Currently browsing the "Paul Thomas Anderson" tag.

Review: Licorice Pizza

This quirky coming-of-age rom-com was one of my favorite films of the year. The leads, Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman, are unknowns, but there are some fabulous cameos from A-listers, particularly Sean Penn and Bradley Cooper. It’s a quietly unfolding love story with an older woman that takes place as a young man hustles his way around town and into her heart. 

Review: Phantom Thread

Imagine a special episode of Project Runway co-produced by the BBC and Investigation Discovery, featuring Oscar-winner Daniel Day-Lewis as a meticulous and obsessive designer who takes Tim Gunn’s “make it work” mantra to a whole new level. Set it in 1950s London. Throw in a bit of dry British humor, a strong-willed muse and some creepy family dynamics. And you’ve got Phantom Thread, the eighth movie from director Paul Thomas Anderson, and his second with Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood). Anderson movies are a bit of an acquired taste that I have yet to… well, acquire. So I’m not all that surprised that Phantom Thread failed to win me over despite its strong performances and killer wardrobe.

The Master

You can tell from the opening frames of The Master that it takes itself very seriously and expects the same of you. Its world is very heavy. And I think that is a conscious stylistic choice, not a directorial ego trip by Paul Thomas Anderson who tends to make big movies with big themes, most of which I have liked a lot (There Will Be Blood, Magnolia). This is Cinema with a capital C. It pulls you in and makes it impossible to look away. And that is aided by having two really amazing actors at the center capable of carrying it. Philip Seymour Hoffman is the weightier character, a cult guru called The Master, but Joaquin Phoenix is the more interesting Freddie, an unmoored alcoholic searching for purpose, and his full-body immersion performance will most likely earn him another Oscar nomination.