An oil driller clashes with a small-town preacher in turn-of-the-century California.
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, and Dillon Freasier
Review by Jon Kissel
For my money, Paul Thomas Anderson’s never made a film that deserves less than an A-. He’s made more A+ movies, at three, than any other filmmaker. That kind of consistency makes him my favorite director, and though it’s not my favorite of his films, There Will Be Blood is the thing he’ll be most remembered for. It’s won the most Oscars, made the most lists, and found a place on the Sight and Sound list only five years after its 2007 release. This is his objective masterpiece, though I prefer the raucous Boogie Nights and the mysterious Master. It’s no surprise that a film this overwhelming and epic and ostentatiously important would receive the most critical acclaim. There Will Be Blood stomps around in its frontier setting and therefore can’t help but have something grand to say, set as it is in a grand environment. In his homage to the expanses of John Ford and the chilliness of Stanley Kubrick, PTA gets the most prestige-y of pictures checked off his resume.
Stephen King’s particular brand of nostalgia gets its most straightforward representation in Stand By Me, one of the best film adaptations of his extensive catalog. King comes at the past with a clearer eye than most, refusing to dress up the ugly parts while still idealizing the freedom-filled summers that present-day Americans lament as a long-dead part of childhood while leashing their own children indoors. Stand By Me, adapted by Rob Reiner from King’s novella The Body, is perhaps the most well-known cinematic depiction of this kind of adult-free upbringing, given critical longevity thanks to its performances and a tone that implicates every onscreen adult as a betrayer or abuser of children. King will make this explicit with his epic novel It, published the same year of Stand By Me’s release, but the non-supernatural cruelty of Stand By Me is just as memorable. The world is mean enough to kids who don’t deserve it, with or without killer clowns.
With films like The Polar Express and Welcome to Marwen, Robert Zemeckis has spent most of the last twenty years trying to work out the kinks in CGI filmmaking. This quixotic pursuit is made all the more useless thanks to Zemeckis’ mastery of the old-fashioned animation style in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Who needs ones and zeroes when you’ve got a game Bob Hoskins? Blending real actors and sets with animated characters, and vice versa, Who Framed Roger Rabbit still impresses by being committed, even when the effects aren’t quite seamless. Zemeckis has made a fool of himself for much of the 21st century, but in the 80’s and 90’s, the crowd-pleaser king sat on a throne of Deloreans and Acme hammers.
JUST SOME IDIOTS GIVING SURPRISINGLY AVERAGE MOVIE REVIEWS.
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