Is Terrence Malick Overrated? Revised With Poll

Which director made the best films, made the best visuals, or smelled the best? This is the forum to find out.

Terrence Malick's Finest Film Is...

Badlands
8
24%
Days Of Heaven
8
24%
The Thin Red Line
8
24%
The New World
9
27%
 
Total votes : 33

Is Terrence Malick Overrated? Revised With Poll

Postby HollywoodBabylon on Mon Jan 30, 2006 3:16 pm

REVISED AND NOW WITH POLL


I only ask because although 'Badlands' and 'Days Of Heaven' are first class and 'The Thin Red Line' a (quite) good, (anti) war film, his latest 'The New World' is frankly....an indulgent bore. Visually stunning (but aren't so many films these days?) but narratively all over the place, unformed and completely hackneyed.
Is this the reason Malick has pulled it from the screens at the last moment?
Perhaps his true vocation lies as a cinematographer as opposed to a screenwriter. He's great at visually filming a movie but lousy at forming character and emotion (at least in his last two efforts).
Have otherwise discerning critics, then, bought into the "myth" of Malick the "poetic" filmmaker? Has he deliberately created a Garboesque persona to keep interest in him at a maximum? Do we feel obliged to rate him much higher than he should be rated? In other words, is he just a relatively good filmaker with an great visual flair who in reality cannot produce emotionally resonant movies?
Maybe he should stick to directing pictures no longer than 1hr 30 mins or so, because judging by his last two films (and especially 'The New World') he completely runs out of things to say after that length, instead relying on so-called "poetic" shots of nature, man's place in it etc etc. Is it the case, when in doubt shoot nice scenery to cover your shortcomings?
Pauline Kael was wrong when she described 'Days Of Heaven' as ".....like an empty Christmas tree. You can hang all your dumb metaphors on it."
However, that analogy certainly applies to his last two films.
Sad to say - because I really wanted to like 'The New World'- but perhaps true.

Let's hope his next film(s) have a decently crafted script and editor. And keeps to under 2 hours.



-------------------------------------------------- -----------------------------------
(This following thread of 22/10/06 was locked so I've added it on here if that's OK).

What is your favourite Malick movie?

Not many films to choose from, I know, but when we're talking Terrence Malick the term quality over quantity surely has never rang more true. Malick is classed by many as the poet laurete of modern American cinema, and though I'm on record (above) as not being as convinced by his latter work as his earlier films, there's no doubt of his standing as one of the world's leading and most respected directors.

So, after all that, I'm going with his first full length feature. Badlands is such a stunningly achieved film that it's firmly embedded into my cinema head and heart as an all-time favourite. I just love this movie; it's poetic and evocative use of sparse dialogue, it's haunting visual beauty, it's idiosyncratic characterisation and it's odd and peculiar approach to what in essence is a slight story - two young lovers on the run. And though it lasts barely 1hr 30m, it feels an almost timeless and mythological piece of moviemaking to me. A movie that encompasses all the themes that I think Malick strives to achieve in his work, philosophically, spiritually, visually (and themes which he failed notably to achieve with any coherence or resonance in his last two features, I think).

So while looking back on my original post from earlier this year, it does seem to me I perhaps judged his recent work a little too harshly - though I still stand by the core argument of it completely: the latter two films are seriously flawed IMO when compared to the pellucid beauty and simplicity of his first two pictures. But that ground has been covered.....this thread is primarily to see which of the man's work you rate as your favourite and why. And Badlands to me is his finest achievement - so far, that is.
Last edited by HollywoodBabylon on Thu Nov 23, 2006 3:06 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby Peven on Mon Jan 30, 2006 3:20 pm

i have not yet seen The New World, so i can not comment on that, but i found The Thin Red Line to be a great film, second only to The Deer Hunter in its impact on me in regard to the insanity that is war. so if The New World is more of that, then i doubt i will be disappointed.
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Postby TonyWilson on Mon Jan 30, 2006 3:25 pm

