ARCHIVE REVIEW: The New World

The New World
Directed by: Terrence Malick
Written by: Terrence Malick
Starring: Colin Farrell, Q’orianka Kilcher, Christian Bale, Christopher Plummer

Fairy tales are the ultimate sense of wonder and escapism for our society. With an entire culture fixated on Disney classics, princesses who fall in love with soldiers, forbidden love and foreign romances which are really more Americanized than we think, it is difficult to place realism and authenticity into the mix.

Stories of enchantment often require singing, colors, happy endings and no subtitles to satisfy our desires for fantasy. It is pathetic in a way. Our culture could not be content with a fairy tale didn’t have these elements; otherwise we strip it from the fairy tale genre. Sure the words fairy tale mean magic, fabled or legendary, but must swooning love stories be doused in Hollywood conventions, Americanization, modernization or artistic eye-candy to make it romantic?

In Terrence Malick’s retelling of the classic Pocahontas story, he explores just that concept. Putting realism and authenticity into a classic fairy tale, he experiments with cinematic devices to convey something more raw, something more tangible and something more real. Continue reading

ARCHIVE REVIEW: Crazy Heart

Crazy Heart
Directed by: Scott Cooper
Written by: Scott Cooper (screenplay), Thomas Cobb (novel)
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Colin Farrell, and Paul Herman

It’s not uncommon that a performance is the sole interest in a film.  Sometimes an actor or actress digs so deeply into a role that they seem born to play that it overshadows all else in the film.  This, as you can probably tell, is the case with Crazy Heart.

Jeff Bridges’ status as an underdog in Hollywood ended this year when he was awarded the Best Actor Oscar at the Academy Awards.  While the ceremony does often offer up the trophies as a career summation, sometimes the actual performance deserves it as well.  This is also the case with Bridges.  He brings to life washed-up country singer Bad Black so well that his portrayal gives this movie its depth and purpose.

First time director Scott Cooper was wise in letting his actors take a hold of his script, however lousy and mundane it may be.  For all its well intentions, the movie is boring.  By the commercial it looked like a country rehashing of The Wrestler, but Mr. Cooper is no Aronofsky.  As far as debuts go, this is underwhelming.

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