Review: Song To Song

SongToSong

And so the prostitute says, “Create the Illusion, but don’t believe it.”

I am not sure if that is Terrence Malick’s thesis with Song To Song, an elliptical fairy tale of despondency, but the film does feature Val Kilmer wielding a chainsaw on stage at the SXSW music festival, so there is that.

It also embeds clips from Eric Von Stroheim’s Greed, offers heartbreaking relationship advice from punk rock goddess Patti Smith, cheerfully cuts off Iggy Pop in mid-sentence and makes a little time for Natalie Portman to wait tables and attend church services kitted out in Erin Brockovich inspired push-up bras.

Song to Song is Malick’s fifth film in six years, not including his forthcoming Europe-set WWII epic, to be released later in 2017. Apparently, The film has been in production in one way or another for seven years; long enough to recast Christian Bale (or re-purpose his footage into Knight of Cups) and lose Arcade Fire completely in the editing room. This means that the overall process overlaps all the way back with Tree of Life, the touchstone for his current mode of cinema.

The ongoing price to pay for scrapping conventional storytelling (and, you know, actual scripts) has yielded his work some superb benefits … for those keen to tune into his wavelength. Of course, this is not for everyone, and do not be surprised when many film-goers drawn in by the marquee actors and musician cameos flee the experience in frustration. Like it or not, Malick has, for some time now, been in the business of capturing elusive, immersive, Steadicam dreams of time and place that he subtly bends into narrative in the editing room.

Here he films in the in-between spaces of Texas, be it backstage casual at South By Southwest, the concrete and glass boxes of the wealthy, or windswept desert pools in the wilderness. You would not recognize this as the same Austin in the front half of Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof or the sprawling walkabouts of so many a Richard Linkater joint. And though the film features an impressively programmed and multifarious playlist, the soundtrack is less the music, and more the palpable ennui of gorgeous white young things trying to find themselves in a confusing world of indulgence.

Would you like to know more…?

Friday One Sheet: Like Me

SXSW is coming, and since it is a slow and uninteresting week in posters this week, I thought I would highlight this eye-catching design for Glass Eye Pix’s colourful indie drama, Like Me. Imbued with a bunch of jarring elements, palm trees with Christmas lights, a vintage car on a beach, a white mouse on the shoulder of (presumably) the protagonist (who is subtly sporting a gun as well). I know very little about the film, but the poster posits that I should check it out. I look forward from the reports from the festival next week.

Friday One Sheet – Digest This! (The Mule)

Currently debuting at the SXSW festival in Austin, this Australian pic about a first time drug mule being caught by law enforcement boasts one of the more eye catching posters in some time. Hugo Weaving stars along with the writing team of Leigh Whannell (Saw) and Angus Sampson (Insidious) appearing in front of the camera, but the poster does not bother with the actors, it gets straight to the heart (or the stomach) of the subject matter to good effect.

Friday One Sheet: Zero Charisma

With the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival kicking into high gear, we offer this handsome poster for Zero Charisma. A comedy From the folks behind popular movie-focused documentaries Best Worst Movie and American Scream, I hesitate to recommend the film based on its trailer (which leaves me rather cold), but I will happily acknowledge that they know how to make clean key art design with a swanky credit block to boot. Who can resist the 20 sided die?

This alternate design is pretty good too.

Sunday Bookmarks: March 14-20

 

