Flashback: The three versions of Terrence Malick’s The New World, now together in a new Criterion Blu-Ray set

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More DVD news: the Criterion Collection has announced that it will release a special edition of Terrence Malick’s The New World this summer that includes all three versions of the film in a single four-disc set — and they will all be in high definition, too, which I believe is a first for the two theatrical versions of the film.

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Terrence Malick dips into the Gnostic Acts of Thomas

knightofcupsChristian Bale has already played Moses and Jesus. Might he now be playing the apostle Thomas as well?

Not literally, of course. Well, I assume not. But this week a trailer and synopsis were released for Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups, which stars Bale, and the synopsis at least seems to hark back to an apocryphal text called the Acts of Thomas.

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Review: The Nativity Story (dir. Catherine Hardwicke, 2006)

The Passion of The Christ was an independent movie, paid for entirely out of Mel Gibson’s pocket. The Prince of Egypt was an animated film that emphasized the common ground between Jews, Christians and Muslims. The Last Temptation of Christ was a low-budget art-house flick based on a heretical novel.

You would have to go back at least as far as King David, the mid-1980s box-office flop starring Richard Gere, to find another live-action movie produced by a major Hollywood studio and based directly on the Bible. And you would have to go back even further — to the bathrobe epics of the 1960s, at least — to find a mainstream biblical movie that was as blatantly Christian as The Nativity Story.

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The New World a feast for the senses and spirit alike

newworld-pocahontasLOS ANGELES — Terrence Malick movies take a long time to gestate. Malick typically shoots hours and hours of footage, much of it improvised, and he then spends months editing it together. And in a career that goes back 33 years, he has directed only four films: Badlands, Days of Heaven, The Thin Red Line and, now, his version of the Pocahontas legend, The New World.

Sometimes the editing continues long after the film has been screened for critics. The New World was about two and a half hours long when it opened in late December for a one-week run in Los Angeles and New York, to qualify for last year’s Academy Awards. But this week, the studio is releasing a somewhat shorter version. And the tweaking doesn’t stop there: some members of the film’s cast say it may be as long as three hours when it is released on DVD.

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