Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Before I go anywhere with A Hidden Life, the tenth film directed by Terrence Malick in 46 years, and also the sixth in just the last eight years, I must remind you all that I am a fanboy incapable of anything like the proper objective distance from this director and his work. When the critical […]

There are many people ready for this strange, essayistic phase of Terrence Malick’s career to be over, and I get that, though it’s not like we’re inundated with associatively-edited mood pieces. Three films out in the entire world in a five-year period doesn’t seem like too many to deal with. But anyway, Malick has been […]

A quarter of the way through Knight of Cups, I was despondent with the thought that Terrence Malick will probably never make a great film again for the rest of his career. Halfway through Knight of Cups, I was convinced that I was watching the most important film of the 21st Century. By the end […]

I would first say that it’s virtually impossible for me to imagine how anybody could fail to regard To the Wonder as Terrence Malick’s worst film, though “worst” isn’t necessarily a useful word in this context: prior to this, I’d have said that Malick’s “worst” film was The New World, which was so bad that […]

An older review of this film can be found here. It is not demanding more of The Tree of Life than it can withstand to call it the defining film of Terrence Malick’s whole life. From the moment he first began drafting the script to what was then called Q, in 1978, it was fully […]

This review is based upon the 135-minute cut of the film released to theaters in January, 2006. An earlier review of this film can be found here. After ending his 20-year sabbatical from motion pictures with 1998’s The Thin Red Line, Terrence Malick upped his game something fierce. It only took a scant seven years […]

After Days of Heaven, Terrence Malick vanished from the face of cinema. It was not, as is sometimes suggested, a deliberate retirement; he actively pursued at least a handful of projects in the years after his sophomore effort, including his creation-to-today epic Q and a biopic of Jerry Lee Lewis. Yet is there not something […]

If Badlands defined the look of a Terrence Malick film, the themes and the humanity, it took his exemplary sophomore effort Days of Heaven to establish the filmmaker’s most characteristic hallmark: his idiosyncratic editing language, intuitive and fluid, and not at all beholden to the decades-old system of continuity editing dominant in American filmmaking. Days […]

Matt Henderson donated to the Carry On Campaign with these words: “No real essay to commission, but I will gently nudge you into considering a Malick retrospective”. Absolutely no nudge was necessary: I’ve been planning on doing this ever since the day The Tree of Life was announced. Still, I’m glad to dedicate the following […]