well-directed comedy-drama which starts brilliantly and then gets bogged down in sub-plots and a shift from existential malaise to schmaltz.
A dead pilot returns to allow his former partner to move on with her life. A patchy and sentimental piece (remaking 1943’s A Guy Named Joe), happier in its flying, comic and firefighting action sequences than with the emotional scenes; some pleasures to be had, tho.