tectactoe
User

Reviews 2
Approval 100%

Soundoffs 34
Album Ratings 815
Objectivity 95%

Last Active 09-04-19 3:23 pm
Joined 09-24-05

Forum Posts 20
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 Lists
09.09.19 FILM: tectac's Christopher Nolan, Ranke08.28.19 FILM: tectac's Coen Brothers, Ranked
08.19.19 FILM: tectac's Krzysztof Kieslowski, Ra08.12.19 FILM: tectac's Paul Thomas Anderson, Ra
08.06.19 FILM: tectac's David Lynch, Ranked08.01.19 FILM: tectac's Wes Anderson, Ranked
07.30.19 FILM: tectac's Stanley Kubrick, Ranked07.27.19 FILM: tectac's Quentin Tarantino, Ranke
07.25.19 FILM: tectac's Top 50 Favorite Films of 07.10.19 MUSIC: tectac's Top 100 Radiohead Track
06.30.17 FILM: tectac's Top 30 Movies of the 21s 07.18.16 MUSIC: tectac's Top 25 Brand New Songs

FILM: tectac's Paul Thomas Anderson, Ranked

I remember seeing BOOGIE NIGHTS back in the late-90s and being absolutely blown away that it was on Anderson's sophomoric effort, and he was 27-years-old, no less. I knew he'd have a promising career, and it turns out he's easily one of the most compassionate and adept filmmakers working today. List does not include short films or music videos, for obvious reasons.
8Three Dog Night
Three Dog Night


>> MAGNOLIA (1999)

The one Anderson film I don't love, if only because he seems more concerned with what's happening *behind* the camera and not what's happening in *front* of it. Yes the extended single-take shots are technically impressive, but hogged together among the various storylines of this three-hour beast, they tend to call too much attention to themselves, proving distracting rather than engrossing. (And are any of them built with even a tenth of the gusto in BOOGIE NIGHTS's opening scene?) Sure, we get another handful of great performances from a stacked cast - Cruise, Hoffman, and Moore are my three standouts - but again, the narrative tapestry feels too coerced and mechanical. And then there's the Third Act "miracle," (trying not to spoil anything) and all I can do is roll my eyes. It's almost crazy enough to work...but not as a punctuation for this jumbled ball of yarn. The self-reflexive chorus of "Wise Up" is a much better distillation of themes via quasi-surrealism.
7David Bowie
Station to Station


>> HARD EIGHT (1996)

No surprise that Anderson's first film is his most straightforward and superficially simplistic, but it nevertheless makes for an interesting and thoroughly engrossing procedural. The pared-down style allows the actors to shine, and there's an unspeakable intimacy to the interactions between the film's four main characters that would admittedly be difficult to replicate beneath a ton of ornate decoration. There are still a few little flourishes that would hint at the bravura Anderson would exhibit later in his career - demeaning close-ups and a few long, tracking shots - but this is a film that thrives in its performances and the complexity of the relationships that develop. Phillip Baker Hall is the star of the show here, but honestly everyone - Paltrow, Jackson, Reilly - is a solid contributor. Even Phillip Seymour Hoffamn's cameo is insanely memorable. Clever ending, too, and one that resonates strongly precisely because of the film's measured restraint.
6Dick Dale
Tribal Thunder


>> PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE (2002)

Another film that I think many people were disappointed with because they went into it with narrow-minded expectations of what they *thought* it would be, mostly predicated on the actor in the lead role. Put Adam Sandler in your film and people are bound to garner preconceived notions about it before they even walk into the theater. I can only imagine someone waltzing into this high off of BIG DADDY and LITTLE NICKY, only to be met with crushing disappointment at the art-house portrait tossed in front of them. But what Anderson does here with Sandler is not merely subversive but borderline genius, as his typecast persona of goofy/zany comic lends a layer of meta-textual commentary, showing that even the most outwardly "happy" people can often be introverted and mangled by self-doubt. A wonderful display about coping and living with anxiety, and finding happiness in spite of it.
5Brand New
Daisy