I haven't seen The New World, but I have seen his other three films and to answer your first question: No he is not overrated. By the general populace he's extremely underrated and by critics I think he's about where he should be.
The Thin Red Line is a beautiful film, and I'm not talking about the way it was shot (we should be commending John Toll for that).
It's like no other war film I've ever seen and I've seen A LOT of war films. It has an original message about war, that it's completely Un-Natural, many war films may be anti war but I've never seen one that suggested that thwe act of war was not just against another group of people but against nature itself.
There is no "myth" of Malick being a poetic film maker he simply is one. From the understated yet brilliant voiceover in Badlands which explains so much while explaining so little overtly, to the moment when Dash Mihok touches the leaf that curls up in The Thin Red Line, Malick has poetry in his bones.
Certainly The Thin Red Line flicked from soldier to soldier but it was messy like that for a reason, War is messy, heroes die stupidly, cowards prevail good men and bad men are all equal in War these ideas are all in the film, no one's hanging empty metphors anywhere.
The films aren't to everyones taste but then what film is? None that I know of.
Elitism is positing that your taste is equivalent to quality, you hate "Hamlet" does it make it "bad"? If you think so, you're one elite motherfucker.
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Postby ThisIsTheGirl on Mon Jan 30, 2006 3:31 pm

Nice post, Tony. I know some people here saw The New World recently, I'd like to hear them chime in on this.....
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Postby Pacino86845 on Mon Jan 30, 2006 3:32 pm

Malick overrated? Oh no you di'int...
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Postby John-Locke on Mon Jan 30, 2006 3:43 pm

You don't really get everything from a Malick film in just one showing for me anyway, I have to watch them again and maybe again and again (as was the case with me and The Thin Red Line, which is now in my Top Ten films ever) to understand everything he's trying to say, I love that about him but I can see why some people wouldn't like to invest so much time just for the sake of a movie.

Poetic is an understatment for me, he transcends art by going for an organic approach whenever possible, always using natural light unless on a rare occasion it's a gas lamp or electricity (inside the Ship in TRL), his films are like dreams with important messages one has to realise for one's self. They can also change the way you think and act in life , they have been deeply affecting to me in the last year as I feel I am mature enough now to understand the messages and themes for myself.

The New World could have been longer for me, I agree it din't have as much of an emptional punch as I would have hoped for with the Love story but I hope that will change with the extended DVD.

In a word if asked is Malick overrated my answer would be a categoric...

NO

He's a master auteur of the highest order up there with Kubrick for me, he hasn't made anything unworthy of that accolade either, he may not have made much but each one is vastly more important to me than pretty much any other moving images with sound out there.
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Postby colonel_lugz on Mon Jan 30, 2006 4:07 pm

After seeing the New World yesterday I have to say he is deffinatly not over-rated, if anything I feel he is under-rated!
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Postby burlivesleftnut on Mon Jan 30, 2006 4:16 pm

I think he's over rated... but I have not seen New World. But I have seen Badlands, Days of Heaven and Thin Red Line. I don't find anything technically WRONG with the films, but imo, they are not engaging in the least... and Thin Red Line has some attrocious acting.
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Postby LeFlambeur on Mon Jan 30, 2006 4:39 pm

I just saw The New World yesterday, and it is easily the best film in theatres right now. And there are some good ones playing these days. Truely he is working on a level ninety miles higher then most filmmakers today. One of our greatest living auteurs, he is in absolute command of his art.
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Postby HollywoodBabylon on Mon Jan 30, 2006 6:17 pm

Thanks for some really interesting posts.
I think it is extremely telling that Malick himself has withdrew 'The New World' from cinemas to (apparently) re-edit and cut. That says an awful lot. My own feeling is that, like 'The Thin Red Line', the narrative structure - albeit deliberately diffusive and elliptical - fails to match or cohere with the visual 'message'. Of course, they don't necessarily have to cohere. A narrative can tell you one thing whilst the visual another. That's why 'Badlands' and 'Days Of Heaven' worked so brilliantly for me and his last two projects patently didn't. Sometimes, pretty pictures aren't enough to sustain a lengthy movie.
(Kubrick's snore-fest 'Barry Lyndon' is another example).

