Author Topic: Emma's New Film Reviews!  (Read 10868 times)

snowcat

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Re: Emma's New Film Reviews!
« Reply #30 on: June 22, 2010, 10:04:29 PM »
Hard Eight (AKA Sydney) – 1996

Running Time:  102 Minutes
Director: Paul Thomas Amnderson
Stars: Phillip Baker Hall, John C. Reilly, Gwyneth Paltrow, Samuel L. Jackson.

Trailer:

Review

Hard Eight features the typical accidental love story that feature so predominantly in Paul Thomas Andersons films, although unlike his later films it does not feature a large ensemble cast.

As the film opens we see Sydney (Phillip Baker Hall) walk towards a diner, huddled outside sits  a young man, John (John C. Reilly). Sydney offers to buy John a cup of coffee and a cigarette we see the two at a table inside the diner. Sydney questions John about how he got there, we discover John came from Las Vegas, although he broke even he still does not have enough money to bury his mother. Sydney tells John he will not win the $6000 he needs but  tells John he will “Teach him what he did wrong”

Paul Thomas Anderson films are known for a few things, large ensemble casts, family relationships of which are predominately strained, interweaving storylines, characters who accidently find love (at work or in a strange situation) and the idea of “divine fate” or god choosing a characters path. Being Paul Thomas Andersons first film Hard Eight does not feature all of these themes like Magnolia and Boogie Nights do, It does however feature a selection of these themes which help to show his roots, firstly “Family relationships” is a strong theme which features in Hard Eight, throughout the film we see Sydney and Johns relationship develop into an “Father & son” like relationship this strengthens the story by adding a sense of intrigue as to why Sydney is doing this. We also see a couple of other themes in the film such as serendipitous love and idea of divine fate.

Paul Thomas Anderson is known for using certain actors in multiple productions, Hard Eight starts this, with John C. Reilly and Phillip Baker Hall appearing in the next two films of Andersons and Phillip Seymour Hoffman (Who plays a minor role in Hard Eight) going to take parts in three more of Andersons films. Phillip Baker Hall plays Sydney perfectly creating an air of mystery but undeniable lovableness about the character and John C. Reilly plays John just as well, playing Sydney’s naive  childlike companion.

One of Paul Thomas Andersons staples is the use of tracking shots at the beginning of films, similarly to that of Boogie Nights Hard Eight also features a tracking shot at the beginning, bringing the spectator straight in to the action. Hard Eight was originally titled Sydney but was renamed when the studio believed people would think it was a film about Australia, the film was also supposed to be well over 2 hours long but producer Robert Jones refused this firing PT Anderson and his editor and making his own cut of the film.

The Soundtrack to Hard Eight is very small and featuring just four songs, two of which being Christmas songs, the film relies heavily on character development to create the atmosphere of the film and not so much on a soundtrack. This is referenced in the astonishingly small soundtrack.

From the outset Hard Eight was a film I instantly liked, I am a fan of PT Andersons films and whilst I can’t choose which is my favourite film by this director Hard Eight is in my top films. I like to think that PT Andersons had proven already (with this film) that his films would not be a disappointment to his fans something I fully believed until watching There Will Be Blood which I will discuss during that review. Overall I think Hard Eight is a great character study and a solid film one I would recommend, and one that deserves the attention Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love and There Will Be Blood gets.


« Last Edit: June 22, 2010, 10:10:43 PM by Emma (snowcat) »

Dr. Hasslein

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Re: Emma's New Film Reviews!
« Reply #31 on: November 14, 2010, 09:45:06 AM »
Hi Emma, Good review on Rushmore, I watched it yesterday afternoon for probably the 20th time.
It's one of my all time favourite films. I remember when I first saw as a teenager. I had never seen or heard of Jason Schwartzman before, and as I'm sitting there watching him I'm thinking this guy is amazing. He kind of resembles Stanley Tucci. One part of the film I use to re-watch constantly was the little montage of Max's extra curricular activities; the song "Making Time' suits it's perfectly.


snowcat

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Re: Emma's New Film Reviews!
« Reply #32 on: November 14, 2010, 11:26:17 AM »
I have to admit that I didnt really rememeber any of his performances and the first film I remember thinking "thats Jason Schwartzman" in was Funny People, but then I paid more attention to him and he is a great actor, I think Rushmore is probably his best performance... I have re-watched it since my review. and I think its a good solid film.

