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Archive for May 31st, 2011

Brad Pitt plays male lead in Terrence Malick's awe-inspiring "The Tree of Life"

by Sam Juliano

For the second time in five years an American director has crafted a cosmic, impressionistic light show with profound spiritual underpinnings and an existential inquiry into the meaning of life and the indominability of love in the general scheme.  Terrence Malick’s long anticipated The Tree of Life, like it’s 2006 cinematic soulmate The Fountain, explores the sensual possibilities of the cinema in an astounding rebuke to the conventions of multiplex fare that recalls Kubrick while at the same time establishing its own irregular aesthetic.  This is the second time (after The New World)  the reclusive director has opted to scrap any semblance of a narrative structure, choosing to tell his story through interlocking themes, intimate ruminations on life and humanity, and a kind of stream-of-consciousness that reveals the characters’ innermost thoughts often uttered underneath a perplexing metaphysical tapestry.  Needless to say the enigmatic presentation will doubtlessly alienate some film fans, hungry for a more cogent connection between the awe-inspiring scenes depicting the beginnings of life on earth, and the perplexing and painful travails of a Texas family circa 1950. (more…)

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Unproduced Tennessee Williams play staged on Theatre Row in Manhattan

by Sam Juliano

With the Memorial Day weekend behind us. the summer season is now a matter of weeks away.  Excessive heat is no doubt in the cards, much as the mindless blockbuster entertainment that maligns our movie screens during this down time for ardent cineastes.  In any case, there are some notable exceptions to this general rule, and thus far 2011 has been a remarkable year at the cinema.

A recent e mail exchange with our very good friend Pat Perry of Chicago has resulted in a concrete plan to launch the musical poll on Monday, August 15th.  It is looking like a Top 50 will be examined in ascending numerical order (like previous polls) on a Monday through Friday basis for ten weeks, with the conclusion expected near the end of October.  Pat will be forwarding a list of her top 50 musicals to me by e mail, which I will combine with my own listing and one that will be submitted by Allan Fish.  When the final tabulation of the three lists is arrived at, full essays will be offered up on a daily basis, in similar fashion as the previously concluded film noir polling by Maurizio Roca.  While it is anticipated that Yours Truly will be writing the majority of the essays, there will be a substantial contribution made by Pat, and a few of Allan’s already-penned essays will be including for variety.  Whatever film finishes at #1 will receive a three-prongued treatment, meaning reviews from Pat, Allan and myself will be posted on suceeding days.  Each review will be expected to include some personal anecdotes about the writer’s lifelong remembrances with the film. (more…)

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