Top Six Paul Thomas Anderson Movies

With just the creation of six films, Paul Thomas Anderson has solidified himself as one of the greatest directors in existence. If his career in filmmaking were to end right now it would still be one the most enigmatic, beautiful, poignant and spectacular careers that will have ever been crafted. I could watch any one of his six films at any time and be completely happy. He’s made six spectacular films, five of which I would consider masterpieces and that’s all there is to it. This is a list celebrating him and his illustrious career.

6. Hard Eight

It just amazes me that I’m putting Hard Eight last on my list. This is how you debut a career in filmmaking. Anderson regular, Philip Baker Hall, gives his career best performance as protagonist Sydney with John C. Reilly doing just as great as usual. It’s completely consistent of Anderson to have rich and incredibly-well written characters. You’ll find exactly those kind of characters in Hard Eight. I would expect nothing but a truly spectacular movie from Anderson and that’s exactly what my least favorite Paul Thomas Anderson movie is.

5. Magnolia

Paul Thomas Anderson was quoted as to saying that for better or worse Magnolia will probably be the best film he’ll ever make. Where as I hate to disagree with such a genius, I do. Magnolia is just as much of a masterpiece as my top three on this list, but I did have to decide on an order and this is where Magnolia falls for me. This examination of life and the oddities there in is nothing short of breathtaking. The film offers one of the greatest ensemble casts ever and it goes without saying, but the direction is outlandishly good. Magnolia simply proves that Anderson is a director without boundaries.

4. Boogie Nights

With Boogie Nights, Paul Thomas Anderson offers a movie that is as character-driven and riveting as Raging Bull, almost as epic as Apocalypse Now and as fun as your average Quentin Tarantino movie. That’s quite a feat on its own, but when you add the fact that it’s a film tracking the rise and fall of the porn industry between the 70s and 80s, the idea of it is rather ridiculous. Boogie Nights tells a timeless tale and does so with unrelenting gusto. It’s hard not to be seduced by the world that Anderson has laid out in front of you and once I was consumed by it, I was left speechless right up until the credits rolled. Boogie Nights is an extravaganza of the things that make for a truly classic film and the best way to describe the experience is unforgettable.

3. Punch-Drunk Love

Punch-Drunk Love offers up one of the greatest cinematic love stories ever told and one as only Paul Thomas Anderson could tell. It definitely does not need to be said, but I’ll say it anyways; this is by far Adam Sandler’s best performance and none of his movies even come close to being as fantastic. Punch-Drunk Love tells such a beautiful story of contempt and the defying ability of love, that the idea of  artful direction could fall as a moot point. Instead Paul Thomas Anderson takes the beautiful story he’s crafted for himself and creates the masterpiece that it truthfully deserved to be. Punch-Drunk Love usually falls by the wayside and is eclipsed by his other films, but I love the film and I always will.

2. The Master

The Master tells the tale of a confused and troubled man, a drifter, who’s looking for his way after World War II. The drama ensues with a chance meeting with Lancaster Dodd. That is his name, but it becomes apparent that the title more often used to refer to Dodd is “Master”. He is an enigmatic man, he’s likable, he’s articulate, and there’s a sense of power to him. He is the master of his own religious movement. However, this eloquent tale deals with a lot broader themes than just religion.

The Master is a masterpiece. It’s Anderson’s sixth and latest film and at this point it’s as if I can expect nothing less than a masterpiece from this brilliant artist. The always spectacular Joaquin Phoenix gives his career best performance as Freddie Quell, while Lancaster Dodd is also portrayed flawlessly by Philip Seymour Hoffman. The film centers around the relationship of these two characters. One is a leader and one is a follower and the two characters are utilized to tell a chilling and beautiful tale of obedience and control.

1. There Will Be Blood

Paul Thomas Anderson is a master of his craft and one of my favorite directors working today, but it’s with There Will Be Blood where he proves himself to be one the greatest directors of all time. Some may call Punch-Drunk Love his best and I could see a lot (or most) of people calling either Boogie Nights or Magnolia his best. No matter how much I love Anderson’s other masterpieces, there was never a doubt in my mind that I would call There Will Be Blood his best film.

