Do You Ever Dream a Movie?

This morning, my friend Bob Denst — a gifted poet who is studying in Seattle Pacific University's MFA in Creative Writing program, and a new Looking Closer Specialist — sent me this note... … [Read more...]

Looking Closer at Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups

[This post will be updated with more reviews and excerpts as I discover them.]Terrence Malick's Knight of Cups screened at Berlinale today.And since Looking Closer readers have, historically, been more excited about and more interested in Malick than any other director, it's worth paying attention.Here come the reviews... 1. Slant (Fujishima)With Knight of Cups, Terrence Malick achieves the sense of stylistic ossification that many accused his last feature, To the Wonder, of emb … [Read more...]

Looking Elsewhere: Trailering Malick; Burying “The Hobbit”; Christian Bale’s Bible Reading; and More!

This week, in my community of arts-and-faith explorers, conversations have been focused on the joy of Christmas carols, the mixed feelings over a new Terrence Malick trailer, the predictably disappointing conclusion to Peter Jackson's ruination of The Hobbit, some interesting conversations with the Exodus team, and the traditional year-end challenges of drafting various "Best of 2014" lists.I'm hard at work on my own lists of favorite films and albums from 2014. It's a particularly chal … [Read more...]

To The Wonder (2012): An All-Thumbs Review

What follows is the first episode of a new review series that I'm calling All-Thumbs Video.I've been dreaming of a new venture in long-form film criticism — reviews as fiction. As a speed-writing exercise, I’ll explore conflicting thoughts and feelings about film in rough-draft scenes set in one of the last video stores on earth.This first chapter focuses on Terrence Malick's To the Wonder. I’ve seen the film three times now, and I’m still wrestling with it, arguing with myself and a vari … [Read more...]

Monday Night is Malick Night!

Next Monday evening in Seattle, you're invited to a live podcast discussion of the films of Terrence Malick.You're invited to the Kindlings Muse! Read on for details. … [Read more...]

Sean Penn, The Tree of Life, and the difference between prose and poetry.

The L.A. Times, In Contention, Hollywood Elsewhere... everybody's getting worked up because Sean Penn apparently "dissed" director Terrence Malick and The Tree of Life: I didn’t at all find on the screen the emotion of the script, which is the most magnificent one that I’ve ever read. A clearer and more conventional narrative would have helped the film without, in my opinion, lessening its beauty and its impact. ... Frankly, I’m still trying to figure out what I’m doing there and what I was supp … [Read more...]

The Tree of Life: My First Impressions

My first-impression thoughts on The Tree of Life are posted at Image's blog - Good Letters. ...  … [Read more...]

The Tree of Life (2011)

The Tree of Life has quickly become one of the most talked-about movies ever made. And although it isn't my favorite of Terrence Malick's films—that distinction belongs to The New World—I've been invited to discuss this movie on more occasions than any other movie... so often, in fact, that I'm eager to take a break from the chatter and the movie, let it go for a while, and return to it with fresh eyes someday in the distant future.But here is a record of a variety of conversations and com … [Read more...]

The New World (2005)

This review was originally published at Christianity Today.A follow-up review was published at Image upon the release of the "extended cut" of the movie..Both are reproduced below.-The New World - Theatrical Release Review (January 20, 2006)It's all in the eyes.That's one of the lessons in The New World, an epic story of love and change, from the celebrated writer/director Terrence Malick. As the Europeans arrive on North American shores in 1607, we watch history unfold … [Read more...]

Where Is My Tree of Life Review?

A lot of folks have been asking why I haven't posted my review of Terrence Malick's new, Palme d'Or-winning film The Tree of Life.I appreciate the enthusiasm. My zeal for Malick's film The New World may have created the impression that my life comes to a standstill when the reclusive director releases a new film. But that's overstating it. I admire all of Malick's films, yes, but I only feel a great passion for The New World. I've been eager to see The Tree of Life, but the trailer made me … [Read more...]