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Entries in The Tree of Life (35)

Tuesday
Mar212017

Review: Song to Song

By Eric Blume

It’s difficult to review Song to Song, the latest film from Terrence Malick, because based on the standards of cinema (plot, characters, structure, acting, etc.), it’s a pretty terrible movie.  But with this film, Malick continues his journey to discover some sort of new cinematic language and style that has a weird beauty all its own.

The story, such as it is, revolves around three people in the music business (played by Michael Fassbender, Rooney Mara, and Ryan Gosling).  They go in and out of relationships with each other and a few other folks (notably Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett, and Bond girl Berenice Marlohe).  Malick gives you no real sense of time, so it’s never 100% clear what happens when exactly.  But there are many, many scenes with those five people running their hands over each others’ bodies while voiceover proclaims banalities about sex and connection...   

Click to read more ...

Monday
Nov212016

Tree of Life Revisited

This weekend a friend of mine invited me to join him for a screening at BAM of Terence Malick's The Tree of Life with a live orchestra. 'But that's only for silent films,' I thought. I said yes right away more to spend time with my friend than to see the film again which I had very much admired but not quite loved in 2011.

Seeing it again five years later proved unexpectedly rewarding. Perhaps it was the huge screen - the first time I'd seen it was on a tiny arthouse screen in Manhattan. Perhaps it was the live accompaniment of a huge orchestra and choir but it felt newly electric...

Click to read more ...

Friday
May272016

Posterized: Tye Sheridan

They grow up so fast *sniffle*. Tye Sheridan, the child actor revelation from Terence Malick's The Tree of Life (quite a debut) and Mud is already 19 years old and in major demand. What accounts for his mutant super power of aging rapidly is that Tree of Life actually began shooting when Tye was just 11. Malick takes forever in post production, don'cha know. Male stars don't tend to really come into their A list own until their late 20s or early 30s. DiCaprio is the grand exception to the rule but usually the ones that break out in their late teens or early 20s more commonly have career trajectories, like, oh, Chris O'Donnell. That's partially because the juicy roles for men tend to be the ones that require a 30 or 40something actor.  So it's anyone's guess as to whether or not Sheridan can build on his rather solid first five years in the movies. Are you that anyone? Care to take a guess?

While Sheridan isn't the star of X-Men Apocalypse -- the movies are STILL obsessed with making it all about Magneto, Xavier, Wolverine, and Mystique (sigh) even though we've seen that dynamic five times already (fwiw Wolverine is reduced to a cameo this time but he takes over the movie for a couple of minutes). If the franchise can ever reach for the ensemble magnificence of its source material, Sheridan would be in a great position to collect more than just a paycheck as Scott Summers, aka Cyclops, one of the most enduring and important characters in the books. (He's also onscreens right now in Last Days in the Desert which stars Ewan McGregor as both Jesus and Satan.)

How many of his 10 pictures to date have you seen? 

Next up for Sheridan, if it gets distribution, is Detour (reviewed at Tribeca), presumably more X-Men features as well as more leading roles including Friday's Child,  the crime aftermath drama Grass Stains, the Iraq war soldier drama The Yellow Birds (which he co-leads with Alden Ehrenreich), and Spielberg's sci-fi flick Ready Player One. 2017 could be the star-making year for him if two of those break out strong.

Saturday
Jul252015

"Brother. Mother. It was they who led me to your door"

Sunday
Jun152014

Happy Father's Day! What's Your Favorite Dad Movie?

My dad died two years ago so Father's Day is a melancholy abstraction now. I don't have my own kids but I love being a godfather, an uncle, and an honorary uncle. If you're father is still with you, take him to a movie or out somewhere for culture!

My point is this: Our parents aren't with us forever. Cherish them while they are.

What's your favorite dad movie? Mine just might be Beginners (2011) though my own dad certainly would not have liked it - we were very different people. I just find it so moving in its depiction of forging new more loving relationships adult to adult with your aging parent (and others). Christopher Plummer amply earned that Oscar.

There are so many memorable dads in movies, though. Two other semi-recent paterfamilias that really affected me were Donald Sutherland in Pride & Prejudice (2005) and Brad Pitt in The Tree of Life (2011).

How about you?

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?