Video Picks Archive
Reviews by Matt Heffernan <email@example.com>
This week my picks are Magnolia (1999 - ) and Nashville (1975 - ).
My first pick this week is the latest film from Paul Thomas
Anderson, who last found success in the provocative and
engrossing Boogie Nights. Magnolia stars
several top actors, including Tom Cruise and Jason Robards,
not to mention Anderson veterans like Philip Baker Hall, John C.
Reilly, Philip Seymour Hoffman, William H. Macy, and Julianne
Moore. The lives of these characters intertwine with strange
coincidences around Southern California and a game show for
child geniuses. This three-hour opus combines sharp
characterizations, vivid filmmaking, and the utterly bizarre.
Certainly not for all tastes, but considered by many critics
to be one of the best films from last year, even finding a
place on my top ten list.
Films like Magnolia owe their entire existence to the second film: Robert Altman's revolutionary Nashville. This is the benchmark for all ensemble films, following many characters as they try to find their way through the music business. Not only did Altman get his cast (including Ned Beatty, Karen Black, Ronee Blakely, Keith Carradine, Shelley Duvall, Henry Gibson, Jeff Goldblum, Lily Tomlin, and many others) to work for next to nothing, he got them to help write the original songs used in the film, as well as fleshing out the dialogue. The end product is simply amazing, and stands as one of the greatest achievements in American filmmaking. Nashville won a single Oscar -- for the song "I'm Easy", written by Carradine -- and was nominated for four others, but the year belonged to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, which won all the major awards.
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Capsule Reviews © 2000 Matt Heffernan