Hunter McCracken - News Poster


The 100 Best Films of the 21st Century (So Far) - Part 1: #100-76

  • Cinelinx
A new year means an opportunity to reflect on the past. This is our list of the 100 best films of the last 15 years, Part 1 #100 through 76.

The first decade and a half of the 21st century has brought a lot of changes to the landscape of film. The advancement and sophistication of computers has made realistic computer generated effects a mainstay in both big-budget and small-budget films. The internet and streaming technologies have given big Hollywood new competition in films produced independently and by non-traditional means. We went from purchasing films on yards of tape to plastic disks, and now we can simply upload them to the cloud. Advertisements for films have reached a higher, more ruthless level where generating hype through trailers and teasers is crucial for a film’s commercial success. Movie attendance has fluctuated along with the economy, but that hasn’t stopped films from breaking box office records,
See full article at Cinelinx »

The Better Angels Review

Catch a few glimpses of A.J. Edwards’ directorial debut, The Better Angels, and you could be tricked into thinking you’re watching a Terrence Malick film. As the end credits attest, Malick is the primary producer, although his name’s appearance once the film fades to black feels redundant. More intimate in scope but just as evocative and stunningly photographed as his rural-set modern classics, The Better Angels owes much of its feeling to the director’s mentor. And, that is not always a bad thing. However, one gets the feeling that the new filmmaker is more impressed with Malick than Abraham Lincoln, whose pre-pubescent life is the focus of this first feature.

The film opens in 1817 in the Indiana backwoods where a young boy explores the wilderness, paddling down the river and playing in the fields. When he sticks out his chin, it is clear from an uncanny resemblance
See full article at We Got This Covered »

The Definitive ‘What the F**K?’ Movies: 50-41

So…what do I mean by “What the F**k?” Movies? These are the films that, upon completing your viewing, you seriously worry about the director’s sanity. Or you can’t really comprehend what you just saw. Or you know what you watched was something magical, but can’t really put the pieces together in your mind. Or, worse, you know what happened, but certifiably it’s insane. But with this “definition” comes a few caveats: no horror films and no fully animated films. Those genres lean a little too crazy to begin with – it’s more fun to look at films that force a sense of realism, even if it’s just on the surface.

50. Southland Tales (2007)

Directed by: Richard Kelly

Not all these movies are necessarily “good.” In 2001, writer/director Richard Kelly found cult status with the mind-bending Donnie Darko. It took six years for him to
See full article at SoundOnSight »

The Definitive Kubrickian Films: 20-11

My first real attempt at understanding the brilliance that was Stanley Kubrick came in my freshman year of college, when I wrote a research paper on 2001: A Space Odyssey for an English class. After all that work, I only received a B and found myself more confused than ever. But there it was – the spark that Stanley Kubrick’s work produces. Kubrick’s best films were experiences; it’s impossible to “half-watch” one of his many masterpieces. And that’s what the movies on this list do. They take you on an odyssey of visual wonder, psychological tremors, and expect you to do as much work as the people involved in the making of the films. Yet, in the end, Kubrick’s films didn’t feel like homework. They felt like vacations to a world where deep thought is a welcome respite.

20. The Thin Red Line (1998)

Directed by Terrence Malick

What makes it Kubrickian?
See full article at SoundOnSight »

What Does The Ending Of The Tree Of Life Really Mean?

Just this past week, Dolan Reynolds wrote an article dissecting the ending of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Now, in this article, I will be confronting the ending of Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life. While The Tree of Life is a more emotional, earth bound, and spiritual film than 2001, what unites both films is their philosophical examination of the evolution of mankind and their questioning of our place in the universe, as well as where we’re heading as a species.

2001 is considered a landmark in the history of cinema, and while The Tree of Life is still a fairly recent film, I can see it becoming a landmark in itself as time goes on. Like 2001, it pushes the boundaries of narrative cinema and lends itself to many interpretations. Which brings me to the ending of Malick’s film. As the title of this article suggests,
See full article at Obsessed with Film »

'The Tree Of Life' Star Tye Sheridan Joins David Gordon Green's 'Joe' Starring Nicolas Cage

