Wednesday trailers: Two coming of age tales for the price of one!

The single most crowded genre in the history of film, television, literature, theater, and most definitely popular songs is getting a little bit more crowded next year.

First, “Tree of Life,” the new film from talented but way-too-contemplative-for-my-taste director Terrence Malick, threatens to be dramatic enough that I might actually like it — assuming he doesn’t spend 3/4 of the film shooting sparrows nesting in nearby trees and if can keep his reliance on endless, pretentious narration under control. (I’m still scarred by the drama-free-war-melodrama-cum-nature-documentary that was “The Thin Red Line.”) Or maybe he can make another serial killer film some day, because “Badlands” was pretty great. The pictures are very beautiful, however.


Tree Of Life
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So, handsomest-man-in-the-world Brad Pitt and willowy Jessica Chastain have a baby and he grows up into Sean Penn. Boy, and I thought I didn’t fare too well in the genetic lottery. A big h/t to Film Drunk and commenter Larry:

Malick has the worst narrators since the voice in my head that tells me to burn things.

Next, we have the first starring role in a while from Topher Grace. I think Grace is a hugely underrated actor with a gift for comedy. The movie, however is called “Take Me Home Tonight” and what you are about to see is even more familiar than the title of a bad hairband song. Also, why do people want to relive the 80s? I wasn’t so crazy about them the first time.

The good news is that, at 32, Grace is getting a bit old for this kind of material. I’m also fairly sure the very hot (I mean career wise) Anna Faris could probably do a lot better than this. Dan Fogler, on the other hand, is at approximately the correct level. Actually, the scene with the cuckold guy and the glamorous but slightly strange looking redhead was the first small chuckle he’s elicited from me so far, so there’s always hope for improvement.

  

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Wrapping up Tarantino Tuesday

Quentin Tarantino has eaten my day! And there’s no guarantee it won’t also be Tarantino Wednesday-Sunday!

Nothing to do but share a few links you may have missed and I’ve failed to include here prior.

I tend to fight the temptation vigorously, but we film geeks love our lists, and Tarantino has participated in two this week. The first is his twenty favorite films that have come out since he began directing in 1992. It’s been on every blog on town, so I don’t see why we should be any different. (H/t Anne Thompson and every other blog in town.)

Do I agree with his choices? Nah, not very many. Some are downright baffling, including his favorite, “Battle Royale.” It’s an entertaining/disturbing little movie but, though it was a huge film for many, it wouldn’t come close for me to something like, say, the vastly less well known “A Dirty Carnival” — it might make my top twenty for the year it came out. On the other hand, agreeing is never the point of this film criticism game; that’s a mistake too many make. Also, my list covering the same period would have at least two, maybe three, but no more than four, Tarantino movies, so there’s that.

And that other list. In this case, Tarantino collaborated with the critics of England’s Time Out on a catalogue of what they see as the “The 50 Greatest World War II Movies.” It’s a genuinely interesting group of movies, and there isn’t a single film that I don’t think should be seen on it (including a few I need to get caught up on myself). Actually, there is one exception. I was essentially praying for death through of all “The Thin Red Line,” so bored was I with the intense beauty of Terence Malick’s imagery, so I can’t really recommend that one. Some people think it’s great. Also, thanks to my WWII movie-loving buddy, Randy Reynaldo, for sending me the link. And we both agree: Where’s “Stalag 17” Where???

The invaluable David Hudson has tons more, some of which may still end up here, too. More to come, for sure, in any case.

  

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