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Member's Reviews

Hard Eight, a review by snowcat

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.



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.

(From Emma's New Film Reviews! on June 22nd, 2010)

Member's Reviews

See Jane Date, a review by addicted2dvd

Title: See Jane Date
Year: 2003
Director: Robert Berlinger
Rating: NR
Length: 90 Min.
Video: Full Frame 1.33:1
Audio: English: Dolby Digital: 5.1
Subtitles: N/A

Charisma Carpenter
David Lipper
Joshua Malina
Evan Marriott
Cameron Mathison
Eddie McClintock

Featuring Antonio Sabato Jr. (TV's Melrose Place) and Evan Marriott (TV's Joe Millionaire), See Jane Date is a hilarious romantic comedy that will resonate with anyone who's ever vowed never to fall in love again—but couldn't help it if they did!

Jane Grant (Charisma Carpenter, TV's Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) has just received an invitation to her younger cousin's wedding, and it is engraved with two of the most dreaded words a perpetually available single can encounter: "plus guest." Come wedding day, Jane had better deliver. After all, she's already told everyone, including her meddlesome Aunt Ina (Linda Dano, TV's General Hospital) and now-famous high school nemesis Natasha Nutley (Holly Marie Combs, TV's Charmed) that she's in a serious relationship. Now Jane has two months to find a guy to fit the lie, and save face. If the series of miserable set-ups orchestrated by her well meaning best friends Eloise (Rachelle Lefevre, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind) and Amanda (Sadie LeBlanc, Get Over It) are any indication, Jane's in for big trouble. From first date to blind date, from double-date to last date, the match game is on—and with millions of men to pick from, Jane is sure to find Mr. Right, right?

Scene Access
Bonus Trailers

My Thoughts:
I originally blind bought this movie for my love of 2 of the actresses in this movie. Holly Marie Combs (Charmed) and Charisma Carpenter (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel). As it says above... this is a made for TV movie.... one that While it was a slow start... once I started to get into it turns out to be a movie I really enjoyed. It was fun seeing these 2 actresses in a non-supernatural role. Unfortunately this DVD has no movie related extras what so ever.

My Rating:
Out of a Possible 5

(From 14 Days of Romance Marathon on February 6th, 2011)

Member's TV Reviews

Dark Angel Marathon, a review by addicted2dvd

Season 1: Disc 6

19. Hit a Sista Back
When fellow X5 escapee Tinga returns to town to save the family she left behind, Max, with the help of Zack, once again places herself in danger to battle Manticore, Lydecker, newly turned X5 Bryn, and an increasingly power-hungry Madame X.

My Thoughts:
This was a really good episode.. yes... it is another episode that brings a couple of her brothers and sisters back. I always liked those episodes when she gets to work with her siblings. To me... they have been some of the best episodes of the series.

20. Meow
Max starts to feel the stress of being controlled by her genetic urges when she goes into her bi-annual feline DNA sexual urges. She jumps one of the first available guys she sees. After a hot, random sexual encounter, she becomes more distraught over her situation. She finally realizes she's in love with Logan.

My Thoughts:
Now this one... being a straight male... I must say I love this episode!  Lets face it... Jessica Alba is just HOT! And I tell you... I love the looks on her face when she is playing that she is in heat. They need more episodes like these! This episode also does a good job leading into the season finale... so don't think it is just an episode of Jessica Alba being hot.. that is a big part of it.. but far from all of it!

21. And Jesus Brought a Casserole
Lydecker joins the X5’s in a plan to blow up Manticore.

My Thoughts:
This was a great episode... Max and some of her brothers and sisters going up against Manticore... the only way they could end the season in my opinion. It has been a good 3 or 4 years since I saw this series... so I have to admit.... I forgot how this season ended! Now I am even more excited about starting the season 2 set!  Though I do think I will take a short break and do another movie marathon first.

(From Dark Angel Marathon on September 8th, 2007)