Dr. Hasslein

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Re: Emma's New Film Reviews!
« Reply #33 on: November 14, 2010, 11:38:37 AM »
I just discovered that there is a criterion edition of Rushmore available. It's looks great but it's quite expensive; $37 is a little much for a DVD wouldn't you say?

snowcat

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Re: Emma's New Film Reviews!
« Reply #34 on: November 14, 2010, 11:44:29 AM »
Hmm.... criterion editions are always expensive and personally... I feel they are overly expensive... after all... I generally don't watch all the special features on a DVD especially if there are hours of them :/

...but if you really like a film :p it makes sense... afterall .... I have films that I have more then one copy of for various reasons :p

...I actually bought Walk Hard: the Dewey Cox Story on Blu-ray for the bonus features... but that was mainly for the 10 minute extension to the film haha

Dr. Hasslein

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Re: Emma's New Film Reviews!
« Reply #35 on: November 14, 2010, 12:00:29 PM »
I know what you mean. I've done that with a few movies I own, such as Carnival of Souls. I have the colorized version and the criterion edition. I also plan on getting the new blu-ray of the Exorcist.

Offline Antares

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Re: Emma's New Film Reviews!
« Reply #36 on: November 14, 2010, 06:07:08 PM »
I haven't seen this in a while, but I remember really liking the first 2/3 of the film, but the last 1/3 kind of fizzled.

snowcat

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Re: Emma's New Film Reviews!
« Reply #37 on: December 14, 2010, 02:58:18 PM »
Magnolia - 1999
Running Time: 188 minutes
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Stars: Tome Cruise, Philip Baker-Hall, Philip Seymour-Hoffman, William H, Macy, Julianne Moore and John C. Rilley

Trailer:

Review

A large ensemble cast, flawed and desperate characters, set in San Fernando Valley? Its probably a PT Anderson film

Magnolia features a large ensemble cast and many intertwining stories. The story can be split into two main parts: the story of Frank TJ Mackey a successful self help guru, his estranged father Earl who is dying of cancer, Earls second wife  linda who is much younger then her husband and Phil Parma Earls nurse. the next story is of Stanley a young genius who is currently starring on the show "What Do Kids Know?" the host of the show Jimmy Gator who is also dying of cancer but wants to make things right between himself and his daughter before he dies. Claudia Jimmys daughter and drug addict, Jim Kurring falls in love with her when he is called to her house after neighbours hear a disturbance, and finally Donnie Smith the "Quiz kid" a child genius who stared on "What Do Kids Know?" as a child. the characters spend the film trying to discover happiness and forgiveness.

PT Anderson is know for his typical themes in his films, much like other directors his films try to tackle similar problems. Some of the main themes in Magnolia include dysfunctional families, fathers who fail their children, the search for redemption and faith. Characters like Jimmy Gator (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Earl (Jason Robards) both have disjointed relationships with their children in the film, There are six basic character types that represent the children of dysfunctional families. Both Jimmy Gator's daughter Claudia and Earls son Frank take on the roles of the "Lost Child" these relationship help propel the story line forward, by linking the smaller self contained stories into to larger story arcs. We also see characters of Jim Kurring, Donnie Smith, Phil Parma, Jimmy Gator, Earl and linda seeking redemption, all of these characters have done something wrong in their lives and have lost people because of this, all characters seek to fix these relationships which helps connect the characters emotionally indirectly as well as create a compelling story and helping create the coincidental ideals that link each character.

