SONG TO SONG (2017)

Written & Directed By: Terrence Malick 
Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki
Editor: Hank Corwin, Keith Frase & Rehman Nizarali 

Cast: Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender, Rooney Mara, Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett, Val Kilmer, Berniece Marlohe 

Two intersecting love triangles. Obsession and betrayal set against the music scene in Austin, Texas.


The film offers cameos from bands and musicians. Like Robert Altman’s THE PLAYER only less about the life and business just what kind of culture it takes place in 

The film is filled more with moments of the day-to-day. That is broken into fragments and left for us to witness and examine. As really the film takes place and shows us the lives of those attending a music festival. 

As it becomes a travelogue of the surroundings with a love of narration, that is supposed to help explain but becomes more oddly poetic. Meaning that what we see while visually stunning is a surface. While we learn what is underneath from the narration. Which offers up an explanation of sorts. 

The films of Writer/Director Terrence Malick usually revolve around the individual and their relationships with the world. Romantic and intimate ones are at the heart of the films. 

This could have easily been a modern NASHVILLE type ensemble, but the music festival is a backdrop for the intentions of music. With emotions and thoughts expressed through the melody with words. just like an album has a bunch of songs. Some are in the same Mold and some are distinct. Others offer a different slice of life and a continuation of themes,  but still a different moment and rules.

Going in you don’t know what to expect. But when it comes to director Terrence Malik’s later films. You kind of do, wide-angle lenses, narration, beautiful cinematography, poetic license almost abstract to the non-existent story. Left for you to meditate on, believing that this new film will be the one they have wanted from him and waited for. That will be his next BADLANDS or DAYS OF HEAVEN 

He tries to stick with the story more and each time while considered good. Not the classic fans hoped for. Though that seems better and is taken more seriously later,  then When they come out originally slow them to be seen more as pieces of art. Then just movies. Even if more and more end up as passable yet disappointing to a certain degree rather than good or even memorable 

The camera never really stops. We see private moments more glossy and pretty people doing normal things. Only with more shine and attention on these moments. Offering Communication through images. Never let lies during full conversations do it.

Though you might know what to expect. Though he offers you shards and then Leaves you to interpret and figure out what just happened. Sometimes with Narrations that sound like excerpts from books 

Usually, Actors clamor to work with Mr. Malik and his films usually are star-studded. Only then did he cut out half of them from the film. As they are not needed in what he wants to present. Which he finds during the editing process. 

So his films always seem like a cut he came to that was releasable after cutting down in the editing room from what might be the first draft filmed. If there was even a script. That it ends up feeling like A book with missing chapters and characters whose fate we never learn.

It ends up feeling more Like a music video with a score but missing the main song as there is a score but no singing necessarily. 

As characters who are almost like newborns come in and take out the narrative partially after an initial connection. Twisting things around a bit. 

Then the actors are filmed like fashion shoots. Like a footnote or introduction to a side story that affects the overall narrative.

Usually one can get excited when he sets his films in the present. Not so much historical epics,  but his strongest films are those usually based on books and true stories that have actual plots. Allowing them each a few chapters they tend to overlap through each other. To be the one In control of their own POV and their marriage and romantic missteps with guest stars.

The film seems to want to be ambitious but leaves itself hard to grade as it comes across more as an art installation rather than a film. 

TO THE WONDER was his last most consistent film.  As it seems the most focused 

This ends up as A long movie that feels longer than it is and monotonous 

It seems like Michael Fassbender’s character is a music manager who is in love with Rooney mara’s character, who works for him and is mildly in the know but once she falls in love with Ryan gosling’s character. At first, she still cheats with Fassbender. Then once she stops, Fassbender meets and marries shortly afterward a waitress he picks up quickly. Where it is all love at first then they start to sleep around. Until she has a romantic liaison and he gets her into drugs and groupies 

Then His wife dies and Mara’s character is with gosling. But he seems to still have feelings for his ex and they break up. Once he finds out Rooney had an affair. She signs with Fassbender and then has a same-sex relationship. Gosling moves home to be around family and falls for Cate Blanchett who no one seems to think is good for him. So it continuously plays with this melodrama. 

This is one of these Films where you find yourself constantly checking the time where it’s headed and shocked it’s not over yet. 

A film that might be smarter than the audience. It is also a film that wants the audience To Interpret it all rather than explain. which can equal big filmmaking wishes handled by a true artist or someone who knows what they are doing.

He sets himself apart as Brave. Most filmmakers choose to have the audience interpret relationships or endings or characters. 

