Jean-Pierre Leaud plays a grifter who's one of a couple dozen characters milling a|Janus Films1/2
Jean-Pierre Leaud plays a grifter who's one of a couple dozen characters milling a|Janus Films
How good is Spike Lee's 2005 bank heist thriller "Inside Man"? It finds room for W|Universal Pictures2/2
How good is Spike Lee's 2005 bank heist thriller "Inside Man"? It finds room for W|Universal Pictures
‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’
Do the kids these days — that is, actual kids — know about “E.T.”? At one point the highest grossing movie ever, topping even “Star Wars,” Steven Spielberg’s heartbreaker has miraculously, perhaps insanely never been sequelized, remade or rebooted. It was, however, reworked, with digital touch-ups, in 2002.
But Spielberg regretted that decision, and lo and behold, it’s the 1982 original that now streams, with its original gawky puppet alien lumbering about, at one point in a robe while knocking back Coors. Even the stone-hearted Martin Amis, in a strangely positive profile for The Guardian, said he couldn’t resist it, and hopefully its legacy will soldier on with today’s young’uns. Hey, every child has to hear the term “penis breath” at some point.
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Once upon a time the thought of watching a 13 hour French film would have seemed, to the casual filmgoer, a no-go. Now that binge-watching is a thing, not so much. But the late Jacques Rivette’s 1971 epic —impossible to see for some three decades-plus, now available on your phone with a few clicks —isn’t the kind of monster you conquer semi-casually. It demands full attention and total commitment, even if it is conveniently divided into eight episodes.
Impossible to summarize, it follows two acting troupes and a couple stragglers as they try to uncover a possible secret society. But the storyline doesn’t become clear until the third part, and is never important anyway. We do recommend binging it, though in two, maybe three days — just as long as it consumes your entire being.
No one has ever “sold out” like Spike Lee. The director/firebrand proved he could play nice with this crackerjack thriller, which finds Denzel Washington’s dashing, white-suited detective attempting to thwart a bank heist. But it’s still exceedingly, wonderfully Spike. Rather than throw everything at the screen and wildly mixing tones, he organically, even subversively weaves cutting social commentary into a popcorn movie, all without killing the pace. It’s a great post-9/11 New York movie, too. Few scenes better sum up the city than when Denzel, having received a message from the thieves in a foreign tongue, strolls out into the streets, plays the tape and asks, “Anyone know what language this is?” Naturally he gets an answer.
Follow Matt Prigge on Twitter @mattprigge