Magnolia [Special Edition] [2 Discs] [DVD] [1999]

Magnolia was a love-it or hate-it affair upon its cinematic release. On DVD, fans can once again delve into the labyrinth of chance presented by wunderkind Paul Thomas Anderson. The sound and picture are both of a very high quality. The dark hues of the movie translate perfectly in this 2.40:1 widescreen presentation. Colors are bold, from the red frame of William H. Macy's glasses to the swamp green of the, ahem, frogs. The audio is crisp. The dialogue of the ensemble cast sparkles. Aimee Mann's pop songs and Jon Brion's score shine as great ear candy. The supplements are found on disc two. The Frank T.J. Mackey Seminar is a fun, four-minute escapade into the personal life of Tom Cruise's hilarious infomercial guru. A short set of outtakes is available ten or so seconds after selecting the color bars on either disc. The Mackey infomercial is a one-and-a-half-minute dose of fun. The teasers and trailers are illuminating. Those wanting to relive days of television past will enjoy the nine TV spots. Aimee Mann's "Save Me" music video is a fragile, smart way of presenting the movie's themes. "The Magnolia Diary" is a very long (more than an hour) documentary, giving a glimpse at behind-the-scenes footage of the making and marketing of the movie. The DVD is a first-rate packaging of a challenging, interesting movie.
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Writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson followed his critical and commercial breakthrough Boogie Nights with this wildly ambitious story of lives intertwining on a single day in California's San Fernando Valley. Earl Partridge (Jason Robards), a successful producer of television game shows, left his wife when she contracted cancer to marry the younger and more beautiful Linda (Julianne Moore). Now, Earl has cancer himself, and Linda spends her day fetching medicines and trying to deal with the imminent death of her husband, whom she has only now come to love. Earl asks his nurse Phil (Philip Seymour Hoffman) to arrange a meeting with his estranged son, Frank Mackey (Tom Cruise), known for his self-help program "Seduce and Destroy," in which he preaches the importance of male sexual prowess; he cared for his mother after Earl left her, and he has no desire to see his father again. Earl's best-known show is hosted by Jimmy Gator (Philip Baker Hall), who also learns that he is dying. Jimmy's show pits bright adults against unusually smart kids; one of Jimmy's child contestants, Stanley (Jeremy Blackman), arrives late for a taping after being left stranded by his father Rick (Michael Bowen), who is supported by his more successful son. Meanwhile, Donnie Smith (William H. Macy), who was a champ on Jimmy's show as a child, is not having as much luck as an adult; he's just lost his job and needs to pay for some expensive dental work. Jimmy wants to reconcile with his estranged and emotionally fragile daughter Claudia (Melora Walters), who despises him and who will become involved with well-meaning police officer Jim Kurring (John C. Reilly), who has been desperately lonely since his divorce three years ago. Magnolia reunites much of the cast and crew of Boogie Nights and features eight original songs by singer/songwriter Aimee Mann and a musical score by Jon Brion. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Jason Robards, Jr.
    Jason Robards, Jr. - Earl Partridge
  • Julianne Moore
    Julianne Moore - Linda Partridge
  • Tom Cruise
    Tom Cruise - Frank "T.J." Mackey
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman
    Philip Seymour Hoffman - Phil Parma
  • John C. Reilly
    John C. Reilly - Officer Jim Kurring

Overall Customer Rating

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