>> INHERENT VICE (2014)

Anderson's most misunderstood film, largely due to many people being oblivious to Pynchon's writing and how narratively piecemeal it is. Given the fragmented tone of the novel, Anderson actually does it proper justice, constructing it as a stoner's waking daydream, almost like a retrograde version of BIG LEBOWSKI with an unforgettable break-up as the centripetal force rather than a stolen rug. People going into this expecting any sort of legitimate criminal procedural are sure to have a bad time, especially given its purposely hazy and broken-apart structure. It's a film that plays in ephemeral blips and apertures, relying on tone and melody more than pragmatism, and it's far more emotional (and funny) than anyone gives it credit for.
4Eric Burdon
'Til Your River Runs Dry


>> BOOGIE NIGHTS (1997)

Yes, the camerawork is a bit ostentatious when compared to Anderson's later, more subtle work, but my god, with a talent like this, who has time to grumble about (mostly) empty showmanship? Wears its influences on its sleeve - Scorsese and Altman (and even a bit of early-Tarantino) being the most prominent - but transforms them into something wholly unique, a vibrant evocation of a bygone era with characters as rich as they are greasy, as palpable as they are interesting. Lots of people mistook this for a sleazy skin flick, with the irony being that one of its main theses is the desensitization and strictly-business aspect of sex, turning it into nothing more than a glorified transaction. I still get chills from that opening long-take; the choreography is stunning, and I remain in awe that it was the work of someone only in their late-20s.
3Emperor
In the Nightside Eclipse


>> PHANTOM THREAD (2017)

I have an inexplicable weakness for sagely incorporated final-reel revelations that reverberate backward and essentially recontextualize the entire film, even more so for those that aren't build solely on narrative trickery. My first viewing of this compared to my second, once I was aware of the ending, were like two completely different films. The dynamic of Reynolds and Alma is (and should be) read from a drastically different vantage point on any non-cardinal viewing: Most interesting, to me, is the reversal of power, the dramatic flip-flop between "submissive" and "dominant," and the willingness of each party to effectively role-play to appease the other. It's brilliant in the way it codes a kinky, S&M-driven relationship as a stuffy, prim and proper courtship on the surface. Possibly my favorite Greenwood score - as elegant as it is haunting - and while Day-Lewis is assuredly fantastic, Vicky Krieps is equally superb. A fantastic film.
2My Bloody Valentine
m b v


>> THERE WILL BE BLOOD (2007)

Begs to be analyzed under the guise of a battle between religion and capitalism - and I'm not denying that that's a perfectly understandable (and existent) interpretation - but over the years, I find that I prefer to forego the political readings and inhale this purely as a (fictional) biopic about perfectionism, greed, the quest for power, wealth, and how those things intersect with various riffs on human nature, separating the admirable and the dirty, the bloodthirsty and the weak. As with nearly all of Anderson's pictures, the cinematography is exquisite, the pacing is perfectly measured and foreboding, and the camera is always in precisely the correct location (favorite shot after the rig explosion: Daniel's face obfuscated entirely by oil, blending into the night, while his partner beams with a clean expression). Day-Lewis gives one of the greatest hammed-up performances of the decade and Greenwood's score imbues a tone of impending doom.
1Metallica
Master of Puppets


>> THE MASTER (2012)

I've written way too much about this film and all of the possible ways it can be read (if you're curious for more in-depth analyses, let me know and I can provide), so I'll try to keep this blurb simple: It's a character study about many of us are raised believing we need to be in service to someone or something else, that there has to be some greater entity or purpose or "master" in our life, and, more importantly, in our search for something to worship or follow or praise, we come to the sobering realization that we are capable of being our own "masters," so to speak. There are several other theories and side-plots I've harvested this, ranging from the deconstruction of the nuclear family to the homoerotic undertones between Freddie and Lancaster, but I'll save those for now. Subtext(s) aside, the surface pleasures are numerous, ranging from Anderson's unctuous photography to two phenomenal actors at the top of their respective games. A modern masterwork.
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