a good thing for america
nurse jackie and united states of tara, season premieres

what i watched last week

The New World. A litmus test of sorts … if you know enough of Malick’s work in advance, you already know if you like this movie or not. Me? Let’s just say I’m not the audience for this film. Watching The New World is like looking at a coffee-table book in a library … it’s lovely to look at, but decorum requires that you don’t express enjoyment too loudly, or you’ll bother the other patrons. Even the script seems meant for the library … much of what we hear is in voiceovers spoken so quietly and reverently that you can’t always make out what is being said (and when you can hear it, you often wish you hadn’t). Still, with Malick, your mileage may definitely vary. Malick doesn’t seem to be all that interested in his actors (he’s like Kubrick in that regard, and Kubrick, of course, also makes pretty but boring movies). This works to the detriment of Colin Farrell and Christian Bale, both of whom are given nothing to do other than look soulfully at the camera as their muffled voiceovers lull us to sleep. Farrell, in particular, spends the entire movie looking like he is constipated … but soulful, nonetheless. Malick gets some things right. The sense of wonder at a new world is palpable, and the film carefully makes certain that the characters only know what they should know in the early 17th-century … as we watch, we know what will eventually happen to the native Americans, but the characters don’t know, and it’s a crucial point. Finally, Malick deserves credit for being true to his vision of filmmaking. He doesn’t care that I’m bored, and he shouldn’t care. #81 on the They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They list of the Top 250 movies of the 21st century. 6/10.

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