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Paul Thomas Anderson

Inherent Vice * Paul Thomas Anderson (2014)

Like other P.T. Andersons “Inherent Vice” is a lengthy film: 148 minutes. Also Like P.T. Andersons it is a good one. I am no big fan of Joaquin Phoenix, but in “Inherent Vice” he is great as hippie private investigator “Doc” who gets different cases that prove to be connected.

“Inherent Vice” plays in the time of the Manson murders in which there is a hippie community alongside ‘the normal community’. Manson being a hippie, the latter community looks down on the former. Naturally the feelings are mutual.

The film has wonderfull humour, sexy ladies, an atmosphere that reminds of films such as “24 Hour Party People” and a drug-infused crazyness not unlike “Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas“.

Sure an enjoyable, light film, perfect for a hot summer evening.

There Will Be Blood * Paul Thomas Anderson (2007)

With such a title you might not expect a drama. However the film is certainly not bad, this is a P.T. Anderson that I do not really like. “There Will Be Blood” has the emotion of a documentary and in a way, that is just what this film is.

We follow Daniel Plainview, “an oil man”. In the USA somewhere around 1900 people discover that there is oil in the ground and start to find ways to get it out. Plainview is very good at this and is soon one of the wealthiest men of the continent. He seems mostly interested in success though and however he also has a ‘social antenna’ (he builds schools and brings general wellfare to the places where he starts businesses) his major concern is nothing more than being better than the rest.

The film gives a nice view on the early days of the American economic growth, but besides being a good history lesson, the film is not all that enjoyable.

The Master * Paul Thomas Anderson (2012)

“The Master” opens with a long and weird scene with men on a beach. Then the focus shifts to a young man. Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) always gets himself in trouble forcing himself to flee to another life. On one of those flights, he ends up on the boat of Lancaster Dodd, the master from the title. Dodd proves to be some sort of guru who developped a past-life therapy to overcome both physical and metal illnesses. Dodd is somehow attracted to Quell so even though Quell does not fit either the group around Dodd, nor his method of healing, he remains in Dodd’s presence. The friendship has ups and downs and in the end, Quell’s path leads elsewhere. Or does it?
Dodd is played magnificently by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. Hoffman manages to raise attraction and repel just by pulling another face. He makes Dodd into an admirable person who often seems very normal and at other times enigmatic. Surely Hoffman was a great actor. Even though I am not a big fan of Phoenix, he is good to have in this film too.
P.T. Anderson has created another drama with a good atmosphere, slightly surrealistic, with amazing camera work and just a bit different from your usual Hollywood drama.
This film will not be in any of my top-film list (not entirely my genre), but it is certainly a good film.

Punch-Drunk Love * Paul Thomas Anderson * 2002

Well, what should I say about this film? It is hard to say anything about it, but maybe it helps when you know that the director also made “Magnolia” and “Boogie Nights”.
Barry Egan (Adam Sandler) is a weird character with seven terrible sisters. However he tries to live in peace, his life is made hard by his own actions, but also by his sisters who keep confronting him with things from the past. Barry has his own business and runs into a woman. Everything becomes confusing and chaotic, making this an entertaining comedy/drama which appears to be much older than I thought. “Magnolia” but less dramatic. Nice film.

Magnolia * Paul Thomas Andersson * 1999

It has been a while since I first saw this film, but it was already on video when I did. I thought I didn’t have to see a film with Tom Cruise who wasn’t exactly my favourite actor. When I did see it, I was pretty impressed. Not only Tom Cruise is really great in this film (and not as much present as I expected), but overall this is a wonderfull film.

“Magnolia” has different stories of different people and the stories either or not come together. Not a line that you never read in my reviews, right? Well, Magnolia was -as I remember- on of the first films who worked with this concept and worked it out well. There are stories of different people in the worst periods of their lives. You will see a dying old man, Earl Partridge (Jason Robards) being watched over by the nurse Phil Parma (Philip Hoffman). Then there is Earl’s totally stressed out and way too young second wife Linda Partridge (Juliane Moore) who got totally depressed when her husband dies and when she realises how she treated him. Tom Cruise plays a great part as Frank Mackey who gives workshop to men to learn them to rule over women. Frank is Earls son and the two haven’t met in many years. Then there is a good Christian cop called Jim Kurring (John Reilly), who meets the drug-addicted Claudia Gator (Melora Walter) who on her turn is the daughter of quiz-master Jimmy Gater (Philip Hall), but they have a very bad contact since Claudia thinks that her father abused her in her childhood, while Jimmy (who is dying of cancer) doesn’t remember that. There are stories of quiz-kids and a former quiz-kid who was ruined by his parents.
Sounds pretty complex, not? Well, the film lasts for three hours but they are gone before you know it. All in all it isn’t a too complex film I think. It is quite depressive though, since it really shows peoples shortnesses and fears and most of the people are -as mentioned- in a very bad period of their lives.

“Magnolia” is a film that you have to be in the mood for, but I can asure you it is great!