While Terrence Malick's "The Tree Of Life" undoubtedly marked the start of the ascent of Jessica Chastain, it also provided a great debut for its young stars, Hunter McCracken and Tye Sheridan. While the former has yet to book any more projects, the latter has been making his way onto more films, most recently starring in another Cannes premeire, Jeff Nichols' "Mud." And Sheridan is keeping it southern, joining a movie that will have him getting in the Cage. Sheridan has joined David Gordon Green's "Joe" in a role that will find him co-starring with none other than Nicolas Cage. Welcome to Hollywood, kid. Penned by Gary Hawkins, and based on the 2003 novel by Larry Brown, the film tells the story of the unlikely bond between an ex-con (Cage) who becomes a role model to a 15 year-old (Sheridan) from a broken home, and their journey on the
See full article at The Playlist »

Rachel McAdams & Olga Kurylenko Discuss The Challenges & Thrills Of Terrence Malick's 'To The Wonder'

Anyone who says that actors are an afterthought in a Terrence Malick film are doing a serious injustice to the director and his work. It would be somewhat surprising to find A-listers queueing up to work with the filmmaker if he wasn't someone who worked well with his performers, and one doesn't have to think very hard to come up with memorable turns in his pictures -- Sissy Spacek in "Badlands," Richard Gere in "Days Of Heaven," Jim Caviezel in "The Thin Red Line," Q'orianka Kilcher in "The New World," Hunter McCracken in "The Tree Of Life" -- even if the landscape and imagery is just as important. So it was no surprise to learn when we sat down for roundtable interviews in Toronto earlier this week with Olga Kurylenko and Rachel McAdams, the female leads of the director's latest film "To the Wonder," that both actresses had clearly loved working with Malick.
See full article at The Playlist »

Best Movies Of 2011 – Lominac’s View

Just to add even more to the barrage of Best you’ve certainly received already, we have another version for you. Catch my list here, if you haven’t already.

Every year around this time we get the barrage of “top ten” lists, and every year around this time I feel out of the loop. Not having the privilege of living in the vicinity of a major metropolitan area, many of the critics’ favorite films of the “year” do not actually see the light of day in my part of the country until well after the new year, leaving me to play catch up about a month or so later.

Unfortunately, this is yet again the case in 2011, subsequently seriously handicapping my own formation of any “best of” list in a timely manner. Despite this set back, the change over from one year to the next is an irresistibly retrospective wellspring,
See full article at AreYouScreening »

Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life: A Visionary’s Folly

Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life: A Visionary’s Folly
Author’s note: The Tree of Life has already been reviewed on Dearcinema but this is a fresh evaluation and reflective essay about its implications because it is now being hailed as the best film of the year and it is not unlikely that it will soon make it to Sight and Sound’s list of the greatest films of all time.

Terrence Malick, one of America’s most respected filmmakers, first attracted attention through Badlands (1973) a film very much in the same mold as Arthur Penn’s Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and Robert Altman’s Thieves like Us (1974) in that it is about a young couple going on a robbery spree in the depression era and eventually coming to a tragic or bad end. What distinguishes Malick’s film from the other two is the director’s lyricism, his deep sense of the beauty of the land – where Bonnie and Clyde
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Oscar Injustice: 4 Great Performances Ignored by The Academy

With the Oscars finally concluded and cleared up for another year, with familiar lessons learned and perturbing trends set for the rest of the year, time comes for evaluation and discussion, thoughtful or otherwise. And one thing is clear: if there was predictability to be had in 2012, it came in the acting categories.

Although precious few will dispute the merits of the Dujardins, Streeps, Plummers and Spencers of the acting world, or even protest their victories, more talk comes about who didn’t win (Gary Oldman, and I will not pipe down about this), and those who weren’t even nominated (Hunter McCracken; Again, not letting it slide).

On various occasions throughout the years, an actor has given a truly outstanding performance in film, one that deserves all the plaudits and riches in the galaxy. And often, for varying circumstances, this same performer has had to settle with a simple,
See full article at SoundOnSight »

What will win and what should win

  • The Guardian - Film News
Our critics select the likely winners of Sunday night's statuettes, plus the people and films more deserving of the prizes and those who weren't even nominated – but should have been

Peter Bradshaw

Best picture

Will win: The Artist

Should win: The Artist

Shoulda been a contender: We Need To Talk About Kevin

Best director

Will win: Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist)

Should win: Michel Hazanavicius

Shoulda been a contender: Steve McQueen (Shame)

Best actor

Will win: Jean Dujardin (The Artist)

Should win: Jean Dujardin

Shoulda been a contender: Michael Fassbender (Shame)

Best supporting actor

Will win: Kenneth Branagh (My Week With Marilyn)

Should win: Kenneth Branagh

Shoulda been a contender: Bruce Greenwood (Meek's Cutoff)

Best actress

Will win: Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady)

Should win: Meryl Streep

Shoulda been a contender: Anna Paquin (Margaret)

Best supporting actress

Will win: Octavia Spencer (The Help)

Should win: Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids)

Shoulda been a
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Best Actor: Clooney or Pitt?

