12 items from 2015
At least once a month, Cinelinx will chose one director for an in-depth examination of the “signatures” that they leave behind in their work. This week we’re examining the trademark style and calling signs of Paul Thomas Anderson as director.
Anderson began his career without any related college experience as a production assistant. With some money he scrounged together, he made a short film, which he entered into the 1993 Sundance Film Festival. He decided to turn that short into a feature and was invited to attend the Sundance Feature Film Program, where he was mentored, and his talents were further developed. In 1996 his first feature film was released, Hard Eight, which Anderson had to raise his own money in order to edit it as he wanted, which was different than how the production company wanted to release the film. His version received some critical praise. His next film, Boogie »
- email@example.com (G.S. Perno)
Editor Jacob T. Swinney has created a fascinating five minute video featuring the first and final shots from 55 different films. In some cases we can attempt to draw meaning from what we're seeing and in others there doesn't appear to be much rhyme or reason, but that in itself can offer a window into what the director was attempting to achieve. My only complaint with the video is the fact Swinney didn't include the film titles in the actual video, opting instead to list them in the film's description. While the majority of the images are recognizable enough, I did find myself looking at the descriptions here and there, taking me out of the video for a second and ultimately causing me to have to pause the video overall. Not a major complaint, just more a compliment in fact to the engrossing nature of what was created. I personally find the images of Birdman, »
- Brad Brevet
This is a repost of our review from the 2014 Toronto Film Festival [Tiff 2014].
Like an orbiting celestial body, a rare Adam Sandler role appears every half-decade or so that threatens to break the actor out of his lucrative fiefdom of low-brow comedy. Punch-Drunk Love looked like a potential turning point in 2002, but a Spanglish or two aside, he avoided further dramatic work until 2010’s Funny People, which earned Sandler wide praise for how capably he lampooned his own career. He then followed that up with Jack & Jill, That’s My Boy, and a pair of Grown Ups. Clearly, if Sandler were interested in a McConaughey-esque career turnaround, he would have gone for it by now.
The underwhelming returns on his latest vacation disguised as a comedy, Blended, along with a pair of upcoming dramatic roles once more see the established Sandler narrative being challenged. The Cobbler is the first of two »
- Sam Woolf
Adam Sandler has become something of a cinematic punching bag as of late, though you look back over his lengthy career and there are more than a few true gems, a couple of dramatic pieces I truly enjoy such as Punch-Drunk Love and Reign Over Me, but probably more importantly, a time when an Adam Sandler comedy actually meant bonafide laughs. One such "happy" memory from Sandler's early career is his golf comedy Happy Gilmore in which we all remember his green side brawl with former (or was he still the currentc) host of the "Price is Right", Bob Barker. Now, as part of Comedy Central's upcoming "Night of Too Many Stars", the two have gotten back together for one last bout. While I laughed a few times throughout this piece and, yes, they manage to fit in a little bit of toilet humor (this is Adam Sandler after »
- Brad Brevet
Paul Thomas Anderson has crafted a unique visual style with his seven deep filmography. He has the slow dolly in on someone's face, long steadicam takes, etc. Among his visual go-tos is the long shot, or even extreme long shot (which is just a long shot to the Extreme). Anderson's films generally deal with characters in isolation, and the long shot is a perfect way to illustrate this. In this supercut, courtesy of Jacob T. Sweeney, we get to see PTA's various uses of the long shot, which are both beautiful to look at and can say so much about the characters completely out of context. I wish this was more of a video essay and not a supercut, explaining why these are effective shots, but it is nice to see them all compiled in a neat package like this. Regardless, it still showcases the extremely well constructed shots of »
- Mike Shutt
Then there is Paul Thomas Anderson's adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's Inherent Vice starring Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Martin Short, Reese Witherspoon, Maya Rudolph, and Benicio Del Toro, plus a bevy of other game thespians. This adaptation has a contrary effect. It makes you want to hightail it to the incinerator with every Pynchon paperback you might own. Farewell, V. Sayonara, Gravity's Rainbow.
