Monday, December 1, 2014

The Films of Paul Thomas Anderson: Introduction

I will admit that I am a Paul Thomas Anderson fanatic. Out of all the directors working today, I think he may well be the best – at least right now (Scorsese, for example, has had a better career – but the recent films of Scorsese vs. the Anderson ones, and Anderson comes out ahead). He is a director whose films I return to again and again – and always find something new to them. As well, through his first 6 films, Anderson has never repeated himself – never did what many directors do, and simply make variations on a theme (or make the same movie again and again). To me, this would make Anderson the new Kubrick – not that the two share much stylistically or thematically, but because he is willing to take new chances each time out, and yet make films that are undeniably his.

His latest, Inherent Vice, opens on December 12 in New York and L.A. I don’t know when I’ll get a chance to see it (I am planning a trip to Toronto the first weekend it comes out – I just don’t know when that is yet). Before I see that one, I figured I’d go make and watch the first six – and watch his two early shorts for the first time as well (a third short, Flagpole Special, made in between Boogie Nights and Magnolia, is as far as I can tell not available anywhere). Since I just compared him to Kubrick, I thought it would appropriate to follow-up my month long look at Kubrick, with a weeklong view of Anderson. Inherent Vice is Anderson’s 7th feature in 18 years. Let’s hope he continues on a faster pace than Kubrick did – and leaves us with more films than that master by the time his career is over.

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