Magnolia has two officially released soundtracks, the Soundtrack which features Aimee Mann heavily, what is surprising is that for a relatively large soundtrack a lot of the songs are featured in the film with the cast even singing the song "Wise up". The soundtrack includes the song "Save me", for which Paul Thomas Anderson directed the video. The video features the characters of Magnolia with Aimee Mann singing in the background, the song was nominated for an Academy award but lost out to Phil Collins song "You'll be In My Heart" which was written for the Disney film Tarzan.



The film also has a Score which was composed by Jon Brion. The only song that features on both cds is the song "Magnolia" Jon Brion is a frequent contributer to Andersons films also working on Hard Eight and Boogie Nights and even having a cameo in Boogie Nights as a guitar player.

Magnolia haunts me, it is my all time favorite film. Its an experience, a learning curve and I doubt it could be any better if it was shorter in length, at 3 hours long Magnolia is an epic film, the editing and cinematography are flawless. Magnolia truly is a masterpiece.


« Last Edit: December 14, 2010, 03:01:51 PM by Emma »

Offline Achim

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Re: Emma's New Film Reviews!
« Reply #38 on: December 15, 2010, 05:18:56 AM »
It's been a long time since I have seen this; maybe it's time to revisit. A few key scenes stuck in my mind are the opening with the elobarate suicide scenario, the scene with Tom Cruise giving his speech and the frog scene (which I can't remember whether they explained what happened there... :hmmmm:).

I love this kind of films, where several stories are told which ultimately touch each other ever so slightly (or more). Short Cuts, 11:04 quickly come to mind (I can't remember seeing Nashville, one of the famous Altman ensemble pieces). Sometimes it's fine to have a large cast like that with the film mainly following the story of one of the characters (Boogie Nights, The Player).

snowcat

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Re: Emma's New Film Reviews!
« Reply #39 on: April 15, 2011, 02:19:20 PM »
Hard Candy
Running Time: 100 minutes
Director: David Slade
Stars: Patrick Wilson, Ellen Page

Trailer:

Hard Candy tells the story of 14-year-old Hayley (Ellen Page) and the older man named Jeff (Patrick Wilson) she meets in an internet chat room, after talking online the two agree to meet in a coffee shop, after this they agree to go back to Jeff's home and photography studio. At Jeff's home a confident Hayley tells jeff she will only drink a drink she poured herself and goes into the kitchen to make them both "screwdrivers" a cocktail mixed with orange Juice and Vodka. But Hayley's warning of "never drinking a drink you did not pour yourself" is about to get a lot more important.

Hard Candy has some amazing camera angles and shots, the cinematic look and almost constant blur of the background make the two main characters prominent in almost every shot. There are a lot of close up shots that help the raw emotion in some scenes come out these extreme close up draw the audience in and help the characters seem more believable in a situation which seem far from it, Although its said that the initial story idea came from producer David Higgins who had read stories from japan about school girls who took revenge on the men that had groomed them via the internet.

What is strange about the characters in the film is both Hayley and jeff  are as guilty as each other, at the end of the film we are no closer to discovering who either character really is or what their real connection to any of the major plot points is. both actors give amazing performances as their individual characters something that those extreme close up benefit from greatly.

Interestingly throughout the entire film there is just 9 minutes of music, whats interesting about this is the backing track of the film is generally made up of ambient noise for example breathing sounds, whats more interesting is that the director (David Slade) was originally a music video director. There are just two songs in the film overall.

I really enjoyed Hard Candy, it had me on the edge of my seat, there is a lot of suspense in this relatively short film although i personally felt it could have been shorter, maybe this is because I hate waiting, there is a very long surgery scene" which I admit I thought was too long. For a film with just two characters I can't believe there is just that one point that seemed tedious. overall this film is a great psychological thriller, one id recommend and definitely a great first feature for Slade.


Offline goodguy

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Re: Emma's New Film Reviews!
« Reply #40 on: April 15, 2011, 04:01:49 PM »
I often have a meh reaction when it comes to thrillers, but I agree, this one is spectacular.
Matthias

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Re: Emma's New Film Reviews!
« Reply #41 on: April 15, 2011, 07:39:21 PM »
I might be up for a reeatch soon. I also liked it very much how open ended this film was.