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Comment Archives: Stories: Film

Re: “Former Triangle resident Onur Tukel breaks out with Septien

Much success to you, Mr. Tukel. It is great to see a talent flourish.Your abilities were long on display and it is rewarding that you have now found a platform. For anybody reading this, Ding-a-less is epic, a snot out of you nose laugher.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by SSJohnson on 07/13/2011 at 12:48 PM

Re: “Terrence Malick's latest visual epic, The Tree of Life

I don't know how else to say this, but David Fellerath's review of Tree of Life confuses a truly visionary film with a run-of-the-mill Hollywood narrative. It's as if he was writing about Pierre-Auguste Renoir's painting "The Luncheon of the Boating Party" and wrote "it's about 15 people under a canopy talking and eating lunch."

Film is a VISUAL art form that usually includes narrative elements. Those elements do not have to be linear or even present and certainly not said by actors to make a successful film. Film doesn't need a story nor dialogue nor people. Narrative elements can be visual and can ask us to assemble them ourselves in whatever meaning we derive. That is the (updated) nature of modern art.

If you randomly pick any of Fellerath's reviews you will read a synopsis of the narrative elements of the film (sometimes following an off-the-wall introduction, such as a film festival in Burkina Faso Fellerath refers to to comment on the differences between "commercial" films and "art" films). He seems to say that art films are indulgent by nature while the exact opposite may be true: commercial films have a singular objective: to make money at all costs.

Fellerath rarely discusses the cinematic nature of film. I bet you could omit "film" and "play" from his movie and drama reviews and have no clue which is a movie and which is a play. Fellerath is not alone. This art of reducing film to its narrative elements plagues American popular film reviewers. Perhaps it is an occupational hazard because they are forced to watch so many Hollywood films that have "a story arc" and little else.

Fellerath further dismisses Malick by mentioning Pauline Kael's negative review of his first film 1973's "Badlands," but doesn't mention that Vincent Canby of The New York Times glowed about 29-year-old Malick and the film, and Badlands outperformed Scorcese's Mean Streets at the New York Film Festival that year.

Badlands is now regarded as an important film and Malick a visionary American director despite the fact that his breadth of work is six films in 30 years.

Like a Renoir, a Pollock or a Picasso painting, Tree of Life is a multi-layered film. It demands much of the viewer as does much of modern art. Ortega y Gassett in his book "The Dehumanization of Art" says modern art's nature is “to dehumanize art … to avoid living forms … to consider art as play and nothing else … to be essentially ironical … to regard art as a thing of no transcending consequence.”

Mark Helperin disagrees writing, ” Until very recently the task of the artist was to work with what was given, to pay homage to God and nature, the presumption being that though he would never achieve perfection he could approach it through the various disciplines that make use of what is already in the universe, of which there is plenty. At his boldest, the artist would, in the language of Broadway, do another take on what God had already created. Never would he presume actually to create, not only because it would be unpardonable vanity but because it would be ridiculous. "

In "The Tree of Life," Malick, without relying on traditional narrative elements, manages to create his own world by commenting on the subjective nature of the Universe. His film says that Ortega Y Gassett and Helperin are both wrong AND they are both right because we now live in an uncertain age where, simply stated, particles behave in ways that are difficult to comprehend, they can be energy and matter at the same time. That is the nature of the modern world we know.

If one confronts the Universe with eyes developed in the 50s, the reaction to the Universe may be similar to the view of the Universe as seen by Sean Penn's character Modern Jack who envisions the Universe as a complicated stew of ontogeny, phylogeny, natural selection and all the messy things that define it.

If you look at "Tree of Life" as a disturbed narrative you are the reviewer stuck in the Old World hoping that the world is still lorded over by Leave it to Beaver. If you try to make sense of all the things you have seen and made since your earliest memories, you, as a being who has come to consciousness, will see a frightening, almost undefinable modern world.

Terrence Malick has tried to impart that complicated, simultaneous vision and we are free to decide whether he has succeeded or not, but I think we are at least obliged to make up our mind using his language and his certainly modern ideas..

Two stars? Give me a break.





A film reviewer has the obligation to understand the form of the film.

Posted by pdeblin on 07/01/2011 at 3:08 AM

Re: “Coogan and Brydon take their shtick on the road in The Trip

Thanks .. Stan from Finland

Posted by Arctic Stan on 06/26/2011 at 5:51 PM

Re: “Terrence Malick's latest visual epic, The Tree of Life

Looks like a good way to fall asleep....no, on the other hand I think I'll just turn on C-Span.

Posted by dumpbin on 06/17/2011 at 5:21 PM

Re: “Why you may get less than you bargained for with the new IMAX screens

On weekends or at night, when 147 and I-40 aren't crowded, it is only about 15 more minutes for me to get to downtown Raleigh than Southpoint, even though I live in Durham. I'd much rather support Marbles, and like the experience better.

Love the comment, "I would pay extra to not have to go to Southpoint ever. Ditto.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by SandyBeach on 06/14/2011 at 2:36 PM

Re: “Digging up secrets in the intense and absorbing Incendies

This is one of the most stirring films I have ever seen. I caught a viewing of this at the 2010 Telluride Film Festival and it was unquestionably my vote for the best film of the fest, against the likes of King's Speech and Black Swan. It deals with the gray areas of morality that are the products of war like no war film I had ever seen prior. Find the time to see this important and moving film.

