portrait of a lady on fire paul thomas anderson

Paul Thomas Anderson quibbles a bit about movies and limited series and realizes it makes him sound old; Jackass Forever is like a roller-coaster and that’s why you must endeavor to see it safely in a theater, surrounded by people; a lauded author reflects on how sex scenes from a female perspective can be life-altering. All in today’s Movie News Rundown.

But First: One of the breakouts of the Slamdance Film Festival is Ethan Eng’s Therapy Dogs, which he made with his Class of 2019 classmates during their senior year in suburban Toronto. They told school officials they were making a yearbook video — but they weren’t. Therapy Dogs is a sweet, funny, terrifying film about teenagers who feel invulnerable. You can hear our talk with Ethan on Spotify, Apple or here:

Deal of the Weekend: Speaking of Slamdance 2022, only a few days remain: Have we mentioned yet that passes are only $10? All-access! The only deal perhaps better than this is Wendy’s 4 for $4 thing.

Another Streaming Option: You can renew Amazon Prime, which is raising its price $20 to $139 a year, notes The Hollywood Reporter. This is the first price hike in four years, but it’s hefty.

Alana Haim: Is featured on the most recent – awesome looking – cover of British publication Little White Lies. And over on the LWL website, you can read a fun conversation with Haim and Licorice Pizza writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson.

It Starts: With Anderson and Haim giving their abbreviated tour of the San Fernando Valley – where Licorice Pizza is set and where they both grew up. And it ends with Anderson relaying a funny moment at the dentist.

The Dinosaur at the Dentist: “I was at the dentist the other day and the woman was about to clean my teeth and she was like, ‘Have you seen that new Michael Keaton movie?’ and she meant Dopesick. I said, ‘But it’s not a movie, it’s a limited series,’ and she said, ‘Yeah whatever, it’s a movie.’ It made me feel like a dinosaur. I make these films and they come out and they go in the theatres, but people are consuming things differently. They don’t really see it the way that I see it anymore. So, is your question: do I feel old? Fucking yeah, a little bit,” Paul Thomas Anderson says.

Favorite Jackass Stunts: Director Jeff Tremaine might not be as big a name as Johnny Knoxville, Jason “Wee Man” Acuña, or Steve-O, but he has been there with those guys from the very beginning — which was two decades ago. I spoke with Tremaine on the return of Jackass and he reflected on his favorite stunt from Jackass Forever, as well as his all-time favorite Jackass stunt ever.

Why Theaters Matter: I can’t think of a better argument for the theatrical experience than Jackass Forever. This is simply not a movie you watch home alone on a TV.

Let Tremaine Sell You: “It’s like riding a roller coaster. You don’t want to ride the roller coaster by yourself — it’s not as exciting. You want to be in the mix with everyone else who’s going through the same thing,” he tells MovieMaker on why Jackass is a communal experience.

Introducing Rachel Wolfson: She’s the first female Jackass cast member. IndieWire has an interview with Wolfson where she discusses the irony of how safe COVID protocols were on set (very safe). She also gets into the male nudity that is such a large part of the Jackass universe.

All the Sundance Acquisitions: This nifty piece lists all of the Sundance deals, and IndieWire will update it as more deals get done. Most recently, Emily the Criminal, starring Aubrey Plaza, was acquired by Roadside Attractions and Vertical Entertainment.

Weekend Long Read: Over at The New Yorker, novelist Elif Batuman — whose The Idiot I quite liked — has a lengthy feature on French moviemaker Céline Sciamma. Sciamma is known for 2019’s period romance Portrait of a Lady on Fire, and her latest, Petite Maman, is scheduled for release this year from NEON.

There Is a Humorous Aside about a Large Artichoke: That reads very Batuman.

For All the Recent Discussion: About whether sex scenes are necessary or not, Batuman writes elegantly on Sciamma’s “female gaze” and how Portrait of a Lady on Fire dramatically altered her own life: “The sex in Portrait felt revelatory, because of how completely it departed from the tropes of movie sex — even lesbian movie sex, which often follows the same beats, with a lot of wincing and gasping, as if the women involved were voluntarily, even vigorously, causing themselves distress.”

And Sciamma Reflects: On how she realized she was gay after watching synchronized swimmers at the age of 14. This experience later informed her 2007 feature Water Lilies.

Alright, No More Excerpting or Paraphrasing: It’s a very long, thoughtful piece, that you’re just going to have to read — or listen to — yourself.

Main image: Adèle Haenel and Noémie Merlant in Portrait of a Lady on Fire. Courtesy of NEON.