In Paul Thomas Anderson’s magnum opus you’ll find the greatest character study ever put on film. The word ruthless was never as evident than when the character Daniel Plainview was on screen (which was practically the entirety of the film). He’s conniving, cruel, vindictive, monstrous, and he’s the protagonist. Daniel Plainview is a character so gloriously layered and so distinctively dissected that only a truly masterful performance would have sufficed. Daniel Day-Lewis offers that and more in one of the greatest performances in the history of film.

There Will Be Blood is extraordinary in every sense of the word. It is the most flawless film in Anderson’s career of spectacular movies. Every detail is meticulously slaved over and what results is a film that is gorgeous in its scope and a masterpiece that showcases film as the art form it is. There Will Be Blood is above all else, a perfect movie that serves as a testament to the true prowess of its creator.

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Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol Review

I wasn’t expecting much when it came to the fourth installment of the Mission Impossible series mostly because I’m not a fan of the series in general. Watching this fourth film was probably the most fun I’ve had watching a Mission Impossible movie, but that certainly didn’t make it a great movie. It’s not even that I’m bias against Tom Cruise whom I think isn’t a very good actor because I have seen Tom Cruise movies I enjoy thoroughly. I was even open to the idea of this film being a good time because it was helmed by “The Incredibles” director Brad Bird. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol was not a good film, though I did have fun occasionally.

After being blown away by the “The Dark Knight Rises” prologue I was in such a pumped up mood that I knew nothing could put me down. I was absolutely right and for a while I was having a blast with Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol but past a certain point I just realized that for the most part the filmmakers and actors didn’t care about an interesting story or developed characters so why should I.? What the filmmakers cared about was the constant action. As a friend and I walked out of the theater my friend said something a long the lines of, “I can’t believe a movie with that much action could be so boring”. I couldn’t have said it better myself and I couldn’t agree more.

Sure, a lot the action was fun especially the sky scraper scaling scene shown in the trailers and showcased in the movie posters. At the end of the day however, it just couldn’t be ignored how lazy the writing and performances were. What subsequently followed the skyscraper scene was a chase scene that felt fifteen minutes too long and in the middle of that very chase is when I realized that I truly just wanted the movie to end. To be completely honest, I’m a little disappointed I didn’t just walk out because I had already seen what I paid to see.

Even though I was not a very big fan of this film at all, I will admit that while some of the action scenes were beyond stereotypical, there were some that really kept you on the age of their seat. The other best quality of the film was Simon Pegg, I’m always a fan of his work and he certainly had a funny role in this film. There’s not much else that can be said, I like Jeremy Renner, but I was not a fan of his work here and the attempt at a cool twist ending that was hinted at the entire movie was completely atrocious. If you enjoy some mindless action and violence Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol might be the film for you and I can respect another person’s taste, however count me out on this one.

Grade: C-

Top 25 Best Performances of 2008

2008 was a great year for film and most of all it was a great year for performances. I decided a while ago I wanted to make a list involving performances this year and I just could not bring myself to making it a top ten because there were way to many good performances this year. I finally decided on a top 25 and I’m proud of my list. I think most will enjoy it too. What I love about this year was every performance should such a wide range in emotion, sure some more than others, but I’ve thought long and hard about this list and here it is:

25. Viggo Mortenson (Appaloosa)

Viggo Mortenso always does a good job and its very unfortunate that he doesn’t get that many roles to work with. Then when he does have a really good role, like he had las year in Eastern Promises, there’s always someone better (Dainel Day-Lewis). One day he’ll win an oscar, but until that day I’ll just watch him in great roles like this.

24. Tom Wilkinson (RockNRolla)

Tom Wilkinson is a fantastic actor and sure you sort of hate the character he’s playing here, but that was sort of the point and he’s absolutely perfect in this role. He had the same type of role in Batman Begins and he got o change it and expand on it here. I loved every second.

23. Daniel Craig (Quantum of Solace)

Daniel Craig is the perfect Bond. There is not one person I would rather see playing this part. The movie wasn’t as good as the first (only cause the first was amazing), but Craig stayed consistent and that’s very nice to see.

22. Tom Cruise (Tropic Thunder)

I absolutely hate Tom Cruise with a passion, I do not like him at all, never will. Least favorite actors: Tom Cruise and Ben Afflek I did not like Tropic Thunder at all, but the only parts I did laugh involved Tom Cruise. It pains me to say this, but he was hilaurious, I loved every short second with his character.

21. Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight)

Here we find a fantastic actor in a very different role, normally you would probably find Gary Oldman playing some kind of villain, whether he’s a drug dealing pimp (True Romance), an intergalactic salesman (The Fifth Element), or even a crazed dirty cop (The Professional). Here he’s one of the few good cops in the city he’s trying so hard to help save and he’s absolutely fantastic.

20. Josh Brolin (Milk)

Josh Brolin didn’t have as big a part as you would’ve hoped in Milk, but he worked with what he got and created a spectacular performance. This is a very different character than you’ve ever seen him play and he chewed up every second he was on screen. He ofcourse didn’t have the best performance in Milk, but was a close second.

19. Jeremy Irons (Appaloosa)

Jeremy Irons is a fantastic actor, who once again doesn’t get enough work. I love all roles I’ve seen him in and here is a western where he plays a gunslinging villain. I get chills just thinking about it. He does a fantastic job, and as always plays a highly believable villain here.

18. Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man)

This was a great year for Robert Downey Jr. and he found his best performance of the year in a cocky and sarcastic billionaire he in his spare time flys in a battle suit and saves lives. Robert Downey Jr. was fantastic in a role you could just tell he had a blast playing. 

17. Mark Strong (RockNRolla)

RockNRolla had many likable characters, and even more likable actors, as do all of Guy Ritchie’s movies. One stood out above the rest and that was Mark Strong who played Archie, the loyal right hand man to the crime boss Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson). He was amazing. It might be in part that I hadn’t seen him in any movies before, but either way, RockNRolla deserves a watch by all if only just to view his performance.

16. Brad Pitt (Burn After Reading)

Brad Pitt is shortly becoming one of my favorites. If you can forget about roles he played in Mr. and Mrs. Smith and the Ocean’s movies, he’s actually a really good actor. In Burn After Reading, he’s absolutely perfect as the dim-witted, peppy, gym worker, he stumbles onto something bigger (or actually probably smaller) than he thinks. 

15. Sam Rockwell (Choke)

Choke was a highly disappointing movie especially sense the book was a masterpiece, but that doesn’t exclude the fact that Sam Rockwell was born to play this role. Victor is an amazing character and you needed a great actor to play him and no one, and I repeat, no one would’ve been able to be better than Sam Rockwell in this role.

14. Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire)

Dev Patel was fantastic and I’m thinking that because I haven’t seen him in other movies and that’s why he made this part so real, but all I can say is that he was great and played the role to its full potential.

13. Michael Caine (The Dark Knight)

Michael Caine is a really good actor and here we find him in a perfect role that could be played by many actors, but absolutely no one could’ve played it better. He had a much bigger part in this film as opposed to the first and that made me very happy, because he made every second golden.

12. Christian Bale (The Dark Knight)

Christian Bale is the perfect Batman. People say how he has a corny voice and it just annoys the crap out of me. What people don’t understand is that Christian Bale is ten times that Batman that George Clooney, Val Kilmer, Adam West, or Michael Keaton will ever be. He’s better because he knows, unlike them, is that Batman has to be three different people. The cocky Bruce Wayne you show to the public, the real Bruce Wayne you show to Alfred, and Batman. He plays the part perfect, I have zero complaints. The voice is amazing.

11. Ralph Fiennes (In Bruges)

Ralph Fiennes is fantastic in what ever he does. Bad movie, good movie, doesn’t matter, he’s good always. In Bruges is a great movie and he’s incredible in it as, the fast-talking, loud and dirty mouthed crime boss. He unfortunately just barely misses my top ten. He’s fantastic in all movies, but especially in this one.

10. Russel Crowe (Body of Lies)

Russel Crowe is on and off for me, but in my opinion, you find in Body of Lies, what I feel to be one of his best roles. He’s not a villain, but he’s definately not a hero. He’s a sleazy fat guy who trys to do the right things in the wrong ways, but never gets screwed, he has others get screwed for him. Russel Crowe was great and was the perfect choice for a this great character.

9. Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight)

Aaron Eckhart is an up and coming actor. He’s going places, he was amazing in Thank You For Smoking and he’s amazing here. He plays a very entertaining role the goes from pure good, to almost pure evil. He plays the role to perfection and not many actors could’ve. 

8. Richard Dreyfuss (W.)

W. was a great movie and it was great in part because of Richard Dreyfuss’s performance. He plays Dick Cheney, whose actually sort of the villain in this pitch -perfect biopic of our most recent president. The movie was great and he’s great in it. He made such a great transformation, I actually looked past his highly recognizable voice and had to wait for the credits to role to figure out it was him. 

