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Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye (1973), cited quite a bit these days in reviews of Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice, has recently screened in two separate series in New York and returns to Film Forum next week. We take a look at a slew of fresh takes on Altman's work and point to a freewheeling oral history of California Split (1974), too. David Lynch's paintings and drawings are currently on view in Philadelphia and Middlesbrough. San Francisco's Roxie Theater will be hosting A Coppola Family Affair all weekend long with special appearances by Walter Murch, Roman Coppola, Eleanor Coppola, Gia Coppola and James Franco. Plus more goings on. » - David Hudson »
Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull’s History Lesson
Directed by Robert Altman
The popularity of the Western, at one point America’s reigning genre champion, was starting to wane considerably by the mid-1960s and well into the 1970s. In part to keep the form alive, and in part to examine just want made this type of film what it once was and had now become, many filmmakers, Sam Peckinpah most notably, began to approach Westerns through a self-consciously analytical lens. These were Westerns that were, in one way or another, about Westerns themselves: what made them work, what their key tropes were, how could their conventions be subverted or updated, and how could this old-fashioned genre be made modern?
- Jeremy Carr
After two viewings, I still don’t know what Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice adds up to, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing: Why should a movie add up to anything? It’s not a theorem. Interstellar adds up to something, and it’s unintentionally hilarious. Inherent Vice, which is set in 1970 in a beach town south of L.A., is like a gorgeous stoner art object, and maybe you need to get baked to be on its dissonant, erratic wavelength. It’s groovy, distant, funny — funny strange and funny ha-ha. It’s drugged camp. It’s like nothing else.Except maybe the novel, which is Thomas Pynchon’s contribution to the L.A. stoner private-eye genre, the highest (so to speak) achievements of which are on film: Robert Altman’s take on Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye and Joel and Ethan Coen’s The Big Lebowski. »
- David Edelstein
Welcome back to This Week In Discs! We were off on holiday break last week, so this post includes releases from 11/25 and 12/2. If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. The Long Goodbye Philip Marlowe (Elliott Gould) awakens to a world of trouble when his best friend is accused of murder before committing suicide across the border in Mexico. Now cops and thugs alike are giving Marlowe a hard time as he investigates what the hell is going on around him, but the more he digs the more twisted the lies become. A gangster with a violent streak (and a bodyguard played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) insists that Marlowe owes him money, and a wealthy Malibu couple mixes in some insanity and infidelity. It’s not all bad though as the women who live next door have recently discovered the joys of nude yoga. Robert Altman »
- Rob Hunter
Stretch I don't know what happened at Universal when it came to Joe Carnahan's Stretch, but they really decided to bury it. They didn't market it, delayed it's release date, tried to dump it, finally released it as a streaming only title and now it comes to DVD (no Blu-ray) without any notice. I didn't know it was coming out today until ten minutes before posting this article. As anyone that reads this site regularly knows, I liked this movie. It's a batsh*t fun good time, give my review a read and see if it's up your alley.
The Giver I just have no interest in this film and that's a little weird I think considering it's directed by Phillip Noyce and stars the likes of Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges, but I just can't bring myself to be interested.
The November Man Remember when there was going »
- Brad Brevet
At a loss for what to watch this week? From new DVDs and Blu-rays, to what's streaming on Netflix, we've got you covered.
New on DVD and Blu-ray
This charming indie rom-com stars Daniel Radcliffe as Wallace and Zoe Kazan as Chantry, two platonic friends who maybe, kinda sorta want to be more than friends. At least Wallace does; Chantry is in a long-term relationship, and Wallace has convinced himself being "just friends" is better than not having Chantry in his life at all. Adam Driver and Mackenzie Davis co-star as Wallace's best friend and his new girl; together, their newfound lust (or it is love?) is hilarious and unstoppable.
- Jenni Miller
★★★★★ There Will be Blood (2007) gave us the birth of American capitalism, The Master (2012) doused us in the uncertainty of post-war malaise and now Inherent Vice (2014) takes us to the crossroads of the modern Californian ethos. This is Paul Thomas Anderson's American history trilogy - how the West was won, bought and sold. Gore Vidal called his own series of historical novels the Narratives of Empire; it would be an apt title for PTA's trilogy, which serves as a document of the 20th century incarnation of that pioneer spirit. Daniel Plainview, Freddie Quell and Doc Sportello may initially seem like a disparate group of characters, but that spirit connects them. Each is a pilgrim staking his place in the New World.
