July 3, 2005 [War of the Worlds]
Who is working as hard as Spielberg to energize movie frames while holding fast to Old Hollywood? He even revisits the menacing rise of William Cameron Menzies' Invaders from Mars, where the underground aliens also wait to suck in Mom and Dad and all--but this time there's no overheated Space Cadet kid's dream for us to climb out of. No, this time it's all real, no matter that we know how it's going to end.
He's reached a point where all we need to do is watch--he's doing all the heavy lifting, and our job is simply to gasp as needed. Like Hitchcock, Spielberg just keeps making emotion-manufacturing machines--and we can complain about it all we like, but the warranty's still good and as long as you don't tamper with the factory specs it'll run smooth as pistons and relays, invisible weapons of mass destruction pushing you over the edge.