Before there was blood and before he was the master, Paul Thomas Anderson made his sharp little debut film, Hard Eight, about a gambler's attempt to redeem himself. It screens tonight as part of the Webster Film Series at the Moore Auditorium on the campus of Webster University (470 East Lockwood Avenue; 314-968-7487 or www.webster.edu/filmseries). Early indicators of Anderson's style are on display, including his penchant for working with three-name actors (especially Phils) and exploring the myriad ways to completely ruin a father-son dynamic. But it's the performances from Philip Baker Hall, John C. Reilly and Gwyneth Paltrow, and the chance to see Anderson's camera work on the big screen, that make this a no-brainer. Boogie down to Webster tonight, and pay the $5 to $6 at the door -- you'll punch-drunk love it.
Thu., Nov. 7, 2013