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there has been blood (and now QT's review of CMBB)

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picolas

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Reply #210 on: January 21, 2008, 01:42:19 PM
it's available as a clip here...

http://www.movieweb.com/news/60/25360.php

4th down.

i don't think i've seen one part of the movie more. and yet EVERY TIME.. it gets me.


Jeremy Blackman

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Reply #211 on: January 21, 2008, 04:13:12 PM
Them right there is some superhuman acting skills. His face in that scene just blows my mind.
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cine

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Reply #212 on: January 21, 2008, 06:05:51 PM
i apologize for predicting they'd give it to clooney this year to spite all of us. they can't shun DDL this year, no sirrey.


grand theft sparrow

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Reply #213 on: January 22, 2008, 11:30:28 AM
***SPOILERS***

This made me angry today.  Not because he disliked the movie but because he's not giving any good reasons.  This review isn't so much from someone who "doesn't get it" as from someone who doesn't want to.  Like how one of my friends always quotes John Mayer, who supposedly said that the definition of a douchebag is someone who gets bent out of shape when you tell them you don't watch Lost. 

The "PT Anderson" nitpick is just silly; I don't expect everyone to remember that he has "A PT Anderson Picture" at the beginnings of his films, but who gives a fuck what his fans call him?  And why is that pretentious?  And how does that factor into the film itself?

(The original review had no paragraph breaks.  I did my best to add some.)

Up through the ground came a bubblin' crud
By Edward Copeland

F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said that there are no second acts in American lives. I was thinking about coining the phrase, "There are no third acts in Paul Thomas Anderson films," except that in the case of There Might Be Blood, there isn't much of a first or second act either. I think my father, who saw the film with me, summed it up best. "At first, I thought it was going to be about an oil war, then I thought it was going to be him versus the preacher, but eventually I realized it wasn't going to be about anything." To paraphrase Bob Dylan's "Maggie's Farm," Anderson has a head full of ideas that may be drivin' him insane.

This isn't to say that There Will Be Blood lacks any positive qualities, because the cinematography by Robert Elswit is phenomenal. However, the film really is a thudding bore, so much so that parts of the annoying score by Jonny Greenwood seems to actually drone like an amplified tuning fork and bear an uncanny resemblance to that sound that used to accompany the old THX "The Audience Is Listening" promos played in movie theaters. For most of the film, Daniel Day-Lewis' performance held my attention, despite the film's ponderous pacing and lack of focus. In fact, I was at first puzzled by the people who complained that Day-Lewis was over the top. I wished I'd never read whoever said Day-Lewis was aping John Huston, because every time he spoke that image did come to mind.

Unfortunately, Day-Lewis' performance goes off the rails as the film drags on and he suddenly starts devouring the scenery as if he needs it for nourishment. I can pinpoint the exact moment when he goes wrong: The scene where he's dining with his son and a group of rival oil executives are seated at a nearby table. For some reason, Day-Lewis begins talking out loud so they can hear while a cloth napkin covers his face. I can only assume that by this point Day-Lewis was as bored with the movie as I was. The ham gets the better of him from that point on so by the time we get to the scenes of him as an aging recluse in a large Kane-esque mansion in 1927, he's stooping and shuffling around as if he's a cousin to Marion Cotillard's Edith Piaf, dancing across the two-lane bowling alley he's built in his home. Of course, as soon as we see the bowling alley, you have to know what's coming. It's not placed there by accident, so as Day-Lewis meanders around the bowling lane, you know that balls will be employed and pins will be used for other purposes.

So much is wrongheaded about There Will Be Blood, that I hardly know where to start. Do I complain about how the portion of the film involving Paul Dano's character covers 16 years, yet the actor looks no different in age in the 1911 scenes than he does in the 1927 ones? Do I ask why Daniel Plainview makes such unnecessary complications for himself? Do I ask what is the true deal about Paul and Eli Sunday? Are they twins? The same person with multiple personalities? It hardly matters anyway. At one point, Plainview says that he doesn't like to explain himself and that seems to apply to Paul Thomas Anderson's film as well. Now many great films have been made that toiled in the soil of the ambiguous, but they aren't all as goddamn boring as There Will Be Blood.  Do I debate whether the film is asking whether it's Daniel or preacher Eli Sunday who is truly the false prophet? Perhaps Anderson is the false prophet at work here and his proponents, many of whom I know well, like and admire, are the ones being hoodwinked.

