|Director:||Paul Thomas Anderson|
|11.09.18||Internet||This Screening is part of event: DVRfest 2018|
Oh shit it's time for another weekend of catching up on movies in the most gluttonous way possible, all in celebration of another year keeping this journal! This is the 14th one of these, making me old, this site old, this site's code VERY old, and this tradition officially respectable! As with the last handful of years, I don't really tape movies onto the DVR anymore, but that doesn't mean there aren't more than enough on all the various formats available for me to catch up on films that I've been meaning to see or that have fallen through the cracks of my viewing habits. So I invite you to follow along, dear phantom reader, as we spend the weekend rolling around in cinema.
I figure there's no better way to set this year's one-person festival off than with PTA's latest, which I'd kind of been putting off because I'm afraid I wouldn't like it. I saw The Master at the Ritz in 70mm right before a Fantastic Fest and found a screener copy of Inherent Vice with bad color correction so I've been able to tell myself that certain circumstances hindered my enjoyment of those movies and that I'm really still a big PTA fan... but the subject matter of this one seemed like something in the alley on the other side of the city from the alleys that I usually hang out in (does this alley metaphor work? I don't think so I'm dropping it it's dropped). There's no getting away from it now. I have the house to myself, a pile of the most unhealthy snack foods they can legally sell, and the whole weekend of undivided attention ahead of me. Let's see how I like it.
Hey! Maybe it was my low expectations but I actually really liked this! There are a few levels here. From a filmmaking perspective, the movie is gorgeous and everything in the frame is wonderful and the music is so good that I sat in the dark watching the credits just to hear the piano. Then there's also this thinly veiled possibility that this movie could just be PTA writing himself as a genius craftsman entitled to act like a baby and his wife as the woman who gets to put up with all his shit. But finally, there's the tone of this movie in that I was never really sure where it was going to go. From starting out the first logo screens with this dissonant screech, I was constantly setting myself up for a very dark turn (as There Will Be Blood showed PTA is capable). Yet the story and setting also lend themselves close enough to that classic gothic romance template of Rebecca and Crimson Peak with the manchild guy and the overbearing sister and the house that becomes a prison... I was constantly expecting there to be a secret basement that the girl stumbles into. But then, a certain tea gets made which kind of subverts all those expectations and the movie turned again for me, now building toward the final moments when, in a not untwisted way, the film resolves as a sweet love story. It really helped not knowing anything about this movie walking into it. It made me quite a fan.
And while both lead actresses do a tremendous job, the most fun role was clearly Daniel Day-Lewis who gets to be amazingly cranky and dickish here. There are a few great eating scenes where you can read his annoyance so well. Just a wonderful job.
So yay! I'm super happy (and a little relieved) to like this movie so much. It's clear that PTA has matured into a master filmmaker. My fear was that his interests were floating toward the super niche world of, like, Visconti and shit, where modern audiences don't even have a chance of liking his movies. While this one certainly appears that way, I found it a really nuanced and developed movie in every way. Probably some Visconti but also plenty of Max Ophuls (I'm guessing), and maybe some Resnais? Or not, what do I know...
MOVING ON... Next up is... shit, what is next. Hold on let me make up a schedule real quick. We'll find out together!