|Title:||There Will Be Blood|
|Director:||Paul Thomas Anderson|
|02.11.08||Alamo Village|| Felt like I had to see this again in the theaters because festival screenings have been known to be... exagerrated for me.|
I picked up a lot more on second viewing. The shot where Daniel realizes that his brother is off is amazing. I also found that at a certain point I was waiting for the last scene. And I still don't think it's clear enough that they're twin brothers rather than one brother pretending to be both. But whatever. The direction is impeccable and it looks gorgeous and sounds fantastic. Great movie.
|09.27.07||Alamo South Lamar||This Screening is part of event: FantasticFest 2007|
There Will Be Blood. Closing Night film for Fantastic Fest 2007. At first it seems like this is a pretty bad programming choice for a genre festival (not that I can blame them. How do you say no to the first public screening of a PTA film!?) but after watching the movie I'm convinced it fit in perfectly. Perhaps it's even better seen in these circumstances because it takes a while to creep up on you and you start noticing similar elements and themes and before you know it you're watching a horror film with Daniel Day Lewis playing a monster.
I'm going to stay spoiler free here... I really don't want to ruin anything since the marketting for the film has been so great without giving much away. So the long and short of it is I loved it. I loved the beginning - the ambitious tour de force beginning that further establishes PTA's maturity as a filmaker - the middle - the subtle and playful middle shocks and consumes you - and the ending - the Citizen Kane horrific ending. It doesn't feel like a PTA film yet it does. The music is utterly amazing and not only fits the film but also informs it. I love the lush strings and occasional relentless percussion that fit the scenes so perfectly that although it may initially seem like an odd choice, after the scene's over you can't imagine it with any other piece of music. The photography was amazing, production design unbelievable, all the way down the line top notch quality.
And then there's Daniel Day Lewis. Watching this is like seeing a whole movie's worth of the best couple scenes in Gangs of New York. I think he's in pretty much every shot and for good reason. I mean yeah, Paul Dano does some strong work and there's a few other familiar faces (no PTA Alums though, or at least I didn't catch any) but by and large this is DDL's movie and he makes the most of it.
I honestly have no clue how long this movie is. I was completely transported. I think PTA mentioned it was two and a half hours but it could've just as easily have been 90 minutes for all I knew. Such an enthralling experience.
So OK, I lied. I have to talk about specifics. Just for this next paragraph. Skip down unless you've seen the film.
How batshit crazy is that ending??? Holy shit! At first I was like "ahhh that's awesome he's rubbing it in!" and then I was like "hah! he got his ass!" but then I was like "man that's so great! I SUCK YOUR MILKSHAKE!!!" but THEN I was like "ohhhhhhh my god" but T H E N I was like "spooge" because the ending is so incredibly awesome that I can't even believe it. And the beginning! He sets up this characters entire history with zero talking. You see where he came from, what's formed him, that itchy connection to the land that drives him and keeps him from any sort of human relationship. When he finally does speak he's already conning. He's lying from the first moment we hear his voice. So really, all of his character "development" happens in that first 15 or 20 minutes before he says a single word, because lord knows he doesn't change once he starts. It's just incredible filmmaking I can't believe it. And how about that driving percussion when the derrick burns holy fucking shit! Leave it to PTA to have the oil burn at magic hour and cover the flame against darkness and the actors in near sillhouette with the faded sky behind them and huge billious clouds of black rolling over their heads. So beautiful yet also completely serving the story. man oh man oh man!
So yeah, this really really blew me away. I'll be honest, I didn't love Punch Drunk Love and I've still only seen it once (it probably deserves another viewing now to see what's what) but this... this is really a masterpiece. Film as art. All cylinders firing. I can't wait to see it again.
This film so affected me that I decided not to see one more film (which I'd heard was good and had previously been looking forward to) because I wanted this to be my last film of the fest. It's still washing over me several hours later as I type this (at 4am), so even though everyone I talked to said the movie I was going to see was great (Inside), I don't regret it.