I agree that Malick is a geniune mainstream auteur (and a comfortably indulged one, like Kubrick); but his recent two movies suggest to me he is an auteur wanting to say something profound but not being able to do so literally. ie through pictures AND words (no matter if those words are far and few between). I still maintain that his screenplays for 'The New World' and (to a lesser degree) 'The Thin Red Line' are half-formed, messy and add up to nothing more than a psuedo-philosophing that borders, at times, on laughable. Unlike 'Badlands' or 'Days Of Heaven' I find no beauty or poetry in them. Only a half-formed intellectual exercise in wordplay.
That said, it's great to hear the opposite view(s) and I do agree with most of you that Malick is a distinct voice in mainstream US cinema. But in all honesty, is he currently deserving of the reputation he has?
In my eyes, the jury is still out. Verdict not yet in.
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Postby ZombieZoneSolutions on Mon Jan 30, 2006 6:45 pm

No fucking way is he overrated. If anything he's underrated. He's a genius, pure and simple, just like Kubrick. He's a poet and impressionistic painter with the camera...

The New World is a masterpiece. But, I understand that his aesthetic can be very challenging for some people. Most people need to be held by the hand and led to easy conclusions; if the narrative becomes too oblique, the average viewer gets frightened and confused; "Wheres the 'splosions? Is he the g-good guy or the b-bad guy? HELP!" Then they run to the comfort of something simple and unchallenging, like King Kong or Underworld:Evolution.

Mallick doesn't give you that; what he gives you are impressions and poetic flashes of emotions that takes work on the part of the viewer to piece together their own experience / values / judgements. He directs what I like to think of as emotional history, rather than a timeline of events. Either you feel it and get it, or you don't.

One of the things I love about The New World is the sort of circular structure; from the Europeans seeing America for the first time; this crazy, alien place; to the Native America characters seeing Europe for the first time; another crazy, alien place. Beautiful.

Again, I realize that his aesthetic is challenging and not everyones cup of tea, but, for me, he's a genius. I love his work, and I fell crazy head over heels in love with The New World...
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Postby TonyWilson on Mon Jan 30, 2006 6:50 pm

Hey HB, this is all kind of personal opinion so it's difficult to prove or say anything defintive obviously.
Anyway I don't think what Malick did with TRL was just shoot some pretty pictures and string together a fractured narrative. Nature documentaries aren't just pretty pictures, while the landscapes maybe stunning that wouldn't be enough to hold my attention, the beautiful scenery is obviously a counterpoint to the horrific events going on in them. Soldiers stop and admire the tiniest aspects of nature during nerve rattling battles, that isn't an accident, that's Malick presenting the duality of man, vicous killer and yet still filled with childlike wonder for the awesome force called nature. Again this goes back to one of the central themes of the film that war is the very anti-thesis of nature, not as many films and books suggest an essential part of it.
I don't think Malick shoehorns in ANY pseudo-philosphical ideas, he has a philosophy degree from Harvard and was a philosphy lecturer at MIT, the man isn't just pulling these ideas out of the ether (well he is as much as any writer does) my point is his ideas have a solid basis in philosophical thought, this isn't some pretentious film student at work here.
You don't have to say something profound with pictures AND words, hell FW Murnau made beautifully profound films with nothing but imagery and physical performances. Malick understands this and I think that was there dialogue in some of TRL's most affecting moments they would have lost their transformative power, I'm thinking of Pvt Witt being faced down in the jungle by the japanese and the final moments as the ship sails away from the island.
For me, the man is deserving of the praise he's given.
Last edited by TonyWilson on Mon Jan 30, 2006 7:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby John-Locke on Mon Jan 30, 2006 7:00 pm

Damn you Zombie, I love Malick as much as you but I also loved Kong, it's a mainstream way of exploring similar themes to The New World, I have to say I find your contant Kong bashing disconserting and confusing to be honest, especially when you mention it in the same breath as Underworld:Evolution, okay Kong was flawed but it doesn't deserve the malice you constantly jump at the opportunity to spew forth in my opinion.
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Postby ZombieZoneSolutions on Mon Jan 30, 2006 7:09 pm

John-Locke wrote:Damn you Zombie, I love Malick as much as you but I also loved Kong, it's a mainstream way of exploring similar themes to The New World, I have to say I find your contant Kong bashing disconserting and confusing to be honest, especially when you mention it in the same breath as Underworld:Evolution, okay Kong was flawed but it doesn't deserve the malice you constantly jump at the opportunity to spew forth in my opinion.


