Among Hollywood's emerging directorial talents, Paul Thomas Anderson merits special notice for the boldness of his subject matter and the energy of his style. He is, after all, the fellow who vividly proposed, in Boogie Nights, that a houseful of variously drugged and deranged L.A. pornographers could be more devoted to each other than most other families. Anderson's first film, Hard Eight (1997), about an aging Reno gambler who takes on an apprentice, was a promising low-budget debut, and the relentlessly strange Magnolia (2000), although dismissed by some as pretentious, intrigued millions of moviegoers with the complexity of its many unhappy strivers -- including Tom Cruise as a televangelist selling cult machismo and Julianne Moore as an unfaithful wife doing agonized penance in her dying old husband's final hours. And if you've never seen that surreal piece of business with the frogs, just wait.
The Starz FilmCenter, at the Tivoli, will show Hard Eight and Magnolia this Friday, April 25, through Thursday, May 1, on a double bill. The lineup was to have included Boogie Nights, too, but New Line has recently taken the Burt Reynolds-Mark Wahlberg vehicle out of release, for reasons only the distributor understands. Hard Eight, by the way, features a high-powered (and happily underpaid) cast, including Philip Baker Hall, Chicago notable John C. Reilly, Samuel L. Jackson and Gwyneth Paltrow. Albeit reduced by one film, this tidy Paul Thomas Anderson retrospective is well worth a look.
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For information and show times, call 303-820-3456.