This film appears to be a rough fictionalization of the tale, though the goings-on inside the joint are clearly made up. A man (Raymond J. Barry, a chunky version of David Caruso, credited only as "Man") arrives in a quiet strip club with few patrons, then promptly proceeds to rob the place, accidentally killing the bartender in the process. Man panics, taking the lone dancer and patrons hostage, then forces them all to spill their darkest secrets, or humiliating them some way or another. By the time it's all said and done, our Man has made off with wallets, watches, and the proprietor's head... and some amazing stories.
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An intricate mosaic of emotional stories intertwined by coincidence, "Magnolia" is an elegant exposé of human frailty written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, who demonstrated his gift for burrowing under his characters' skins in 1997's melancholy porn industry soap opera "Boogie Nights."
He's honed that skill in the last two years, and his new multi-narrative, which features many of the same actors, is stunning and magnetic in its ability to tie you impulsively to even the most wretched of characters.
"Magnolia" takes place over the course of a single, unusually stormy (on a mythological scale) day in the San Fernando Valley and meditates on the complexities of family, and on the facades people put up to mask their insecurities, their grudges, greed and regret, their love, their selfishness and other symptoms of the human condition.
Continue reading: Magnolia Review