A hilariously louche and ramshackle psychedelic noir, Inherent Vice is an audacious stylistic leap for Anderson, but his risks pay off beautifully. It's an amazing work, capturing the heady »
- CineVue UK
Nouvelle Vague (1990) is not a cinematic treatment of the Young Turks breaking new ground in the sixties but a film about the history of cinema told as a biblical allegory. Old and New Testament; Old and New Wave; the studio system and the post-studio era; Delon as Roger and Richard Lennox who fall in love with the Countess Elena Torlato-Favrini. I must admit that the thought of Godard making a film about the New Wave directors sounds fascinating and the film-geek in me would have ate it up. Like many cinephiles I love films about films like The States of Things (1982) by Wim Wenders which is one of the greatest films in this subgenre or even The Last Movie (1971) by Dennis Hopper which is not a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination. Alas this is not what Godard made. However, the Nouvelle Vague that Godard did make is immensely »
- Cody Lang
Kino Lorber has been in the specialty DVD/Blu-ray business for years now, but while some labels make their home in niches based on genre (Scream Factory, Synapse Films) or ” important” films (Criterion Collection) Kino’s focus has been on quality world cinema both contemporary and classic. Their various imprints release films as diverse as The Long Goodbye, Elmer Gantry and Burt Reynolds’ Gator. They don’t dabble in horror a lot, but they don’t exactly shy away from the genre either as evident by titles like To All a Goodnight, Jennifer and Nosferatu. Their two latest horror releases — The Bubble and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari — fall heavy on the classic side as they’re 48 and 94 years old, respectively. The Bubble is the lesser known of the two and features a plot device that will feel familiar to fans of Under the Dome or The Simpsons Movie, while The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is still »
- Rob Hunter
1. Nothing actually happened today. The Internet goes crazy for announcements, and today might very well go down in history as the single most announcement-y announcement in the history of superhero movies or movies or pop culture or human history. But an announcement is not a movie. Anticipation is another word for enjoying something that doesn't exist yet. Currently, here on the Internet, there are bizarre people hurling insult grenades at critics who have committed the sin of liking but not loving Interstellar—a movie that none of the bizarre people hurling insult grenades have actually seen. Maybe they will never actually see Interstellar. »
- Darren Franich
★★★☆☆With 39 features to his name, each as unique and innovative as the next, there are few American directors who come close to matching the prolific career of Robert Altman. Ron Mann would go one step further, describing Altman's films as distinctively "Altmanesque", a term he spends 95 minutes attempting to define in his latest documentary, Altman (2014). An affectionate exploration of Altman's life, Mann invites a wealth of this maverick filmmaker's best known collaborators and contemporaries to discuss his legacy, including the late Robin Williams, The Long Goodbye star Elliot Gould and Inherent Vice (2014) director Paul Thomas Anderson - who simply describes Altman with one word: "inspiration".
- CineVue UK
I knew I was going to love Inherent Vice (directed by P.T. Anderson, having its world premiere here at the New York Film Festival) the moment at the tail end of the opening sequence when Joaquin Phoenix, with his Chia Pet forest of sideburns, staggered out into the hippy seaside streets and suddenly the snares and bass of Can’s “Vitamin C” filled the soundtrack as the title—in all its 70s-style outline-font neon splendor—appeared—almost pulsatingly, I’d say—on the screen. The song took me back, as the movie, with its acid-flashback style tends to do—not to the 70s—but to the 90s, when I used to put the krautrock geniuses’ album Ege Bamyasi on the stereo and crank up the volume, and to one afternoon in particular when I was home alone on a Saturday afternoon and I put on Side B, and when the »
- Doug Dibbern
Last Saturday (the most sacred day of the Jewish calendar, incidentally), the New York Film Festival screened Paul Thomas Anderson’s adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's Inherent Vice, and I’m still trying to grok it fully. It might take another few months and another screening (on a non-holy day), but the movie doesn’t open until December, so what’s the goddamn rush? Objectively speaking, it’s different from anything Anderson has done before, and he has done some weird shit. The film is a gorgeous stoner art object, at once groovy and glacial. It’s exceptionally faithful to the book, which is Pynchon’s contribution to the L.A. stoner private-eye genre, the highest (so to speak) achievements of which are (and remain) Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye and the Coens’ The Big Lebowski. One thing they have in common is that their narratives unravel as they go along, »
- David Edelstein
Between Dan Gilroy's "Nightcrawler" and Paul Thomas Anderson's "Inherent Vice," you're going to be seeing a lot of Oscar-winning cinematographer Robert Elswit's work this year. Not only that, but you're going to be seeing a lot of Los Angeles location work in these films that showcases areas and eras of the city unique to the silver screen. When Elswit rang me up from London, where he's currently shooting the fifth "Mission: Impossible" film with director Christopher McQuarrie and star Tom Cruise, I found it a little difficult to keep from going long on all of this. Few DPs have had the opportunity to play with the City of Angels in such specific ways. Much of that is owed to Elswit's collaboration with Anderson, which has sketched the city, particularly the San Fernando Valley, almost as a character in films like "Boogie Nights," "Magnolia" and "Punch Drunk Love. »
- Kristopher Tapley
Inherent Vice is part stoner comedy, part spiritual journey, with a vibe that’s less about the thrills of a high and more about the paranoia that follows. It’s a complicated film, faithfully adapted from a dense, complicated, plot-heavy book, and it’s impossible to consume in one bite and still feel satisfied. But that’s a Paul Thomas Anderson movie for ya – rich with character and personality; its nooks and crannies stuffed with colorful moments you may not even notice until your fifth time through. Inherent Vice is most definitely one of those films – like a thinking-man’s Big Lebowski with shades of The Long Goodbye; a hilariously complex stoner noir that weaves around its massive web of characters utilizing a tone that’s at...
