Some words from Ryland Walker Knight to you, fine readers: Go to The House Next Door and read my early review of There Will Be Blood. It was difficult to know what to include in the review given the film does not open for more than a month (and then, only in New York and Los Angeles). But I think I got at something without spoiling too much, if anything, given a familiarity with the film's trailers. There's plenty more to discuss with this film and I look forward to other writers tackling its treasures/horrors. I'm sure somebody will talk about the scene in the ocean (yeah, really) in a beautiful way. And somebody's got to do something with the milkshake line (no, there's no boys at the yard). Simply put: it's a rich film, one that will astound many. And provide plenty of dialogue. I hope you see it on as big a screen as possible, with the loudest sound system possible -- it's the only way to do it justice. (I saw it at the Castro, along with Michael Guillen and, if it really was sold out, roughly 1400 other people, last Monday. I feel lucky: they have a huge screen and they always crank the sound. Part of the fun of their 70mm film festival is experiencing the screeching wails and dead-calm silence of 2001 when the volume is turned up to 11.)
While searching for links for the piece, I found this amazing shill bit featuring Jason Alexander (yeah, him) talking about Sam Shepard's play, God of Hell, which Alexander directed for the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles last year. Some of what he has to say applies to PTA's films, too, but I include it hear, mostly, because it made me laugh. Also, Tom Cruise is the best thing in Magnolia; imagine him doing this about his real passion, Scientology. Wouch.
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Still haven't listened to In Rainbows but I plan on it soon, especially after Johnny Greenwood's amazing score for There Will Be Blood. Is it worth 10 cents? How much did you pay? Guess I'll go ahead and download the son-of-a-bitch.
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I saw the Coens' new picture, No Country for Old Men this weekend. It, too, is brutal. But it's after something rather different. I hope to have more to say on the film in these webspaces soon. For now I'll hint with this: Tommy Lee Jones is perfect and the brothers' attention to language (as a social practice, as an element of characterization, as given to philosophy, as a music) is amazing. I like to think of Wes Anderson as the inheritor of Sturges but these New York Jews sure do have some of him in them. What's funny is I prefer this preoccupation with language in films like this one (and Hudsucker, which is more akin to Hawks) than I do in O Brother Where Art Thou?. But I should rewatch that picture. I may have to see this new one again before I can really argue for something instead of saying, "Jesus Christ. Er, God-damn. Oh, fuck it, the world holds too much evil sometimes." Stay tuned. In the meantime, the opening monologue:
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Wanted to share that, yes, Days of Heaven looks gorgeous on the new Criterion disc. It's wholly different than There Will Be Blood and No Country, but they form a nice trilogy to watch together in a week. If you can, I recommend it. Perhaps some screenshots will come later.