4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Terrence Malick Edition

4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking.

Today, we wish a happy birthday to one of cinema’s greatest visual stylists, the one and only Terrence Malick!

4 Shots From 4 Terrence Malick Films

Badlands (1973, dir by Terrence Malick)

Days of Heaven (1978, dir by Terrence Malick)

Tree of Life (2011, dir by Terrence Malick)

Song to Song (2017, dir by Terrence Malick)

4 Shots From 4 Texas Films: Dazed and Confused, Primer, Tree of Life, A Ghost Story

4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking.

Today is Texas Independence Day!

In honor of my home state, here are….

4 Shots From 4 Texas Films

Dazed and Confused (1993, dir by Richard Linklater)

Primer (2004, dir by Shane Carruth)

Tree of Life (2011, dir by Terrence Malick)

A Ghost Story (2017, dir by David Lowery)

The National Board of Review Gives It Up For “Hugo”


It took them a while but, earlier today, the folks who made up the National Board of Review (nobody’s quite sure who they are) finally announced their picks for the best of 2011.  And the winner is — Martin Scorsese’s Hugo!  As anyone who was on twitter earlier today knows, this was something of a surprising result and most of the self-appointed film experts out there seemed to be convinced that the NBR would honor either War Horse or The Artist.  Seeing as it took the NBR longer than usual to announce the winners, I’m assuming that the voting was fairly close.  The NBR is usually considered to be a precursor to the Academy Awards so, if nothing else, this result would seem to bode well for Hugo‘s chances to pick up a best picture nomination.  Here are the winners with the occasional editorial comment from me:

Best Film:

(I loved Hugo, though my favorite film of the year remains, at this point, Hanna)

Best Director:
Martin Scorsese, Hugo

Best Actor:
George Clooney, The Descendants

(I may be the only person in America who thinks that The Descendants is overratedCertainly, the members of the NBR disagree with me on that point.)

Best Actress:
Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin

(This was kind of surprising since I think the conventional wisdom was that Meryl Streep would win everything for The Irony Lady.)

Best Supporting Actor:
Christopher Plummer, Beginners

(I have a feeling that Plummer’s going to be the sentimental favorite at the Oscars.)
Best Supporting Actress:
Shailene Woodley, The Descendants

Best Original Screenplay:
Will Reiser, 50/50

(Yay!  This film has been strangely underrated as an awards contender but it deserves a lot more attention.)

Best Adapted Screenplay:
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon & Jim Rash, The Descendants

Best Animated Feature:

(Another yay!)
Breakthrough Performance:
Felicity Jones, Like Crazy

Breakthrough Performance
Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

(Bleh.  On twitter, I already went into a rant about how too many of my fellow film bloggers have allowed themselves to be co-opted into a conspiracy to both  force The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo remake down our throats and to try to make us forget about the original trilogy and the fact that Noomi Rapace gave a brilliant performance as Lisbeth.  I’ll hold off on going into that again until it’s time to review the remake but seriously, people — the Hollywood establishment is not going to give you a promise ring, I don’t care how much you kiss their ass.)

Debut Director:
J.C. Chandor, Margin Call

Best Ensemble:
The Help

(Believe it or not, I still need to see this one.)

Spotlight Award
Michael Fassbender (A Dangerous Method, Jane Eyre, Shame, X-Men: First Class)

(Oh. My. God.  So.  Hot.)

NBR Freedom of Expression
Crime After Crime

NBR Freedom of Expression:

Best Foreign Language Film:
A Separation

Best Documentary:
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory

Special Achievement in Filmmaking:
The Harry Potter Franchise – A Distinguished Translation from Book
to Film

(This is probably my favorite award to be given out by NBR.  Seriously, the Harry Potter franchise provided me — and so many others — such a blessed escape whenever life seemed overwhelming.)

Top Films (in alphabetical order)

The Artist (Can’t Wait To See It)
The Descendants
Drive (Yay!)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Bleh)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (Yay!)
The Ides of March (One of the worst films of the year)
J. Edgar (Bland and forgettable but well-made)
Tree of Life
War Horse
(Going to see it but I feel obligated to do so and I resent it, to be honest)

Top 5 Foreign Language Films (in alphabetical order)

13 Assassins
Elite Squad: The Enemy Within
Le Havre
Point Blank

Top 5 Documentaries (in alphabetical order)

Born to be Wild
George Harrison: Living in the Material World
Project Nim

Top 10 Independent Films (in alphabetical order)

50/50 (Yay!)
Another Earth
(Whatever, this was a terrible movie)
Beginners (A good film that deserves to be seen)
A Better Life
Cedar Rapids (Likable but nothing spectacular)
Margin Call
(Need to see it)
Take Shelter
We Need To Talk About Kevin
(Looking forward to it)
Win Win

The Winners At Cannes

The winners of this year’s Cannes Film Festival have been announced and it’s good news for Kirsten Dunst and Terrence Malick, the director of Palme d’Or winner Tree of Life..  I’ve seen the Tree of Life trailer about a thousand times at the Plano Angelika and to be honest, I haven’t been very enthused about it.  On the one hand, Terrence Malick is a legendary director and the film looks visually quite stunning.  On the other hand, the trailer also features a kid with a heavy country accent (and I’m not hating here, I’ve got quite a twang myself) going “Mother, Father, always you fight within me,” and when I hear dialogue like that, I’m just kinda like, “Uh-oh.”  The trailer itself features a lot of quite interesting and tense family scenes mixed in with a lot of scenes that seem rather New Agey.  I’d go into my feelings about new agey films but I don’t want to upset our readers in Vermont.

Kirsten Dunst (who may be on the verge of a comeback of sorts and good for her) won for a film directed by Lars Von Trier and I wonder if the award was, in any way, meant to protest Von Trier being previously declared a “non-person” at Cannes because of a press conference where he may or may not (I haven’t been following the story closely enough to take a side) have said he was a Nazi.  (While I can’t say whether or not Von Trier is a Nazi, I can say that I loved Dancer in the Dark, Breaking the Waves, and Zentropa and I hated Dogville and I’m scared to see AntiChrist.)

Anyway, here’s the winners:

  • Palme d’Or: The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick)
  • Grand Prix(a tie): Le Gaumin au Velo (Dardennes brothers) & Once Upon a Time in Anataolia (Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
  • Best Director: Nicholas Winding Refn (Drive)
  • Best Actor: Jean Dujardin (The Artist)
  • Best Actress: Kirsten Dunst (Melancholia)
  • Prix du Jury: Polisse (Maïwenn)
  • Prix du scènario / Best Screenplay: Hearat Shulayim (Joseph Cedar)
  • Camera d’Or (Best First Film): Las Acacias (Pablo Giorgelli)
  • Un Certain Regard : Prix Spécial du Jury / Special Jury Prize : Elena (Andrey Zvyagintsev)
  • Best Short Film: Cross Country

Just a heads up, Arleigh — next year, I’m going to get down on my knees and crawl all the way over to California just so I can beg you to send me to Cannes. 🙂