It’s the week of Phantom Thread‘s home-video release, with yet another of Paul Thomas Anderson’s cryptic, sparse special editions, albeit now with the overt selling point of footage of Daniel Day-Lewis and Lesley Manville getting into a food fight (seriously). But really, the best part of its release is getting to revisit it and trying to crack some more of its secrets (and not just the ones hidden in the canvas of a coat). It’s more accessible than PTA’s last two films, but also far stranger than either of them (The Master and Inherent Vice put all their weirdness and incomprehensible stuff on top of pretty understandable thematic conceits; this internalizes the weirdness and only makes you think you’ve got a hold on what’s happening). It’s also a fitting conclusion to the trilogy that started with those films where PTA explores power dynamics and how they can shift or even be revealed as lies (there’s even a reprise of Inherent Vice‘s “eating things that are no good to eat as the ultimate act of submission”). It’s a lot to unpack, so thankfully it’s also fucking hilarious (it has the funniest sound effects since the heyday of Michael Winslow) and absolutely fucking gorgeous on every level, so coming back to it is a pleasure rather than a chore. It’s also, I’m pretty sure, a near line-for-line adaptation of R.E.M.’s “I Took Your Name”, but I start to lose people there.
Elsewhere, catalog titles are very tepid outside of Arrow’s bells-and-whistles-filled release of Dario Argento’s Deep Red and Paramount’s more modest release of Up in Smoke. So we’re left with the exceedingly rare week where the new releases are the ones to really look at. There’s Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut Molly’s Game, which, impressively, considering the spotty-at-best success rate of letting Aaron Sorkin sit firmly in the driver’s seat, was not a disaster and is apparently mostly just the fun parts of Sorkin’s writing. There’s All the Money in the World, which is almost certainly more interesting as a cultural document of this time than it is as a movie. And there’s The Greatest Showman, which inexplicably made hand-over-fist despite looking like trash for the garbage bin. Or, if you want actual trash from the garbage bin, you can buy Proud Mary, an almost-unparalleled “whaddya need, a road map” movie for how it wastes the can’t-miss premise of “Taraji P. Henson is an assassin”.
All the Money in the World (Sony)
Consenting Adults (Kino)
Deep Red (Arrow)
The Greatest Showman (Fox)
Molly’s Game (Universal)
My Friend Dahmer (FilmRise)
Phantom Thread (Universal)
Proud Mary (Sony)
Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay (Warner)
Up in Smoke (Paramount)