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Entries in Terrence Malick (18)

Friday
Jul252014

1973 Look Back: Terrence Malick's Debut "Badlands"

To give the impending Smackdown some context, we're looking at films from 1973. Here's Abstew on a spectacular debut...

With only a half dozen films released over the past 40 years, director Terrence Malick has already earned his place among the greatest American filmmakers. Despite his relatively small filmography, he has carved out a distinct brand of filmmaking that inspires (sometimes as much as it confuses or bores). But before he was an admired and respected filmmaker, he was just a former Rhodes scholar that graduated from Harvard working as a philosophy professor at MIT. His first film, Badlands, began to take take shape as he studied film at the American Film Institute. It was immediately hailed by critics on its initial release in 1973, where it was the closing night film at the New York Film Festival. That year's festival also saw the debut of Martin Scorsese's Mean Streetsm proving that 1973 was not only a very good year for film, but a landmark year for new voices. Both films were sold to Warner Brothers on the same day.

Set in South Dakota in the 1950s and loosely based on the real-life incident of Charles Starkweather who went on a killing spree with his teenage girlfriend in 1958, Badlands follows former garbage man Kit Carruthers (played by Martin Sheen in the role that established his own career in film, having working almost exclusively in television up until then) as he and his 15-year-old girlfriend Holly (Sissy Spacek in only her second film) take off cross-country after Kit kills Holly's disapproving father. Although seen as rebels (Kit is often compared to the original rebel without a cause, James Dean), the two are more simple-minded than that. They seem to be going along for a ride not quite knowing what they're doing or why exactly they're doing it. 

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Saturday
Dec142013

Thoughts I Had... While Watching the "Interstellar" Teaser

Presented in the order I had them without self-censorship... you do the same in the comments!

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Thursday
Jul042013

Four for the Fourth: America in the Movies

It’s Tim, here to wish all of the U.S. readers of the Film Experience a Happy Independence Day, and to everyone else, "Happy Thursday!"

This particular holiday isn’t one commemorated in movies as much as many others – the odd scene here or there, but rarely an entire film dedicated to the themes and meanings behind the day. In order to save everyone from watching the classic but overfamiliar Yankee Doodle Dandy or 1776 – or the Roland Emmerich / Dean Devlin explode-o-rama Independence Day, if that’s the way you roll – or the miserable direct-to-video slasher movie Uncle Sam, if that’s how you roll, and for that you have my sympathy – I thought I’d put together a little list of a few films about America, in its many different forms, that might make for somewhat more novel viewing than seeing James Cagney speak-singing George M. Cohan songs for the 20th time. 

 

(Though if you haven’t seen the film, for God’s sake do it, he’s a dancing genius!) Four great movies about America below the jump...

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Saturday
Apr132013

Posterized: Terrence Malick

Until only very recently Terrence Malick, born in the North but raised in the Southwest, was something like a ghost of the cinema. Gone but not forgotten but still not numbered amongst the living. Or he was, at the least, something like an Auteurist Brigadoon, emerging from the ether once every hundred years before vanishing again. But ever since The Tree of Life (2011) he's been working non-stop. I've no idea what changed for the man but the cinematic landscape is all the better for it. Or at least the prettier for it. The man does consecrate the natural world with his camera. 

To date Malick has made six features. How many have you seen? 

Badlands (1973) | Days of Heaven (1978) | The Thin Red Line (1998)

The New World (2005) | The Tree of Life (2011) | To The Wonder (2013)

His filmmography may jump to nine in no time. He has three movies that are supposedly done filming: Voyage of Time with narration by Brad Pitt & Emma Thompson;  Knight of Cups with Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett and Natalie Portman; and something still Untitled that used to be known as Lawless with those same three actors and more. I sometimes suspect that the latter two are the same movie and the shroud of secrecy that covers the Malick Mystique has only confused and multipied it in the minds of movie websites everywhere.  

Anyway, back to the now. Will you see To the Wonder despite the uncharacteristically negative reviews? And are those reviews worrisome since he's working at such an uncharacteristic Woody/Clint clip these days?

