I haven’t seen Inherent Vice yet (god-willing I will have seen it by the time you are reading this), but I hope it signals a new direction for Paul Thomas Anderson, not because I am tired of his examination of the darkness in solitary men, but because he has so perfectly examined this in his previous three films. Punch-Drunk Love‘s Barry Egan (Adam Sandler) has a boiling rage that is finally ameliorated when he finds another person with whom to share his life. There Will Be Blood‘s Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) tries to do the same, but his overwhelming greed is too much to bear. But what of the two main characters in The Master? Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) and Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman) battle the same darkness as these other men, but head-on. Is the outlook for them any better than that for Daniel Plainview?
philip seymour hoffman
346 – Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
As we enter the second phase of Paul Thomas Anderson‘s career, it looks more and more like I will actually finish the retrospective this go-around. And just in time for the end of the year. Punch-Drunk Love is the film in which Anderson shifts from grand explorations of humanity featuring dozens of well-rounded characters to intimate character studies charged by intense actors and similarly intense filmmaking. And the man PTA chose to help him usher in this new era? Broad comedy superstar Adam Sandler. Surprisingly, it works.
342 – Skipping a Day
As I get closer to the end of the year I find myself less and less interested in writing my daily reviews. I’m going to finish the year out, but more and more I am interested in moving on to the next phase of my life. I’m sure I’ll talk more about this at the end of the month, but suffice to say I am copping out yet again. Today I am just too lazy and too tired. It’s time for bed. But I shan’t leave you so lonely.
338 – Magnolia (1999)
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.
329 – Boogie Nights (1997)
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.
327 – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014)
2012’s The Hunger Games can be seen as patient zero when considering the current epidemic of dystopian young adult novel adaptations (Divergent, The Giver, The Maze Runner), and while it has established the cinematic language for these types of films, it’s taking its cues as a franchise from other sources. Like the Harry Potter series and “The Twilight Saga” (ugh, what a name) before it, Lionsgate has opted to split the final book in Suzanne Collins’s trilogy, Mockingjay, into two films. And thus we have The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1. A film with everything you could ever want: letters, a numeral, a colon, and a dash.
296 – Hard Eight (1996)
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.
140 – God’s Pocket (2014)
We go from what could be construed as a declaration of depression to a movie starring a man whose darkness ultimately got the better of him. ‘Cause I needed a pick-me-up. God’s Pocket features one of the final performances of Philip Seymour Hoffman, but it unfortunately does not quite live up to the cinematic standard Hoffman often curated. It is difficult to ascertain where the blame lies, though it would be even more difficult to lay it at Hoffman’s feet.