But before I get too critical, let me just note that this apparently was a project of love for Anderson. Anyone who would tackle Pynchon's verbiage and hope to get a slightly comprehensible screenplay out of it would only do so out of an illimitable devotion for the author. Anderson's chance of success, of course, »
- Brandon Judell
It has not been an easy week. At the start of the week, we had our editorial meeting here at HitFix, as we do every Monday, to talk about both the week ahead and longer-term projects as well. For fairly obvious reasons, there was a fair amount of talk about Valentine's Day content, and I mentioned a few different ideas that I might write about, including one that I'll end up publishing at some point about Steve Martin. But even as I pitched a few ideas, I found myself uncomfortable with the entire idea of writing about romantic films right now. Honestly, I was hoping to spend this week with my head down and then just sail right through this weekend without writing about love at all, because for the first time in my adult life, I am no longer sure what I think about it. After all, I was with my wife for 14 years. »
- Drew McWeeny
In late 2014, Paul Thomas Anderson's latest film Inherent Vice - a psychedelic dive into the La of the past- screened at at a special BAFTA preview with the director on hand to take part in a post-film Q&A.
Ably marshalled by film critic Mark Kermode, the discussion touched on the director's Thomas Pynchon adaptation and his collaborations with Joaquin Phoenix and composer Johnny Greenwood. Perhaps most interesting of all, however, was Anderson talking about his all-time favourite movie.
When asked by Kermode to choose, Anderson replied quickly with "The Treasure of Sierra Madre. There's no competition, it's the best," before hesitating to ponder the merits of Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest.
"This is the game that's so f**king maddening," he said. "On the drive home you're like, no it's not Treasure of Sierra Madre its North by Northwest, it's Something Wild, it's Repo Men. The lists are so long. »
This is it, folks. After 400(!) episodes, Ricky and Simon decided to wrap up the Sound on Sight podcast. To send it off in style, they take a look back at the very best films of 2014, with some help from a variety of former guest- and co-hosts. Smack dab in the middle, with the help of special guests Kate Rennebohm and Adam Nayman, they go deep on Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice, the biggest missing piece in their 2014 moviegoing. It’s a nearly three-hour blowout, because it didn’t seem right to go out small. Cheers!
From the pool party dive in Boogie Nights inspired by Mikhail Kalatozov’s I Am Cuba to the steering wheel scene in Hard Eight that so deftly recalls Alfred Hitchcock’s Saboteur, playing spot the reference with Paul Thomas Anderson is always fun. It is through these moments that we can fully appreciate the voracious depth at which one man is embroiled in his art; forever the immersed student despite his steady rise to master, yet with a constant, gleeful wish to share with us an unconditional love for the cinema – something that we can all identify with.
Of all Paul Thomas Anderson’s creations, one continues to standout as a jarring anomaly: that being Punch-Drunk Love, which does away with many of the recurring narrative themes (fathers and sons, abandonment, etc.) that can be traced throughout his work, and instead challenges the conventions of the romance genre – though, with »
- Nicholas Page
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
Paul Thomas Anderson learned to make movies by watching movies. Each of his films bears the ghostly fingerprints of his masters and mentors: the obsession and one-point perspective of Kubrick; the tough-guy veneers and fetid societies that sated the first decade of Scorsese’s career; the intense meditative stares of Jonathan Demme, constantly reminding us that we are, of course, watching a film—we’re immersed in it, but we are spectators, non-participants, in the hands of an artist. Anderson has never created voyeuristic or naturalistic films, never approached Cinéma vérité, and he’s never tried to feign an amateur aesthetic. He crafts films indebted to the grand ambience of New Hollywood, rendered unnaturally lucid and diligently composed. To watch one of Anderson’s films is to get a condensed lesson on the artisanship and history of American cinema.
But Anderson’s most obvious early influence—one he has name-checked, »
- Greg Cwik
12 items from 2015
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