One thing I never quite understand is the insistence some of his fans have about calling him P.T. Anderson. The credit on There Will Be Blood clearly says it was written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. Is it possible some of his fans could be more pretentious than the filmmaker himself? During one outburst, Eli Sunday yells at his father that God doesn't love stupid people. I don't know if any part of that is true, but my guess is that if there is a God, he doesn't love stupid movies.


EDIT: Sorry, I forgot to put in a link to the site.  Have at 'em, fellas.
   



Sleepless

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Reply #214 on: January 22, 2008, 02:22:28 PM
To be fair, he liked the cinematography :lol:
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Reply #215 on: January 22, 2008, 05:23:02 PM
http://www.tnr.com/booksarts/story.html?id=565c05e2-3f81-42e1-ae45-0caa84716bb9

The New Republic
The Movie Review Spoiler Special by Christopher Orr
How Paul Thomas Anderson Screwed Up the Conclusion of 'There Will Be Blood.'
Post Date Thursday, January 17, 2008

If you are reading this, you hopefully have already seen There Will Be Blood and perhaps read my review as well. Those who haven't seen the film will a) have very little idea what I'm talking about; and b) encounter numerous spoilers. So get thee to the multiplex and come back when you've gotten religion.

Ready? In the review, I described There Will Be Blood as a flawed masterpiece, and cited the closing scenes, and the last in particular, as its crucial flaws. First, what I see as the broader--though less debilitating--misstep: Before the film's final temporal jump, it seems to be at a point of moral and psychological ambiguity. Daniel Plainview has just gotten his pipeline, but has done so, uncharacteristically, by submitting to the authority of Eli (and by extension his God) and the elder Bandy. His baptism by Eli seems to be fraudulent on all parts, but there is at least a hint that this fraudulent baptism may nonetheless have released him from some of his demons. He has won the imagined dispute with Standard Oil that had gnawed at him, and brought H.W. back home--a reunion that, though coerced, does not seem to be without love. When the boy first comes to him and begins punching wildly, Daniel responds with what appears to be genuine tenderness, accepting the blows and afterward soothing the boy gently.

It's worth noting that throughout the film, Daniel has always needed a "family member," however artificial, to act as his mirror and companion. First it was H.W., whom he treated as confidant and partner despite his youth (and despite the presence of more plausible candidates such as Fletcher Hamilton), and then Henry, the false brother. In both cases, he treated them with clear (if limited) affection. Indeed, his lines in the penultimate scene with a fully grown H.W. make clear his genetic narcissism: If he imagines another to share his blood (even knowing it's not true) he can "see himself" in them; take that away and they become another of the faceless rabble of "people" Daniel has no use for.

So at this juncture, while Daniel's redemption is far from assured, the possibility at least exists. He is reconciled with his boy; the primary competition driving him (with Standard Oil, over the pipeline) has been resolved in his favor; he has something resembling a truce with Eli Sunday; and the baptism, though forced upon him by Bandy, has washed away his murder of Henry (or at least any likelihood he'll ever be charged with it).

But we shortly speed forward in time to a scene--his confrontation with a fully grown H.W.--in which any hope for Daniel's redemption is treated as a dead letter. At some point in the intervening years, he has given himself over entirely to the monstrosity that had always lurked but had never fully possessed him. How? Why? It's not hard to imagine answers, but the film has elided them. As Ross Douthat said (I think) in our bloggingheads discussion, it's like a Shakespeare play that's missing the fourth act and the first half of the fifth.

Now, I don't think this elision is a disastrous one, just disappointing in a film that has taken its time up until this point and been very careful about setting the stage for each subsequent development. Had the film ended with some variant of the scene between Daniel and H.W.--or in its immediate aftermath, with Daniel alone and doomed in his immense mansion--it might have seemed rushed, but the overall shape would still have made perfect sense. Daniel's decision to tell H.W. that he was an orphan would even give a certain ironic resonance to the movie's title: For Daniel, there will be no blood.

Alas, the final scene offers an all-too-literal reading of the title and does far more to undermine the film than the earlier elisions. There are so many things I find wrong with Daniel's violent confrontation with Eli that I have trouble keeping them all in mind. It is loud, silly, unpersuasive, out of control, simultaneously obvious and ridiculous, and, to my mind, utterly unworthy of such a thoughtful, well-crafted film.

