The magnolia is a perennial flower: its recurring bloom signals spring’s arrival and the bark of the tree it grows from can be used to treat anxiety and cancer. Magnolia Boulevard is a street that runs through Burbank, California—the media capital of the world, just miles from Hollywood and downtown Los Angeles. Neither of these things is explained outright in Magnolia, writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson’s 1999 opus, but even without awareness of them, the viewer begins to form an intuitive understanding of how the beauty, complexity, and fragility of a flower may relate to the tapestry of lives on display in the movie.
Magnolia is a young man’s movie. It’s a crinkled, wet valentine to the Valley (San Fernando, where Burbank is located and where the film is set). Anderson was still in his twenties when he made it, and juxtaposed with the mature back half of his filmography to date, it pulses like a drop-kicked dog without a leash. Sometimes it barks off into the unknown with elliptical subplots. Sometimes it chases its own tail, looping back on itself with crescendoing crosscuts. Though it all, hangs a persistent storm cloud of emotion, the kind that enslaves hurt people until they’re liberated by a rain of frogs.
After the success of Boogie Nights, Anderson’s exuberant porn-family film, New Line Cinema gave the young filmmaker carte blanche to make an achingly personal, 3-hour drama with an ensemble cast and the biggest budget of his career. Blame the audience, blame the Internet, blame risk-averse studio executives, but Hollywood’s gatekeepers don’t allow many movies like that to enter the multiplex anymore. In Collateral, Tom Cruise’s steely hitman pegged L.A. as a place that was “too sprawled out, disconnected.” In Magnolia, he plays Frank T.J. Mackey, a misogynistic seduction seminar leader whose story intertwines with that of other characters to form the obverse narrative, whereby everything is interconnected despite the ungainly sprawl.
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Talk about impossible: somehow, Mission: Impossible has blossomed into the best modern-day action franchise. Since 1996, Tom Cruise has been inviting audiences along as he defies the odds, risks his life, runs like hell, and delivers increasingly entertaining adventures. Unlike most franchises, Mission: Impossible has generally improved with each subsequent entry. Now, Mission: Impossible – Fallout is ready to draw us in once again.
Before the film arrives, we’ve decided to accept the most dangerous mission of all: a journey through the entire Mission: Impossible franchise in an attempt to learn what makes it tick.
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On February 2, 2014, Philip Seymour Hoffman passed away at the age of 46. The actor left behind a singular body of work that has garnered him lasting praise for his dedication to craft. In the January 2018 issue of Vogue, his longtime partner, Mimi O’Donnell, reflected on the personal loss of him as a collaborator and as the father of her three children. Even for those of us who never met the man in real life, there is a loss that is felt, but the nature of Hoffman’s work as a film actor is such that he continues to live on on-screen.
What’s the greatest Philip Seymour Hoffman performance? Everyone probably has a different answer to that question. The film of his that hits me the hardest happens to be one of his last. It’s a film that is deep and devastating, made with his frequent collaborator, Paul Thomas Anderson. Hoffman plays a character named Lancaster Dodd and to this day, just thinking about the film calls up heavy emotions for me, because it came at a time in my life when I had just moved, didn’t know a lot of people outside of work, wasn’t in a relationship, and was cut off from family and friends, who had all just become Skype faces seen from half a world away.
In a weird way, these living circumstances may have primed me to receive the film and its themes on a more empathetic level than I would have otherwise. This is all a roundabout way of saying: Dodd is God. That is my reading of The Master.
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The previously released trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockginjay – Part 2 did a little more than hint at a big spoiler for the franchise’s finale, at least for those who haven’t read the young adult franchise on which the movies are based. Thankfully, the latest Mockingjay Part 2 trailer keeps the spoilers to a minimum, and shows off plenty of the action to come in the conclusion of the blockbuster film series. Read More »
Posted on Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 by Angie Han
When Philip Seymour Hoffman passed away earlier this year, he left behind a few unfinished projects. Among them was Happyish, a Showtime dramedy about an ad exec trying to change his life.
Hoffman’s death put the show in limbo, with insiders casting doubt that the series could recover. But now it seems to be coming together once again, with Steve Coogan stepping into the part that Hoffman vacated. Hit the jump for more on the Steve Coogan Happyish casting.
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Hot on the heels of the first trailer, the viral marketing for the Fall’s biggest film is in full swing. That film, of course, is The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. The first spoils of the viral hunt are a slew of new characters posters. These posters show several of the main characters in garb from District 13. That’ the hidden, run-down headquarters of the rebellion against the Capitol. In this batch, actors such as Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore, Elizabeth Banks, Jeffrey Wright, Sam Claflin and Woody Harrelson get their own posters. Check out new Hunger Games Mockingjay posters below. Read More »
Despite Philip Seymour Hoffman‘s tragic death earlier this year, the actor will continue to appear on screens for just a while, thanks to films completed before his passing. This short, however, is unexpected. Using a conversation with Simon Critchley recorded on December 22, 2012 at the Rubin Museum of Art, a team at PBS assembled a lovely animated short that captures the actor’s views on pleasure, happiness, and family as they relate to his own life. That this Philip Seymour Hoffman animated short would be terribly poignant is no surprise — that was Hoffman’s power, after all — but that it would arrive as a posthumous statement is particularly affecting. Read More »
Lionsgate just debuted the first look from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. There’s a motion poster, some images, and more on a special website dedicated to the highly anticipated sequel directed by Francis Lawrence. In Mockingjay, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and her friends have finally begun the rebellion against the Capitol. But they have one crucial problem: Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) has been captured.
The film opens November 21. Below, check out the Mockingjay Part 1 poster as well as some images featuring Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Woody Harrelson, and Jeffrey Wright. There’s even an interview with Moore. Read More »
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Posted on Friday, April 11th, 2014 by Angie Han
One of the very last films Philip Seymour Hoffman completed before his passing this past February was A Most Wanted Man, Anton Corbijn‘s adaptation of John le Carré‘s novel. The film premiered at Sundance this year to mostly (if not wildly) positive reviews, and is now heading toward a theatrical release this summer.
Hoffman leads the contemporary thriller as Günther Bachmann, a German spy looking for a half-Chechen, half-Russian immigrant (Grigoriy Dobrygin) with possible terrorist ties. The film looks checking out for many reasons, not least of which is the chance to hear Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, and Willem Dafoe try out their best German accents. Watch the first A Most Wanted Man trailer after the jump.
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Do not watch this Philip Seymour Hoffman video tribute if you’re not prepared to go into a spiral of your own emotional responses to his powerful performances, and to his death. That said, definitely watch the video below when you’re ready to take in a snapshot of his on-screen persona.
The actor’s entire career is represented here, from a 1991 Law & Order episode to the pair of 2012 films The Master and A Late Quartet. At over 20 minutes, this video takes time to explore Hoffman’s range, even using the occasional interview with the actor to underline the effectiveness of his work. For me, the centerpiece is the “it’s not fair!” explosion from Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, but the power of Hoffman’s work is that more than half the scenes here could be seen as a defining moment in his career. Read More »