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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

May 17, 2011 at 9:29 AM

Allen, Malick, Depp, and three more . . . .

It’s Tuesday morning, and I have four screenings scheduled today; combined with yesterday’s two, that’s six movies between Monday morning and Tuesday evening. A bit much, to be sure, but that’s SIFF for you. Yesterday was the intriguing combination of Woody Allen’s latest, “Midnight in Paris” (and I’ll just say that it’s his best movie in years; opening in Seattle June 3) and Terrence Malick’s long-awaited “The Tree of Life” (review embargoes forbid me to comment, but I’ll just say it’s very Malick, as you might have guessed; opening in Seattle June 17). The accidental combination of the two veteran filmmakers was, I thought, interesting: Both are elder statesmen (Malick is in his late 60s, Allen in his mid-70s) and writer/directors who’ve been making unique and very personal movies for many decades (you’d never mistake an Allen or a Malick movie for anybody else’s), but who approach their craft in opposite ways: Allen chugs along with a movie every year, some of which are better than others; Malick famously takes his time, cautiously letting a movie emerge every six or seven years (sometimes longer; there were 20 years between “Days of Heaven” and “The Thin Red Line”), holding his films close before finally releasing them to the world. Allen, though guarded, will talk about his films (there’s a nice interview with him in Entertainment Weekly this week; doesn’t seem to be available online). Malick, ever-reclusive, lets the work speak for itself — he famously didn’t show up at the press conference for his own movie at Cannes this weekend. Anyway, both films say a great deal about their makers, and both are well worth seeing when they show up here in June.
Today brings three SIFF screenings, followed by “Pirates of the Caribbean,” for which I’m holding out some hope despite the fact that I absolutely couldn’t follow the plot of the last “Pirates” movie. (Apparently most of the cast and crew couldn’t either.) Anyway, there’s a new director this time around, and Penelope Cruz turns up as some sort of pirate king’s daughter, and Keith Richards is back, which is reason alone to tune in. And though I think Depp is wrong for Nick Charles and “The Thin Man,” he’s perfect for Jack Sparrow. So we shall see. I’m off to sit in a theater seat for many hours; we’ll talk later.

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