7. Brad Pitt (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)

Once again Brad Pitt proves that he’s becoming better and better with each role he plays. The Curious Case of Bejamin Button is no different. This would be a very tough role to play for anyone, but Brad Pitt played it to perfection. This was a long movie, but it felt shorter than it was because of this performance.

6. Josh Brolin (W.)

Whether you liked W. or not, you had to admit that Josh Brolin was fantastic as Bush. He got everything down pact. This was a movie that had to be driven by performances and direction. Well, your gonna have the direction if you got Oliver Stone and they certainly got the the performances in Richard Dreyfuss and especially there leading man, Josh Brolin.

5. Clint Eastwood (Gran Torino)

It’s pretty unfortunate that this very well could be Eastwood’s final movie. I pray that it’s not, but either way this was the perfect role for him and he played it to perfection. He had to be grumpy and racist, but then he had to make the transformation to hero and because of his incredible performance, this was a really goo movie.

4. Sean Penn (Milk)

Well for my top 5, number 4 was much better than 5, and pretty close to 3, while 3 and 2 are basically a tie, and 1 is so far beyond the others to the point of insanity, but here we are at 4 and we find Sean Penn’s name. He was amazing in Milk and this was probably his best role. He deserves all the praise he’s getting, but he does not deserve the oscar. Sean Penn made the role his own and did it with flying colors. He was FAN-freakin-TASTIC, but unfortunately this was a year of amazing performances and there were a few better than him. 

3. Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler)

Mickey Rourke performed masterfully in The Wrestler. He was showed such large amounts of emotion and he made every feeling so real. It saddens me to put him this far from the top because I could name a lot of years where I would’ve most certainly given him the top spot. Some people are saying that he didn’t do as good as others just because he’s supposedly just like the character he’s playing, well that’s load of crap and actually probably compliment to him because your saying he’s a better actor. Mickey Rourke deserves more roles and after this perfect performance, I see many to come.

2. Frank Langella (FROST/NIXON)

The number 3 and number 2, as I said before are basically tied for second in acting ability, but I just had to give Frank Langella the second spot because he just showed more of a transformation and much more charisma in what is unfortunately a much more entertaining character. Frank Langella deserves the oscar, even though he probably won’t get it. I’ve read in a couple places that he’s more Nixon than Nixon is. That doesn’t make kuch sense for someone who hasn’t seen the movie, but it completely makes sense. Langella fully embodies our 37th president, whether is the voice, the posture, or the ticks, he made a role to be remembered.

1. Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)

Anyone who reads my sight probably saw this coming, but here’s the thing. I don’t just think this is the greatest performance of the year, I truthfully think this is the best performance I’ve ever seen. It’s not just the fact that Heath Ledger passed on and I’m just giving him a pity vote. I believe he will and would’ve won the oscar either way (knock on wood). If he doesn;t win the oscar, I will never watch the oscars again, which will be very hard for me, because I love watching the oscars, but if Heath Ledger does not win, in no way does it deserve my viewing or anyones viewing for that matter. Every moment The Joker appeared on screen I just stopped breathing for a second because I didn’t want to miss a second. He made absolutely every word he spoke memorable and he created the greatest character ever put on screen. Heath Ledger created a character with nervous ticks, subtle emotions, and feeling ironically only for the one person he’s supposed to hate. In Heath Ledger’s character we learn not only, that there is no good without evil, but also we learn what acting is truly about.

Tropic Thunder Review

Let me begin this review with the statement that I truly hate Tom Cruise and Ben Stiller with a passion, but I’m not being biast when I say that I truly don’t see what all the fuss is about with this movie, it was not that funny. I say this though, even though I hate Cruise more than Stiller, Tom Cruise was freaking hilarious I laughed whenever he was on screen. Robert Downey Jr. was pretty funny too, but I expected more from Jack Black. Stiller sucked as usual. The referances to classic war movies were pretty funny, but other than that, most of the time they wouldn’t make any funny spare of the moment jokes like all comedies need, they’d just try to make you laugh at the same joke that you probably didn’t even laugh at the first time. Like the whole Simple Jack thing wasn’t even funny and they just kept pushing it on you. All and all, there were some funny parts involving Tom Cruise and Robert Downey Jr., but enough of it to recommend this movie.

Grade: C-