"Sydney" is the first film from director Paul Thomas Anderson better known as the director of "Boogie Nights", this years loathed and loved "Magnolia" and several Fiona Apple videos. This film is essentially about a man who seems to pick up kids off the street (John C. Reilly, Gwyneth Paltrow) and teach them the ways of the casino and gambling and helps them out. Sydney knows everything about everything, the man is flawless, or is he? Paltrow is good as a waitress who just can't stop prostituing herself. Reilly is funny and sweet as John the serrogant son of Sydney. Jackson is slimey, sleazy and somehow likeable as only Jackson can be. And of course Philip Baker Hall as Sydney is amazing. "Sydney" is merely a taste of what was to come from this young director. There are some long steadicam shots and there is the funny, Tarantinoish (minus much of the swearing and less pop culture references) dialogue. Anderson knows how to use a camera and editing to their full effect and make a scene that could be boring if directed by anyone else, exciting. Look for cameos from many future Andersonites (Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robert Ridgely) The film is a cut above most crime thrillers, this one is more light hearted (for a crime movie, it's not light hearted for say a romantic comedy, no no :), funny and even touching in some parts. If you are a fan of Anderson rent this, see how he has increased his creativity and grown on his talents since this film. If you are not a fan of Anderson rent this, cause if the things you didn't like about Magnolia were the long running time and some pointless steadicam shots, you'll be happy to see this one is little over 1 hour 40 min and only has several long steadicam shots that are used for a reason. Listen for the great score by "Boogie Nights" composer Michael Penn and "Magnolia" composer Jon Brion and a Christmas song at the end credits by Penn and his wife, "Magnolia" soundtrack star Aimee Mann.