Steven Spielberg

A lovely night with Williams’s score, Ford’s performance, iconic scenes… there are no bad dates here!

Face melting, Nazi punching fun!

Raiders of the Lost Ark is the quintessential action-adventure film. One could confidently claim that it is the greatest action-adventure film of all time! There is nothing about Steven Spielberg’s 1981 classic that isn’t famous — the giant boulder, the snakes, the hat & whip, every single line of dialogue, Marion’s alcohol tolerance, the airfield fist fight, the melting faces, poisoned dates, and so on. Yet, one component of the film is arguably more iconic than all the rest: John Williams’s score. The awe-inspiring, galloping main theme that nearly all humans can identify is a benchmark against which all other adventure film music is compared, and it is the basis for which this amazing night at the San Francisco Symphony exists!

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Film Review: The BFG

by Chad Liffmann on July 1, 2016

BFG delivers the magic, the humor, and the 3D.

Sophie and The BFG soak up the 3D rendered beauty.

Sophie and The BFG soak up the computer generated beauty.

There was a moment while watching The BFG that I snapped ever-so-briefly out of my trance and realized that I had been fully swept up in the magical atmosphere that Steven Spielberg had created in his cinematic adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s story. It’s not often that I become immersed in a movie. Or rather, it’s not often that a movie can effectively invite me to get immersed in it. The BFG is one of the few. It’s not a perfect movie — it falls just shy from delivering a rewarding emotional peak and contains some moments of directionless storytelling. However, from an entertainment standpoint, The BFG is like a wondrous and inventive bedtime story. It’s a truly magical family-friendly film from start to finish.

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All the music. All the magic. All the feels.

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 10.17.41 PM

I haven’t seen E.T. in twenty years, but by the time the credits rolled I had teary eyes and the theme song wonderfully repeating itself in my head. My girlfriend sitting next to me exclaimed, “my track record of crying every time I see E.T. is still intact”. That’s the power of Steven Spielberg’s 1982 classic E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, and there really was no better way to watch the film than with live orchestral accompaniment at the San Francisco Symphony.

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Spielberg + Coens + Hanks = Better than your average storytelling.

The lawyer who became a negotiator. The negotiator who united three empires.

The lawyer who became a negotiator. The negotiator who united three empires.

Thomas Newman seems to be doing his best musical imitation of John Williams throughout the former’s original score for Bridge of Spies. The reason I started with this opinionated tidbit is because it’s probably the weakest part of the movie. The score isn’t among Newman’s finest (American Beauty, Road to Perdition, Finding Nemo) and it’s far from capturing the spirit of Williams’ finest (Star Wars, Munich, Lincoln, basically everything…ever). The music in Bridge of Spies is the weakest, though still serviceable, mixed result in a movie production full of interesting mixes. Bridge of Spies represents the first time the Coen brothers have written for Spielberg, the first time Spielberg has employed a composer other than Williams for a feature film in lord knows how long, and judging by the number of production companies listed in the beginning, probably the first time Spielberg has needed the aid of a half dozen independent companies to help a production out. Sure, it’s also the fourth collaboration between Spielberg and Hanks, so there’s that. However, point being that Bridge of Spies had a lot of award-winning talent working together, and the results are infectious, if not odd, but totally worth our while. Embracing the tonal patchwork that comes from great minds working together, Bridge of Spies is a tense, fascinating true story of courage during the Cold War.

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'Maestros of the Movies' at Davies Symphony Hall

‘Maestros of the Movies’ at Davies Symphony Hall

The first four notes of the Star Wars main title blast to life in the beautiful Davies Symphony Hall, and members of the audience cheer loudly, whistle, applaud, and some even rise to their feet.  Only John Williams, the movie score composer who’s been writing music to accompany the silver screen since the late 1950’s, and who’s responsible for countless universally recognized themes, can induce such a response at a “classical concert.”  Such was the general atmosphere at the San Francisco Symphony’s Monday night event, Williams and Spielberg: Maestros of the Movies, a night dedicated to the impact of the award-winning composer (5 Academy Awards, 48 Oscar Nominations, 21 Grammy Awards…etc. etc.).

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Film Review: “Lincoln”

by Jason LeRoy on November 10, 2012

Daniel Day-Lewis in LINCOLN

starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader

written by: Tony Kushner

directed by: Steven Spielberg

MPAA: Rated PG-13 for an intense scene of war violence, some images of carnage and brief strong language

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Film Reviews: “War Horse” / “The Adventures of Tintin”

December 23, 2011

War Horse starring: Jeremy Irvine, Peter Mullan, Emily Watson, Tom Hiddleston, David Kross, David Thewlis written by: Lee Hall and Richard Curtis directed by: Steven Spielberg MPAA: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of war violence. The Adventures of Tintin starring: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost written by: Steven Moffat, Edgar […]

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Film Review: “Super 8”

June 8, 2011

starring: Kyle Chandler, Elle Fanning, Ron Eldard, Noah Emmerich, Joel Courtney, Ryan Lee, Zach Mills, Ryan Griffiths, Gabriel Basso, AJ Michalka written and directed by: J.J. Abrams MPAA: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and some drug use.

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