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Magnolia (1999) artwork

Magnolia (1999)

17th March 2001

A random day in the San Fernando Valley sees a group of people with different lives and circumstances come together via chance.
John C. Reilly, Tom Cruise, Julianne Moore, Philip Baker Hall, Jeremy Blackman, Philip Seymour Hoffman, William H. Macy, Melora Walters, Jason Robards, Melinda Dillon
Drama
2
3 Hours 6 Minutes

Earl Partridge is on his death bed, riddled with cancer from years of smoking. He only has days to live but has something on his conscience and decides to confide in his live in nurse, Phil. He tells him of his wish to speak to his son, who he has not spoken to for over fifteen years, for one last time.

Phil takes on the task and discovers that his son is none other than Frank T.J. Mackey, famous for his infomercials on attracting the opposite sex with chauvinism and misogyny. Frank wants nothing to do with his father as Earl walked out on him and his mother whilst she too died of cancer and married a woman half of his age, who in turn married him for his money. This reconciliation is the main plot of the film, however, that is only half the story.

There's also the story of a child genius who is on the quiz show 'What do kids know?' whose presenter is also dying on cancer, whose daughter is a drug addict who in turn is being dated by a police officer called to her apartment after an augment with her father. There's still more going on, but telling more would spoil the plot of this extremely enjoyable film.

The picture is superb with some brilliant colour tones and detailing. The film contains plenty of dark interior scenes and the DVD handles them without even having to try. This is a outstanding transfer and the above average bit-rate manages to produce a remarkable picture without any artifacting or outlining. Entertainment in video are really starting to get their act together when it comes to producing some top quality discs.

The sound is functional, but nevertheless good. There's a reasonable amount of use of the surround channels, especially in the last scenes of the film, but it is the dialogue intensive nature of the film which results in a superbly clear and audible soundtrack in the centre channel.

As the film runs over three hours there's not much room for extras. However, those good people at Entertainment in Video have not forgotten us as, for the same price as a single disc, they've provided a second disc with for the extras.

The extras are plentiful and interesting and include a bizarre 'colour bars' feature. However, I suggest you spend I little time "watching" these bars and adjusting your television or projector as you will be pleasantly surprised with the results.

The Frank TJ Mackey Seminar was used as promotional material in the states and was actually broadcast on some stations - I wonder how many gullible people rung up for the material? The video diary is also interesting, if a little long winded, as it tracks the film from the planning stage through to filming.

This film left me gob-smacked, and aching after the bum numbing three hours - although, unlike the cinema, you can at least hit the pause button when the munchies strike. This is a remarkable piece of cinema with some fabulous camera work and superb acting from the entire cast.

What starts off as a strange tale of Twilight zone coincidences unravels into nine stories which, similar to 2 Days in the Valley, eventually come together in the strangest of circumstances. Absolutely brilliant and worthy of its Oscar nominations. The accolades on the back of the box are completely justified. Highly recommended.

  • Colour Bars, or are they....?
  • Frank TJ Mackey Seminar
  • Teaser Trailer
  • Nine TV Spots
  • Music Video "Save Me" by Amiee Mann
  • Magnolia Video Diary
  • DVD-ROM Enhanced
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