East Bay View (a blog about several things)

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008


There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, USA, 2007): This is a great movie when it's about oil, a good one when it's about capitalism, an OK one when it's about religion, a mediocre one when it's about family, and a terrible one when it's about Daniel Day-Lewis: PTA had to set it in the badlands, otherwise Day-Lewis would've eaten all the scenery. The first hour is fascinating, beautiful stuff: mines and accidents, wheeling and dealing. But when his brother turns up, Danny and the movie go nuts so slowly that you might not notice the descent until the abrupt jump to 1927. Well, if they must piss away two hours of goodwill with a daft ending, credit them for doing so with conviction (unlike No Country for Old Men, but I'll complain about that next week). A MINUS

Interview (Steve Buscemi, USA, 2007): I guess Sienna Miller gets this year's Knightley/Green "when did she learn to act?" award (yes, it's always a she), even though she was never that bad (well, apparently she was in Factory Girl, but I'm not subjecting myself to that). Simple two-hander, journalist and celeb meeting and emotionally manipulating each other, and did I mention neither of them is insane? B MINUS

Michael Clayton (Tony Gilroy, USA, 2007): Cleverly, this gets the implausible climax over with at the beginning, so that all the rest makes sense, especially the twist post-climax that's no less satisfying if you know it must be coming. Tilda Swinton is ticky and panic-stained; Tom Wilkinson is ticky and nuts, but has the decency to not kill anyone. George Clooney does not need to stoop to such "acting"; he needs merely drop hints he's above it all, even when he's up to his neck.A

An American in Paris (Vincente Minnelli, USA, 1951): Sure, the last ballet is kitchy and interminable, and neither the script nor the leads can untangle the love story. Yet Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron are hugely appealing, at least when they're joyful, as they usually are; their sad faces are, well, sad. Anyway, it's all about Oscar Levant, here unencumbered by any romance of his own, the better for his friends' complications to befuddle him and for his own ambitions (below is the third movement of Gershwin's Concerto in F, a better piece of music than "An American in Paris") to enrapture him. He, Kelly and Georges Guetary singing "By Strauss"is enough to warm the hearts of all hams, which apparently is everyone in Paris. A MINUS



  • At 7:44 PM, Blogger Michelle said…

    I like how you break the film's (There Will be Blood) degree of triumph down by the theme. A really original (and pretty sensible) way to see it. Curious, how would you have had the film end? I, too, resolutely rejected the ending in the moment, and for the moment. My friend and I shook our heads at eachother after the credits rolled.

    But, thing is, if I dislike an ending I can usually substitute a "better" ending after a some contemplation...but I still haven't found an ending for this film and have a new appreciation for the one Paul Thomas Anderson gave it. Though I was certain one of these men would kill the other before the film was done.


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