I was trying to draw you out JL!!! :wink: I knew you would pounce on that. :twisted:

You know, you make a good point; Kong does deal with similar themes, just in a more mainstream actioner kinda way. Good call, my brother!
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Postby John-Locke on Mon Jan 30, 2006 7:36 pm

Why Thankee-sai, I understand why you don't like Kong that much but I felt like you have been getting a little carried away with your show of contempt recently, I know we usually share a passion for the same type of films so I felt like I had to say something when I saw it raise it's head again in such an off topic manner.

I'm not saying you aren't allowed to like Kong, I respect your reasoning dude.

Anyway we can both agree.

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Postby burlivesleftnut on Mon Jan 30, 2006 7:39 pm

ZombieZoneSolutions wrote:Most people need to be held by the hand and led to easy conclusions; if the narrative becomes too oblique, the average viewer gets frightened and confused...


HAHAHA. First, don't bait people by basically calling them simple minded because they don't agree with you, and second, I hated Thin Red Line precisely because it was too obvious. So give people a break.
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Postby ZombieZoneSolutions on Mon Jan 30, 2006 7:50 pm

burlivesleftnut wrote:
ZombieZoneSolutions wrote:Most people need to be held by the hand and led to easy conclusions; if the narrative becomes too oblique, the average viewer gets frightened and confused...


HAHAHA. First, don't bait people by basically calling them simple minded because they don't agree with you, and second, I hated Thin Red Line precisely because it was too obvious. So give people a break.


You're right, I'm just in a mood. A MONDAY MOOD! ARRRGH!!!
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Postby burlivesleftnut on Mon Jan 30, 2006 7:51 pm

I don't mind arguing... I just don't like the "you didn't get it" defense.
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Postby ZombieZoneSolutions on Mon Jan 30, 2006 8:07 pm

burlivesleftnut wrote:I don't mind arguing... I just don't like the "you didn't get it" defense.


I getcha. I was being unfair and jerkish.
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Postby John-Locke on Mon Jan 30, 2006 8:19 pm

We'll if some people get it and others don't then what is it?

I think for a small percentage of people it's just not their cup of tea despite the possibilty of them getting it but I honestly believe that the majority of the film going public just don't read films in the right way to "get" Malicks films, they are too deep rooted in having most things pointed out for them and being taken on a ride that anything past figuring out a twist is missed by them in a film, nuances and underlying themes that inspire deep thought just do not interest them in the slightest, it's a personality thing and a conscious choice by those that do "get" them, not a way to measure intelligence.

Having problems with acting or narrative is another thing entirely.
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Postby ZombieZoneSolutions on Mon Jan 30, 2006 8:52 pm

John-Locke wrote:We'll if some people get it and others don't then what is it?

I think for a small percentage of people it's just not their cup of tea despite the possibilty of them getting it but I honestly believe that the majority of the film going public just don't read films in the right way to "get" Malicks films, they are too deep rooted in having most things pointed out for them and being taken on a ride that anything past figuring out a twist is missed by them in a film, nuances and underlying themes that inspire deep thought just do not interest them in the slightest, it's a personality thing and a conscious choice by those that do "get" them, not a way to measure intelligence.

Having problems with acting or narrative is another thing entirely.


I agree. And thats more or less what I meant; it's largely a matter of personal aesthetic. He speaks to me, but his style may be too meandering or oblique for many viewers. I just wrote it in a really brusque fashion that seemed to imply that I think people who don't get him (feel him?) are "stupid." I gotta watch the way I say things sometimes.

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Postby John-Locke on Mon Jan 30, 2006 9:26 pm

I wonder if you were to do a study of people affected emotionally by Malicks films if you would find that we are more prone to being affected by our external environment, like geometric pressures, full moons, winter blues etc, like we are Hobbit's more in touch with nature and our surroundings etc???
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Postby ZombieZoneSolutions on Mon Jan 30, 2006 9:46 pm

John-Locke wrote:I wonder if you were to do a study of people affected emotionally by Malicks films if you would find that we are more prone to being affected by our external environment, like geometric pressures, full moons, winter blues etc, like we are Hobbit's more in touch with nature and our surroundings etc???