  • Why see ‘Don’t Look Now’?
    Coming to BluRay and rep screenings in the UK: “In hindsight, ‘Don’t Look Now’ is the perfect mixture of Roeg’s abilities as a teller of mysterious stories and as one of the most accomplished cinematic stylists ever to peep through a viewfinder. The film smashes up chronology and pieces it back together in a deviously strange order, so we get constant hints and suggestions of dark events to come. Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie are utterly convincing as the central couple who flee to Venice to retain a focus on their messed-up lives.”
  • Notes on Charlie Sheen and the End of Empire
    “No, what this moment is about is Charlie Sheen solo. It’s about a well-earned mid-life crisis played out on Sheen’s Korner instead of in a life coach’s office somewhere in Burbank. The mid-life crisis is the moment in a man’s life when you realize you can’t (won’t) maintain the pose that you thought was required of you any longer—you’re older and you have a different view of life and this is when the bitterness and acceptance blooms. Tom Cruise had a similar meltdown at the same age in the summer of 2005, but his was more politely manufactured (and, of course, he was never known as an addict). Cruise had his breakdown while smiling and he couldn’t get loose, he couldn’t be natural about it. He’s always essentially been the good boy who can’t say “Fuck You” the way Sheen can.”
  • An Interview with Greta Gerwig at SxSW
    Greta Gerwig is no stranger to SXSW. Her new film, “The Dish & the Spoon,” marks the sixth time she has had a movie in the festival in an film career that has stretched the same number of years. This new film, directed by Alison Bagnall, about a woman and a young man (Olly Alexander) who bond during a tumultuous time in their lives. Ms. Gerwig’s acting style, which A.O. Scott lauded for its “apparent absence of any method,” is employed in this intimate, primarily two-character study.
  • Bernardo Bertolucci has a 3D Project
    “Cult Italian film director Bernardo Bertolucci said in an interview for his 70th birthday on Wednesday that he will be making his first 3D film this year saying it was like riding on a “flying carpet” […] “I want to use 3D in a different way from what we have seen in films like ‘Avatar’ or other films characterised by special effects,” he said.”
  • Is Netflix Abandoning Its Business Model Again?
    With the production of David Fincher/Kevin Space HBO-styled TV DRAMA, It looks like a new strategy is here. In the great tradition of the network and cable game, make themselves a “must carry.” I wouldn’t be shocked to see them in the bidding for hockey or trying to make a deal to stream Major League Baseball or something like that before long. If they are going this way, no one show “airing” 13 times a year is going to keep customers paying $8 or more a month. If Netflix becomes a thrift shop, with content here and there and everywhere, the churn will get worse […] This choice, combined with the exit of Criterion and the abandonment of Red Envelope, their previously stab at original content, clearly tells us that Netflix sees no future in quality film lovers as a primary audience for the service. Fair enough. But it will be interesting to see when the cineastes get the message.”
  • Zediva – A Clever End Run Around the Movie-Streaming Gremlins
    “It lets you listen to the director’s commentary, turn on subtitles and change languages. It lets you enjoy your movie for two weeks instead of 24 hours, starting and stopping at will. It offers the 100 biggest movies for streaming on the very same day the DVD comes out. It sidesteps any meddling by the movie companies, HBO contracts and studio lawyers. And here’s the best news of all — are you sitting down on your favorite movie couch? The price is only $2 for one movie or $1 if you buy a 10-pack. There’s no signup fee, no monthly fee, no hardware to buy. Zediva’s secret is so outrageous, you may think it’s an early April Fool’s prank. But it’s no joke.”
  • Is Matthew McConaughey Really Shirtless in Every Movie?
    “Conventional wisdom likes to assume that Matthew McConaughey has taken his shirt off in every single one of his movies. True, McConaughey is not shy when it comes to going bare chested on-screen and in public, but is he really sans shirt in every one of his movies?” Yes, Movieline actually checks out each and every one of them to be sure.

 
 

You can now take a look at RowThree’s bookmarks at any time of your choosing simply by clicking the “delicious” button in the upper right of the page. It looks remarkably similar to this:

 

See This! Barry Munday Trailer

So I get this email. It reads: OMG, you have to see this.

I take a look and it turns out to be a trailer for Chris D’Arienzo’s Barry Munday, a film which is scheduled to premiere at SXSW. With these tidbits of information I venture forth to watch the video.

Here are my impressions, in the order in which they came to me:

1. This looks kind of fun.
2. Who the heck is that guy? He looks vaguely familiar.
3. Ooooo. Judy Greer, I like her.
4. OMG, the guy is Patrick Wilson!
5. Wow, this is actually funny!
6. I’m so seeing this!

Trailer tucked under the seats.

Would you like to know more…?

Wicked One Sheet for Hustwit’s Objectified

I sometimes look at my eggshell white walls and wish that I had more time to search out cool movie posters. Yes, there are lots out there and occasionally we’ve devolved into posting pictures of some of the best but for one reason or another, I never manage to actually go shopping. Here’s another one to add to the list of “posters Marina wants on her wall.” It’s the one sheet for Gary Hustwit’s upcoming documentary on industrial design Objectified. It’s a metallic and black lithograph that will be available for purchase from the film’s shop in the coming weeks.

Not to promote breaking the law or anything but if you happen to be at SXSW and see one of these on a wall, I’ll be owing you big if you can snag it for me, just don’t get caught!

Objectified One Sheet