Whereas by the end explaining the plot/story is simple as there is so little of it. It whereas it is started out with visuals montages narration poetry, but barely any music which the title suggests there should be more of some 

It all feels Pretentious where One might wonder if the director had a script as it feels like there is none and they are making it up as they go along at the location and trying to fit it all In

In the end, the film doesn’t offer as much music as expected 

Grade: C

SIDE EFFECTS (2013)

Directed By: Steven Soderbergh 
Written By: Scott Z. Burns
Cinematography: Steven Soderbergh (As Peter Andrews) 
Editor: Steven Soderbergh (As Mary Ann Bernard)

Cast: Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Channing Tatum, Vinessa Shaw, Polly Draper, Ann Dowd, Laila Robins, Mamie Gummer, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Marin Ireland 

A young woman’s world unravels when a drug prescribed by her psychiatrist has unexpected side effects.


Following up his pandemic movie CONTAGION that was a bigger offering with a smaller tale might seem like a step-down but it’s a movie that packs a wallop even though you don’t expect it. Unfortunately by the end, you don’t feel anything. It’s certainly entertaining but it comes off more as a smart artistic popcorn movie. It does its job but at this point movie, fans might be expecting more or stronger From director Soderbergh from his journeyman auteur reputation. This might be what the film suffers from the most

It’s a movie where things happen but you never quite feel anything it is quite clinical to watch and experience. Even as the twists happen you should care somewhat 

It’s a claustrophobic tale of what happens in all Those high-rise apartments of the haves. As most of the characters come from money and are privileged. Though Channing Tatum heavily billed again he is in the movie very little. 

It feels like it should be bigger even though it focuses more on a singular story 

Each character is smart except for the early victim. So that is refreshing as the film comes more alive when Jude law’s character is more or less fighting for professional and personal survival and all the twists are coming to light, Just as the third act is his plan taking place 

It’s a tale you would expect to be told bigger and more extravagant but with Soderbergh’s style, it focuses more singularly on the plot dynamics allowing room for the character but more or less being to the point and less indulgent. While the film. Still has style and is more technical 

It’s a bigger film from him but still a smaller story though this film feels less experimental than some of his others. This one doesn’t call attention to itself as much and has a stronger script and story than usual.

It allows the mystery of Rooney Mara’s character vacant looks and silence to shape her character and situations. As again when a character uses it to her advantage what people believe about her by her silence and looks. What identity and beliefs they put onto her that might be totally opposite from who she is. They put a character onto her when she is an actual person. She ends up Being the ultimate muse in an unartistic story. One that is mroe made up of successful characters in the medical profession. An unexpected feels Fatale if sorts 

Showing how easy it is for even the most rational of us to fall into a belief of certain fantasies that take the form of supposed responsible thought. Though managed to do it without making it a tale of the weakness of falling into temptation and paying the price for it.

The film seems more like it will be a psychological drama. When actually it will be more of a character-based thriller. This works for this film as it is unexpected and you don’t see it coming. Just as the film involves sex it isn’t very erotic or sexy. 

This is one of the more commercial and straightforward films of Steven Soderbergh. As this one whole cerebral and technical doesn’t feel like an experiment it seems like a smaller project for him that is almost like a short story for him instead of a novel. Which is how full his films can sometimes be. Either with a story or the number of stars usually, cast. 

This is the most likable performance I have found so far of Jude Law’s career. Where he gets to be innocent yet shrewd and the only way out for him is through his Intelligence. Not his looks, wit, or tortured soul. What also helps is that here the performance is mroe natural and effortless. No baggage. As here he plays more of a person, not a character or type. No different look or wardrobe to hide behind. Here he and his performance are stripped down. 

You go into this movie looking for a twist or expecting a thriller and that is what you get but the film plays the more technical side than the emotional. Though it is shockingly mean-spirited and more psychologically ruthless than expected. 

It also shows the passing of time as in the past Catherine Zeta-Jones would be the seducer and audiences would have loved to see her in a same-sex relationship and love scenes. Here as she plays just another victim. It might remind some audience members of the passage of time. Times have certainly changed.

In the end, this is a film that seems simple but then grabs you and takes you through a maze. That is stronger than it appears to be. A throwback to films aimed at adults that wants you to think and figure them out. 

Grade: B- 

A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (REMAKE) (2010)

nightmare-on-elm-street-025

Directed By: Samuel Bayer
Written By: Wesley Strick & Eric Heisserer
Story By: Wesley Strick
Based On Characters Created By: Wes Craven
Cinematography: Jeff Cutter
Editor: Glen Scantelbury 

Cast: Jackie Earle Haley, Rooney Mara, Connie Britton, Clancy Brown, Kyle Gallner, Katie Cassidy, Thomas Dekker, Kellan Lutz 


Death stalks the dreams of several young adults to claim its revenge on the killing of Freddy Kruger. Chased and chastised by this finger-bladed demon, it is the awakening of old memories and the denials of a past of retribution that spurns this hellish vision of a dreamlike state and turns death into a nightmare reality.

Continue reading “A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (REMAKE) (2010)”