No doubt: it's been a very good year for both these stars. And much as I admire Jean Dujardin's sublime performance in The Artist, my hunch is that the industry will favor one of its own on Oscar night. So who will it be -- George or Brad? I'm saving my prediction for a later Oscar piece, but for now simply want to consider these actors' respective contributions, leading up to and including 2011. And you'll note I say "actors," because one thing this past year confirmed was that both these handsome, movie-idol type personalities can, in fact, really act. Some will claim they've always known it, but for me this was a pretty striking discovery. Too often Pitt and Clooney have been constrained by their leading man status to playing cool, heroic protagonists who save the day and get the girl. And they appear to be playing themselves. (Sometimes even on the same screen,
See full article at Moviefone »

The Tree Of Life Wins Five Online Film Critics Awards, Martin Scorsese/Jessica Chastain Singled Out

Laramie Eppler, Jessica Chastain, Hunter McCracken, The Tree of Life Terrence Malick's Cannes winner The Tree of Life, a "cosmic" family drama starring Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain, and Sean Penn, topped the Online Film Critics Society's list of 2011 winners. The Tree of Life won five of its seven nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress (Chastain), Best Editing (Hank Corwin, Jay Rabinowitz, Daniel Rezende, Billy Weber, Mark Yoshikawa), and Best Cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezki). No other film won more than one award. [Full list of Online Film Critics winners and nominees.] Malick lost the Best Original Screenplay Award to Woody Allen for the fantasy Midnight in Paris, the filmmaker's most popular movie in years. Midnight in Paris features Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, and Marion Cotillard. The Tree of Life's other loser, Brad Pitt, had been shortlisted in the Best Supporting Actor category. Christopher Plummer won for his performance as Ewan McGregor's gay father in Mike Mills' Beginners.
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Good Films you missed – 13 Assassins, The Skin I Live In, Tree of Life, Warrior

By Scott Mendelson is the third of several year-end wrap essays detailing the year in film. This time, it’s about highlighting the good or great films that slipped under the radar somehow. Some got rave reviews and wide releases but stiffed at the box office while some never made it out of limited release. All are worth tracking down and all are, with one exception I will point out, now available on DVD/Blu Ray/download/etc. And nearly all of them are not hardcore independent films, but seemingly mainstream dramas and comedies that would have likely merited a wide release even a few years ago. Once again, these will be in alphabetical order.

13 Assassins

Like pretty much all Magnolia titles in the last few years, the majority of the film’s initial profits came from their OnDemand services, with Takashi Miike’s truly epic samurai drama
See full article at »

The Top 10 Breakthrough Performances of 2011

  • The Film Stage
One only gets a sole opportunity to make their initial mark and it is a thoroughly remarkable experience to witness a star in the making. This year we’ve seen a number of break-out performances worthy of recognition and have rounded up our favorites. They range from an experienced thespian finding new life in front of the camera, a previous non-actor learning the ropes and an actress who overwhelms with a sheer breadth of projects. As part of our 2011 year-end features, check out the rundown below and let us know your favorites.

10. Gabriel Maille (Wetlands)

A brave and powerful oedipal drama set on a Quebec dairy farm, Wetlands and Gabriel Maille’s brilliant performance as Simon, a disturbed isolated teen, was a highlight of Tiff 2011. With only four credits to name, Maille takes center stage, holding his own against the veteran cast in a challenging roll. – John Fink

9. Jacob Wysocki
See full article at The Film Stage »

The Best Films of 2011

Making lists is not my favorite occupation. They inevitably inspire only reader complaints. Not once have I ever heard from a reader that my list was just fine, and they liked it. Yet an annual Best Ten list is apparently a statutory obligation for movie critics.

My best guess is that between six and ten of these movies won't be familiar. Those are the most useful titles for you, instead of an ordering of movies you already know all about.

One recent year I committed the outrage of listing 20 movies in alphabetical order. What an uproar! Here are my top 20 films, in order of approximate preference.

