Song to Song Is the Pick of the Week

It is a grand July 4th weekend and everybody is out cooking burgers, drinking beer, soaking up radiation at the beach, and watching overly priced explosives light up the night. We might be going to the movies but nobody is interested in buying them to sit at home in our darkened living rooms. Or at least that’s the theory anyway. Not mine, mind you, as I’ve already watched a few DVDs this weekend and hope to watch a couple more before going back to work on Wednesday, but those who officially release Blu-rays to the chosen stores seem to think nobody’s buying. Or at least they are mostly releasing crap. But there are a few things to discuss.

Terrence Malick is a meticulous filmmaker who for most of his career has worked at a glacial pace. He made two films in the ’70s then took a 20-year break before making The Thin Red Line in 1998. Then came The New World in 2005. But with The Tree of Life in 2011, he’s picked up his pace making five other films since then. Unfortunately for him (and us), they have not been nearly as well received as his earlier films. I hate to tell a guy who barely makes any films at all to slow it down, but maybe that’s for the best.

Or not. What do I know? I’ve seen exactly two of his films (Badlands and The Thin Red Line) so I can’t really have an opinion on his career in films. Malick is a guy I know I should watch but his films always seem so difficult, so meditative that I hesitate to watch.

His latest, Song to Song, stars Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Michael Fassbender, and Natalie Portman. It’s a love story set amongst the Austin music scene. Critically, it seems to be a film that is either loved or hated with many praising its visual style but dogging its narrative cohesiveness.

It’s a film I’ll tell myself to go see, but that will ultimately get thrown into the pile with other Malick films to await a viewing in the eternal “someday”.

Also out this week that looks interesting:

The Zookeeper’s Wife: Jessica Chastain and Daniel Bruhl star in this drama about a pair of Warsaw zookeepers who help save hundreds of people from the Nazis.

Drone: Sean Bean and Mary McCormack star in this thriller about a private drone contractor who secretly flies covert missions and one day finds that this private life is suddenly public and has to face the consequences.

Seijun Suzuki’s The Taisho Trilogy: Japanese director Seijun Suzuki was fired from Nikkatsu after making (his now revered) Branded to Kill in 1967. Over a decade later, he finally got to make more films starting this this more artistic, stylized trilogy of films set at a time when Western countries were starting to hold a large influence on Japanese life.

The Comedian: Robert DeNiro stars as an aging insult comic coming to terms with his life.

Mat Brewster

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