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The Little Prince (#110 of 3)

Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2016 Knight of Cups and The Little Prince

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Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2016: Knight of Cups and The Little Prince

Broad Green Pictures

Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2016: Knight of Cups and The Little Prince

Santa Barbara, with its picturesque movie palaces mere minutes from the beach, feels like an idyllic remnant of Old Hollywood. Fitting, then, that the centerpiece of this year’s Santa Barbara International Film Festival is Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups, a parable about life’s transience posited as a rumination on Hollywood vainglory. Opening the film with a quotation from John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, Malick makes immediately clear that his relatively plotless narrative about a Hollywood screenwriter’s (Christian Bale) various romantic encounters is, in essence, about humanity’s efforts to regain a lost paradise from which we’ve all been expelled. As allegory, it works on both a literal and metaphorical level, one being meaningless without the other, as it’s precisely that tenuous connection between those two planes that represents Malick’s insistence that only there, in the interstices between the material and the spiritual, does life possess purpose and meaning.

Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions Live Action Short

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Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions: Live Action Short
Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions: Live Action Short

How do you go about predicting the likeliest winner in a category that so frequently includes among its nominees (and occasionally even hands the trophy over to) some of worst films nominated in any Oscar category? Obviously you start with, as Michael Douglas was heard to joke at the Screen Actors Guild after party, “the bottom.” And this year, rock bottom undoubtedly belongs to That Wasn’t Me, unanimously selected by Slant’s prognosticating panel as this lineup’s most obnoxiously self-satisfied case of well-heeled white-savior guilt run amok. It’s not that we dispute the basic veracity of its depiction of seemingly permanent civil war in deepest Africa, nor are any of us impervious to the tragic Beasts of No Nation plight faced by violently “recruited” child soldiers. But it quickly becomes clear that director Esteban Crespo’s dramatic investment centers around the much-degraded Spanish doctor who, after watching her boyfriend gunned down by a preteen legionnaire, straps on her Lone Survivor boots in the Congo, transmuting third-world sympathy into bloodlust. Did I Do That?’s smug final shot, which suggests Fernando Meirelles directing a prolonged Super Bowl spot for Hallmark, sets 2014’s patronizing curve.

Lost Recap Season 5, Episode 4, “The Little Prince”

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Lost Recap: Season 5, Episode 4, “The Little Prince”

ABC

Lost Recap: Season 5, Episode 4, “The Little Prince”

There’s a deal we make, we Lost fans and appreciators. We agree to watch the show and find it generally enjoyable, and the show agrees to keep giving us our weekly fix of obscure symbolism, time travel weirdness and big plot twists. But there’s a devil in the details (isn’t there always in deals of this sort?): Once or twice per season, the show hands over to us a Kate (Evangeline Lilly) episode and leaves us grumbling. And with “The Little Prince” (as with last season’s fourth episode, “Eggtown”), we got us our Kate episode for Season Five. Fortunately, “Prince,” written by Melinda Hsu and Brian K.Vaughn and directed by Stephen Williams, was nowhere near as boring as “Eggtown,” but it was still a step down from last week’s terrific “Jughead.”