Terrence Malick’s latest movie, To the Wonder, hits theaters this week, and there are few filmmakers today whose work inspires as much fierce advocacy among movie lovers. But for all the hyperbolic praise of his films, there are bound to be those who see them as muddled, indecipherable, or inexplicable. We’re not saying his movies are without flaws — but they tend to inspire some rather hilarious vitriol in anonymous public forums, so it’s time to return to one of our favorite sources for unsolicited film criticism, Netflix reviews, to see what people have to say about his films. This time, we checked in with the folks on Amazon as well. The best of what we found is after the jump. … Read More
The Tree of Life
If you’re like us and doing the obligatory Oscar week movie-cramming in preparation for Hollywood’s big night, here’s something else to think about when considering your pick for Best Picture: the anthropological question of good taste. We took it upon ourselves to rank this year’s nominees according to their design aesthetic. Wikipedia defines aesthetics as the study of sensory or sensori-emotional values, sometimes called judgments of sentiment and taste. So, what films have it? What films don’t? Does it matter?
Click through to see how the nine nominees measured up, and let us know in the comments if you agree with us, or if you’re now questioning our good taste. … Read More
The Oscars are six days away, and you know what that means: only one more week to see every major nominee, in order to appropriately cheer, jeer, and second-guess on Sunday night. But time has flown in these early months of 2012 — we got distracted by the Super Bowl, and then we suddenly had to watch Knicks games, and now, here it is Oscar time. How on earth are you supposed to get through all of the major nominees? It’s easy to go into a tailspin — what do you see? What can wait? What should you avoid, now and forever?
Have no fear. Flavorwire is offering, as a public service, a priority ranking of the nominees for the major awards (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress), so you can sift through the 18 nominees and see what time will permit you to see. Let’s be clear: this list is only tangentially related to the actual quality of the films at hand (since, as we’ve discussed, the Oscars often don’t reflect that quaint notion). And it’s not a prediction list per se (that will come later in the week). But it is a guide to working your way through the stuff that’s probably going to matter come Sunday night. Sift through with us after the jump. … Read More
The Academy Awards tend to elevate the films they honor — in light of their fresh nominations, The Help feels somehow less racially problematic and we all begin to wonder whether there could actually be something to Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, beyond its unpleasant, quadruple-gimmick (Hanks! Bullock! Adorable child! 9/11!) sales pitch. Of course, most of this second-guessing is pointless; the Academy’s taste is far from infallible, to put it mildly. So, it’s nice to see that UK site The Shiznit has decided to take this year’s nominees down a peg, remixing their posters into brutally honest (and, OK, sometimes slightly unfair) characterizations of the movies’ content. A gallery of our favorites is after the jump, but be sure to visit The Shiznit to see the rest. … Read More
Earlier today the Producers Guild of America announced its ten nominations for the best film of 2011. Why should you care about who made the cut? Two words: Oscars pool. As Pete Hammond over at Deadline explains, these picks have a major impact on awards season, particularly when it comes to predicting the… Read More
Every Wednesday in December, Flavorwire will take a look back at the year in film — the stories, the performances, the movies that we were talking about in 2011. For this week, let’s revisit some of the year’s movie controversies, shall we?
We film folk can get worked up pretty easily, so while we found plenty of things to get all a-tizzy about in 2011, the assembled list of 2011′s film controversies doesn’t exactly read like end-of-the-world, stop-the-presses stuff. But these things are important to us! We’re easily excitable! Thus, ratings and posters and Oscars and Darth Vader’s scream were well worth talking about — then, and now. Join us after the jump to relive some of the year’s very big deals. … Read More
Halloween: It’s always more complicated than you want it to be. Even if you’ve got your plans set, it’s a struggle to find the perfect costume — without resorting to the same crappy, overpriced, pre-packaged getups everyone else will be wearing. Thankfully, just as we did last October, Flavorpill is helping you out with a series of easy DIY costume guides tackling various pop-culture realms. Don’t worry — there’s no sewing involved.
In our new installment, we’ve taken on some of this year’s most memorable screen characters. Whether they demand our attention with fire (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), light up the celluloid with their gorgeousness (Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard), or bear an eerie resemblance to their real-life persona (Mel Gibson), these Halloween costumes are sure to be conversation starters and win you the praise of spooky celebrators everywhere. … Read More
Sean Penn, never the wallflower, has some opinions he’d like to share about his latest film, The Tree of Life. His thoughts may surprise you! (If you know absolutely nothing about Sean Penn, that is.) The actor told the French publication Le Figaro, “I didn’t at all find on the screen the emotion of the script, which is the most magnificent one that I’ve ever read. A clearer and more conventional narrative would have helped the film without, in my opinion, lessening its beauty and its impact. Frankly, I’m still trying to figure out what I’m doing there and what I was supposed to add in that context! What’s more, Terry himself never managed to explain it to me clearly.”
While Penn’s complaints may have resonated with the refund-refused moviegoers of Connecticut, most have seen it as rather bad form—particularly for a critically-acclaimed picture that is still in general release. On the other hand, he’s certainly not the first actor to publicly diss his own work; we’ve collected some of our favorites after the jump. … Read More
Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life is a difficult film, and not everyone is going to enjoy it. In fact, when we went to see it a few weeks ago, we left the theater wondering whether Malick — who we’ve always loved — didn’t overshoot a bit in his attempt to illustrate the wonders of the universe, and the opposing, evidently Freudian, forces of nature and grace that rule it. Although we appreciated the movie’s artistry and ambition, it’s still entirely possible that there’s something about it we missed. And we’re OK with that. But some moviegoers apparently aren’t. Consumerist reports that a Connecticut theater has posted the sign below, informing Tree of Life ticket holders that the film is “a uniquely visionary and deeply philosophical film from an auteur director” that they should “read up on… before choosing to see,” and no, you can’t have your money back because you didn’t get it. Seriously, people — Green Lantern is the #1 movie in America and y’all are asking for a Tree of Life refund? … Read More