Days of Heaven

badlands

As I noted in a Scenes We Love post on True Romance last month, Terrence Malick‘s Badlands is among my top five favorite films. It might even be my very favorite, which is interesting because I don’t love any of the director’s other works (I do like some, hate one…). Now I get to showcase the film itself, because today marks the 40th anniversary of its premiere as the closing night selection of the 11th New York Film Festival. The trouble is, how do you select specific scenes from a film you love so much and find so brilliant that there’s not one worthless second let alone scene in the whole thing? Badlands is a perfect specimen of cinema to me, so few things stand out above others. Fortunately, I don’t get to do too much choosing since there aren’t too many clips actually available online. So, as Kit (Martin Sheen) would do, let’s mark our memories with what we can find (if these were rocks, it’d also be what we can carry). And as Holly (Sissy Spacek) would do, I’ll offer some commentary that is subjectively selective, not completely descriptive and, since I’ve never wanted to know too much about the production of the film, probably rather naive. Don’t judge me for not being as poetic, though; I won’t even try. And don’t judge the video quality of the clips, which may still be better than the time I went to finally see Badlands on the big screen and it turned […]

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Criterion Files

Some films represent to many the indefinable expression of a dream. Often times it’s nightmarish, as that’s what we can easily discern as being particularly dream-like because those are the dreams we tend to never forget. They haunt us, indefinitely, and some filmmakers are keen to capture that sense of uncomfortable fear of the odd, or non-understandable. Filmmakers like David Lynch and David Cronenberg seem to know it and are willing to explore and share it.

Then, there are some films that don’t necessarily look a dream, but feel like a familiar one that you don’t fully remember; because it’s too grounded to feel fantastic, but too gorgeously free so as to feel slightly detached from reality. It’s dramatic, but not “dramatic.” It’s not void of human emotional expression, but not entirely engagingly emotional. It’s both wonderful and disturbed. It’s affectingly confusing to your senses. Like a dream.

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Criterion Files

In anticipation of Terrence Malick’s much-buzzed and much-argued-about Tree of Life, Adam and Landon are doing a two-part series on Malick’s films in the Criterion Collection. Part 1 – The Thin Red Line. The Thin Red Line (1998) is a film that accomplished many things. Least of which is the fact that, as the film was released twenty years after his previous completed work Days of Heaven, it established Terrence Malick as still a working filmmaker. While Malick had developed and abandoned several projects in the two decades that straddled his second and third feature films, the notoriously private director temporarily retired to France and workshopped a variety of screenplays and stage plays that, for one reason or another, never manifested. Though Malick’s sparse filmography hardly grants him a persona of being a prolific artist, his twenty-year filmmaking “hiatus” was never a hiatus at all, but was instead brimming with activity for potential projects. The Thin Red Line, then, should be thought of not as a decided return to filmmaking which assumes that the film is either a project twenty years in the making or the only thing he came across in twenty years worth making (as an academic who almost completed his doctorate and as a working journalist before becoming a filmmaker, part of the mystery surrounding the very private Malick is that filmmaking is simply one of several trades that define him – he’s like a far less public James Franco). The Thin Red Line may be more […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s newest late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this shit late at night, what do you expect?

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So Lars Von Trier isn’t forcing Martin Scorsese to remake Taxi Driver. Who cares? Here are ten directors that the madman should punish for being geniuses.

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