The Films of Paul Thomas Anderson
November 26 - December 25
Paul Thomas Anderson, the writer-director of five remarkable feature films, enjoyed a career highwater mark last year with the justly celebrated THERE WILL BE BLOOD. While Anderson makes plans for his next project, we offer a look back at this young artist's body of work--each film unique, yet each marked by a willingness to go to extremes, be it narrative experimentation, daring performances, unabashed romance or just the patience, hard work and thoughtfulness some stories need to be told well. Anderson works with the entire cinematic palette--his choices for cinematography (Oscar-winner Robert Elswit has shot all of his features), music (scores by Jon Brion and Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood, Aimee Mann's songbook for MAGNOLIA, and the fabulous soundtrack selections on BOOGIE NIGHTS), and art and production design (most recently Jack Fisk, a regular collaborator of Terrence Malick and David Lynch) bespeak taste and consideration, qualities that also mark his way with a story and his ability to guide fine actors to great performances. He even chooses good friends and mentors, like director Robert Altman, to whom THERE WILL BE BLOOD is dedicated. When concerns about the 80-year-old director's health threatened the production of A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION in 2005, Anderson--by now a well-established, award-winning director in his own right--signed on as an assistant director to get the film insured and green lighted. Whether you think this is a small act of kindness or the grandest of gestures, it's the same spirit of generosity that animates Anderson's work, and the cinema is richer for it.
AFI Member passes will be accepted at all screenings in the Paul Thomas Anderson Series.
Anderson's critically lauded feature debut is a film noir that finds professional gambler Philip Baker Hall taking the slightly dim and down-on-his-luck John C. Reilly first out to breakfast and then on as a partner in the seediest casinos in Reno. This engrossing character study includes excellent performances by Gwyneth Paltrow as a cocktail waitress moonlighting as a call girl and Samuel L. Jackson as a gangster given to philosophical ramblings.
DIR/SCR Paul Thomas Anderson; PROD Robert Jones, John S. Lyons. US, 1996, color, 102 min. RATED R
Tuesday, December 2, 9:45; Wednesday, December 3, 9:15; Thursday, December 4, 6:40
The 27-year-old Anderson cemented his reputation as one of Hollywood's new mavericks with this look into the rise, fall and redemption of one Eddie Adams a.k.a. Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg) in the hedonistic, drug-filled 70's porn industry. Plucked from his job as a busboy by porn purveyor Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds in an Academy Award-nominated performance) his boyish naivete quickly gives way to drug-induced arrogance as he spirals out of control. Ensemble cast includes Anderson regulars Julianne Moore (Academy Award nomination), John C. Reilly and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
DIR/SCR/PROD Paul Thomas Anderson; PROD Lloyd Levin, John S. Lyons, JoAnne Sellar. US, 1997, color, 155 min. RATED R
Wednesday, November 26, 9:00; Thursday, November 27, 9:00; Friday, November 28, 9:30; Saturday, November 29, 9:30; Thursday, December 4, 8:45
Anderson took Best Direction accolades at the Cannes Film Festival for this homage to idiosyncratic, quirky romantic love. Adam Sandler is a revelation as a withdrawn and lonely novelty plunger salesman prone to uncontrollable fits of rage, a victim of relentless bullying at the hands of his seven sisters. When the wide-eyed but slightly off-center Emily Watson walks into his life things changes dramatically, but first he has to disentangle himself from a phone sex extortion scam masterminded by a menacing and comedic Philip Seymour Hoffman.
DIR/SCR/PROD Paul Thomas Anderson; PROD Daniel Lupi, JoAnne Sellar. US, 2002, color, 95 min. RATED R
Sunday, December 7, 9:30; Monday, December 8, 6:30; Tuesday, December 9, 6:30; Wednesday, December 10, 6:30
Following the epic scale of BOOGIE NIGHTS, Anderson wanted to write and shoot something "small and intimate" but somehow the script blossomed into his most sprawling, ambitious character-driven epic to date, in this tale of fractured families and relationships. Interweaving stories involving a dying husband and father (Jason Robards), his young, neurotic wife (Julianne Moore), his estranged son (Tom Cruise), his male nurse (Philip Seymour Hoffman), his game show host colleague (Philip Baker Hall), an ex-contestant (William H. Macy), the host's daughter (Melora Walters) and a police officer (John C. Reilly) crescendo into one of the most unforgettable and discussed endings of the year.
DIR/SCR/PROD Paul Thomas Anderson; PROD JoAnne Sellar. US, 1999, color, 188 min. RATED R
Saturday, December 13, 9:35; Monday, December 15, 8:00; Wednesday, December 17, 8:00
THERE WILL BE BLOOD
Eight Oscar nominations; wins for Best Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis) and Best Cinematography (Robert Elswit). Daniel Day-Lewis gives a mesmerizing, Oscar-winning performance as obsessed oilman Daniel Plainview in Anderson's visionary adaptation of Upton Sinclair's novel Oil! Following a mysterious tip about a hardscrabble little farm where an ocean of oil is oozing out of the ground, one-time silver miner Plainview, with sweet-natured son H.W. in tow, settles on the property and soon strikes it rich. But with this flow of riches comes seemingly cursed consequences, as conflicts escalate and every human value--love, hope, community, belief, ambition and even the bond between father and son--is imperiled by corruption, deception and the flow of oil.
DIR/SCR/PROD Paul Thomas Anderson, based on the novel Oil! by Upton Sinclair; PROD Daniel Lupi, JoAnne Sellar. US, 2007, color, 158 min. RATED R
Friday, December 19, 9:35; Saturday, December 20, 3:35; Sunday, December 21, 5:15; Monday, December 22, 7:00; Thursday, December 25, 5:40