Thursday, January 6, 2011

Most Anticipated Films of 2011: Nick's #1

1. Tree of Life

If you've made it to my number one spot, you've probably noticed that a movie's director is a big deciding factor in my wanting to see something. I have mixed feelings on the auteur feeling, but it's undeniable that some people just make movies differently than anyone else. Most directors use the medium to make statements about ourselves, about themselves, and about the world. Some talk and talk and won't shut up even though they don't have anything to say (Brett Ratner) and some speak so rarely that when they open their mouths, you quiet down because you know you're about to hear something important. In a time of instant video, brought on by youtube, Hulu, Netflix streaming and the like, we're thankful when Terrence Malick decides to make two movies in a decade. We don't whine and cry because we want it now -- we're just glad we don't have to wait twenty years.

If you haven't seen any of his other work, it's not hard to catch up -- he made Kubrick look like Takashi Miike. Since 1973 he's made Badlands, Days of Heaven, The Thin Red Line and The New World, all four of which are masterpieces. He takes time with his films, and directly proportional to this, time is kind to his films. There is nothing frivolous or cursory about his work; he knows exactly what he wants, and if he doesn't, he will work at it until he does. Every frame in everything he makes has been pored over and been given every ounce of his energy and attention. He's a philosophical man, and his beautiful compositions, use of light, use of voiceover, and studied pacing, Malick tries to make you feel his movies, bringing you to some kind of truth or larger sense of the world.

Tree of Life seems no different, even though no one really knows what it's about (and I have avoided the trailer online, preferring to wait until I can catch it in theaters), other than being set in the 1950s and starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn. According to various rumors over the past few years, it may or may not deal with the cosmos, it may or may not have dinosaurs in it, it may or may not be in Imax, and it may or may not deal with the meaning of life. Even if it has none of these things, I will probably love it, because this man knows what he is doing. And besides, we might get dinosaurs in the already announced untitled follow-up set for 2012. Two Malick's in as many years. I hope this won't spoil us.

(no relation)

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