Hey, I think you might be onto something there!
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Postby wonkabar on Mon Jan 30, 2006 11:14 pm

I think I'm with you here, HollyoodBabylon. Your posts articulated my exact feelings after viewing "The New World". No matter how arresting your imagery is, at some point you have to be a storyteller. An intimate relationship has to unfold with more than just pretty shots of your characters rolling around in the grass with stream-of-consciousness VO. I mean, yeah, Malick has a unique style and his flicks have atmosphere, but I think a movie needs to have more...especially if they're three hours long. Kubrick was a visual poet as well, but he backed it with at least some hint of a script. He took his time, he didn't meander. It may have sometimes seemed like he did, but everthing always had a purpose. It seems like Malick just makes it up as he goes...to me anyway. I don't know, I'll check TNW out again on DVD, but color me disappointed at this point.
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Postby Adam Balm on Tue Jan 31, 2006 12:39 am

Malick is brilliant.

You know why?

He understands the importance of shots of sunbeams falling through the trees.
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Postby burlivesleftnut on Tue Jan 31, 2006 12:41 am

Adam Balm wrote:Malick is brilliant.

You know why?

He understands the importance of shots of sunbeams falling through the trees.


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Postby HollywoodBabylon on Thu Nov 23, 2006 2:35 pm

Now revised with poll. See first post.
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Postby tylerfulltilt on Sat Feb 03, 2007 5:36 pm

the new world is one of the movies i would take on a deserted island with me.

the final part of that movie where pocahontas finally meets john rolfe is simplu heartbreaking. I've seen it 4-5 times now and it never fails to make feel the exact same thing I felt when I saw it the first time.
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Postby WinslowLeach on Sat Feb 03, 2007 5:41 pm

I think for the few films hes made, hes done some brilliant work. I wouldnt call him overrated.

I chose The Thin Red Line on the poll. A truly beautiful existential war film and my favorite out of those. Badlands would be my #2.
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Postby Pacino86845 on Sat Feb 03, 2007 5:42 pm

tylerfulltilt wrote:the new world is one of the movies i would take on a deserted island with me.

the final part of that movie where pocahontas finally meets john rolfe is simplu heartbreaking. I've seen it 4-5 times now and it never fails to make feel the exact same thing I felt when I saw it the first time.


Word.
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Postby Tyrone_Shoelaces on Thu Aug 23, 2007 3:50 pm

Days of Heaven gets the Criterion treatment on October 23.

"New, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by director Terrence Malick, editor Billy Weber, and camera operator John Bailey"
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Postby stereosforgeeks on Thu Aug 23, 2007 4:08 pm

Tyrone_Shoelaces wrote:Days of Heaven gets the Criterion treatment on October 23.

"New, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by director Terrence Malick, editor Billy Weber, and camera operator John Bailey"


AWESOME NEWS!!!!! Actually it's my favorite Malick film. Though they all bounce around placings based on mood.
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Postby HollywoodBabylon on Tue Oct 30, 2007 1:41 pm

So, Malick looks like he's finally getting that long awaited 'Tree Of Life' project off the ground with news just being released online that both Heath Ledger and Sean Penn are in talks to co-star. Let's hope this time it's more than just rumour and speculation.
Me, I have a feeling this will be his definitive movie - Lord knows, he's apparently been working on it on and off since the late 70's.
Could be something very, very special.
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Postby Fried Gold on Tue Oct 30, 2007 7:13 pm

There's something strange about this. Coming Soon has a list of films which "the studios are giving priority starts in order to beat the WGA strike". Then we get casting rumours.

Terence Malick is a man who didn't make a film for twenty years, and even then waits another 7 or so to make another. Clearly not in any rush...

