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06/01/2016

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I notice someone quoted the paragraph beginning "If that higher perspective..." on Facebook. It's very much worth quoting.

The movie didn't make that strong an impression on me, though I did think it was good. I'd like to see it again. The bit you're reticent about (I think) didn't seem very effective to me, just weird (to put it mildly).

That's fair enough; it seemed very weird to me when first I saw it. It is so strange that it threatens to undo everything else. But I have found that as my familiarity with the film has increased -- I've seen it four or five times now, I think -- I find it less jarring and more intriguing. Indeed, as I said in the piece, I think that it would be a lesser film without that part.

I notice that my first contribution to this series was Week 11, and now this one is Week 22. I know which one I'm shooting for next!

Before you commit to that, let me check that those sequence numbers are accurate. I found a mistake at one point.

I really need to watch this again. I do remember thinking that there was grace in action in some of those plot threads.

I'm thinking I might not watch this, but who knows. I have a greater chance of watching it now than before. Which reminds me that I still haven't put Moonrise Kingdom back on my list.

Knight of Cups is coming to Netflix on June 21st? 22nd? Something like that.

AMDG

Yes, Knight of Cups -- June 21. Also Midnight Special, the very fine s/f thriller by Jeff Nichols the same day.

I must confess to not liking Magnolia much, and not being a P.T. Anderson fan in general. In Magnolia, although there was grace present, I just found the negative things to be too overwhelming. And I didn't really buy the ending -- seemed far too out of the blue (ahem).

Having said that, the performances were certainly very good, and it was an all-around high quality effort. It just didn't work for me.

Re: Tom Cruise. He's an actor I don't generally like, but he was very good in this. Imo though, his best performance is as the assassin in Michael Mann's Collateral. I think he was also very good in The Color of Money.

Hmm, I was thinking you had praised this movie. My confusion, obviously.

Rob G, I'm curious to know whether you've seen Magnolia just once? Not that anyone is obliged to like it, but I do think that it plays differently on subsequent viewings than on a first.

I've not seen The Color of Money, so I can't comment on that. Cruise is good in Collateral, for sure, but I much prefer Magnolia as a film, and perhaps that's what makes me rate his performance there so highly.

I confess I'm not really a PT Anderson fan either. I've seen all of his films, and Magnolia is by far my favourite. I need to see There Will Be Blood again, because I know many people think it's his best.

I'm looking forward to seeing Knight of Cups again when it comes onto DVD!

Hmmm...not sure I'd want to do that, Craig. I found parts of it a bit too sordid for me, I'm afraid. Maybe someday...

I greatly disliked There Will Be Blood. It lacked a compelling narrative arc, imo, and the ending was way over the top.

Magnolia is one of my favorites.

Tom Cruise is great, and I think it is because he is playing himself. You could say that I don't like him, and you would be correct.

No one mentioned yet about Jason Robards! I think it was his final film and he was terminal at the time of its filming. Very powerful stuff there.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman is quite wonderful, as is John C. Reilly. Two of the "good" characters in the movie.

I love the opening sequence narrated by Ricky Jay.

I still remember when I went to see it and coming out of the theater in a daze. I felt like I had never seen anything like it before.

I love the scene where the various characters are mouthing the words to the one Aimee Mann song, "Save Me"?

Nothing offended me in the movie, but I am not easily offended. It played true to form based on characters it portrays, I think. Melora Walters freak-out, cop is called. Tom Cruise TV rip-off artist. Jason Robards hollywood exec with young wife. Young wife has issues.

I love the mysterious scene that you all are referring to.

Maybe the oddest character is William H. Macy's - what do you think of him, Craig?

I need to watch again. I have the DVD here. I've probably also watched it 4-5 times over the years.

There Will Be Blood is worthwhile for Daniel Day Lewis, who is pretty outstanding. Paul Dano isn't bad either. But it is more off-putting than Magnolia is. Makes Magnolia seem like a feel-good movie!