1. "A Separation"

This Iranian film won't open in Chicago until Jan. 27. It won the Golden Bear at Berlin and was just named the year's best foreign film by the New York Film Critics Circle. It is specifically Iranian, but I believe the more specific
See full article at Roger Ebert's Blog »

The Tree Of Life, Michelle Williams, Michael Shannon, Terrence Malick: Chicago Film Critics Winners

Brad Pitt in Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life The Tree Of Life, Michael Shannon, The Interrupters: Chicago Film Critics Surprise Winners Best Picture The Artist The Descendants Drive Hugo * The Tree of Life Best Foreign Film In a Better World Incendies * A Separation The Skin I Live In Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives Best Director Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist * Terrence Malick for The Tree of Life Alexander Payne for The Descendants Nicolas Winding Refn for Drive Martin Scorsese for Hugo Best Actor George Clooney for The Descendants Jean Dujardin for The Artist Michael Fassbender for Shame Gary Oldman for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy * Michael Shannon for Take Shelter Best Actress Kirsten Dunst for Melancholia Elizabeth Olsen for Martha Marcy May Marlene Anna Paquin for Margaret Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady * Michelle Williams for My Week with Marilyn Best Supporting Actor * Albert Brooks for
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Chicago Film Critics Climb "The Tree of Life!" Check Out Complete List of Winners!

Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life" topped the nominations of the Chicago Film Critics Association's awards so it's just fitting that the movie led the winners, receiving 4 awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress for Jessica Chastain, and Best Cinematography for Emmanuel Lubezki's work.

The Best Actor trophy went to Michael Shannon for "Take Shelter," while Michelle Williams received the Best Actress award for "My Week with Marilyn."

Here's the complete list of nominees and highlighted winners (If you're interested to see the winners/nominations from other award-giving bodies, visit our Awards Avenue coverage right here):

Best Picture

The Artist

The Descendants



The Tree of Life

Best Director

Michel Hazanavicius . The Artist

Terrence Malick . The Tree of Life

Alexander Payne . The Descendants

Nicolas Winding Refn . Drive

Martin Scorsese . Hugo

Best Actor

George Clooney . The Descendants

Jean Dujardin . The Artist

Michael Fassbender . Shame

Gary Oldman . Tinker,
See full article at Manny the Movie Guy »

"The Tree of Life" Tops Chicago Film Critics Nominations

The Chicago Film Critics Association has announced their nominations for the 23rd Cfca Awards and Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life" led the pack with 7 nods including Best Picture, Director, and Supporting Acting notices for Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain.

"The Tree of Life" will duke out with "The Artist," "The Descendants," "Drive," and "Hugo" for Best Picture. Winners will be announced Dec. 19th.

Here's the full list of nominations (for your complete Awards Season guide, click here)

Best Picture

The Artist

The Descendants



The Tree of Life

Best Director

Michel Hazanavicius . The Artist

Terrence Malick . The Tree of Life

Alexander Payne . The Descendants

Nicolas Winding Refn . Drive

Martin Scorsese . Hugo

Best Actor

George Clooney . The Descendants

Jean Dujardin . The Artist

Michael Fassbender . Shame

Gary Oldman . Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Michael Shannon . Take Shelter

Best Actress

Kirsten Dunst . Melancholia

Elizabeth Olsen . Martha Marcy May Marlene

Anna Paquin
See full article at Manny the Movie Guy »

Film News: Terrence Malick’s ‘The Tree of Life’ Leads 2011 Chicago Film Critics Association Nominees

Chicago – It may have had a controversial journey to the big screen, but the Chicago Film Critics Association thought that Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” was worth the wait, nominating it today for a leading seven awards, including Best Picture, Supporting Actor (Brad Pitt), Supporting Actress (Jessica Chastain), Director, Original Screenplay, Cinematography, and Promising Performer (Hunter McCracken). Joining “The Tree of Life” in the race for Best Picture is “The Descendants” and “Drive,” each with six nominations total, and “The Artist” and “Hugo.” each with five.

Overall, a remarkable 43 films were chosen as some of the best of 2011, with other multiple nominees including “Martha Marcy May Marlene” with four nods, and six diverse films granted a pair of nominations — “A Separation,” “Melancholia,” “My Week With Marilyn,” “Shame,” “The Help,” and “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.”

As they often do, the Cfca made some inspired choices, including several unexpected picks.
See full article at »
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