1. There Will be Blood: There is always some genius in a movie by director Paul Thomas Anderson and There Will be Blood does not disappoint. I didn’t mind the whopping run time of Magnolia but when it ended I was ready for it to end. But I could have watched Daniel Day-Lewis’ unprecedented performance for 2-3 hours more. The combination of Day-Lewis’ performance with the music of Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood and Anderson’s gift of visual rhythm creates a primal mood. Then came the ending…and for many, including me, it doesn’t work but it’s still a brilliant film (worth watching more than once) and I will definitely be on line for the next Paul Thomas Anderson film.
2. Year of the Dog: Year of the Dog was directed by the writer of School of Rock and Nacho Libre. You shouldn’t expect that type of humor in Year of the Dog but you can expect to be surprised by the direction the film goes. Molly Shannon is wonderful in the role of a woman whose best relationships have always been with animals. When her dog Pencil dies her life is thrown upside down. She becomes a Vegan, starts campaigning for animal welfare and tries to find inner happiness. Those around her are no help and make her feel crazy and crazy is what she starts to become. I would’ve liked the movie to make a more clear distinction that the ones who perpetrate the horrors of industrial farming and cruel lab tests are the ones who are crazy but this movie is not about animal welfare. It is about one woman trying to find her place in life and you will probably enjoy it more if you go into it thinking that way.
3. Enron – The Smartest Guys in the Room: To me the Independent movie market mainly comes in the form of documentaries these days. When you think about it, independent movies simply mean they are supposed to be independent of movie studios control and you will mainly find that with documentaries now a days. Enron – The Smartest Guys in the Room is an excellent documentary about the rise and subsequent fall of Enron. It shows in great detail how the public trust and markets were so easily manipulated and how stock prices can be so inflated and hollow at the core. Some of the most harrowing scenes are of energy brokers laughing about the California blackouts that impacted millions of peoples lives. In short, Enron controlled the on and off switch of California’s energy grid due to the deregulation of the energy market. This documentary is a great example of how dangerous it can be if the private sector gains too much control over the essentials to our daily lives.