Friday, September 07, 2007

There will be blood - on an epic scale

Paul Thomas Anderson is a truly maddening filmmaker to me.

He's managed to make two of my favorite flicks in "Boogie Nights" and "Hard Eight," but also two other that just drive me crazy. I still have no idea what he was going for with "Magnolia," even though I forced myself to watch it a second time to see if there was somehow something I missed (there wasn't.) And "Punch Drunk Love," despite the best efforts of Adam Sandler and Emily Watson, was only intermittenly charming at best.

But what all his movies have, whether you like them or not, is passion. He clearly throws himself into his projects completely, which means it can often take a short lifetime for him to make a movie (it's been five years since his last, "Punch Drunk Love.") Now, however, he finally seems to have found a subject epic enough to fit his talents and an actor who similarly gives everything he has to each performance.

Due early in 2008, "There Will Be Blood" is based on the Upton Sinclair novel "Oil," which I will be reading before this comes out. Set in the booming West coast oil fields at the turn of the 20th century, it will star Daniel Day Lewis as rugged prospector Daniel Plainview, who becomes an independent oilman after hitting it rich with the strike of a lifetime. I hope this plays wide enough for me to see it, or is playing in some kind of limited run when I hit NYC for my family's annual trip at year's end, because this just looks like the perfect melding of subject, director/writer and actor. Here's the poster and a glimpse of what's to come with the trailer (I concede that this may be months old to some of you, but it's new to me, so here goes):

More "Jackass"? Yes, please

Surely there have been greater crimes of omission than teasing us with Don DeVito getting his tooth pulled by a truck in the trailer for "Jackass Number Two" and then not including it anywhere in the movie or DVD, but that was one that really grated my cheese. Now, however, it seems that lovers of that and all other kinds of jackassery will soon get more.

According to the great /film blog, Johnny Knoxville and the boys are filming new scenes to add to the 40 minutes or so of leftover footage from "Number Two" to make a "Jackass 2.5" in time for a straight-to-DVD Christmas release. And yes, they promise the infamous tooth pull will indeed be included.

Wiest joins the 'Jezebel'

I can't think of a midseason replacement show I've tuned in to since, well, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," but "The Return of Jezebel James" is one I'll definitely give more than one chance.

After all, it's the new series from "Gilmore Girls" creators Amy Sherman-Palladino and hubby Daniel Palladino. This time they've cooked up a half-hour sitcom for Fox about two estranged sisters (Parker Posey and Lauren Ambrose), one of whom (I'm not sure which) just happens to be carrying the other's baby. Now comes word that the always very likable Dianne Wiest will be joining the cast in a recurring role as their mother. Extremely girly, yes, but it will hopefully also be thoroughly entertaining.

A golden opportunity from the Film Guild

The Macon Film Guild has been bringing arthouse flicks to the big screen here in Macon for years now, but they've really hit a high point with their next two screenings.

It starts this weekend with "The Lives of Others," which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. I was all set to rent this on DVD to see how it could have possibly beat out my favorite movie of 2006, "Pan's Labyrinth," when I got the guild postcard and decided to hold out.

The movie, as far as I can tell, is about a Stasi agent (the late Ulrich Muhe) who is charged with spying on the private lives of German citizens until he finds out some unseemly truths about the people he's spying for and has second thoughts. I'm surely not doing it justice, so come out and see for yourself at the Douglass Theatre. Screenings will be at 2 and 4:30 p.m. Saturday and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Hopefully I'll see you there at the first show.

Coming next month will be "The Wind that Shakes the Barley," Ken Loach's IRA movie starring Cillian Murphy (not Ciaran Hinds, as I posted earler before being corrected by always-welcome reader Carrie Lofty.) It won the Palme D'Or at Cannes, and like all of Loach's movies, will certainly be a very entertaining piece of agitprop. Mark your calendar for screenings on the second Sunday of October. Peace out.


jeremy said...

I'll check out Jezebel, too, but there's something that's--I don't know--a little off-putting about both Posey and Ambrose. I mean, for the general public. I adore Posey.
Anyway, the Wachowski thing was a hoax. That's the last time I listen to cinematical!

Ashok said...

I am very much expecting "There will be Blood" of course I love all the movies of PT Anderson. Quite contrary to you "Magnolia" is the best of him I love. I remember watching "Boogie Nights" bits and pieces but need to again watch it some time soon. "Hard Eight" and "Punch Drunk Love" are amazing as well. But yeah, PT Anderson's movie has the artistic representation of entertainment in a different dimension of imagination.

Reel Fanatic said...

A lot of people love "Magnolia," Ashok, but I'm afraid I can't join them, no matter how hard I try ... That said, I always look forward to his movies because he's clearly trying things that others are afraid to do

And I'm not too surprised that that was a hoax, Jeremy, but I am kinda ashamed that I fell for it so hard ... I guess I just assumed that the Wachowskis were so strange that this would be a not-too-extraordinary development .. And I simply adore Parker Posey, so I hope the rest of the world will too on "Jezebel

Linda said...

I felt the same as you after the Oscar went to The Lives of Others ... then I saw it. I waited to see it in DVD, and I'm sorry I didn't see it in the theater. This film is beautifully shot. I'll be interested to see what you think, enjoy!

Carrie Lofty said...

You mean Cillian Murphy, right? And I love that poster.

Bob said...

I know that you're not the only one to have trouble with "Magnolia" and "Punch-Drunk," but I love them both. Of course who doesn't love "Boogie Nights" and "Hard Eight" is an incredible movie that more people need to see. Of all of this year's remaining movies I think that "There Will Be Blood" is the one I am most excited about. Can't wait for December 26!

Reel Fanatic said...

I did indeed mean Cillian Murphy, Carrie ... It must be a scary sign of early senility that I make such mistakes!

Marina said...

I am beyond jealous at this point. Those were two of my favourite movies from last year and I'd jump at the change to see both of them on the big screen (even though I've already seen "The Lives of Others" 3 times on the big screen). They're both gorgeously cinematic films. Excellent choice on the part of your programmers!

Eric said...

I gotta disagree with you on Punch Drunk. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Particularly the cinematography. The shot of him alone in his office was amazing in its composition contrived to isolate the actor. Pretty cool stuff.

Reel Fanatic said...

I definitely agree with you at least about the look of "Punch Drunk Love," Eric, but there was just something about the story that left me cold ... To be honest, it's been a long time since I last saw it, so I can't quite put my finger on why that is this instant.

Carrie Lofty said...

I only noticed because I have a thing for Cillian Murphy and TWTSTB is on my watch list because of him!

Fletch said...

I don't think the Academy necessarily did a disservice by picking "The Lives of Others" for Best Foreign Language Film, as both it and "Pan" are tremendous films. The bigger slight is that neither won Best Picture, as both are better than "The Departed."

Personally, I'd rather watch "Pan" over TLOO, but it's pretty close.

Chalupa said...

Also looking forward to There Will Be Blood. Hard Eight is the only one of his I haven't seen yet. I agree that all of his movies are pretty amazing on one level or another.