Well, it’s out in the open now. Terrence Malick‘s new film The Tree of Life, many years in the making and the subject of massive speculation and anticipation over the past two years, has premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, and the reaction is mixed. I’ve been generally avoiding reviews in anticipation of my own screening tomorrow afternoon (and Peter is seeing it right now, which may lead to a review this evening) but figured we should pass along some of the first reactions. They range from ‘brilliant’ to ‘pretentious’ — in other words, the first responses to The Tree of Life are the responses to Terrence Malick’s entire career, cast in miniature.

One of the first things that we heard, via Twitter, was that the debut screening — for which the line was reportedly quite impressive, rendering the wait to get in nearly as long as the film itself — ended with a smattering of boos. But this is Cannes. People boo. It happens a lot. In this case, we’re talking about only the fifth film in the 40-year career of a director that is one of cinema’s most analyzed creators. Expectations for The Tree of Life were particularly high, and so some specifically vehement reactions were to be expected from those who found it lacking.

After the break we’ve got a brief round-up of some reactions. This is by no means meant to be a comprehensive report, but rather a snapshot of the first takes. Read More »


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The premiere of Terrence Malick‘s new film The Tree of Life is only days away. (May 16 in Cannes; it opens for real on May 27.) This is only his fifth feature in a career that spans forty-plus years, so forgive us for being a little bit (ok, extremely) excited. All involved have been quite good at retaining some of the film’s mystery, even with a trailer out there, and a couple of websites that have steadily offered many peeks at the story.

All we really know is that it is a multi-generational drama in which Sean Penn plays the adult son of Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain, and that there are grandly cosmic themes wrapped around that relatively small tale. You can get a taste of those big themes and some of the movie’s time-spanning ideas in the trailer and from the official site. But there is also a new clip from the film that shows some of the minor family dynamics, and if the trailer just wasn’t enough you’ll want to check it out. Read More »

Briefly: Fox Searchlight and Summit International, the two big distributors behind the release of Terrence Malick‘s new film The Tree of Life, have been aggressive and thorough in controlling how images from the film filter out onto the net. But their plan changes now with the launch of a website called Two Ways Through Life, which presents “the life journey of a young boy” as split into two paths. Fox Searchlight has done excellent web-based marketing for other films in the past, such as Black Swan, and now this site is another piece of nice work.

I haven’t gone through the whole site by any means, but each of the two ‘paths’ has many nodes which lead to film clips and brief descriptions of what could be events from the plot. You’ll see some of the very big-picture stuff that we know is in the film — an asteroid hitting Earth, and the final stages of our Sun’s life. I’m reluctant to look at everything presented, as I’d rather just see the film, but if you’re looking for a lot more material from The Tree of Life, this is your stop.

The weirdest movie business story of the week involves Terrence Malick‘s new film The Tree of Life. Fox Searchlight bought the film for US distribution, and in concert with Summit International, which holds rights to the film in other territories, planned to premiere the picture at Cannes just before a late May opening in the States.

Then Icon announced that it would open the film in the UK on May 4 — before the Cannes premiere, therefore possibly blowing away the well-laid plans of Fox Searchlight and Summit Int’l. Summit didn’t take kindly to that and is now taking action against Icon, which holds distro rights for the film in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. The result is two-fold: we get a look into how complicated international distribution can be, and for people who live in Icon’s territories we’ve got to wonder if the film will be significantly delayed, and if so for how long. Read More »

Fans who are anticipating The Tree of Life, Terrence Malick‘s first film since 2005’s The New World, have a beautiful new image to dissect to their heart’s content. The Internet Movie Database has premiered a stunning new mosaic theatrical poster for the Fox Searchlight release and, much like the first trailer, it’s full of gorgeous and mysterious images including planets, fires and, yes, a dinosaur.

Set for release in the United States on May 27, Malick’s film – starring Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain – was thought to have its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. However, Empire is now reporting that it’ll premiere in the United Kingdom May 4, a full week before before the world’s most prestegious film festival even begins. Read more about that and see the full poster after the break. Read More »

Years of speculation about The Tree of Life, the latest film from reclusive and very slow-working master director Terrence Malick, will finally end in May. We had a very good idea that the film would play the festival, given that Fox Searchlight set a May 27 release date after picking up the film a few months ago. Variety reports that the film will appear at the fest, but says that we likely won’t know if it will play in or out of competition until early or mid April, when the full lineup is announced.

The film is a multi-generational drama starring Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain that, to some extent, looks at our place in the world and the universe at large. There have been a great many hints about the film suggesting that it covers a timeframe much more broad than a couple of mere human lifetimes — think aeons. Information about the film’s scientific background and the possible presence of dinosaurs has been largely scrubbed from the internet wherever possible. That fact, combined with the lush, very appealing trailer and the simple fact that this is a new Terrence Malick movie, make The Tree of Life one of the highest-profile film debuts of 2011. Hit the jump to see the trailer if you haven’t yet caught it. Read More »

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This week, David Chen, Devindra Hardawar and Adam Quigley reflect on Jon Favreau’s decision not to direct the next Iron Man, wonder how much The Tree of Life has in common with The Fountain, and ponder the unnecessaryness of sequels for Shakespeare in Love, Bad Santa, and Rounders. Special guest Annalee Newitz joins us from io9.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Join us for our next live broadcast on Sunday, December 26 at Slashfilm’s live page at 10 PM EST / 7 PM PST, where we’ll be reviewing Black Swan and True Grit.

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Terrence Malick’s ‘The Tree of Life’ Trailer

If you held out and managed not to watch an online bootleg version of the trailer for Terrence Malick‘s highly-anticipated fifth film The Tree of Life, your patience has been rewarded. The trailer has been officially released online, and it is stunningly beautiful. Read More »

The image above and one below are two new images from Terrence Malick‘s long-awaited The Tree of Life, the trailer for which will be running in front of prints of Black Swan starting tomorrow. (Or tonight, if you’ve got midnight showings in your area.) If you’ve been keeping track, that makes a bare handful of images released over the past couple of years that we’ve been waiting for the film to be finished and hit theaters. Yes, we’ll see the trailer shortly, but in the meantime we’ll take what we can get. The debut of new material from Terrence Malick is an event.

Check out the other image below, along with some information about the trailer to tide you over until the online version arrives. Read More »