Wednesday, November 2, 2016

5 Films: Paul Thomas Anderson

By Kenny Howell

We continue today with our 5 Films series of probably the best modern director in Paul Thomas Anderson.

5. The Master (2012) - Frustrating film from Anderson that has much of the makings of a masterpiece, just doesn't seem to all come together completely. Still, unbelievable performances by Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Anderson does what Anderson does, which is better than just about anyone.

4. Inherent Vice (2014) - Terrific adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon novel about a stoner detective mixed up in a horribly confusing web of a conspiracy that doesn't make a ton of sense a lot of the time, but is crazy fun if you just sit back and ride with it. Another great performance by Phoenix.

3. Magnolia (1999) - Anderson's tip of the hat to Robert Altman, as he weaves a giant portrait of people in modern day Los Angeles haunted by their past, and includes one of the most original endings in film history.

2. There Will Be Blood (2007) - Anderson's modern masterpiece about two men battling for control in close to turn of the century California. One is an oil man played in an Oscar-winning performance by Daniel Day-Lewis, and the other is a preacher played by Paul Dano. Just a decent into crazy.

1. Boogie Nights (1997) - If Magnolia was Altman, Boogie Nights is Scorsese (plus a ton of other great filmmakers). It is what broke Anderson onto the scene, a feature length adaptation of a student film he made about a porn star named Dirk Diggler, who shares similarities to John Holmes. It is one of the best films ever made, alive with energy, and an American epic all at once. Few films have been quite as perfect.

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