Magnolia [Blu-ray] 
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A handful of people in California's San Fernando Valley are having one hell of a day. TV mogul Earl Partridge (Jason Robards) is on his deathbed and his trophy wife (Julianne Moore) is stockpiling tranquilliser prescriptions all over town with alarming determination. Earl's nurse (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is trying desperately to get in touch with Earl's only son, sex-guru Frank TJ Mackey (Tom Cruise), who's about to have his carefully constructed past blown by a TV reporter (April Grace). Whiz kid Stanley (Jeremy Blackman) is being goaded by his selfish dad into breaking the record for the game show What Do Kids Know? Meanwhile, Stanley's predecessor, the grown-up quiz kid Donnie Smith (William H. Macy) has lost his job and is nursing a severe case of unrequited love. And the host of What Do Kids Know?, the affable Jimmy Gator (Philip Baker Hall), like Earl, is dying of cancer, and his attempt to reconcile with his cokehead daughter (Melora Walters) fails miserably. She, meanwhile, is running hot and cold with a cop (John C. Reilly) who would love to date her, if she can sit still for long enough. And over it all, a foreboding sky threatens to pour something more than just rain.
This third feature from Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights) is a maddening, magnificent piece of film-making, and an ensemble film to rank with the best of Robert Altman (Short Cuts, Nashville)--every little piece of the film means something, solidly placed for a reason. Deftly juggling a breathtaking ensemble of actors, Anderson crafts a tale of neglectful parents, resentful children, and love-starved souls that's amazing in scope, both thematically and emotionally. Part of the charge of Magnolia is seeing exactly how many characters Anderson can juggle, and can he keep all those balls in the air (indeed he can, even if it means throwing frogs into the mix). And it's been far too long since we've seen a film-maker whose love of making movies is so purely joyful. This electric energy is reflected in the actors, from Cruise's revelatory performance to Reilly's quietly powerful turn as the moral centre of the story. While at three hours it's definitely not suited to everyone's taste, Magnolia is a compelling, heartbreaking, ultimately hopeful meditation on the accidents of chance that make up our lives. The soundtrack features eight wonderful songs by Aimee Mann, including "Save Me", around which Anderson built the script. --Mark Englehart --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
magnolia is a mosaic of American life woven through a series of comic poignant vignettes. Through a collusion of coincidence, chance, human action, shared media, past history and divine intervention, nine people will weave and warp through each other's lives on a day that builds to an unforgettable climax. Some will seek forgiveness, others escape. Some will mend frayed bonds, others will be exposed. --This text refers to an alternate Blu-ray edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
And then - very, very occasionally - you come across something which is another-order-of-magnitude good. Something which just takes your breath away and doesn't give it back until you turn the last page or watch the closing credits roll up in front of you. And you realise that what it's all been for. That's why you've ploughed through all those novels or sat through all those movies. To get to here.
Last year I got there with Victor Pelevin's The Clay Machine Gun. Last night I found myself there again when I watched a film I knew nothing about but had popped on my Lovefilm list after seeing an interesting review. Magnolia. Where was I in 1999 when this was released? What was I doing? How could it possibly have come to a point where, nine years later, I'd never even heard of this film?
I won't even try to describe it to you - beyond saying that it follows the interlocking lives of a series of characters in Los Angeles - but it was absolutely captivating. Several minutes into the opening montage I had that feeling of absolute 'rightness'. That sense that there was absolutely nothing in the world I'd rather be doing at this moment than sitting here, laptop propped up on my knees, watching what was unfolding in front of me. And three hours later (yes, it's long, but then, hell, so is War and Peace) I was still captivated. And open-mouthed. Literally. Towards the end my jaw actually dropped, I was so astounded and moved and transfixed by what was happening on the screen.Read more ›
It's a long movie, but its epic scale demand this length. 'The Characters aren't interesting' said one review...well let me say this: if you need a character to be simple, unsophisticated, happy-go-lucky and straight out of the Hollywood back-catalogue, then this might be the case; For those of us that love really intelligent and engaging films, Magnolia hits all the right notes.
The singing scene will split audiences down the middle, but it certainly stays in your memory long after the final credits. Infact, the whole film, from each wonderfully rendered character study to the brilliant details such as the biblical allusions of the plague of frogs, is mesmerising.
If the film starts rather confusingly, it's purely because the it does SO much in 3 hours. It's not slow moving in terms of emotional intensity or the sheer realism of the astonshing events that make up the lives of those we watch. And the result? - A film that, like American Beauty -far more cinema-friendly for many, I'm sure, (but possibly the inferior movie) explores the amazing details of life, love and death that pervade everyone's existence.
I loved it. And if you've got this far in the review, you will too. Buy it.
Peter Wilson (London)Email your views to me!
I would like to point you all in the right direction....
The number 82 is everwhere in this film....the 3 prologues for example(some 82s are more obvious than others). Hell, theres even a member of the What Do Kids Know? audience with Exodus 8:2 writen on a placard. Which brings me to the reference itself... Exodus 8:2 - "But if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite your whole territory with frogs." :o)
Given that the movie revolves around a game show that abuses children, and that most of the people involved with that game show abuse children(in many different ways)...a plague of frogs as punishment from "God" is quite fitting. I should add though(being an athiest) that P.T.Anderson does seem to lean toward the natural and scientific explanation for this event.. "A scientific explanation for the phenomenon has been developed that involves waterspouts. In effect, waterspouts are capable of capturing objects and animals and lifting them into the air. Under this theory, waterspouts or tornados, transport animals to relatively high altitudes, carrying them over large distances. The winds are capable of carrying the animals over a relatively wide area and allow them to fall in a concentrated fashion in a localized area."...and this is reflected in his various weather updates during the movie. Dont they say that its the timing of such an event and not the event itself that makes a miracle!
I hope this helps...and perhaps gives fans of the movie the chance to watch it again with a fresh perspective.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
While the themes of fate, love, denial and religion are interesting, I feel PT Anderson has not done himself justice. Read morePublished 13 hours ago by Frogmire-990
Wonderful, shaking, intriguing, heart and mind boggling; making you think and rethink; a movie is of each and all of them. Read morePublished 7 days ago by M. Mufit KAHRAMAN
What is the difference between being good nd being great .........I saw MAGNOLIA and the answer was smeared all over it ....... Read morePublished 1 month ago by J&M
One of the best movies I have seen - brilliant story, brilliant acting, brilliant direction and camerawork! Read morePublished 4 months ago by MS