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In Brief: "Magnolia"

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I wish I could join in the chorus of praise for Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia, because I think he's extravagantly gifted. But this San Fernando Valley-based epic of alienation features often remarkable actors (Julianne Moore, William H. Macy, Jason Robards) in mostly unremarkable situations. The movie I saw seemed more like a concatenation of soap-opera stories with an epistemological overlay than like something deserving of the comparisons it's been receiving to prime Robert Altman or, heaven forfend, Eugene O' Neill.


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