Friday, December 07, 2012

Ranking: Paul Thomas Anderson

Today my focus is on director Paul Thomas Anderson, a director which emerged in the mid-90s. He is famous for films such as Boogie Nights, Magnolia, There Will Be Blood, etc. I must say that I rediscovered this director recently even though I had saw a couple of his films prior to 2012. I silently watched and rewatched his films over the past few weeks (I just recently saw The Master) and I must say I I have a new found love for his works.

What do I like about Paul Thomas Anderson's style? 

Well his films may boast a familiar concept but he tells his stories in such a unique, fierce, fun and meaningful way that a lot of film-goers may find it even a bit odd and different. His films are performance-driven and they usually entail a distant, withdrawn or stern characters which are still capable of providing humor at any given moment. He writes his own movies and I realize he likes using an emsemble cast as I see recurring names. For example: Phillip Seymour Hoffman, John C. Reilly, Julianna Moore, William H. Macy and Luis Guzman have been featured in numerous of his films. I classify him as a director of skill and originality, even though his works havent quite met a wide audience yet. He brings out the best in his characters and his films boasts a few memorable Oscar winning and Oscar nominated performances such as the famous Daniel Plainview, portrayed by Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood. Day-Lewis won an oscar for that role. Tom Cruise received a nomination for his role in Magnolia, Julianna Moore and Burt Reynolds both received supporting role nominations for their roles in Boogie Nights. What I also admire about his films are that they are usually accompanied by dramatic musical scores which I find to be quite compelling and fitting. He hasnt won a Best Picture or Best Director oscar yet but I believe he will get there.

I have decided to rank Paul Thomas Anderson's six films in terms of my likability. Dont get me wrong, I like all of them because they are all great but one definitely stands out above the other. Check out my rankings below:


Hard Eight (Sydney) (1996)
Before his commercial breakthrough with Boogie Nights, P.T.A made a very impressive low-key start with this crime-drama Hard Eight. A commanding performance from Phillip Baker Hall who portrays Sydney, a man who takes struggling John (John C.Reilly) under his wing and together they become partners. The movie reveals an impressive twist and was really better than I expected. 


Boogie Nights (1997)
P.T.A draws us into the world of the porn industry and let us get to know his primary character/porn star Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg) and friends in a very interesting way.


The Master (2012)
Here we meet a disgruntled and junkie ex-naval officer Freddie Quell (Joaquin Pheonix). Another addition to P.T.A's list of fine characters. He meets Lancaster Dodd (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), leader of  "The Cause". Both characters develop an interestering bond as Lancaster looks to integrate a troubled Freddie within his cult.


There Will Be Blood (2007)
Daniel Day-Lewis delivers one of the best performances in his career as Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood. Plainview is arguably P.T.A's best character and he really carried this film in a crazy and ambitious way. Lest we forget Paul Dano also shined. 


Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
We have grown accustomed to seeing Adam Sandler in fun, quirky, loud and corny roles so when he starred in P.T.A's melodrama romance Punch-Drunk Love, I was surprised and impressed. Morely impressed at how submerged in his melancholy personality but was still able to entertain us. 


Magnolia (1999)
This to me, is P.T.A's best work. He was successfully able to keep me engaged for three hours of non-linear narrative surrounding nine different characters. Of course the stories interwove at points but I was encaptivated and drawn into this film's emotion and superb acting. 

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