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Jack Fisk's Museum of the Moving Image retrospective: Movies to catch

You’ve probably never heard of Jack Fisk, but if you’ve paid attention to some of the best Hollywood movies made over the past 40-plus years, you’re quite familiar with his work.

The ace production designer — who has collaborated with the biggest names in the business and earned his second Academy Award nomination for his work on “The Revenant” — is a major player in carrying out some of the most unique visions in cinematic history.

Fisk has constructed the look of everything from the gritty, oil-soaked California deserts of the turn-of-the-century epic “There Will Be Blood” to the suburban horrors of “Carrie,” starring his wife, Sissy Spacek.

The expansive vision of Terrence Malick, one giant symphony of sights and sounds and the surrealism of David Lynch have been undeniably shaped by Fisk’s work.

The Museum of the Moving Image gives Fisk his due at a retrospective beginning Friday and running through April 1. It’s a veritable feast of movies you simply shouldn’t miss, especially on a big screen, but if you’ve got limited time and can only manage a few trips to the museum, these are your best bets.

Malick movies

Listen, you can't go wrong with any of
Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox

Listen, you can't go wrong with any of Terence Malick's movies, from the early days of "Badlands" to the meditative war epic "The Thin Red Line," the magisterial "The Tree of Life" and the wispy but ethereal duo of "To the Wonder" and the recent "Knight of Cups." They offer key but varied looks at Fisk's remarkable talents for building evocative worlds amid natural surroundings.

David Lynch movies

Fisk has only worked on two of Lynch's
Photo Credit: Billy Higgins

Fisk has only worked on two of Lynch's movies, but they're the best two of the master's later period: "The Straight Story," in which a minimalist surface disguises a wealth of deep feeling, and "Mulholland Drive," where the filmmaker relied on Fisk to give his off-kilter noir take on Hollywood obsession its haunting nighttime edge.

'There Will Be Blood'

One of the greatest films of the current
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures / Francois Duhamel

One of the greatest films of the current century simply demands to be seen on a screen where every facet of Paul Thomas Anderson's imposing vision of American brutality in the oil fields can be appreciated in proper form, from Daniel Day-Lewis' intense performance to Jonny Greenwood's discordant score, and Fisk's remarkable presentation of the biblical grime that engulfs it all.

If you go: See it Big! Jack Fisk is running at the Museum of the Moving Image from March 11 through April 1, 36-01 35th Ave., Astoria, 718-777-6888,, prices vary.


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