I just wonder who managed to get him to fast-track this?
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Postby stereosforgeeks on Tue Oct 30, 2007 7:17 pm

Fried Gold wrote:There's something strange about this. Coming Soon has a list of films which "the studios are giving priority starts in order to beat the WGA strike". Then we get casting rumours.

Terence Malick is a man who didn't make a film for twenty years, and even then waits another 7 or so to make another. Clearly not in any rush...

I just wonder who managed to get him to fast-track this?


Maybe he was ready. He had been talking about starting it for awhile now.
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Postby Pacino86845 on Tue Oct 30, 2007 7:51 pm

Hopefully my future grandchildren will get to see this...
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Postby stereosforgeeks on Tue Oct 30, 2007 7:59 pm

Pacino86845 wrote:Hopefully my future grandchildren will get to see this...


You should just pop one out already. Let's get this ball rolling!
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Tue Oct 30, 2007 8:27 pm

stereosforgeeks wrote:
Pacino86845 wrote:Hopefully my future grandchildren will get to see this...


You should just pop one out already. Let's get this ball rolling!


much like testicular torsion, "ball rolling" is not conducive for procreation...
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Postby Evil Hobbit on Tue Oct 30, 2007 8:30 pm

The New World for me, I just love this film. If not alone for the opening scene with all the ships, amazing.
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Postby stereosforgeeks on Tue Oct 30, 2007 8:40 pm

Keepcoolbutcare wrote:
stereosforgeeks wrote:
Pacino86845 wrote:Hopefully my future grandchildren will get to see this...


You should just pop one out already. Let's get this ball rolling!


much like testicular torsion, "ball rolling" is not conducive for procreation...


You make a valid point. I retract that statement.
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Postby John-Locke on Wed Dec 19, 2007 2:17 pm

Looks like Brad Pitt has replaced Heath Ledger in Tree of Life

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Postby WinslowLeach on Wed Dec 19, 2007 2:24 pm

JOHNNY ON THE LOCKE!! Hey dude!!

Tree Of Life sounds weird.

I still havent seen Days of Heaven. I gotta get that on Netflix.
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Postby stereosforgeeks on Wed Dec 19, 2007 2:43 pm

John-Locke wrote:Looks like Brad Pitt has replaced Heath Ledger in Tree of Life

LINK


I'm just happy we are getting another movie so soon!
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Postby HollywoodBabylon on Wed Dec 19, 2007 2:46 pm

stereosforgeeks wrote:
John-Locke wrote:L ooks like Brad Pitt has replaced Heath Ledger in Tree of Life

LINK


I'm just happy we are getting another movie so soon!


Ditto.
Though to be honest I think I would've prefered Ledger in a Malick film rather than Pitt (that is, if it transpires that way).
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Postby stereosforgeeks on Wed Dec 19, 2007 2:47 pm

HollywoodBabylon wrote:
stereosforgee ks wrote:
John-Locke wrote:L ooks like Brad Pitt has replaced Heath Ledger in Tree of Life

LINK


I'm just happy we are getting another movie so soon!


Ditto.
Though to be honest I think I would've prefered Ledger in a Malick film rather than Pitt (that is, if it transpires that way).


I have faith in Malick.
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Postby cinemabuff on Thu Dec 20, 2007 2:35 pm

HollywoodBabylon wrote:Thanks for some really interesting posts.
I think it is extremely telling that Malick himself has withdrew 'The New World' from cinemas to (apparently) re-edit and cut. That says an awful lot. My own feeling is that, like 'The Thin Red Line', the narrative structure - albeit deliberately diffusive and elliptical - fails to match or cohere with the visual 'message'. Of course, they don't necessarily have to cohere. A narrative can tell you one thing whilst the visual another. That's why 'Badlands' and 'Days Of Heaven' worked so brilliantly for me and his last two projects patently didn't. Sometimes, pretty pictures aren't enough to sustain a lengthy movie.
(Kubrick's snore-fest 'Barry Lyndon' is another example).

