Posts Tagged ‘Terrence Malick’

Dunkirk – War Is (Boring As) Hell

Posted 21 Aug 2017 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get

By Ezra Stead 

Dunkirk, UK/France/Netherland/USA, 2017

Written and Directed by Christopher Nolan

There are two points I should address by way of prefacing this review. One is the fact that I have spent the better part of the past year being underwhelmed by this movie. Ever since the first teaser trailers began to surface, I’ve been thinking things like, “Well, I’m sure I’ll see it,” and, “It’ll undoubtedly be good, but…” No matter how I tried, I just couldn’t work up any real enthusiasm for it. It’s not that I’m not a Christopher Nolan fan, it’s just that this one didn’t appear to have any magicians, dream detectives, or… Batmans in it, so it was already at a disadvantage when it came to subject matter.

I say this just to make it understood that my feelings about Dunkirk are not disappointment. The movie absolutely delivers what the trailers promised, it’s just that, for this reviewer, that was nothing particularly compelling. If you saw those trailers and were immediately excited to see the movie as soon as possible, well… obviously, you’ve seen the movie by now, and I’m sure you loved it. There is nothing for you in the remainder of this review but frustration and rage. Fair warning.  Read More

MIDG Podcast #2: The Good And The Bad

Posted 20 Apr 2014 — by Jason A. Hill
Category Film Industry News, Film Reviews, Hollywood Beat, Movies I Didn't Get, Movies I Got

By Jason A. Hill & Ezra Stead

 

Jason and Ezra discuss the basic elements of good and bad film. From dramas to comedies, action to science fiction, good and bad movies come in many forms and take on many critics. Here are just a few examples as we ponder the idea of what makes a good film good and a bad film bad.

 

 

 

 

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Love Crime & Passion – Do You Want Taut Suspense Or Lurid Ridiculousness?

Posted 19 Sep 2013 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

Love Crime, France, 2010

Directed by Alain Corneau

Passion, Germany / France, 2012

Directed by Brian De Palma

Love Crime is a taut, compelling thriller with a subtle element of sexual tension mixed in with its clever revenge scheme. It was probably a mistake on my part to watch both of these films within the same week, seeing as how they are very similar in plot and incident throughout the first two acts of each film. However, when I heard that Brian De Palma’s latest film was actually a remake of a fairly recent French thriller I had been meaning to see anyway, and that the original film was readily available to stream on Netflix, I decided “Why not?” I say it was a mistake mainly because I think I would have enjoyed De Palma’s film, Passion, more if the many elements directly adapted from the earlier Alain Corneau film, Love Crime, had been entirely new to me. I also feel that those elements were better handled in the original film, a taut, suspenseful, supremely clever thriller upon which De Palma apparently felt he could improve by adding a lot of his classically lurid, dreamlike De Palma flourishes, as most recently seen in the far superior Femme Fatale (2002) and the definitely inferior The Black Dahlia (2006). Read More

To The Wonder – Beautiful, Searching, Boring

Posted 08 Sep 2013 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get

By Ezra Stead

To the Wonder, USA, 2012

Written and Directed by Terrence Malick

To the Wonder lacks any emotional connection, which would seem to be beneficial to a film about the loss of both love and faith. Terrence Malick is one of the most distinctive and impressive filmmakers alive, and at his best, he makes beautiful, poetic films that evoke universal feelings that touch the shared humanity in us all. At his worst, however, he makes beautiful, poetic films that reach for the profound and universally significant, but manage only to alienate and bore the viewer. I’ll leave it to you to decide which of his previous five films are which, but for me, his latest, To the Wonder, is decidedly one of the latter. When I first saw the trailer for this film, I remember thinking it looked like somber self-parody, and on the second viewing of said trailer, I actually counted the number of wheat fields and searching, wistful looks, coming up with at least eight of each. I’ll say this for that trailer: though it didn’t particularly make me want to see the film it advertised, it was certainly an accurate representation. Read More

Ezra’s Top 10 Favorite Films Of 2011

Posted 01 Jul 2012 — by Ezra Stead
Category Essay, Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