It also feels highly artificial, as if Anderson knew he wanted to have a confrontation between Daniel and Eli, realized there were no real dramatic grounds for one, and awkwardly threw together a rationale. Specifically, Eli approaches Daniel about drilling rights to the Bandy tract as if this is some grail for which Daniel has long lusted. In fact, Daniel has never shown any interest at all in the Bandy tract, except for the pipeline, which he's long since completed. He didn't bother to meet Bandy when he was first buying land; later treated the tract as an afterthought when he noticed it on the map; and, when he finally discussed the pipeline with Bandy, gave no suggestion that he wanted drilling rights. Eli may not be an oilman, but given his proximity to this last negotiation, you'd think he would have noticed Daniel's profound lack of interest in the property. Instead, he puffs and struts and demands $100,000 to broker an agreement on this land Daniel has never expressed the slightest enthusiasm for.

There are other inconsistencies, too. Daniel tells Eli that he paid his brother, Paul, $5,000 (if I recall correctly), and that Paul is now a successful businessman himself. But, as far as we know, Daniel only paid Paul a small fraction of that, when he first pointed the way to Little Boston. Has Daniel had subsequent contact with him? Is he making this all up to further humiliate Eli? We have no way of knowing; it's just tossed out there to dangle awkwardly.

One argument in favor of the scene, I suppose, is its symbolic rationale as the final smackdown between capitalism and religion. But of all the readings of the film, the God vs. Mammon one strikes me as perhaps the most inert. Does it really matter whether Eli is a true believer or a fraud? (I found the ambiguity more compelling.) Is the idea that capitalism will eventually co-opt and destroy religion that interesting--and even if so, is there no more sophisticated way to convey it than by having the businessman bash in the believer's skull with a bowling pin?

To my mind, the film's moral and psychological currents are vastly more compelling than its socio-historical ones. After all, this is not a film about two men--as the final encounter between Daniel and Eli suggests--but about one man. Yes, Daniel is a stand-in for capitalism, but he's so particular, so unique and fascinating, that he breaks the frame. He's not merely a metaphor, but a man wrestling with his own humanity, a man whose soul, long in peril, is ultimately lost. His fate is one of emptiness and isolation, and he deserves an ending that conveys this, a la The Godfather or Citizen Kane. Instead we get "I drink your milkshake," which is drawing comparisons not with such classics but rather with Scarface's "Say hello to my little friend." There Will Be Blood deserves better.

And so, of course, does Daniel Day-Lewis, whose supremely evocative performance descends into inevitable caricature here, Daniel Plainview by way of Bill the Butcher (or worse, Hannibal Lecter, the pantomimed milkshake-slurping recalling the good doctor's post-fava-beans-and-Chianti sucking sounds). The lame, concluding joke, as the butler arrives and Daniel, sitting on the floor next to his bloodied victim, announces "I'm finished," seems almost an admission of cinematic sabotage on Anderson's part.

I can't help but feel we've been here before. Anderson's last ambitious project (I don't count Punch Drunk Love as such), Magnolia, is another film I consider magnificent but flawed. And while its flaws are spread more liberally throughout, the largest is likewise its frogs-from-the-sky conclusion, which doesn't line up at all with the impossible-coincidences frame established at the beginning of the film. In both films, it seems to me, Anderson is trying to chronicle a spiritual state of being (redemption in Magnolia, the lack thereof in Blood) and can't figure out how to do it without physicalizing it, without inventing some cinematic "event" that can serve as a metaphor for what he's trying to say. He seems to think that showing us a bitter old man alone in his mansion, or two people making an unexpected human connection, is somehow insufficient to convey the enormity of the sentiment he intends, that something rowdier and more visceral is needed to make us pay attention. He should give his viewers-and himself-a little more credit.

Christopher Orr is a senior editor at The New Republic.

© The New Republic 2008


Gamblour.

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Reply #216 on: January 22, 2008, 07:06:23 PM
Orr's thought about the film deserving an ending like Godfather or Kane is stupid. I really am hating the comparisons to Citizen Kane. Apologies if this has been detailed already, but this is way more like 2001 than any other film. Not just for the silent, primitive beginning that unfolds to more advanced tools and techniques, but the ending. 1927 is Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite. It is that elevated state of consciousness, where Plainview has become a Howard Hughes type recluse (shooting at randomly stacked pieces of furniture) and is forced to reconcile a hatred that's been boiling for years. I view that last half hour with the same attentive awe as the last 17 of 2001. It is all hyperreal, because we are meeting this man at the far end of a tunnel with no light. Dave doesn't really encounter his elder, aging self in 2001, or does he? I feel the same way when I think about the ending of the film. It's a sequence that transcends the previous logic and elements, but then it does a lot to justify that. Suddenly, we're in his mansion, the symbol of his success. It may as well be a place in his mind. Time has no relevance anymore. The fact that Eli shows up so suddenly has no matter in light of the fact that Eli has just shown up. Eli serving as an apparition, but certainly as the real thing, comes to Plainview's mercy, but he has none.