So instead of the movie I stayed for the awards ceremony. It started off with a quick video of the various events that happened during the week: George Romero talking about how awesome Austin was, Marko Zaror kicking over Henri's head, Zack getting a groin full of guts shot out of a cannon, filmmakers shooting shotguns, Tim christening The Ritz as awesome, Zack Ward telling us to suck his cock, Kareoke madness, Tim slipping off a podium, and other scenes I forget. It was a fun video and although it was more than a little bit "look at how awesome we are" I still wanted it to go on for like 14 more minutes. Then They announced the winner of the Reel Heroes contest where the kids made little festival bumpers (Red Cape won which is good although I also really liked Shark Vadar... both of them are better seen than described; I'm sure they're on youtube) then since the Red Cape kids were in Minnesota they taped an acceptance speech (also on youtube) that was hilarious. Then they announced the Bloodshots winners and Comedia a Go Go's "LARP" won which is awesome and they showed that again and people laughed then they got down to the festival awards.
Basically the big winners of the fest were Timecrimes and Mirageman.
After that we all went over to the afterparty where I suppose fun was had although PTA seemed to be roped in by Harry the entire time. Oh well. I learned that he went for BBQ with the super special VIPs earlier that day and got up to some awesome firework-related hijinx the night before that made me jealous of everyone that was there. I either need to figure a way into that secret club or move away and make a film that gets into the fest so i can come back and have Tim put me up in his attic so I can be in on all this awesomeness going on. I can't complain too much because I was seeing movies during this time, but still. From what I understand PTA loves Small Soldiers and Pan's Labrynth. Go figure.
And now it's all over and done with for another year (this is the recap section of this write-up). Remembering how opposite of excited I was for this a week ago, I must admit I had a much much much better time than I expected. I really liked the slight expansion of genre this year. I thought the action and crime and comedies included for those wishing for a break between horror films helped a lot with sensory overload and festival fatigue. They've also come that much closer to streamlining the queueing process and presenting their fest in fun and different ways. I still miss the casual air of the first year when no one was there so there wasn't a mad rush to seats for every show, but lost conversations in lines were gained sitting in theaters so that more or less evens out. And The programming in general just seemed a lot better this year. Although I didn't like any of the AICN Secret screenings, all was forgiven with the Closing Night Film and I think expectations will be more tempered next year if they differentiate between the big AICN worth-waiting-4-hours films and the more typical Fantastic Fest screening where you should expect something new and interesting but not necessarily the big Oscar movie 4 months early.
Also, I think a highlight for everyone was Monday's Fantastic Fued/Kareoke party. I know SXSW has like 4 parties every night for various films but I don't think any of them are actually in the theater. Having everyone cut loose in the middle of the festival both made for some excellent stories and made the Alamo and the festival seem that much cooler to just about everyone.
There's always going to be some films that aren't as good as others, but I really only saw one movie where I was sitting there waiting for it to end and only a few more that I thought were merely mediocre. That's actually very good as my memories of last year's fest was that most of it was paralyzingly mediocre with a few good films at the end. I know a lot of work and money went into the films this year and I think it paid off. The Nikkatsu series was a highlight for everyone in the surprisingly well-attended screenings I'd bet and the Honk Kong action movies went over real well too. I don't know, I'm impressed. I didn't have any "bad days" at all. I am broke and sick of the Alamo menu but... hey i got to eat more than popcorn or candy at all these movies! how can i complain about getting tired of the pizza.
So let's see. How about some lists.
1. There Will Be Blood
2. A Colt is My Passport
5. Velvet Hustler
(Special mentions to Raymond and The Tale of How, two amazing animated shorts)
Favorite Non-film moments
-Seeing Nacho sing Tainted Love with Austin
-Seeing Tim secretly high-five Henri during the Postal Q&A
-seeing Paul fucking Thomas goddamn Anderson in an Alamo.
-Both Timecrimes Q&As. We sure do love Nacho Vigalondo here
-Gary's Touch. Even though it was technically a short film, watching it felt like a non-film experience.
Biggest running themes in this year's movies
-People getting run over
So that's that. Fantastic Fest 2007 is over and done with. I guess I can go to bed now.