Blog post by Ross Munro for Wholly Cinema.
If you’re looking for a cool way to escape the angst of a post-Trumpian political dsytopia, you could do worse than grabbing the shiny new Criterion bluray dvd release of the great American auteur PT Anderson’s relatively undiscovered “Punch- Drunk Love” hitting the streets today.
In a canny bit of casting, how about Adam “Happy Gilmore” Sandler in a surprisingly effective low-key leading man bid? And, adding to that, throw in the great Emily Watson hot off the heels of her heavy Oscar nominated role in cinematic bad boy Lars Von Trier’s “Breaking The Waves”.
And if it’s truly a PT Anderson jam, you know his favorite “go-to” actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman is gonna be showing up at some point. Combined with innovative camera compositions, a quirky musical score and a deftly throwback feel, what you end up with is a highly engaging and surprisingly moving romance for the ages.
Sandler’s character is a buttoned-down salesman constantly engulfed by his seven sisters as he forms an unlikely relationship with Watson all the while simultaneously being threatened by Hoffman- a menacing phone sex company honcho.
Not as popular as the filmmaker’s earlier “Boogie Nights” and “Magnolia” upon its theatrical release, the movie has now come home to roost on a spiffy new bluray from those fine folks at Criterion- their collection highlighting new as well as classic world cinema- highly prized by cineastes all over North America for their dedication to audio/visual restoration as well as their emphasis on creating/unearthing a dizzying compendium of bonus Special Features.
Hopefully, as “Punch- Drunk Love” gets the special Criterion make-over, this lost American gem of a movie can finally get the critical and audience re-evaluation it so richly deserves.
Like his contemporary and close friend Tarantino, PT Anderson seems to take a while between projects and now we can rejoice in this current bluray while awaiting his newest theatrical project starring Daniel Day Lewis and taking place in the ‘50’s era fashion world.
It’s nice to see the Criterion Collection flying the flag of excellent home video discs as their upcoming release schedule reveals yet more cinematic goodies including: One-Eyed Jacks, His Girl Friday, The Asphalt Jungle and, one of my all time faves, Fox and His Friends by the German master Rainer Werner Fassbinder.
Truly an embarrassment of riches- Viva La Cinema!