peteg's blog

Sydney (or Hard Eight)

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Paul Thomas Anderson's first feature, I think. The cast is small (John C Reilly, Philip Baker Hall as Sydney, Samuel L Jackson, Philip Seymour Hoffman) and made me wonder why Gwyneth Paltrow (here a confused cocktail waitress / prostitute) wasn't in Magnolia. The story shuffles between various places of desperation: the gambling dens of Nevada, the seedy motel, the gangsta car. Sydney is not that awesome a character to study but the whole thing is well constructed.

Un Cuento Chino (Chinese Take-Away)

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Albert suggested this one to me ages ago, which I think he saw at the most-recent Sydney Film Festival. Ricardo DarĂ­n (El secreto de sus ojos) does a decent job in the lead as some kind of morose golden-hearted introvert. Generally nice though it starts to drag when the plot needs to progress.