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 Post subject: The Master
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 3:14 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2010 12:15 am
Posts: 1544
Location: Los Angeles
Last night I was lucky enough to be in attendance of the first screening of Paul thomas Anderson's newest opus, "The Master".

The film features Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymor Hoffman in a story about a post WWII cult leader who takes a disheveled and violent drunk under his wing as he builds his cult throughout America.

You've probably heard the buzz about the film. Its a damning indictment of Scientology and weaves a host of its "self help techniques" throughout the story. Most interesting is that a film that scrutinizes and lambasts that very powerful hollywood lobby was funded by someone who has enough money to give them the big 'F- You' without fear of reprisal. Multi Billionaire larry Ellison's daughter, Megan Ellison.


The film is massive in length and scope and not nearly as audience friendly as "There Will Be Blood". Remember the flaming oil tower, the "milkshake" monologue, and the confrontation with the oil executives in the saloon in "There Will Be Blood"? There aren't any scenes like that in this movie. There are some beautifully (exquisitely!) shot scenes and fantastic score that you would expect from PT Anderson, but the story itself plods along without any climaxes and at the same pace for its running time of 2:10. There isn't a likeable character in the film and no conflict or plot point established ever resolves itself. So you are left wondering if there was any discrenable theme at all. But perhaps that was the point.

Joaquin Phoenix puts in the best performance of his career without a doubt. I dont know if he was inhabiting the role - I'm quite sure modern makeup and lighting isn't the sole reason - but he looks haggard as hell. His erratic and combustible character often has you unnerved and at the edge of your seat. But truth be told, there is a wide valley between the talent of daniel Day Lewis and Joaquin Phoenix. I could pay to watch Daniel Day Lewis order a sandwich from a menu he's so charismatic.
Joaquin... not so much. But he definitely is at his best here.

And Philip Seymor Hoffman commands every scene he is in. But the role never seems to be a challenge for him. First and foremost he's there as a major player in the story, but the story never grabs hold of the audience. We move from year to year of this man's life and each failure and discovery(there are no successes) is remarkably ordinary.

As an affront to the belief system of Scientology the films works extremely well. I almost wish I was viewing it as a former Scientologist so I could experience the pleasure of seeing their hackneyed philosophy exposed on the big screen in 70mm. -Oh, I forgot, PT Anderson shot this film in 70mm. the first film to be filmed in 70mm in 26 years or something.

Overall I give it a 6.5 out of 10. But lately I have been changing my mind about films days after seeing them. I'm already feeling better about this film than I did when I walked out of the theater. Its a looong viewing without a lot of high points that register immediately because it never tells you where its going. Now that I've been through it, I'd like to see it again.

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 Post subject: Re: The Master
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:57 pm 
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Joined: Sat Dec 04, 2010 5:41 pm
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...but the story itself plods along without any climaxes and at the same pace for its running time of 2:10...


Everything else you wrote I had no problem with, but then there's this. Now it sounds like the last AC/DC album. I.E.: a couple of great moments but not enough forward momentum to make it worth the bother.

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 Post subject: Re: The Master
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 8:39 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2010 12:15 am
Posts: 1544
Location: Los Angeles
PT Anderson is such a masterful film maker that everything he does is artful and beautifully crafted, but if you're like me, you'll wish you could have walked away from the film and then returned to hit the pause button and digested the rest of it after you've had a break.
Now that you know, you will be better prepared to enjoy it at least.

here is the trailer


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