Film Club: Oscar Nominations, There Will Be Blood, Cassandras Dream, War/Dance, The Waterhorse
The Academy Award nominations were announced yesterday; we agree and disagree with the Academy's choices. We also talk about There Will Be Blood, the new Woody Allen movie Cassandra's Dream, a
Tom Fudge: The first new film we're going to talk about during this film club of the air is There Will Be Blood , which was just nominated for eight Oscars. This movie is loosely based on a novel by Sinclair Lewis called Oil . The film is written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, who's known for making Boogie Nights and Hard Eight .
There Will be Blood tells the story of a fictional oil man, named Daniel Plainview, who is portrayed as a pioneer in the American industry. He begins as a miner out West, but soon discovers that oil will become, by far, the most profitable of all the earth's bounties. He works with a small crew putting up makeshift derricks. He eventually gains skill and a wide reputation, and he ends up in the oil fields of California. Along the way, he adopts the son of one of his workers who was killed in a mine, and in the town of New Boston, he strikes it rich with a huge gusher.
Along the way, Plainview develops a relationship with an ambitious preacher, who worships money as much as any oilman. The preacher gets involved in a complex land deal with Daniel Plainview. In the end, let's jut say that Plainview becomes very rich but very happy. This movie stars Daniel Day Lewis in the leading role, and newcomer Paul Dano as the preacher.
The next movie we're going to talk about is a documentary about life among refugee children in Uganda. It's called War/Dance . Most of the activity in War/Dance takes place in a refugee camp in the northern part of the county. The main characters are children from villages that are in the grip of war. Many of them had been abducted, or have seen their family members murdered by soldiers in a vicious rebel group called the Lord's Resistance Army.
We see these children, and we hear their stories. But the overarching story in this documentary is about music and dance. The kids in the camp are preparing for a trip to Kampala, where they will take part in a national music and dance competition. In the course of the movie, we see them practicing, performing, and otherwise living life and enjoying life as best they can.
Our final movie is a family and children's movie called The Water Horse . It's a story that takes place in Scotland during World War II. A young boy lives in a manor house that is managed by his mother. His father is away at war. The boy marks dates on the calendar to keep track of the time he expects it will take for his dad to return.
The boy lives along the shore of Loch Ness, and one day he finds an oblong rock that turns out to be an egg. As you may have guessed by now, the egg contains a baby water horse, known to most of us as the Loch Ness monster. The baby monster hatches from the egg and adopts the boy as a parent. The monster grows and grows until he has to be returned to the Loch.
But there's trouble in store for the monster, since the boy's village is home to a British artillery unit, that's looking for German subs. Is it possible the army gunners will think that the monster is actually a German sub, that's arrived from the sea? This movie stars Alex Etel as the little boy. You'll remember him if you saw the recent movie called Millions .
- Beth Accomando , KPBS film critic.
- Scott Marks, film historian and author of the blog Emulsion Compulsion.