Ernest Cline’s 2011 debut novel Ready Player One was terrific, both an obsessed fanboy love letter to early 80s pop culture, and a futuristic, VR-based, be-anyone-you-want-to-be techno-thriller. A bidding war broke out for the movie rights before the novel even hit the press, and now — the better part of a decade later — comes Steven Spielberg’s long-awaited film adaptation.
It’s a curious beast. Sure, it’s predictably solid, upbeat, and an entertaining ride, but fans of Cline’s novel will scratch our heads as Spielberg strips away many of the book’s most memorable moments.
Looking only at the 2 hour 20 minute runtime, I initially wondered if Spielberg tried to capture and cram in every twist of the book’s plot. I needn’t have worried: In actuality, Zak Penn’s adaptation is anchored only sparingly to the original arc, elsewhere flapping and billowing into parts unwritten (and sometimes unneeded, though not altogether unpleasant).
This much is the same: Ready Player One takes place in 2045 (though the novel’s Oklahoma City has mysteriously been swapped for Columbus), in a glum world of depleted resources, pollution, and stacked mobile homes. Reality bites here, so citizens spend most waking moments inside the OASIS, a colossal VR universe. (Aside: Cline’s novel stressed that kids go to school in the OASIS, business is transacted, and so on; but in the film it feels more like Second Life — a game-slash-chat room, catnip for binge-watchers but an ultimately trivial diversion. I More >
Check out our interview! Our very own Haus filled in for Manny The Movie Guy (KMIR, NBC Palm Springs affiliate) today on the Nov. 17, 2017 broadcast of Phil Hulett and Friends, doling out the Haus Verdict on THREE films opening today: Justice League, The Star, and Wonder.
In case you’re not familiar with the program, Phil is a veteran LA radio guy and voice-over announcer, as well as the PA announcer for the Anaheim Ducks for the past 21 years. He and his gang of Friends run a great and very professional show — this was their 340th weekly episode. Many thanks to Phil & the gang!
If you missed the live broadcast, click the link below to jump right to 38:08 (where we start), or check out the full episode in podcast form on your favorite platform.
Haus’s full Justice League review is up today; The Star and Wonder are coming soon.
We’re testing a new occasional format here at The Parsing Haus, the Doubleheader — pitting two fearless reviewers against one other in a steel cage showdown of bon mots and savvy! (Or not. Sometimes, we might even agree.) Here’s the deal: CLGJr and Haus both saw the upcoming film Patriots Day, both penned reviews, and only once they’d finished did each see the other’s. Behold, the result. Suffice to say we didn’t see eye to eye this time.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts officially designates the third Monday of every April as Patriots’ Day. (For some reason, its northern neighbors in Maine prefer the singular possessive.) Bostonians host their storied marathon on that same day each spring, as they have for almost 120 years. The morning of April 13, 2013—not unlike the early hours of September 11, 2001—was by all accounts unremarkable. And then tragedy struck. Bombs placed at two sites along the finish line detonated, killing three and horrifically injuring hundreds more. “Patriots Day” recounts those events and the weeklong investigation without the nuance, focus, and skill warranted. It’s bluntly a mess of a movie, a depressing and borderline exploitative endeavor.
The narrative, known to any sentient person, first crisscrosses the pre-Marathon preparations of an unwieldy stable of characters.
We then witness the bombing More >