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Phantom Thread Poster

2:31 | Trailer
Set in 1950’s London, Reynolds Woodcock is a renowned dressmaker whose fastidious life is disrupted by a young, strong-willed woman, Alma, who becomes his muse and lover.


Screened for critics and press ‘for your consideration’ awards season, PHANTOM THREAD (opening Christmas Day) already arrives with accolades of good news.  PHANTOM THREAD marks two of writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson’s firsts.  PHANTOM THREAD is his first film shot outside the U.S. and also makes his most structured film..  Which is good, as his looser piece THE MASTER was a mess.

50’s London.  The film’s main character is renowned dressmaker named Reynolds Jeremiah Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis).  He and his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) dress members of the royal family, film stars, heiresses, socialites, debutants and dames with the distinctive style of The House of Woodcock.  Women come and go through Woodcock’s life, providing the confirmed bachelor with inspiration and companionship, until he comes across a strong-willed young woman, Alma (Vicky Krieps), who soon becomes a fixture in his life as his muse and lover. Once controlled and planned, he finds his carefully tailored life disrupted by love.

A major factor in PHANTOM THREAD is necessarily the costumes.   Mark Bridges is credited for doing the costumes which include some of his original designs along with designs from Versace and Balenciaga.  Supporting actress Lesley Manville has been quoted as saying that she spent more time fitting than in acting rehearsals.  

Three-time Oscar WinnerDay-Lewis is nothing short of perfect as the obsessive perfectionist designer.  But star credit goes to Mike Leigh’s favourite actress Lesley Manville who plays Reynold’s sister,  Cyril who is more that just a sister.  She controls her brother and everything around her.  Obviously things come to a boil when she tries to keep Alma under her hand.

The film is bookmarked by Alma telling and narrating her love story.  Written by Anderson, one assumes that the film is based on fiction as the story includes a chapter in which Ama poisons Woodcock with mushrooms.  A murderer would never confess a murder in his or her story.  The film is best described as a trouble romantic drama rather that a biopic of a famous designer.  Anderson captures perfectly the moment of love when the two fall in love for the first time.

Anderson’s film unfolds meticulously in every scene, planned and executed, reflecting the careful care the subject Woodcock puts into the design of his dresses.  Though the film’s pace is slow, the film is no less compelling.  The audience is kept on their toes from start to finish.  One cannot predict what raw emotion will unfold next, whether Woodcock would blow up or be pleased.  The best example is the segment in which Alma empties the Woodcock house so that she can prepare dinner for with with just the two of them.  When Cyril advises against it, Alma still goes ahead.  The suspense on how the evening will go, makes the film’s mosts suspenseful moment.  Anderson  uses closeups frequently as well as piano playing on the soundtrack to heighten the tension in a scene.

PHANTOM THREAD marks Anderson’s best movie along with THERE WILL BE BLOOD, also incidentally starring Daniel Day-Lewis.

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1997 Movie Review: BOOGIE NIGHTS, 1997

Movie Reviews

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Julianne Moore, Burt Reynolds, John C. Reilly, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Don Cheadle, William H. Macy
Review by Cathryn Naiker


A famous porn director discovers a young man in a nightclub. He is soon thrusted into the pornography scene of the late seventies and early eighties. They enjoy great success together and are looking into crossing over into mainstream film. However, the year 1980 along with being wired on cocaine and the introduction of videotape turn their worlds


This was director Paul Thomas Anderson’s sophomore feature film. Anderson had been researching this film since the late eighties and based a lot of the characters on real life accounts. The film was picked up by new line cinema who was constantly in battle with Anderson over length and content of the film. The studio was disappointed with the film until critics started praising it. Burt Reynolds, in arguably his best work as Jack Horner, won a Golden Globe for best supporting actor. The film was also nominated for a few Oscars, but no wins.


Boogie Nights was the movie that turned “Markey Mark” into Mark Wahlberg. From pop music (“Good Vibrations”, anyone?) to infamous Calvin Klien tighty whitey ads, Mark was able to somehow make the transition from a pop-star to a serious actor in an era where singer/actor transitions were not so common or successful. I think that the role of Eddie/Dirk Diggler for Mark was a great role for him at the time since so much of the film focuses on his “package” and that was also the cause for a lot of his publicity in real life. Another outstanding performance came from Julianne Moore who plays Amber Waves. Amber is the main starlet in Jack Horner’s films. She is the maternal role model in a house full of lost souls. In the mist of a custody battle for her son, we see her being motherly towards Dirk Diggler at the same time we see her introduce Dirk (and presumably other characters) to cocaine.


When this film first started being reviewed most people were expecting a comedy about the porn industry of the 1970’s. Instead, there was a very long dramatic ensemble piece about sex, drugs and not enough disco or rock and roll. This film came at a time where 90’s chic became a crossover between the “heroin look” and bellbottoms. The 70’s made a huge comeback in 1997 in fashion and in films like “54” and “Austin Powers”.

I feel where this movie fails is at telling the story of all the characters they portray. Then again, if it did tell such a story, it would be five hours long. All the characters are strong but there are just too many of them. Some key players don’t even get introduced until halfway through the film. The movie got very muddled with too many story lines but was eventually tied together in the end. For example, Don Cheadle’s character, Buck Swoope, has a great story line about a porn star that wants to open his own speaker and electronics store. But what does his journey have to do with Dirk Diggler? After watching the film again I can’t even remember if they share any dialogue together. I’m not saying Buck Swoope shouldn’t be in the film (because he’s fantastic in this movie) but his character is just an example of why there is just too much going on at once. On the flip side, it’s the charm of these characters that make the film what it is.

Overall I thought this film was highly entertaining, full of energy and impulse and kept me on the edge of my seat for an ending that was worth sticking around for (in more ways than one!).
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Happy Birthday: Paul Thomas Anderson

paulthomasandersonHappy Birthday director Paul Thomas Anderson

Born: June 26, 1970 in Studio City, California, USA

He has three children with his partner Maya Rudolph: daughter Pearl Minnie Anderson (b. October 15, 2005), daughter Lucille Anderson (b. November 6, 2009), and son Jack Anderson (b. July 3, 2011).




Boogie Nights
dir. PT Anderson
Mark Wahlberg
Burt Reynolds
dir. by PT Anderson Anderson
Tom Cruise
John C. Reilly
Punch Drunk Love
dir. PT Anderson
Adam Sandler
Emily Watson
There Will be BloodThere Will be Blood
dir. PT Anderson
Daniel Day Lewis
Paul Dano
dir. Paul Thomas Anderson
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Joaquin Phoenix