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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "mag-no'li-a" )

directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
USA 1999

The film, in my opinion, explicitly refers to Exodus 8:2 ( obvious "8"s and "2"s throughout the film ), so, at some level, I think the raining of the frogs should be read in that context. In the Biblical story, God tells Moses to go to Pharaoh and demand the release of the enslaved Jews. Should Pharaoh refuse, God threatens a series of plagues including, of course, a plague of frogs.
All the characters in Magnolia are enslaved, not by Pharaoh, but by their pasts, by circumstances, by loneliness, by resentment, by hatred, by shame, by guilt... When we first meet them, they're trapped, unredeemed, and desperately longing for some release.

Quote at the end of the film:
"Like it says in the Book, we may be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us." By the way, my new favorite quote!... definitely going in the next book...

Over the course of the film, some of the characters are redeemed...others are not. Included among the doubles and doppelgangers that populate this film (two wives, two children, two child geniuses, two saviors, and at least one angel), we're presented with two patriarchs, Earl Partridge and Jimmy Gator, who's past and present mirror one another's. Both have committed nearly unforgivable sins against their children and families. Both are dying of cancer. Both are forced to confront the meaning of their lives and the pain they've caused...and both recognize that they've committed horrible acts against those they love, acts which for so long have prevented them from experiencing and sharing love. As death approaches, both men seek redemption.

From his deathbed and through eyes hollowed by the ravages of his disease, Earl Partridge faces his past and acknowledges the pain he caused his family and, in particular, his son. He reaches out to him, admits his transgressions and seeks his forgiveness. His damaged son overcomes his own deeply-felt resentment to connect with his father, if only to watch him die just as he watched his mother die so many years before - but not before he overcomes the hatred that for so long has informed his entire existence as he breaks down at his father's bedside. 

Conversely, Jimmy Gator cannot bring himself to admit what he's done to his daughter and his family - not even to himself. He tries, vainly, to connect with his daughter, to impress upon her that he is a dying man, to seek some solace in her comfort...but he cannot face the extraordinary damage he's inflicted upon her, he cannot own up to it, he cannot seek forgiveness for it. When we last see him, he is left unredeemed, enslaved by his past, his wife and daughter now completely lost to him, doomed to meet death as a lonely and unloved man.

As Dixon raps, "...They're runnin' from the devil, but the debt is always gaining...And when the sunshine don't work, the Good Lord bring the rain in."

I think it would be a mistake to overanalyze this film ( you mean like I'm doin' ?? ). It exists well within the realm of the emotional and quite apart from the analytical. It's not something to be solved cerebrally, but rather something to be experienced at a gut level. The metaphors inform our feelings about the characters and coincidences cause their fates to criss-cross, but these are like leitmotifs in music, emotional cues and analogies that tie one person to another and amplify our emotional reactions by playing on similar themes, desires and sorrows, as Anderson mounts his operatic melodrama to its fantastical conclusion. Watch this film as you would listen to great music, and open your heart and allow your soul to be harrowed. I rate it the best film of the 90's...

From the incredible Al Brown of HTF Forum!

Posters

Theatrical Release: December 17th, 1999

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Comparison:

New Line Home Video (Platinum Series) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. TF1 - Metropolitan (Ed. Prestige) - Region 2 - PAL vs. New Line Home Video - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Thanks to Guillaume for all the DVD screen caps !

1) New Line Home Video (Platinum Series) - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) TF1 - Metropolitan (Ed. Prestige) - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) New Line Video - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

DVD Box Covers

  

  

  

Distribution

New Line Home Video

Region 1 - NTSC

TF1 - Metropolitan
Region 2 - PAL

New Line Home Video

Region FREE - Blu-ray

Runtime 03:08:30 03:00:42 (4% PAL speedup) 3:08:39.683
Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.92 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.50 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 40,025,652,021 bytes

Feature: 36,671,483,904 bytes

Video Bitrate: 21.34 Mbps

Codec: VC-1 Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes

Bitrate:

New Line Home Video (Platinum Series)

Bitrate:

 

TF1 - Metropolitan (Ed. Prestige)

Bitrate:

 

Blu-ray

Audio English DD 5.1 , English DD 2.0

English DD 5.1 , French DD 5.1

Dolby TrueHD Audio English 1559 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1559 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Embedded: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB)
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround
Subtitles English, none English, French, none English, Spanish, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: New Line Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical Trailer
• Teaser Trailer
• 9 TV Spots
• Magnolia Diary : Making Of Documentary
• Aimee Mann
• Frank TJ Mackey Seminar
• Frank TJ Mackey Infomercial
• Outtakes Easter Egg

DVD Release Date: August 29th, 2000
DigiPack

Chapters 13

Release Information:
Studio: TF1 - Metropolitan

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical Trailer
• Teaser Trailer
• 9 TV Spots
• Magnolia Diary : Making Of Documentary
• Aimee Mann
• Frank TJ Mackey Seminar
• Frank TJ Mackey Infomercial
• Outtakes Easter Egg

 

DVD Release Date: January 17th, 2001
Keepcase

Chapters 13

Release Information:
Studio: New Line Home Video

 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 40,025,652,021 bytes

Feature: 36,671,483,904 bytes

Video Bitrate: 21.34 Mbps

Codec: VC-1 Video

 