I like all those aspects too, Stu. Even though we're in a minority around here, I'm glad we can agree that it's a pretty great movie.

The song they sing to is "Wise Up", although "Save Me" also plays during the film. That sing-a-long is a big favourite with me.

I really like the William H. Macy character (Donnie). His is one of the most poignant of the character arcs: his loneliness and longing for love lead him to do something wrong (and dumb), and when he tries to make amends he finds he can't (until the grace comes).

You're right that Jason Robards' role is also really excellent. For a character who does nothing but lie in bed, his performance packs a punch.

I've only seen There Will Be Blood one time, and I didn't much care for it. I want to see it again mostly on account of its good reputation (which you don't seem to share!).

I was trying to remember, after reading Stu's comment, which character was William H. Macy. Almost by definition, it would be an odd one. "Donnie" rang the bell. Oh yeah.

I don't recall being particularly offended, though there were certainly some distasteful things going on. And just in case it isn't clear, my view of it was more positive than negative, though less positive than either of yours (Craig and Stu).

I didn't really find it offensive so much as "unedifying," maybe? Of course, these things are often subjective (this coming from a big David Lynch fan). :-)

I thought Day Lewis was great in There Will Be Blood until the final scene, in which I though the scenery-chomping just went out of control. The friend with whom I went to see it and I still joke about that whole "milkshake" thing.

"(this coming from a big David Lynch fan). :-)"

Good point!

I'm supposed to get Knight of the Cups tomorrow. I hope it's as good as I am excited.

AMDG

My copy of KoC came Tuesday -- I watched it last night. Very much in the 'To The Wonder' vein, but with even less dialogue and traditional narrative. I liked it a lot, but will need to watch it again to get a real handle on it.

The visuals are excellent, of course. I would have loved to have seen it on the big screen, but as far as I know it never made its way to us here in Pittsburgh.

(By the way, the cinematographer, Emmanuel Lubezki, has won the best cinematography Oscar the past three years in a row.)

I never saw To The Wonder. I guess I should give up and accept that if I ever want to see these I'm going to have to watch them on my primitive tv.

You can get a decent sized, good definition TV for about $150.00 these days. I broke down and bought one a couple years ago.

I know. I could afford it, but I can't bring myself to discard one that's working perfectly well (within its limits). I'm not conscious of it being deficient with the great majority of things I watch, although a side-by-side comparison would no doubt show that it is.

Oh, in addition to Knight of Cups, the excellent s/f drama Midnight Special also came out on DVD this week. I imagine it's on streaming as well.

I just finished watching Midnight Special. I hate to use a word like spellbinding, but I can't really think of any other word that fits it better. I didn't like one of the places though.

Definitely worth watching.

AMDG

I watched it again last night, Janet, and I think I liked it even more the second time around. For one thing it struck me how well crafted the whole thing is. Also, I think the quality of the performances stood out more for me. They're all quite quiet and understated, but it fits perfectly, as the characters themselves are people for whom putting things into words, for various reasons, are difficult. The three adult leads communicate a lot of emotion via small but deeply felt bits of dialogue and facial expression.

Not sure which "place" you didn't like. Can you divulge without giving anything away?

Most of Nichols movies have this 50s feel to them, which I like. And then they are so slow and quiet most of the time. In a way, it feels a lot like a Malick movie, too.

The place near the end of the movie. I don't think I would want to go there.

AMDG

Oh, right.

Depends on how one looks at it, I guess.

I see that's a fairly new movie. Did y'all see it in theaters or is it already on dvd/streaming?

Something Rob said about it made me really want to watch it, and it seemed like it fit my mood last night, so I paid $3.99 to watch it on Amazon. I'm not usually so extravagant. You can get the DVD from Netflix.

AMDG

Rob,

It may be because I'm reading LotR.

AMDG

It just came out on DVD & streaming this week. I saw it in the theater back in March.

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