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by Tim Slowikowski

3 Aug 2011


What defined Paul Thomas Anderson as a filmmaker early in his career was his ability and ambition at such a young age. Upon the release of Hard Eight in 1996, a 26-year-old Anderson was already preparing his breakthrough opus, Boogie Nights, a film that would see him immediately and often compared to his idols, Robert Altman and Martin Scorsese. Instead of flaming out like Orson Welles, Anderson has developed from a mere wunderkind to a singular voice playing in the sandbox big themes: love, self-destruction, family and death.

Perhaps most astounding is his recent creation of Daniel Plainview, a man who stands alone in There Will Be Blood but also in the larger context of Anderson’s oeuvre. His misanthropic use of Manifest Destiny ends up eating him alive. Plainview embodies the direct consequence of not finding an outlet for love, a vacant man left only to gasp, “I’m finished.” If Blood is any indication, Anderson is only at the beginning of a new phase in his career, exploring scope through the use of restraint.

Read the rest of the entry within our 100 Essential Directors series.

by Stuart Henderson

2 Aug 2011


Robert Altman’s strict Catholic upbringing and military service (he flew bombing missions in Asia during World War II) would have powerful and lasting influences over his life, and his art. Following the war, Altman dabbled in film, working on industrial documentaries and other such projects before stumbling into a feature film teensploitation picture in the mid-1950s. Eventually catching the attention of no less an authority than Alfred Hitchcock, Altman did some work on the old master’s television program in the early 1960s before heading back to Hollywood for a string of mostly forgettable pictures. It wasn’t until the tail end of the 1960s that Altman discovered his gift for subversion, and his unmistakable knack for capturing effortless, naturalistic dialogue.

Often referred to as a filmmaker’s filmmaker, Altman has frequently puzzled audiences and annoyed critics. But, his singular style and persistent attention to the paranoid American conscience marks him as among the most important voices of both his best periods in the 1970s and the 1990s.

Read the rest of the entry within our 100 Essential Directors series.

by J.M. Suarez

2 Aug 2011


Pedro Almodóvar’s films have ranged widely from his early outrageous stories and flashy cinematic choices to his more recent more mature stories focused primarily on women. He has run the gamut between shocking audiences to moving them in surprising moments. He is a gifted storyteller who uses film in bold, unexpected ways—his use of color is especially striking—and one who’s themes of romantic entanglement and obsession, as well as the complex relationships between women, has grown increasingly more nuanced and affecting.

Read the rest of the entry within our 100 Essential Directors series.

by PopMatters Staff

2 Aug 2011


Former Flat Duo Jets mainman, Dex Romweber, continues his back-to-basics rock ‘n’ roll with his sister Sara in the Dex Romweber Duo. The Romwebers blast through a set of primal rock tunes on their latest album, Is That You In the Blue?, which just recently released via Bloodshot Records. Romweber has been working this musical template for many years and it’s clearly been influential as any listen to a White Stripes record will prove. The new video for “Jungle Drums” was filmed upstairs at Marsh Woodwinds in downtown Raleigh, NC by Jerry Stifelman (Creato Destructo), and accompanies the debut single from the band’s recently released aforementioned album. In addition to the video, Dex and Sara stepped off on their US album release tour last Thursday, in Charleston, SC. We have listed the complete set of performance dates below.

by Stuart Henderson

2 Aug 2011


In his most affecting films—including his nearly uninterrupted run of masterworks from 1977-1992—Woody Allen could limn the contours of a failing love affair with a humour, grace, and intelligence that remains the envy of urban auteurs the world over. Though prone to the criticism that many of his films are mere re-stagings of the same story with new titles—or, that his filmmaking “style” is really just a vast homage to Fellini, Bergman and other giants he admired in his formative years—this has always seemed to be a misapprehension of the degree to which his films have always been, unavoidably, his own.

Allen’s playfulness, his audacity, and his unfailingly goofy sense of humour, lent an urbane American wit to those sometimes stilted European approaches. Indeed, few filmmakers of the past 50 years have developed such an immediately identifiable signature. Allen’s Midnight in Paris, now in theaters and his all-time biggest financial success, is further proof of the director’s command of the medium.

Read the rest of the entry within our 100 Essential Directors series.

//Mixed media

//Blogs

Treasuring Memories of Paul McCartney on 'One on One' Tour

// Notes from the Road

"McCartney welcomed Bruce Springsteen and Steven Van Zandt out for a song at Madison Square Garden.

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