Posted by filmfreak79 on 06/06/2011 at 9:11 AM

Re: “Why you may get less than you bargained for with the new IMAX screens

I would pay extra to not have to go to Southpoint ever.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Hepstyle on 05/26/2011 at 7:02 PM

Re: “Why you may get less than you bargained for with the new IMAX screens

Actually Southpoint ($9.75+$4.25 IMAX Surcharge=$14) and Crossroads ($15 for IMAX films) are more expensive than Marbles ($11.95) plus the screen is larger at Marbles and there are fewer seats so you aren't all crammed together in a smaller space. Downtown parking is free after 5pm and on weekends, and you're right next to City Market which has shops and plenty of restaurants. Not sure what you are calling a better experience really but to each his own.

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Wolfnuke on 05/26/2011 at 4:32 PM

Re: “Why you may get less than you bargained for with the new IMAX screens

Your article is biased towards the Marbles IMAX being a "better" experience because the screen is larger. You shouldn't have ignored the fact that it could be a much "better" (more pleasant ) experience overall for many to not to have to drive to downtown Raleigh to see a movie. If you opt for the Southpoint IMAX, perhaps the screen is not as large (although plenty big for most folks), but you can get there easily, parking is free, there's plenty of restaurants and you can shop at all types of retailers before or after your movie. The Southpoint cinema also gives you a choice of seeing a movie without paying a premium for a larger screen.

1 like, 5 dislikes
Posted by Marshall Wilcoxen on 05/26/2011 at 4:09 PM

Re: “Kristen Wiig gets Apatow-ed in Bridesmaids

john b, you are correct. It's been fixed. Also, it's Jason Segel, not Siegel.

Posted by David Fellerath, INDY Culture & Sports Editor on 05/13/2011 at 8:29 AM

Re: “Kristen Wiig gets Apatow-ed in Bridesmaids

I thought I'd be the only critic in the country who disliked this film, obviously being groomed to be a big early summer hit. I still think you were far too kind to it. This is the second worst film of the year (after "The Dilemma").

Posted by Dan Kimmel on 05/12/2011 at 11:54 AM

Re: “Kristen Wiig gets Apatow-ed in Bridesmaids

"There's a drawback to this, though; as more of these actors move up through the ranks from supporting to leading (as Rogen did from The 40-Year-Old Virgin to Knocked Up and Siegel from Knocked Up to Superbad),"

I assume that last "Superbad" was supposed to be "Forgetting Sarah Marshall"

Posted by john b on 05/11/2011 at 3:58 PM

Re: “Monks on the brink in stirring Of Gods and Men

Great review! I am anxious to see this film now. The trailers made the film look almost old-fashioned, although I suppose some might call those ideals the same. Perhaps that was the point.

Posted by mktackabery on 04/21/2011 at 9:47 AM

Re: “Julie Christie faces Alzheimer's in Away from Her

Wonderful and touching film! I caught only the last hour on IFC this am, and plan to watch the whole later...but I stopped in my day to look up reviews and more info, as I am......bothered now! So much of what is happening here has touched my family, and there is more to come for me as my parents age. I'd like a sequel to this movie! If I interpret it correctly, Aubrey will stay, and Grant will come again and not be recognized by Fiona.....and?
Erenaa

Posted by erenaa on 03/31/2011 at 10:23 AM

Re: “What happened to Main Street, Colin Firth's other 2009 indie movie, filmed in Durham?

Hi, I'm a local actor and I play Crosby Gage, the real estate broker, in this film. You hear my voice in the trailer speaking with Georgiana Carr, played by Ellen Burstyn. I did go to see the screening of this movie at the opening night of the Austin Film Festival. I didn't find anything in this film that would merit great criticism. This isn't an action picture, but a heart-felt drama in which the acting is superb. Ms. Burstyn's performance is itself worthy of an Oscar nomination, although one can not appreciate that from this trailer. The performances are believable and, while I was critical of the script portraying Durham as a small town with nothing to sustain it after the fall of tobacco, I found the story as told on the screen to be totally engaging. I hope "Main Street" will be released to theaters soon so that people in and around Durham will be able to see and enjoy it for themselves. Reid Dalton

7 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Reid Dalton on 03/18/2011 at 4:13 AM

Re: “You haven't met fankids until you've been to Animazement

im temari and iwas wondering who you will be for animazment

Posted by temari on 03/09/2011 at 9:44 PM

Re: “Slasher flick Bereavement is a "poor man's Eli Roth"

Sounds like you are trying just a little too hard to here - nice try but it is a horror flick dude! I saw it and it is awesome!!! Do not overthink the film like this critic and enjoy, the acting, cinematography, scoring, and the sheer raw terror here.

Posted by horrorbuff on 03/06/2011 at 11:34 PM

Re: “Slasher flick Bereavement is a "poor man's Eli Roth"

This review makes me want to see this more.

Blood and boobs, count me in!

Posted by Rob H on 03/02/2011 at 10:15 PM

Re: “A trip through a Montreal man's messy life in Barney's Version

To me, the reviewer has missed the theme of the movie. The theme has to do with the difference between how other people perceive (or judge) us and how we perceive (or judge) ourselves.



Posted by blueskyday on 02/26/2011 at 11:47 AM

Re: “Strange Beauty Film Festival ramps up the offerings in its second year

PLEASE NOTE: If advance tickets are sold out, you can come at 7 pm each night, as there will be about 10-15 tickets sold first-come first-served when the box office opens.

Posted by Chris Vitiello on 02/17/2011 at 8:38 AM

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