- Erik Davis
Written for the screen and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Even if you were not around during the 1970s, Inherent Vice comes across as a faded, nostalgic memory. Being a faithful adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s novel, the film recounts the dying days of the free love era, laced with the look, feel and paraphernalia of the subculture. Anderson’s comedic thriller peppers itself with restless, almost out of place laughter, while dedicating itself to the themes of the early Seventies. One is reminded of private-eye classics such as Roman Polanski’s Chinatown and Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye, with traces of Zucker-Abrahams comedies like Airplane! and The Naked Gun. For many, the homage to 1970s filmmaking will be a very real and thrilling look down memory lane. For others, it’ll be a history lesson like no other found in modern day filmmaking.
Larry ‘Doc »
- Christopher Clemente
The good-vibing ’60s are slip-sliding away in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Inherent Vice,” and along with them a certain idea of pre-Vietnam, pre-Manson California life — of boho beach towns and uncommodified counterculture soon to be washed away by a tsunami of gentrification, social conservatism and Reaganomics. Freely but faithfully adapted by Anderson from Thomas Pynchon’s 2009 detective novel — the first of the legendary author’s works to reach the screen — Anderson’s seventh feature film is a groovy, richly funny stoner romp that has less in common with “The Big Lebowski” than with the strain of fatalistic, ’70s-era California noirs (“Chinatown,” “The Long Goodbye,” “Night Moves”) in which the question of “whodunit?” inevitably leads to an existential vanishing point. Not for all tastes (including the Academy’s), this unapologetically weird, discursive and totally delightful whatsit will repel staid multiplex-goers faster than a beaded, barefoot hippie in a Beverly Hills boutique. »
- Scott Foundas
New York - Thomas Pynchon's "Inherent Vice" is probably the most accessible novel he's ever written, set in 1970, a sort of hyper-clever nod to the Raymond Chandler tradition of Los Angeles detective stories. As much as I wanted to like his work, I was never able to really dig in and enjoy Pynchon's books. They felt to me like something to be conquered. With "inherent Vice," I finally found myself caught up in not just his language but with his characters and the world that he was describing. It was my in to the rest of his work, and so it holds a special place for me among his novels. Pynchon is one of literature's true pilgrims, a guy perpetually pushing forward against the constraints of what pop culture will bear. His first book "V." is the story of a discharged sailor who loses himself in the artistic community »
- Drew McWeeny
When listing influences for "Inherent Vice," an adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's 2009 detective novel, Paul Thomas Anderson drops genre staples that don't come as much of a surprise: "The Long Goodbye," "Kiss Me Deadly," "The Big Sleep" — on-screen mystery fiction done right. But his tonal reference points turn any conjured vision of the movie on its head. “‘Police Squad!’ and ‘Top Secret!’ are what I clued into,” Anderson told the New York Times in a recent profile. “We tried hard to imitate or rip off the Zucker brothers’ style of gags so the film can feel like the book feels: just packed with stuff. And fun.” Is mutton-chopped Joaquin Phoenix the heir to Leslie Nielsen's throne? The idea sounds sublime, even as it dampens the "Inherent Vice" awards potential. The Academy isn't the silliest bunch. Set along a fictional California beach town in the 1970s, "Inherent Vice" follows Doc »
- Matt Patches
There’s not long to go now until we’re finally able to see the first trailer for Paul Thomas Anderson’s seventh feature, Inherent Vice. With the movie set to debut at the New York Film Festival next week, Warner Bros. are prepping us eager moviehounds with another new image. It’s the prospect of a full-length, or heck even a teaser trailer that we’re most excited for. But a pic is better than nothing.
In what’s undoubtedly the first opportunity to dive into Anderson’s process behind making the movie, The New York Times snagged an interview with the helmer. When pressing the director on the tone we can expect, Anderson described Inherent Vice as “his most comedic and anarchic film since “Boogie Nights.” It’s a stoner detective film so overstuffed with visual gags and gimmicks that the filmmaker said he was inspired by slapstick spoofs like “Top Secret! »
- Gem Seddon
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