“The Tree of Life”
Terrence Malick is the Wizard of Oz of American filmmakers, a reclusive genius who lays low for years on end, only to emerge with a new movie that zaps us right between the eyes. Then he vanishes once again into obscurity. (Among his limited output are such classics as “Badlands,” “Days of Heaven,” “The Thin Red Line” and “The New World”).
His latest is shrouded in mystery. What we know: It’s mostly set in the 1950s and centers on three young brothers, their nurturing mother (Jessica Chastain) and their demanding father (Brad Pitt). Sean Penn plays one of the boys as an adult. It’s allegedly about the loss of innocence, and there’s a dinosaur scene.
That may not be much to go on, but the mere fact that Malick wrote and directed it puts it at the top of my list.
“Midnight in Paris”
Nowadays Woody Allen breaks my heart as often as not, but every third or fourth film we see a spark of the old genius. In his latest, a couple (Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams) move to Paris and encounter all sorts of temptations. The last time the Woodman filmed in Paris was, I believe, for “Everyone Says I Love You” (‘96) … and that was a keeper. With Adrien Brody, Marion Cotillard and Michael Sheen.
OK, just to prove that I can appreciate popcorn as well as caviar, here are my favorites from this summer’s tent pole pictures.
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2”
I’m not a big Potter fan, but the final entry in the franchise promises to be nonstop, butt-thumping action as Harry and the good wizards take on Voldemort and his minions for a fight to the finish.