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Old 12-06-2005, 08:55 PM   #1
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Steven Spielberg's Munich

I've seen the trailer for this, and read about it. I am always interested in a Spielberg movie

Spielberg's 'Munich' Is the Best Movie of 2005

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I don't know which is more amazing: that Steven Spielberg managed to make the best movie of the year in just four months or that it's his second huge film of 2005.

Either way, "Munich" is a poignant political masterpiece that will no doubt be very controversial. It's the best movie of 2005, coming in at the last minute to best other terrific entries including "Walk the Line," "Match Point," "Capote," "Mrs. Henderson Presents," "Good Night, and Good Luck," "A History of Violence" and even "Memoirs of a Geisha."

"Munich" is "inspired by real events," those being the 1972 murders of the Israeli team in Munich during the Olympics and the fallout that followed. The filmmaker says inspired by and I will take him at his word. There is not going to be anti-"Munich" campaign in which factual details are matched up to the movie's sequences. This is not "A Beautiful Massacre."

It's certainly mind blowing in many ways that Spielberg made this movie at all. He released his popcorn movie of the year, "War of the Worlds," in June. He didn't commence work on "Munich" until July 15. The final scene was shot, I believe, around Sept. 22 in New York with Geoffrey Rush and Eric Bana.

That's not much turn around time. And yet, as far as I can tell, there are no huge mistakes in "Munich." Even the music is from 1972 — Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" and Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" are from that year. The movie's look, from the sets, props, costumes and hairstyles to Janusz Kaminski's tinted cinematography, is also vintage.

Spielberg, in fact, seems like he's taken a page out of Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney's playbook. He's outdone "Traffic" and "Syriana" at the same time. If it weren't based on a historic tragedy, you would say that "Munich" was a better version of the "Mission: Impossible" movies. It's hard to put the facts aside, but if you do, "Munich" is very good entertainment.

Eric Bana — who certainly should be nominated for best actor — is the convincing and heroic lead. He plays Avner, a Mossad officer chosen by Israeli intelligence to lead an elite squad of agents whose mission is to kill the Palestinian assassins who murdered the Olympic team. Bana is enlisted by Geoffrey Rush, and then picks a team played by Daniel Craig (the new James Bond in a surprisingly small role), Ciarah Hinds, Matthieu Kassovitz and Hanns Zischler.

They are all very good, especially Hinds, but there are two standout performances by Matthieu Amalric and Michael Lonsdale as a French son and father at the center of international intrigue. I don't know if either of them are on screen enough, but they could each qualify for supporting actor nods.

Bana, whose credits include the praised "Chopper" and the reviled "Troy," not to mention a stint as Ang Lee's "Hulk," vaults to stardom in "Munich" whether he likes it or not. In a complicated movie full of disarming violence and philosophical questions about retribution, Bana's Avner is a guiding light. He is Spielberg's most clearly drawn adult male hero since Indiana Jones — and that includes Elliott, Oskar Schindler and Bruce the Shark.

In many ways, I felt like Spielberg had been working his way up to Avner in his last successive central characters: Tom Hanks in "The Terminal," Leonardo DiCaprio in "Catch Me If You Can" and Tom Cruise in "War of the Worlds."

There will be plenty of debate over whether Spielberg favored the Israelis or demonized the Palestinians in this movie. But the terrific screenplay by Tony Kushner and Eric Roth goes a long way to solve those problems. The Israelis are shown as conflicted by their task; the Palestinians are made multi-dimensional through their own explanation of went on. Spielberg doesn't attempt to address the entire Middle East conflict, just to deal with this moment in 1972.

And there are the trademark Spielbergian touches, too: Avner often stares longingly into a kitchen store window, where all the appliances are pristine and life is perfect. It's where he meets Louie (Amalric) to get information but you know the whole time he's thinking of his beautiful wife and newborn baby.

The 1972 kitchens — avocado-colored dishwashers, etc — is the perfect antidote to the bloody killing go on all around him.

So forget gay cowboys and all the other silly stuff that's piled up around us. "Munich" is for real. It joins "Schindler's List," "Saving Private Ryan," "Amistad" and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" on his "serious" film list.

The 2005 Oscars are all his for the taking.

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Old 12-06-2005, 09:02 PM   #2
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I saw the trailer during "rent". Looks very good.

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Old 12-06-2005, 09:39 PM   #3
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I would like to see this movie.
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Old 12-06-2005, 09:50 PM   #4
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I remember the tv movie Sword of Gideon from years back with Steven Bauer and Michael York. Same plot, it was an excellent movie so this should be remarkable. Another political movie with connotations for our time.

I just watched the trailer online, it looks fantastic.
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Old 12-06-2005, 11:20 PM   #5
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Spielberg does it again, the guy knows how to turn out AWESOME flicks. I want to see this one, the trailer looks VERY Good. I remember watching during those Olympics and how frightening that whole matter was.

My uncle manages the Dreamworks private jets and flies Steven, his family and guests all over the world. There are a couple good historic films he is currently working on, Iwo Jima is one project.
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Old 12-07-2005, 02:35 AM   #6
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Always interested in Spielberg movies.
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Old 12-07-2005, 04:38 AM   #7
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Although the accuracy of some of the source material has been heavily discredited the film could be quite good.
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Old 12-07-2005, 12:29 PM   #8
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There is a good article in Time magazine regarding this movie. I look forward to this one!
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Old 12-07-2005, 12:32 PM   #9
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I want to see it SO badly. My parents were actually living in Munich at the time...very scary. I saw the Olympic Stadium myself this summer (very ugly architecture if I say so myself) but I digress...

This looks like it should be an excellent movie and I can't wait until it comes out
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Old 12-07-2005, 12:51 PM   #10
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I agree Spielberg really does invest in some excellent content to put onto the big screen. He hires only the best and doesn't spare a dime on his productions. I have enjoyed just about everything he has done.
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Old 12-07-2005, 01:30 PM   #11
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It looks like an awesome movie. But to me, with all the terrorism going on right now, it feels a little insensitive to put out this movie at this time.
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Old 12-07-2005, 02:22 PM   #12
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I cannot wait to see Eric Bana in this
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Old 12-07-2005, 03:34 PM   #13
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Saw the trailer for this when I saw "Walk the Line" and it looks awesome! I'll probably go out and see it. There are so many good movies coming out right now, Chronicles of Narnia, Memoirs of a Geisha, Syriana, and this one, I'm going to be so poor in a couple weeks if I see them all...
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Old 12-07-2005, 03:57 PM   #14
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Re: Steven Spielberg's Munich

If it's close to worthy, he might get the Best Picture Oscar as a make-up for getting hosed in 1998 when the severely overrated Shakespeare in Love beat the simply awesome Saving Private Ryan. What a crock that was.

Eric Bana caught my eye in Black Hawk Down, I've liked him ever since and I even gave him a Mulligan for Hulk which I couldn't even sit through.
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Old 12-07-2005, 04:46 PM   #15
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I'm going to see it just for Mathieu Kassovitz

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