Friday, January 18, 2008

Happy Blog-aversary to Me!

It's four years today that I launched this blog. Glance at my earliest posts, and you'll see how it's evolved as I grew toward better format and hit my stride...

Paul Lynde Snappy Answer of the Day:

Q: What would the Lone Ranger always leave behind with the damsel in distress he'd saved? Lynde: A masked baby!

Much More Compelling Than It Sounds

Everything But Blood. I’m puzzled as to why Paul Thomas Anderson chose “There Will Be Blood” for acclaimed new film’s title. Blood is pretty scarce in this film, which instead sheds a character study of a uniquely American personage, a study that aims for – and nearly reaches – the heights of ‘Citizen Kane’ and ‘The Godfather.’ I don’t mean to oversell, just to play down the blood. There’s a vein of dark humor here below the surface – it’s no laugh-fest, but many scenes are arch and wry.

The 5 Parameters of Criticism:

1. Four Words That Encapsule: ‘What’s Oil, Without Love?’

2. Haiku (5/7/5):
‘What makes this man tick ?
Wealth or just empowerment?
Strife, pursuit: a mask?’

3. Oblique Comment(s): I’m impressed with Anderson’s accomplishment here. I consider his first two films, the self-written ‘Boogie Nights’ and ‘Magnolia,’ to be timeless masterpieces of a unique new voice in American cinema. But in ‘Blood’ Anderson successfully tackles new territory. It’s first visually spectacular epic (the oil fields of the West circa 1900 come to life ), his first film centered on a character, not an ensemble, and his first film party adapted from another source, Upton Sinclair’s consciousness-raising novel ‘Oil!’ I say party adapted, as he took the first 100 pages and thoroughly reworked the story and added numerous personal elements. While ‘Blood’s’ tone is markedly different from ‘Boogie Nights’ and ‘Magnolia,’ their common thread is failed parent-child relationships and the baggage we carry. Very much a straightforward epic, only in ‘Blood’s’ final ten minutes does it detour into over-the-top Magnolia-land, which I liked.

4. Insight: The brilliant Daniel Day-Lewis is mesmerizing here with his precision work as a cynical, taciturn oil entrepreneur doggedly pursuing success over the years. We glimpse his depths through three prisms: his pursuit of wealth, his muted love for his young motherless son, and his antagonism toward a young fire-and-brimstone preacher whose family he has swindled. The preacher boy and his twin brother are played masterfully by Paul Dano (the teenager from ‘Little Miss Sunshine).

5. Link: Metacritic reviews summary. Score 92 from 35 reviewers means universal critical acclaim. I’m in complete agreement. It’ll be an Oscar Best Picture nominee and will probably come in second to ‘No Country For Old Men.’

And here’s a film clip/trailer:

Cartoons du Jour:

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