Saturday, March 3, 2007

March 3rd Log

2005, Terrence Malick, United States
Repeat Viewing, HBO

The New World is a breathtaking masterpiece. A visionary film of feeling and transcendence. I think Days of Heaven may be my favorite Terrence Malick film, but The New World is close and it might be his most ambitious, and most quintessential work. Really the film is (to me) perfection. I’m simply blown away at the masterpiece Malick has made. His style of editing and compositions are poetic, and even if occasionally sporadic there is an incredibly meaningful detail and expression within each and every shot and cut. Perhaps most remarkable is the way Malick tells the emotions and story simply through imagery and sounds. Malick's films are always beautiful on a visual level, but above all the film is an experience in that the sounds and music become an essentially connection of the imagery. The use of sound in this film is among the very greatest in the history of filmmaking. To see this film is to experience it, and to experience it is to cherish it. This is a film I will continue to revisit throughout my lifetime. A masterpiece!

2006, David Frankel, United States
Repeat Viewing, DVD

The Devil Wears Prada is a film with its flaws and narrative cliches, but above all it is a film about fun. This is already the 3rd time I’ve viewed this film since its release last summer. The appeal begins and ends with the cast that is driven around star-powered performances. Of course Meryl Streep is undoubtedly one of the real true “stars” of Hollywood today and this film uses her persona to its advantage (particularly in her long-building introduction scene). Maybe not the most significant performance of her acclaimed career, but Streep is clearly having fun her in the glamorized diva role. This film is far from being all about Streep. Anne Hathaway is a talented actress that I imagine will have a very long-lasting career. Maybe not the type of iconic career of Streep, but Hathaway will be around for a very long time. In the supporting role Emily Blunt is a scene stealer as the neurotic assistant, and Stanley Tucci and Adrian Grenier also provide good performances. The entire cast is wonderful, giving this film a sense of old studio Hollywood star-power appeal. The comedy has a perfectly-toned biting edge that makes the whole film a blast to watch and rewatch.

2006, Michael Mayer, United States
1st Viewing, DVD

Flicka is the sophomore feature film by Michael Mayer. His debut (A Home at the End of the World) was a similar novel adaptation in that it was a good film in moments but ultimately never stayed with the characters with the depth that is required on an emotional level. Flicka does have its qualities, but it leaves the viewer with a feeling that the director and writers lack any passion in telling the story, resorting to dull and predictable elements. Alison Lohman (playing the rebellious teen who grows a bound with the “wild” horse) gives a strong performance, but the rest of the cast is given little depth to work with. Lohman is given Mary Pickford-esque treatment here, as she is playing the teenager despite her real age approaching 30. Flicka has its dull moments, but perhaps the flaw could be viewed as a positive in that this film does have an old-fashioned warmth to it. It is a film with a strong belief of morals and traditions and it has a familiar yet genuine way of going about them.


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