Edition Details:
• Theatrical Trailer
• Teaser Trailer
• 9 TV Spots
• Magnolia Diary : Making Of Documentary
• Aimee Mann Video
• Frank TJ Mackey Seminar
• Frank TJ Mackey Infomercial

Blu-ray Release Date: January 19th, 2010
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 13

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

 

Addition: New Line Region FREE Blu-ray - January 10': One of the most divisive films of the past 20-years comes to Blu-ray looking like a solid advancement over SD-DVD but with room for possible improvement. This appears to be a better transfer than Boogie Nights - Anderson's previous film - also rendered to 1080P recently. There is, not an abundance, but still some fine film grain here and the image detail is consistent throughout, colors brighten extensively, noise is greatly reduced - while not meeting atmospheric expectations - this is of pretty strong visual quality. I don't think it is DNR I see - and the occasional softness may be inherent in the 35mm master. Flesh tones warm-up but seem more true and there is a smidgeon additional information in the frame (as we typically find with the HD bumps). There is also some visible depth that the flatness of SD never produced. Because the film is so long (over 3 hours) the bitrate remains modest from the VC-1 encoded dual-layered disc. I don't know if the spare 10 Gig could have done much more. I'd say at this point I am satisfied but will do some further investigation over the next few days.

The music of Magnolia is a huge part of the film experience and the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 at 1559 kbps certainly sounds more robust than the previous DVDs but I suspect it could have gone further with a DTS-HD Master with even more depth and range in both bass and higher end. I don't mean to look a gift-horse in the mouth - this sounds pretty darn good sonically even just sampling Jon Brion understated, but building, score or Aimee Mann's songs. It is relatively crisp with some defined separations. Quite pleasurable actually. The Blu-ray has optional English and Spanish subtitles (as well as a Spanish 2.0 channel DUB) and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

Extras duplicate the DVDs with Mark Rance's essential 1 1/4 hour Magnolia Video Diary (Making Of Documentary) to really hear Anderson's free-flowing, hyper-intelligent, very profane work like a stream of consciousness. There is also the nine TV Spots, Aimee Mann Video and the amusing Frank TJ Mackey Seminar and Infomercial. Nothing is in HD - not even the included Theatrical Trailer or teaser.

It's impossible to deny Magnolia's unapologetic intensity and obsessive ambition. It is accentuated by a perfect balance resonating the dizzyingly hypnotic narrative and the intoxicatingly rich actor-driven performances casually wedged in-between. As modern poetry it easily towers over anything Hollywood produced in entire 90's. If one can only appreciate it for the brilliant writing - it should continue to withstand unfounded and lengthy criticism. I suspect brave, and hugely emotional, Magnolia may continue to diverge audience taste for the next few decades - further to its credit. Here it is available in it's best ever home theater presentation. Need I say, we strong recommended this Blu-ray - especially at the offered price - considering the film - it seems like one of the few absolute essentials of this newer format.

Gary W. Tooze

****

ON THE DVDs: Both have a great video quality : sharpness, seemingly the same master without dust. Colors look natural, blacks deep, and the contrast control is quite good. Then, the exemplary compression is surprising for a 3 hours movie.

However, one thing differs between the two versions : The R2 picture is a little smoother (see the Tom Cruise's eyes and skin details) while the R1 is the more faithful to the cinema version (more grain).

Last point, the R1 DigiPack is really handsome compare to the sober French case.

 - Guillaume M.

MAGNOLIA - Besides a stunning cast doing an exemplary job with great material, this is a great looking film.  Though the R1 New Line version has the grain from the Panavision scope shooting, the TF 1 Metropolitan version is much closer to what I recall seeing theatrically in 35mm, but some people prefer grain, so multi-region player owners have a choice.  In the R2 frames, blacks looks a bit richer and whites more ivory by comparison, which is more naturalistic to me. Definition is noticeably better too in the R2 when you see the improvements in depth and detail on the left-hand-side store windows of instance of the first freeze frames below.  That is how the 35mm is supposed to and did look.  With the rest of both versions being dead even, it is a disaster that a DTS soundtrack has yet to be issued for this (or Anderson's BOOGIE NIGHTS, which did come out as a 12' DTS LaserDisc) on DVD.  MAGNOLIA has the additional bonus of a powerful set of songs by the great singer/songwriter Aimee Mann, who should have received the Academy Award (among other things) for the amazing "Save Me” and DTS would have really brought that music home.  Here’s hoping both New Line and TF1 will consider DTS reissues down the line.

 Nicholas Sheffo from FulvueDrive-In.com

 


DVD Menus

(New Line Home Video (Platinum Series) - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. TF1 - Metropolitan (Ed. Prestige) - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)
 

New Line Video - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

 

1) New Line Home Video (Platinum Series) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) TF1 - Metropolitan (Ed. Prestige) - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) New Line Video - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) New Line Home Video (Platinum Series) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) TF1 - Metropolitan (Ed. Prestige) - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) New Line Video - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) New Line Home Video (Platinum Series) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) TF1 - Metropolitan (Ed. Prestige) - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) New Line Video - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

 


1) New Line Home Video (Platinum Series) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) TF1 - Metropolitan (Ed. Prestige) - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) New Line Video - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

 


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Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: tie

 

DVD Box Covers

  

  

  

Distribution

New Line Home Video

Region 1 - NTSC

TF1 - Metropolitan
Region 2 - PAL

New Line Home Video

Region FREE - Blu-ray



 

 

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