Tuesday
Dec042012

Top Ten: Greatest Lone Oscar Nods of the Past 20 Years

Glenn here with another look at one of my favourite bi-products of the Oscar season. They’re the nominations that we sometimes forget about (unless it’s Norbit – we all remember that one!), but which forever brand a movie as “Oscar nominated”. Sometimes they’re the result of one aspect of a film sucking up all the energy in the room, and sometimes they’re the result of a prickly film finding an appreciative consensus in one category. Oh sure, all of the films below probably deserve the sort of Oscar haul that will greet Les Mis, Lincoln, or Argo, but receiving just one makes for fun statistics and even more fun list making! Let’s count down the best films of the last 20 years to receive just one nomination* on Oscar morning, and take a look at the films of 2012 that could very well reap a similar fate in 37 days.

*We’re going to exclude films that competed only in the animated/foreign/documentary categories since the Academy assigns them a ghetto for reason.

serial killer films don't usually generate the multiple Oscar wins of Silence of the Lambs

Honourable Mentions: I couldn’t go further without mentioning Tarsem Singh’s The Cell (Best Makeup, 2000) and David Fincher’s Se7en (Best Editing, 1995) since these two audaciously constructed classics of the serial killer subgenre are such bold choices for the Academy in their respective categories. They make a particularly disturbing double feature, too. You’ll be disgusted at the world for weeks!

The Best Single Nominee Films of the Past Twenty Years

10. Monster (Lead Actress, 2003)
I’m most definitely on Team Nick Davis when it comes to this captivating portrayal of an unravelling American life. Told as if through hazy, overly orchestrated memory pieces, Patty Jenkins’ film about Aileen Wuornos arguably deserved more credit than just for Charlize Theron’s pulverising central portrayal. A makeup nomination was the least the Academy could have done.

And in 2012: Now that tsunami disaster drama The Impossible has been nixed from the visual effects category, surely its only strong shot at a nomination is for star Naomi Watts. Will the Academy recognise the desperate plight of a white woman in danger? Probably.

Nine more achievements and their possible mirrors this year are after the jump...

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Wednesday
Aug152012

Searching for Treasures at TIFF: A Top Dozen List

Hey Everyone. Amir here to preview the Toronto International Film Festival. There's less than a month to go before opening night. Those of you who follow the festival’s news regularly probably know that yesterday marked the completion of most of the festival’s strands, so we can officially start salivating all over the program book. Making a “Most Anticipated Films” list is a fool’s errand; TIFF’s lineup is so vast that the list would basically equate to everything that’s left to be screened in 2012 and then some. Titles like The Master, Anna Karenina, Argo (the latter of which I'm anticipating and dreading) and Cloud Atlas will feature on everyone’s list. There are also Cannes leftovers such as Rust & Bone, Reality, No and The Paperboy to be excited for, but I’m dedicating this list, to the pleasure of discovery which is the lifeblood of festivals.

Last year Nathaniel made a similar list of sixteen potential gems in advance of the festival. Some of those were films I would not have watched had he not suggested them, and I’m glad to say that one of them ended up not only as my top film of the festival, but the best film I saw all year. Here’s hoping we can strike gold again with any of these:

 

The Suicide Shop

12. A Liar’s Biography/The Suicide Shop

Yes, I hate "ties" as much as you when it comes to list-making but I wanted to round things out with an animated film and couldn’t decide between them. We've got a 3D fictionalized telling of Graham Chapman’s life through the perspective of the Monty Python gang or a Patrice Leconte musical about a family who help people take their own lives. Can you blame me for the indecision ?!?

12. The ABCs of Death

The Midnight Madness program is the one I’ve attended the least over the years, mostly because I see too many films in a day to have the energy at midnight. Yet this omnibus film seems like the perfect campy end to a festival day. Twenty-six directors from all over the world (including Ti West and Ben Wheatley) give us twenty-six alphabet inspired ways to die in a horror film.

10. Barbara

Barbara already screened at Berlinale to terrific reactions, but given that it has no Canadian distributor I’m watching. Director Christian Petzold netted a Silver Bear in Berlin and Nina Hoss, terrific in his last two films, returns to star in a third consecutive. The 80s-set story concerns a scientist forced to stay in a rural hospital as punishment by the East German government.

Isabelle Huppert, Terrence Malick, and Seven (or more) Pyschopaths after the jump.

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