Monday, January 14, 2008

Films of the Weekend

Movie name: There Will Be Blood
Year of release: 2007
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Stars: Daniel Day Lewis, Paul Dano, Ciaran Hinds, Kevin J. O'Connor, Dillon Freasier, Russell Harvard
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 9

I am a huge fan of Paul Thomas Anderson's work. "Boogie Nights" and "Magnolia" are to me, some of the best films of the 90's, and two of my favorite films of all times. This is a director who creates films that are daring, intense, innovative, films that are an art piece without alienating the audience. After the great "Punch Drunk Love" from 2002, it took 5 long years to see the new "There Will Be Blood", which also marks the first time the director works on a screenplay adapted from a book. The results are quite frankly electrifying - this is a film that holds attention and doesn't let the grip go. The immensely talented Daniel Day Lewis has a knock-out performance as Daniel Plainview, the ambitious and ruthless oil digger that stops at nothing to reach his goals. This is a film that goes into the dark depths of greed, ambition and that shows the false side of prophets and religions that just aim at devouring people's faith and beliefs. An unmissable film.

Movie name: Charlie Wilson's War
Year of release: 2007
Director: Mike Nichols
Stars: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Ned Beatty, Shiri Appleby, Rachel Nichols, Om Puri, Dennis O'Hare
Genre: Dramatic Comedy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6

After the stunning feat that was "Angels in America" and the interesting "Closer", Mike Nichols returns with a new film that uses the screenplay of Aaron Sorkin (best known for "A Few Good Men" that Rob Reiner directed in 1992 and the long running show "The West Wing") to show the involvement of a little known congressman in the Cold War intrigues. Much in the same way that "Primary Colors" used satire to show how politics work when electing a president, here the focus is in the Cold War and the games of influences that go behind the scenes. The film works mostly because of it's actors, mainly Philip Seymour Hoffman that is a spark in the midst of what would have been a very "correct" film. Julia Roberts does a good job as the Texan socialite and Tom Hanks finally redeems himself, after a string of mediocre films and mediocre performances (just to name a few, Ron Howard's "The DaVinci Code", Steven Spielberg's "The Terminal" and Joel and Ethan Coen's "The LadyKillers").