The Artist is a relentlessly entertaining love letter to silent film and cinema in general. Well, it’s that time once again, and as always, I didn’t get around to a lot of the films I would have liked to see – as I write this, a DVD of Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris sits on my desk, glaring at me – but there comes a time when every movie lover has to call it a year. I have somewhat arbitrarily picked today as that time, so here now are my top 10 favorite films of 2011:

 

# 10) MELANCHOLIAanyone with whom I talk movies already knows how much I love Lars von Trier, and though this is definitely not my favorite of his films (2003’s Dogville still takes that honor), it is nonetheless a striking and powerful depiction of the nature of depression, as well as a highly unusual and compelling look at what the impending apocalypse might feel like. The stunning opening and closing sequences alone make this film impossible to ignore, or to forget.  Read More

Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia

Posted 22 Apr 2012 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

Melancholia, Denmark / Sweden / France / Germany, 2011

Written and Directed by Lars von Trier

Melancholia is a very difficult and challenging film, and I can't honestly say I enjoyed every moment of it, but enjoyment is hardly the point when dealing with such a deep and intelligent examination of despair. Lars von Trier’s latest is by no means my favorite of his films, but I do feel much more charitable about than he apparently does. Here is what the great Danish artist / provocateur has to say, excerpted from his statement on the film’s official website: “This is cream on cream. A woman’s film! I feel ready to reject the film like a transplanted organ … I am confused now and feel guilty. What have I done? Is it ‘exit Trier?’ I cling to the hope that there may be a bone splinter amid all the cream that may, after all, crack a fragile tooth … I close my eyes and hope!”

As gifted a filmmaker as von Trier certainly is, he doesn’t seem to quite have the knack for self-promotion. Then again, this could be yet another example of the perverse, impish delight he seems to take in his own self-destruction, as most recently evidenced in his controversial “I am a Nazi” joke at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. This is oddly appropriate to Melancholia, which, as the title suggests, is largely about the mysterious, fascinating pull of deep, all-encompassing depression, as well as the beauty and peace to be found in the complete destruction of absolutely everything. In fact, the latter – the incredibly gorgeous apocalyptic images that bookend the film – mainly functions as a metaphor for the former. The planet Melancholia, which has supposedly been “hiding behind the sun,” threatens to destroy all life on Earth as it draws near, yet it is also described as the most beautiful sight we will ever see. Depression may be always lurking just behind the nurturing light of life, but when it finally shows itself, we find that it is more absorbing and actually enjoyable, in a perverse way, than happiness. Read More

The Tree Of Life

Posted 10 Jun 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Most Confusing Films of All time, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

The Tree of Life, USA, 2011

Written and Directed by Terrence Malick

The Tree of Life is a beautiful and extraordinary film that will undoubtedly remain one of the best of this year or any other.

Terrence Malick is a truly extraordinary and enigmatic filmmaker; over the course of the last 38 years, he has directed only five films, each one of which is widely regarded as a consummate masterpiece. The beauty and complexity of his images are almost in a league of their own. Between the sheer cinematic perfection of his work and its anti-prolific output, he is reminiscent of perhaps the cinema’s greatest auteur, the late Stanley Kubrick. His latest film is likely his best work to date (I still haven’t seen 1978’s Days of Heaven, widely regarded as his greatest achievement up until now), and it certainly feels like his most personal, while simultaneously tackling the huge metaphysical ideas of Kubrick’s own greatest work, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).

The Tree of Life is a staggeringly ambitious film that evokes not only the monumental beginnings of all existence in the universe, but also the tiny, specific details of ordinary lives; the result is a flawed but profound epic on the scale of 2001 with the emotional resonance that Kubrick’s more detached approach is often accused of lacking. It is also a film that deserves comparison to Darren Aronofsky’s extremely underrated masterpiece The Fountain (2006) in its themes of the interconnectedness of all time and space and the way in which we are all affected by forces beyond our control and understanding. It is the rare film whose flaws only make it more intriguing, since life itself is flawed and disconnected in much the same way. Above all, while comparisons can be made to other masterpieces in Malick’s own career as well as those mentioned above, this is a wonderfully unique and original film, with a style and voice unlike any I can recall. Read More