Paul Thomas Anderson has never made a bad film, so I expect “Inherent Vice” to continue that nearly two decade streak. It premieres at the New York Film Festival, this coming Saturday, October 4th. Since 1997, I have seen every single Anderson feature, in the theater…and all ended up making my annual Top Ten list by their respective years’ end. The first saw the ranking of the exceptional “Boogie Nights”, and 1999 brought us the brave and mystical, “Magnolia”. 2002 ushered in “Punch-Drunk Love”, which remains the finest work of Adam Sandler’s career. 2007 sported the release of “There Will Be Blood” with its TITANIC performance from Daniel Day-Lewis(and his 2nd Best Actor win). That was my #2 that year, but was practically a coin flip with top spot holder, “No Country for Old Men”. Then 2012 saw Paul Thomas Anderson’s brilliant “The Master” tie for my highest ranking with Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom”, the first ever draw in the nearly 30-year history of the Mark Leonard Ten Best List. The most astute of you are now asking, “what about “Hard Eight”(aka “Sydney”). Yeah, I’m quite fond of that one too. It officially premiered at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival, only to receive a limited theatrical run over a full year later. It’s very good, and I’ve been meaning to revisit it, as I’ve only caught it once(on videotape!), and barely remember when.
“Inherent Vice” is Paul Thomas Anderson’s seventh feature film, and it’s based on a 2009 novel from Thomas Pynchon. It’ll be the first ever theatrical adaptation of the 77-year-old author’s work, and the trailer hints at a darkly comic tone for the movie. The cast is a superb one, with “The Master”‘s Joaquin Phoenix headlining, along with Josh Brolin and Owen Wilson. It’ll also officially becomes an unofficial “Walk the Line” reunion, with Oscar-winner Reese Witherspoon partnering with Mr. Phoenix. And Academy Award winner, Benicio del Toro has a prominent role too. Also amongst the cast roster: Jena Malone, Martin Short, Maya Rudolph and Eric Roberts. It appears that “Inherent Vice” will have a running time of 148 minutes, and will receive a limited theatrical run starting December 12th to qualify for awards season. After that it will finally enjoy wider release on January 9th, 2015. With David Cronenberg’s “Maps to the Stars” being bumped to a probable 2015 release date(after two showings this past weekend at the NYFF), it’s almost certain that “Inherent Vice” will overtake the championship slot, as my most anticipated film, for the remainder of 2014. Anderson addicts rejoice!