I do not understand how the last scene for anyone is the fault of the film. It makes the entire film come together for me! I didn't even know that was a point of contention until today, when I someone mention it. NCFOM and this film have great endings, people are just too stupid.
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SoNowThen

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Reply #217 on: January 22, 2008, 08:59:18 PM
All of Orr's comments lead one to the (correct) assumption that he is a complete idiot. He obviously understood nothing of the film.

"Daniel is a stand-in for capitalism". Please.

'I will go see a film. It doesn't matter what is in that film, I will project myself upon it and see whatever it is I want to see, then, whenever that film deviates from what I demand it to conclude, I will consider it a gaping weakness. Teach me nothing, don't ask me to leave my comfort zone or think. I clearly hate art.'

I agree with Gamblour -- it makes the whole thing come together. Perfectly. It sends me back through the film again and again in my mind, replaying each moment with this new and unexpected revelation before me. It is a mark of beauty.
Those who say that the totalitarian state of the Soviet Union was not "real" Marxism also cannot admit that one simple feature of Marxism makes totalitarianism necessary:  the rejection of civil society. Since civil society is the sphere of private activity, its abolition and replacement by political society means that nothing private remains. That is already the essence of totalitarianism; and the moralistic practice of the trendy Left, which regards everything as political and sometimes reveals its hostility to free speech, does nothing to contradict this implication.

When those who hated capital and consumption (and Jews) in the 20th century murdered some hundred million people, and the poster children for the struggle against international capitalism and America are now fanatical Islamic terrorists, this puts recent enthusiasts in an awkward position. Most of them are too dense and shameless to appreciate it, and far too many are taken in by the moralistic and paternalistic rhetoric of the Left.


picolas

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Reply #218 on: January 23, 2008, 01:55:37 AM
i think he misinterpreted the state of Daniel right before the 1927 part. yes, he has a genuine revelation about what he's done, but it's immediately LOST in the phoniness of the ritual. he hides behind the ridiculousness with "yes, give me the blood lord!", the slapping, and "yes i do!" that's part of what's so amazing about that scene. a genuine revelation, the thing the church is supposed to be built on/NAMED AFTER, is discarded in the name of spectacle. when HW returns, it's not the reunion Daniel was hoping for because they still can't communicate. and just before the cut to the future, the beginnings of his insanity come out in the restaurant (fffffool). he's on the path to complete deterioration.


private witt

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Reply #219 on: January 23, 2008, 02:24:02 AM
***SPOILERS***

This made me angry today.  Not because he disliked the movie but because he's not giving any good reasons.  This review isn't so much from someone who "doesn't get it" as from someone who doesn't want to. 

Agreed.  Some critics just want the attention of talking shit about a flawless film.
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squints

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Reply #220 on: January 23, 2008, 05:22:22 AM

By Edward Copeland

I wished I'd never read whoever said Day-Lewis was aping John Huston, because every time he spoke that image did come to mind.

Quote from: Roger Ebert
The performance by Day-Lewis may well win an Oscar nomination, and if he wins he should do the right thing in his acceptance speech and thank the late John Huston. His voice in the role seems like a frank imitation of Huston, right down to the cadences, the pauses, the seeming to confide.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B506BgwtQTU&feature=related

I'd be inclined to agree. But i don't think its a bad thing at all. It's actually quite fascinating.
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cinemanarchist

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Reply #221 on: January 23, 2008, 12:15:44 PM
I don't know if this needs its own thread or not...

http://youtube.com/watch?v=6tZ5Itj5b6k

Go to about 4 minutes in and you will see why I posted this in the TWBB thread. I know, I know, who needs another reason to hate Diablo Cody...but why not have one more? I also posted a vague description of this in the Juno thread.
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cquiroga

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Reply #222 on: January 23, 2008, 12:41:39 PM
Orr's thought about the film deserving an ending like Godfather or Kane is stupid. I really am hating the comparisons to Citizen Kane. Apologies if this has been detailed already, but this is way more like 2001 than any other film. Not just for the silent, primitive beginning that unfolds to more advanced tools and techniques, but the ending. 1927 is Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite. It is that elevated state of consciousness, where Plainview has become a Howard Hughes type recluse (shooting at randomly stacked pieces of furniture) and is forced to reconcile a hatred that's been boiling for years. I view that last half hour with the same attentive awe as the last 17 of 2001. It is all hyperreal, because we are meeting this man at the far end of a tunnel with no light. Dave doesn't really encounter his elder, aging self in 2001, or does he? I feel the same way when I think about the ending of the film. It's a sequence that transcends the previous logic and elements, but then it does a lot to justify that. Suddenly, we're in his mansion, the symbol of his success. It may as well be a place in his mind. Time has no relevance anymore. The fact that Eli shows up so suddenly has no matter in light of the fact that Eli has just shown up. Eli serving as an apparition, but certainly as the real thing, comes to Plainview's mercy, but he has none.

