The MO is fear towards something different than the mold. Pushing the boundaries has never been received well here. Calling the several minute long shots, "self indulgent", etc. is why great film makers like Malick don't get respect while a count like Abrams will receive six 30 page threads discussing his recent lens flared bowel movement.
Your perspective on this board is vastly different than mine. To me, if nothing else, this thread proves that long shots and artistic directing are revered on this board. Cuaron is certainly artistic and Children of Men is certainly an artistic film. On the other hand, people shite all over Abrams for his lens flares. They may like his Star Trek movies overall, but there seem to be no illusions as to the quality of his directing.
Calling several minute long shots self indulgent is not not giving respect to Malick or Cuaron. Indeed, many in this thread were praising Cuaron for his ability to do these long shots. It was not until someone mentioned that one of the long shots in Gravity lasts 17 minutes that the phrase "self indulgent" came out. And, honestly, at that point, it very well could be. Cuaron may just be (a) trying to show off, or (b) see how far he can push one take.
Malick, on the other hand, is a hotly debated director on this board because his movies are clearly not for everyone. To me, Malick is the epitome of self-indulgent. His movies, or "films" as you may call them, are overtly pretentious and he makes no apologies for that. I'm all for beautiful shots, but telling a story is more than painting a pretty picture. Filmmaking involves many aspects and focusing on one of those is a hallmark of bad directing, if you ask me. Malick focuses on getting the look of the scene right in the same way Michael Bay focuses on getting explosions right. And Michael Bay is a terrible director. Just saying.
Yes, I just compared Malick to Bay. Suck it.
(In fairness, Malick is a far better storyteller than Bay and I use that comparison merely as an exaggerated example of how focusing on a single aspect of filmmaking makes for bad movies)