The first words out of my mouth--er, keyboard, this week was going to be that I’m a huge Paul Thomas Anderson fan. Then I looked at his filmography and realize I’ve not seen his last three films. I am very much a fan of his first five films (Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch Drunk Love, and There Will Be Blood). But somewhere along the way I seem to have stopped watching him.
It started with The Master, his sort-of take on Scientology with Phillip Seymour Hoffman playing the charismatic leader of a crazy cult. When it came out, it didn’t quite appeal to me and the reviews were mixed so I just put it off. I’ve since started it a couple of times but never quite got immersed into it and stopped it maybe half an hour in and never managed to get back to it.The same thing happened with Inherent Vice, a movie I’m much more inclined to love with its stoned Phillip Marlowe-esque L.A. detective plot. I’ve tried watching it twice and never made it through. It's not like I didn’t like either of those films but they just didn’t quite enthrall me so much that I either couldn’t stop watching them or immediately wanted to put it back on after the break. Part of this is because my wife has no interest in them and therefore I’m forced to watch them when she’s busy. Part of it is Anderson’s tendency for sprawling narratives that take a long while to develop.
So, why then am I making Phantom Thread my pick of the week? Because I still want to love Anderson I guess. Or I do love him and I’ve just been slack in keeping up with his cinematic output. Also Daniel Day-Lewis stars in it and he’s also insanely great. Maybe this will remind me that I need to watch those three films and I’l have a marathon soon.
Also out this week that looks interesting:
Deep Red: Arrow Video has loaded up Dario Argento’s classic giallo with tons of extras and a new transfer.
All the Money in the World: Ridley Scott famously reshot all the scenes featuring Kevin Spacey when numerous sexual misconduct allegations came out about him. Spacey was replaced by Christopher Plummer, who was nominated for an Oscar. It's about a paramilitary organization in Italy that hatched a massive kidnapping plot in the 1970s.
The Greatest Showman: This P.T. Barnum biopic starring Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, and Michelle Williams washes over some of Barnum’s dark side, turning the plot into pretty standard biopic stuff but the songs are good and director Michael Gracey infuses it with a showman’s spirit.
Outlander: Season Three: This Starz series about a World War II Army nurse who is transported to 1743 has been on my list of shows to watch for awhile now.
Molly’s Game: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, and Chris O’Dowd star in this Aaron Sorkin-written and -directed drama about a high-stakes poker game that becomes the target of an FBI investigation.
Manhandled: Gloria Swanson stars in this pretty forgettable romantic comedy. Forgettable except for the really fun opening sequence in which she’s hassled on a subway train.
Stage Struck: Another Gloria Swanson film. In this, one she plays a young lady who dreams of becoming an actress and becomes jealous when her boyfriend flirts with an actual actress. Sorry, I’ve got no review of this one.
Luther: Drama from 1974 about Martin Luther and his struggles against the Catholic Church.
Proud Mary: Taraji P. Henson stars in this very '70s exploitation looking hitwoman action flick. I had high hopes for this, but the reviews have been consistently bad.
My Friend Dahmer: Horror flick about a young Jeffrey Dahmer on the road to infamy.
Up In Smoke: Cheech and Chong’s pot comedy gets a 40th anniversary special edition.
Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay: Not a sequel to the dreadful live-action film from a couple of years ago, but another Animated Original Movie from DC.