I’m officially at the halfway mark of my Paul Thomas Anderson retrospective. This one is a real treat, as at this point – without rewatching three of his newer films – Magnolia is my favorite PTA film. I was first introduced to it a few years ago, and it kind of kicked my cinephilia into high gear. Magnolia is a treat to watch every time; there is always a new detail or theme or storyline to examine. And my latest viewing was no exception.
We are less than a month away from the release of Inherent Vice and I am only on the second film in my Paul Thomas Anderson retrospective. My prospects for completing the project are not looking great, but I shall continue on anyway. The good news is that Boogie Nights is the last PTA movie that I had not seen previously, so I have now watched each of his films at least once. Boogie Nights was released only one year after Hard Eight, Anderson’s debut, but his artistic progression is so great that you might be forgiven for guessing something more like ten years had passed.
My Alejandro González Iñárritu retrospective did not go as planned; I only made it halfway through his filmography before Birdman was released. I have resolved not to make the same miscalculation with Paul Thomas Anderson before his latest film, Inherent Vice, hits theaters. So despite the fact that that movie doesn’t come out until mid-December, my new review series starts tonight, with one of the two Anderson films I had not seen: 1996’s Hard Eight.
Life After Beth had me conflicted before I even entered the theater. On the one hand, I think Aubrey Plaza is a really strong comedic actress, and I support all of her endeavors (except for the one that I don’t). On the other hand, this thing stars Dane DeHaan (you know, from The Amazing Spider-Man 2). He’s the broodiest creepazoid this side of angst-ville, and I’ve never enjoyed that persona in any of his projects. But I have an inexplicable need to see as many movies as humanly possible, so I’m not going to turn this one down.
The grand experiment that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been trucking along since 2008. The first nine films (Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, Marvel’s The Avengers, Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier) combined have earned over 6 billion (with a “B”) dollars worldwide. These movies are a great financial success, but more and more they are starting to feel creatively dull. The most recent film from Marvel Studios, Guardians of the Galaxy, looks to break that trend. Based on an incredibly obscure comic book team, Guardians of the Galaxy is unlike any movie Marvel has put out, and it feels like it, too.