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All Movie Talk

Welcome to All Movie Talk! In this audio podcast, Samuel Stoddard and Stephen Keller talk about old and new movies, famous directors, historical film movements, movie trivia, and more.

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All Movie Talk, Episode 43

Show contents, with start times:

  • Director Spotlight: Terrence Malick (1:37)
  • Trivia Question: Teddy Bear (22:42)
  • Top 6: Movies That Play With Perspective (23:23)
  • Good Bad Movie: Alone In the Dark (45:18)
  • Closing: Trivia Answer, Preview of Next Week (62:59)
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Show Notes:

Director Spotlight: Terrence Malick

The enigmatic and reclusive Terrence Malick, who went into filmmaking after a falling out with his philosophy adviser, has directed only four films in his 30+ year career but has still managed to leave a strong impression on his admirers.

His first film, Badlands (1973), is a strange road movie that perfectly sets up his lyrical and meditative style. Starring Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek as two lovers who go on a bizarre cross-country killing spree, the gorgeous photography and reflective voiceover throughout is indicative of his work. Following his heralded debut with the well received Days of Heaven (1978), Malick established himself as a real auteur of the '70s, poised to become an icon of the American cinema.

And then he disappeared from the business for 20 years. He was in Europe for a period and worked at the periphery of Hollywood, allegedly involved with a number of projects that never came to fruition. His strange cult status helped him assemble an all-star cast for his return to film, The Thin Red Line in 1998. Overshadowed at the time by Saving Private Ryan (1998), Thin Red Line is a sort of anti-war-movie war movie that is an interesting experience, even if many will be turned off by its glacial pacing and almost incomprehensible, meandering third act.

The New World (2005), his final film to date, is in many ways the culmination of his work. It is a return to more traditional narrative after TRL's unfocused storytelling with tons of characters, and is the movie most explicitly about the conflict between man and nature -- always a topic in Malick's work.

Malick is not a director for everyone. His movies are slow, contemplative films that have a style quite their own. But for the serious film buff, his unique approach to film and wonderful cinematography make Malick a director worth checking out at least once.

Trivia Question: Teddy Bear

When Jack Ryan takes home a teddy bear to his family at the end of The Hunt for Red October (1990), it's the same one that's featured prominently in this great film.

Top 6: Movies That Play With Perspective

See our separate Top 6 entry for more information about our picks.

Good Bad Movie: Alone In the Dark

These glasses really make Tara Reid look smart... I hope.

Uwe Boll, we don't understand the German tax law that allows you to fund your movies, but we're sure grateful for it. Not because the movies are good, but because they're so spectacularly bad (please don't hit us).

Alone in the Dark (2005), one in a long string of crappy video game adaptations by Boll, is total nonsense despite a several minute opening text crawl that attempts to spell out the ridiculously convoluted backstory. Perhaps if somebody involved with the making of the film had seen that crawl, the events that surround Christian Slater's "paranormal investigator" would make some sense.

But they don't, and a terrible performance by Tara Reid as a hot scientist chick (she has glasses and a clipboard in some scenes) combined with Boll's inability to shoot even the simplest action scenes helps raise this flick into the "good bad" category.

The director's commentary on the DVD -- 90 minutes of insane ramblings by Boll about how nobody understands his work interspersed with him talking to his dogs -- is also well worth your time.

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