I do not understand how the last scene for anyone is the fault of the film. It makes the entire film come together for me! I didn't even know that was a point of contention until today, when I someone mention it. NCFOM and this film have great endings, people are just too stupid.

Great thread, great site.  Somehow stumbled upon all of this a few days ago, and I love the insight and commentary, especially regarding this wonderful film.

Gamblour, I agree with this comparison completely, and I'm surprised there hasn't been more made of the connection to 2001.  I thought it was fairly obvious when I saw the film, but was just another layer of depth to unfold and ponder on.  P.T. Anderson's cinephilia is well-documented, and I thought most of the allusions (Citizen Kane, Giant, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Chinatown, et al) were covered in several mainstream reviews, but for some reason nobody seems to mention 2001.  Jeremy Blackman made a mention of 2001 back on Page 8 when he talked about the loud crescendo set against the opening landscape shot of the hills, saying it, "seemed like an homage to 2001's monoliths."  I thought the same exact thing (and I must admit, I was expecting that the film would have more direct involvement of the geography after that, like the very land that they walked on and tussled with in order to extract the oil would come off as a character of its own-- it didn't, really, except perhaps in a few wonderful set pieces that showed work at the derrick and the "geyser of flames").

Now I have only seen the film once, and it was about 3-4 weeks ago in LA, but I've wanted to talk about this ever since.  My memory of some of these things may be a bit sketchy, but I can't shake the initial impression without at least another viewing.

In addition to the structural similarity to 2001 with the intertitle and seemingly abrupt shift in temporal/spatial diegesis, I felt there were direct quotes in TWBB's final epilogue in the performance and action.  Daniel Plainview hunches and prances around like a stark caricature, pushing his performance to the brink of plausibility (for me-- and I know some have complained that he went *beyond* that point for them, and took them out of the movie).  He taunts and mocks Eli Sunday before chasing him down the alley to the inevitable conclusion where he catches him with the bowling pin, and bashes his head repeatedly.  This is the key moment of parallel to 2001, and perhaps some of you see where I'm heading  or had the same feeling yourself. . . Daniel Plainview is like the ape in 2001's opening, but his story is nearly the reverse-- whereas the ape's slow recognition of the long bone's functionality as a tool served as the precise moment that began the rapid evolution of humanity, Plainview's use of a bowling pin to bash the skull of Eli Sunday marked the final dissolution of his own humanity.

I half expected Plainview to throw the bowling pin up in the air in a slow-mo extreme close-up.

This obviously agrees with all interpretations of complexity and multi-entendre to the film's final line, "I'm finished," where it represents the literal end of the film, the accomplishment of Plainview's longstanding mission to snuff out Eli Sunday's fraudulence, and also the acknowledgment of Plainview's practical/social life being ruined (like a movie villain would say, despondently and defeated, when they realize they have finally gone too far and that there is no escape, and their comeuppance is nigh).


hedwig

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Reply #223 on: January 23, 2008, 12:45:17 PM
great post, cquiroga. please introduce yourself... here.

welcome to xixax.


EDIT: fixed the link.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2008, 09:15:48 AM by Hedwig »


idk

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Reply #224 on: January 23, 2008, 02:04:34 PM
i think he misinterpreted the state of Daniel right before the 1927 part. yes, he has a genuine revelation about what he's done, but it's immediately LOST in the phoniness of the ritual. he hides behind the ridiculousness with "yes, give me the blood lord!", the slapping, and "yes i do!" that's part of what's so amazing about that scene. a genuine revelation, the thing the church is supposed to be built on/NAMED AFTER, is discarded in the name of spectacle. when HW returns, it's not the reunion Daniel was hoping for because they still can't communicate. and just before the cut to the future, the beginnings of his insanity come out in the restaurant (fffffool). he's on the path to complete deterioration.
I totally agree.... and remember what daniel says when he is reunited with H.W., he is hugging him and he says "This does me good". This line seems revealing.