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Hard Eight: Special Edition

In the game of craps, a hard eight is two fours (whereas a soft eight would be a three and a five, or a six and a two), and seasoned gambler Sydney (Philip Baker Hall) knows it's a foolish bet. But when emotion gets the best of him, he follows his heart. It's this same emotional tendency that draws Sydney to John (John C. Reilly), a broken down, penniless sad-sack desperately in need of a father figure. Hard Eight (also known as Sydney) was the first feature from skilled writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights), and he directs with rare assurance and a dumbfounding knack for spinning rich, diverse characters. Although the film stumbles a little when the plot takes center stage, Anderson's climax is as terrific as his final moment is gentle and priceless. With Gwyneth Paltrow and Samuel L. Jackson. Presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen (with a full-frame 1.33:1 option), in Dolby Surround 2.0. Includes two commentary tracks, one with Anderson and cast members, and another with Anderson and crew, as well as the deleted scene "The Kiss" and three scenes from the Sundance Screenwriters Workshop. Keep-case.
—Gregory P. Dorr

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