Tag Archives: steven spielberg

READY, PLAYER ONE (2018) – My rating: 8/10

Ready, Player One is a  science fiction adventure film produced and directed by Steven Spielberg, and written by Zak Penn and Ernest Cline, based on Cline’s 2011 novel of the same name.  Ready Player One is half real life and half virtual reality.  It’s shows what the world could look like in the future, everyone as obsessed with virtual reality as they are with Smart Phones.  This is all shown via a movie featuring a game — not my usual film preference however, this adventure is pretty good.

In 2045, many of Earth’s population centers have become slum-like cities. To escape their desolation, people engage in the virtual reality world of the OASIS (Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation), where they can engage in numerous activities for work, education, and entertainment. Users have discovered Anorak’s Quest inside OASIS, a game programmed by the late OASIS creator, James Halliday (Mark Rylance). The first player to find the Easter egg, locked behind a gate requiring three keys within Anorak’s Quest is promised full ownership of OASIS, among other gifts. This has attracted a number of Gunters (“egg hunters”) to play the game. Innovative Online Industries (IOI), a video game conglomerate and manufacturer of most of the virtual reality equipment used to access the OASIS, also wants ownership. The new CEO of the company, Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn), has amassed an army of debt-indentured players, known as “Sixers” (due to their six-digit identification), to seek the prize. However, to date, no one has managed to finish the first quest, a vehicle race across an ever-shifting version of New York City.

Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), an orphaned, 20-year-old Gunter, lives in a Columbus, Ohio, slum with his Aunt Alice (Susan Lynch). In the OASIS, Wade goes by his avatar, Parzival, and has partnered with Aech (Lena Waithe), a male avatar that serves as a virtual mechanic. He later befriends well-known player Art3mis (Olivia Cooke) after saving her from dying in-game – referred to as being “zeroed out” – which would reset her avatar’s character progression and remove all her goods. Wade decides to study the virtual OASIS library to learn about Halliday’s personal life, hoping to find a hint to finish the race. Wade learns that Halliday felt regret when he had to accept the resignation of his partner, Ogden Morrow (Simon Pegg), over a personal falling-out, musing, “Why can’t we go backwards for once? Backwards really fast, as fast as we can – really put the pedal to the metal.” At the next race, Wade reverses from the start line, finding a hidden, safe path to the finish line of the race. He gains the first key and a clue to the next quest. Aech and Art3mis, as well as players Daito (Win Morisaki) and Sho (Philip Zhao), follow Wade to finish the quest, and the five appear atop the global scoreboards, becoming known as the “High Five”.

IOI takes interest in them, desiring to learn their real-life identities. Bounty hunter i-R0k (T.J. Miller) overhears Wade tell Art3mis his real name, disclosing it to Sorrento, who approaches Wade in an attempt to convince him to join IOI to solve Anorak’s Quest, but Wade refuses. In retaliation, Sorrento has his assistant F’Nale Zandor (Hannah John-Kamen) attack Wade’s slum, killing Wade’s aunt and her boyfriend. Wade is rescued by Art3mis’ real-life friends and is taken to a Gunter hideout in Columbus, where he meets Art3mis’ player, Samantha Cook (Olivia Cooke). The two discover that Halliday had once dated Kira (Perdita Weeks), who later became Morrow’s wife , and was the source of their falling-out. In the virtual OASIS archives, Wade wins a bet with its Curator regarding whether Kira’s memory remains anywhere within the archives, winning a 25-cent coin and access to Halliday’s memories of Kira, which turn out to be the entrance to the second quest. In a re-creation of The Shining, the High Five team each gain the second key and the clue that the last quest is in Castle Anorak on Planet Doom.

Ready, One Player get more intense that includes blackmail, hiding in a van, a rescue, deception, IOI, a kidnapping, and finally the winning of the company.  I found this film interesting but more for the younger folks.  You’ll stay in the game throughout the entire movie, making Ready One.. almost a total animated movie. If you like this sort of venture, you’ll love this movie but if you older and not into computer games, don’t bother.  Check it out if you dare!


BRIDGE OF SPIES (2015) – My rating: 8.5/10

BridgeOfSpiesIf you’re looking for a good story and with quality acting rolled into an excellent movie, Bridge of spies is it. Tom Hanks has done it again — he manages to get involved with some of the best movies in Hollywood. Directed by Steven Spielberg and written by the Coen brothers, Bridge of Spies will probably get an Oscar nod. Based on a true story, Bridge of Spies features life in the late 50s when the US was still engaged in a cold war with the Soviet Union and after Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed for being spies in 1953. Unlike the Rosenberg’s, Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance) was not a US citizen but from the Soviet Union. He was an artist who lived in Brooklyn. After a search of his room turned up evidence that supported the claim that he was in fact a spy for the KGB, he was arrested and tried as a Russian spy. In good faith, the CIA appointed a top attorney to represent Rudolf named James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks), a lawyer who specializes in insurance settlements. While no one took the trial or his defense seriously, James Donovan did. Battling to give Rudolf the best defense he could, James was up against anger, threats and violence from everywhere over his representation of the much hated Russian spy. Of course, he lost the trial and the sentence for a death penalty was before Chief Justice Earl Warren (Edward James Hyland).  James ended up going to the judge’s home to convince him to sentence Rudolf to 30 years in prison instead of the electric chair. When asked why, James said, he might come in handy as an exchange one day.  As it turned out, a pilot named Francis Gary Powers (Austin Stowell) was shot down over Soviet territory while taking unauthorized pictures for the military. He was captured and tried. In the meanwhile an American economics graduate student, Frederic Pryor (Will Rogers) visits his German girlfriend in East Berlin just as the Berlin Wall is being built. He tries to bring her back into West Berlin, but is stopped by Stasi agents and arrested as a spy.  This gave the US a lot to negotiate. Again, James was used in this spy scenario to set up meetings and negotiate between Russia, Germany and the US. This is a very touching story as well as enlightening.  There’s a lot of history here.  I think this movie is a hit and worthy of your time and a movie ticket to see it unfold on the big screen.  The cast is brilliant.  Alan Alda plays Thomas Watters, Jr., James Donovan’s boss at the insurance company and Amy Ryan plays Mary Donovans, James’ wife.  Check it out if you can.

[BRIDGE OF SPIES is nominated for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Original Score, Production Design, Sound Mixing and Original Screenplay]