You'd be hard pressed to find anyone who can tell you succinctly what Magnolia is all about. It's not so much a movie as it is an experience. The film revolves around 10 central characters: Frank TJ Mackey (Tom Cruise) Earl Partridge (Jason Robards) Linda Partridge (Julianne Moore) "Quiz Kid" Donnie Smith (William H. Macy) Dickson (Emmanuel Johnson) Claudia Wilson Gator (Melora Walters) Phil Parma (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) Stanley Specter (Jeremy Blackmon) Officer Jim Kurring (John C. Reilly)and Jimmy Gator as played by Philip Baker Hall and the coincidence and chance that plays a part in all of their lives. It is a movie about Fathers and Sons, human wants, love to give and receive, and the chance encounters that go to make up all of our lives.
"Magnolia is a mosaic of American life woven through a series of comic and poignant vignettes. Through a collusion of coincidence, chance human action, shared media, past history and divine intervention, these 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 while others will be exposed."-Paul Thomas Anderson, Writer and Director of Magnolia.
This is …Magnolia
The audio and video for Magnolia is perfection. The audio is presented in a fully engaging 5.1 platform that really envelops you in the actions onscreen. There are subtle nuances such as rainfall that you hear and "feel" all about you as you watch the film. It is intensely dialogue driven but it is also carries a musical center that is propelled by Aimee Mann's music as well as John Brion's incredible score for the film. The center is perfectly delineated and the surround effects are wholly engrossing. Toward the end of the film, I found myself ducking and jumping because the effects were that good. (If I say any more about the ducking and jumping, I'll be giving something crucial away so, you'll just have to watch it and experience it yourself!)
The video is one of the best transfers I have ever seen. It's definitely reference quality. The colors are rich and true. The flesh tones are accurate and the crisp clean sharp imagery is tremendously well presented. The usual transfer errors and Chroma noise were not found at any point during the film. Excellent video presentation.
The disc is so loaded with extras it has a second solely for supplemental materials. Included on the second disc is a segment from TJ Mackey's seminar that was contained in the film. Only here it is in far greater depth and goes too not only define two of his methods, it actually has a filmed presentation for his all-male audience on how to actually effectively conduct his exercise. Next the infomercial that was seen in the film is also included only here; it's presented, as it would be on late-night cable TV in all its shot-on-video glory. Next are the teaser and actual Theatrical trailers for the film, which are followed by the TV spots (commercials) for Magnolia. Nine in all but only eight were actually aired. The spots themselves run one after the other so there is no need to select them individually. Aimee Mann's Music Video for "Save Me" is also included as well as an hour and 20 minute behind-the-scenes segment on the pre-production/filming/scoring and post-production efforts that took place entitled, Magnolia Diary. The latter is all full frame and at times very poorly lit. Additionally, the viewing-quality of the material never strays above fair.
In it's three-hour and three minute running time, I was thoroughly engrossed. If there is one thing wrong with Magnolia it is the lack of a commentary track on the how's and why's certain things happened and progressed. Never before have I seen a film in dire need of a director's screen specific commentary as this film is! The characters are involving right from the start and the experiences on screen are incredibly well put together. Tom Cruise was exceptional as was everyone else in the film. It's definitely a love it or hate it kind of film. I for one loved every minute of it! Well, at least those minutes that I could understand! The extras are nice but for lack of a better term they are nothing more than fluff. Had there been more meat on the second disc or a commentary track for the film, I'd easily categorize it as a collector's edition. However, as it's lacking in only those two areas, I can only highly recommend it.