I figured I would continue the reviews I have been doing with two movies I watched this past weekend. On Friday, we took in the movie There Will Be Blood, starring Daniel Day Lewis as an oil man at the turn of the 20th century. I went into this movie not knowing anything about it, thinking it would be a period piece about the beginnings of the oil industry. Boy, was I wrong. I have since read the reviews of this movie, the critics raving about this movie and all the things it represented. Let me tell you, I consider myself a fairly intelligent person, but I did not get even half of the things the critics were able to glean from this film. Right off the bat, there were two things the bothered me immensely about the film: the music was literally painful, to the point where I thought something had gone wrong with the sound and asked Alex if the theatre should be notified; and secondly, there are no women in the film. The film turned out to be a character study of this one man who was madly mining for silver, so determined to find it that even after a fall which broke his ankle, he crawls into town to sell the silver and make some money. His character is somewhat predictable, being driven even farther and farther into madness by the end of the film. He swindles and uses people for his own gain, while characters all around him, specifically Eli Sunday (Paul Dano of Little Miss Sunshine fame), are doing the same thing, but in a different way. This film is essentially the tale of evil v. evil, a veritable fight to the death of two different evils, the oil evil and the false prophet/religious evil. The film itself had very little plot, jumping into and out of this man's life at certain points, with no real connection among them, merely observing the character's progression into madness. The cinematography was both beautiful, panoramic scenes, and too-close, gritty, dirty head shots of the main characters. The camera tends to jump around a lot, making the viewer feel restless and agitated, and adding in the loud and out-of-place music makes this movie a not so pleasant viewing experience. I had a very visceral reaction to this movie, walking out thinking it was the worst movie I have ever seen. I will, however say a few positive things about this movie. Daniel Day Lewis acted the shit out of this movie. I felt he was this character, through and through. He made me forget I was watching a movie altogether sometimes and, in the end, I despised him with a visceral, gut-clenching hatred. I can absolutely see why he received an Oscar nod today, although I cannot see why this film would be nominated for Best Picture. I must say, though, that this film has made me think a lot about it since leaving the theatre Friday night. I have read reviews of it, trying to figure out why people have liked it so much. Mostly, the critics say the Daniel Day Lewis' character represents a portion of all of us: the greed, the selfishness, the narcissism, and his portrayal is mightily done. I just think I have seen it done better, and without so many cliches, in other films.
The second film I took in was last night at this local bar/theatre which has "Movie Mondays". They were showing The Neverending Story, a film I don't think I've seen since I was a wee child. This is a film about a young boy who gets picked on in school and is doing poorly in classes. He discovers a book and begins to read it in his school's attic (which is a pretty creepy place, mind you). The story comes to life before his eyes, as he is transported to Fantasia, a fantasy land filled will animatronic wonder. He battles evil, goes on a journey of a lifetime, and ends up befriending quite a few interesting things (Falcor, the pink dragon/cocker spaniel?). Of course, he saves the day by shouting "Moonchild" (seriously, why Moonchild?) and then chases the thugs who beat him up on his pink lucky dragon/cocker spaniel thing. Altogether a stellar film, which, when served with beer and popcorn and a lot of snarky comments was a blast to witness. We all had tales of when we watched the film last, reminisces of dancing to the sassy synthesizer music, or traumatic tales of crying through certain scenes. It was a great time and I highly recommend getting friends together to take in childhood movies. It's worth it ever time.