I agree that Malick is a geniune mainstream auteur (and a comfortably indulged one, like Kubrick); but his recent two movies suggest to me he is an auteur wanting to say something profound but not being able to do so literally. ie through pictures AND words (no matter if those words are far and few between). I still maintain that his screenplays for 'The New World' and (to a lesser degree) 'The Thin Red Line' are half-formed, messy and add up to nothing more than a psuedo-philosophing that borders, at times, on laughable. Unlike 'Badlands' or 'Days Of Heaven' I find no beauty or poetry in them. Only a half-formed intellectual exercise in wordplay.
That said, it's great to hear the opposite view(s) and I do agree with most of you that Malick is a distinct voice in mainstream US cinema. But in all honesty, is he currently deserving of the reputation he has?
In my eyes, the jury is still out. Verdict not yet in.


Barry Lyndon is a masterpiece.

As is everything Malick has made.
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Postby Theta on Thu Dec 20, 2007 3:31 pm

I wouldn't call him overrated, but I DO think the decision that he's one of the greatest American filmmakers is a little hasty. "The Thin Red Line" is a well shot film but it honestly doesn't move me.
This comment is in no way meant to insist your opinion is wrong or be considered an edict, solely this poster's opinion. That said, you are still a fool and will kneel before me in supplication.
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Postby HollywoodBabylon on Fri Dec 21, 2007 4:08 pm

cinemabuff wrote:
HollywoodBabylon wrote: Thanks for some really interesting posts.
I think it is extremely telling that Malick himself has withdrew 'The New World' from cinemas to (apparently) re-edit and cut. That says an awful lot. My own feeling is that, like 'The Thin Red Line', the narrative structure - albeit deliberately diffusive and elliptical - fails to match or cohere with the visual 'message'. Of course, they don't necessarily have to cohere. A narrative can tell you one thing whilst the visual another. That's why 'Badlands' and 'Days Of Heaven' worked so brilliantly for me and his last two projects patently didn't. Sometimes, pretty pictures aren't enough to sustain a lengthy movie.
(Kubrick's snore-fest 'Barry Lyndon' is another example).

I agree that Malick is a geniune mainstream auteur (and a comfortably indulged one, like Kubrick); but his recent two movies suggest to me he is an auteur wanting to say something profound but not being able to do so literally. ie through pictures AND words (no matter if those words are far and few between). I still maintain that his screenplays for 'The New World' and (to a lesser degree) 'The Thin Red Line' are half-formed, messy and add up to nothing more than a psuedo-philosophing that borders, at times, on laughable. Unlike 'Badlands' or 'Days Of Heaven' I find no beauty or poetry in them. Only a half-formed intellectual exercise in wordplay.
That said, it's great to hear the opposite view(s) and I do agree with most of you that Malick is a distinct voice in mainstream US cinema. But in all honesty, is he currently deserving of the reputation he has?
In my eyes, the jury is still out. Verdict not yet in.


Barry Lyndon is a masterpiece.

As is everything Malick has made.


Barry Lyndon is a stunningly beautiful film to look (but so are many other movies, too) but it suffers from several major flaws; the source material isn't that good (it's minor Thackery at best); it's about an hour too long; it's central casting - Ryan O'Neal - is lightweight; it's tone is flat and uninvolving (maybe deliberately so); I just always get the feeling watching this movie that Kubrick - one of the most meticulous of directors - agonised far too much (more than he usually did) over the look of the film as opposed to it's story, script and pace. And it shows. But it has it's supporters here, I know, including JL who gave the other side of the argument.

Like I say, Malick is a superb director and in his first two films a masterful one. I look forward to The Tree Of Life as eagerly as anyone. But his two most recent films are still severely compromised and ruined in parts by bad editing and half diluted scripts which never seem to fufill in any substantial way all those philosophical discourses on spirituality, nature v man and human transcendence that he appears to be aiming at. He's definitely a singular talent, no question and I have great hopes that The Tree Of Life will be the apotheosis of his career and all that he's wanted to say on film. Hopefully, we'll find out soon.
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Re: Is Terrence Malick Overrated? Revised With Poll

Postby Tyrone_Shoelaces on Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:33 pm

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Re: Is Terrence Malick Overrated? Revised With Poll

Postby Al Shut on Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:12 am

Terrence Malick should be doing hour long nature documentaries instead of movies

I would watch those
Note to myself: Fix this image shit!
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