Bridge of Spies
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Written by Matt Charman, Joel Coen, & Ethan Coen
Produced by Krtisie Macosko, Marc Platt, & Steven Spielberg
Starring Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Amy Ryan, Alan Alda, Sebastian Koch
Music by Thomas Newman
Cinematography by Janusz Kaminski
Edited by Michael Kahn
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (U.S.), Twentieth Century Fox (International)
A film directed by Steven Spielberg and co-written by the Coen brothers is an event by itself, and something that film nerds across the world are sure to take note of. The subject matter is also familiar to baby boomers, telling the story of the 1960 hostage negotiation between the U.S. and Soviet Union following the shooting down of a U.S. spy plane over Russia.
The film is the fourth collaboration (as director and actor) between Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, after Saving Private Ryan, Catch Me if You Can, and The Terminal (Spielberg also exec produced Joe vs. The Volcano, and both produced Band of Brothers). It is also only the second film in Spielberg’s forty-year career not to be scored by John Williams (after The Color Purple in 1985). Thomas Newman took over duties instead. Williams was apparently suffering from an illness at the time, from which he has since recovered, and he will be scoring Spielberg’s next film, The BFG in 2016.
Directed by Guillermo Del Toro
Written by Guillermo Del Toro & Matthew Robbins
Produced by Guillermo del Toro, Callum Greene, Jon Jashni, & Thomas Tull
Starring Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, Charlie Hunnam, Burn Gorman, Doug Jones
Music by Fernando Velazquez
Cinematography by Dan Lausten
Edited by Bernat Vilaplana
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Guillermo del Toro is another auteur whose name alone brings attention to a project. Somewhat like Spielberg, he announces more projects that he wants to make than he can actually attain (he was originally supposed to direct the Hobbit movies, the coming remake of Beauty and the Beast and the now-defunct Pacific Rim 2, as well as an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness). But when he does come out with a project, people rejoice. Del Toro is known for his films featuring monsters and ghouls, and this latest is the first straight-up horror film he has made in some time.
Directed by Rob Letterman
Based on the books by R.L. Stine
Story by Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski
Screenplay by Darren Lemke
Produced by Deborah Forte & Neil H. Moritz
Starring Jack Black, Dylan Minnette, Odeya Rush, Amy Ryan
Music by Danny Elfman
Cinematography by Javier Aguirresarobe
Edited by Jim May
If you were a child of the 1990s, you read Goosebumps. Kids across the nation devoured R.L. Stine’s creepy stories. There was even a television show based on the series that aired on Nickelodeon.
The film is a comedy, probably appropriate, as the majority of Goosebumps fans are now grown up and past being able to be scared by the books’ subject matter. It stars Jack Black as a fictionalized version of R.L. Stine himself, whose monsters from his many books come alive to attack him, his daughter, and their new neighbor.
It seems odd that a film version would come so long after the heyday of the books, but for many, the nostalgia factor has been kicked into overdrive. The idea of a single movie that brings to life so many of the creatures from the dozens of Goosebumps books seems, more than anything, like a giant love-letter to a series millions grew up on.