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Empire Admin -> The Master (30/10/2012 1:56:17 AM)

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vwcerreta -> (30/10/2012 1:56:17 AM)

This is probably the best review of the oft-misread film so far. I agree with every point it makes. Kudos to you, Mr. Wise.

That being said, this is also the best film of the year so far. Top notch technical work, acting, writing. Still doesn't top Magnolia or There Will Be Blood in PT Anderson's canon, however, it does seem like the next logical step in his evolution as a great director. The many Pynchonian qualities of the film make me all the more excited for Inherent Vice. Let's hope it comes out in the next 2 or 3 years!




vladimirimp -> Emperor's New Clothes (30/10/2012 1:35:35 PM)

5 stars? You've got to be kidding. This was the most pretentious film I have seen in a very long time. I happened to see it in a theatre in the US some weeks ago, with a bunch of movie buffs working in the film industry - Oscar winners actually. So when it thankfully ended I wondered if perhaps I'd missed something. Maybe it was too high brow for me? Maybe you need to be REALLY into films to enjoy it. No. They all thought it was utter twaddle.

Great visuals, yes. Amazing acting, absolutely. But where was the story? It was like watching 2 hours of improv rehearsals. Detestable characters too. Yuck, yuck, yuck. I wish I could spit out the nasty taste it left in my mouth.




UTB -> RE: Emperor's New Clothes (30/10/2012 2:50:20 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: vladimirimp

pretentious



quote:

ORIGINAL: vladimirimp

a bunch of movie buffs working in the film industry



quote:

ORIGINAL: vladimirimp

Oscar winners actually



quote:

ORIGINAL: vladimirimp

pretentious




vladimirimp -> RE: Emperor's New Clothes (30/10/2012 3:52:01 PM)

I'm sorry if you feel my comments were pretentious. I was simply drawing attention to the possibility that I have no idea what I'm talking about (quite likely) but given the company I was in, it seemed my opinion might not be based purely on my fairly light film appreciation. Thought it was worth mentioning.




UTB -> RE: Emperor's New Clothes (30/10/2012 4:19:26 PM)

Your review came across as if you'd based your opinions on the thoughts of your friends rather than your own. It did seem pretentious but I apologise if I came across harsh [:D]




Fit Kisto -> RE: Emperor's New Clothes (3/11/2012 8:18:27 AM)

I hate to say this, but having seen the 70mm screening in London, there is quite a noticeable boom-in-shot moment about two thirds of the way through the film. The scene where Freddie is pacing back and forth, touching the wall and window and Lancaster calls him to stop. I think this might be a quirk of the 70mm projection rather than any creative oversight.

Its an incredibly involving film so its a shame to be pulled out of the scene like that.




adambatman82 -> RE: Emperor's New Clothes (3/11/2012 8:34:23 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Fit Kisto

I hate to say this, but having seen the 70mm screening in London, there is quite a noticeable boom-in-shot moment about two thirds of the way through the film. The scene where Freddie is pacing back and forth, touching the wall and window and Lancaster calls him to stop. I think this might be a quirk of the 70mm projection rather than any creative oversight.

Its an incredibly involving film so its a shame to be pulled out of the scene like that.


I like how that's the first (and only) thing you have to say about the film!

I've seen it twice now, including once in 70mm, and didn't notice the boom. But alas, as Kit says, it's a hugely involving film so I was otherwise distracted. It's a remarkable film, and my favourite of 2012.




Indio -> RE: The Master (3/11/2012 11:01:30 PM)


I saw it in 70mm today and don't recall seeing any boom appearing on screen. I didn't love the film, and wouldn't call it 'the American film of the year' as I've seen it described in the press, and it might be my least favourite out of all Paul Thomas Anderson's films, it did seem a bit of an effort at times but I liked it a lot (and certainly didn't find it 'pretentious'). Surely Joaquin Phoenix must be a shoo-in for the Best Actor Oscar next year, and who knows, maybe Philip Seymour Hoffman has a new career ahead of him as a singer [;)]




adambatman82 -> RE: The Master (4/11/2012 12:15:48 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Indio


I saw it in 70mm today and don't recall seeing any boom appearing on screen. I didn't love the film, and wouldn't call it 'the American film of the year' as I've seen it described in the press, and it might be my least favourite out of all Paul Thomas Anderson's films, it did seem a bit of an effort at times but I liked it a lot (and certainly didn't find it 'pretentious'). Surely Joaquin Phoenix must be a shoo-in for the Best Actor Oscar next year, and who knows, maybe Philip Seymour Hoffman has a new career ahead of him as a singer [;)]


It's my fav American film of the year (and fav full stop), but I can see why others might not agree. As for the Oscars thing, I don't actually see it doing particularly well in that respect. It's an amazing performance (Phoenix has long been my favourite contemporary actor), but it's so abrasive and harsh that I don't think the Academy will bite. I actually referred to his Freddie in my own review of the film as "to Forrest Gump what Barry Egan (of Punch Drunk Love) was to Happy Gilmore" in the way that each are great disections of their respective "genres" (the Prestige picture, and the Adam Sandler man-child genre).




jrewing1000 -> RE: The Master (4/11/2012 3:08:56 AM)

I really liked this. Saw it tonight at the 70mm screening at the Odeon, although I honestly didn't see any noticable improvement in screening quality.

Probably Anderson's least accessible film, The Master is more Mallick than Altman. It flirts with plot, rather than serving one. There are some truly wonderful moments, and you never doubt that you are in the hands of a gifted filmmaker.

The lack of distinct plot will probably disappoint a lot of people. Indeed, I was disappointed there wasn't as much of a 'story' as I thought there would be. It was more an exploration of character, in fact the set up of Phoenix's character is filmmaking at it's finest.

I don't think this will end up being as popular as most of Anderson's other work, especially There Will Be Blood and Magnolia, but it could contain more to wrestle with than anything he's done before.

Highly recommended, but a challenging and thought provoking film. Don't expect to come out of the cinema truly satisfied. You will scratch your heads!




jrewing1000 -> RE: The Master (4/11/2012 3:09:55 AM)

To add: Who gives a toss about the Oscars!




Fit Kisto -> RE: Emperor's New Clothes (4/11/2012 3:11:22 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: adambatman82



I like how that's the first (and only) thing you have to say about the film!




Not a dis on the film. My main impressions didn't differ vastly from the published review and I didn't want to be redundant. Its such a rare thing too see a boom in shot these days that It seemed worth a mention.

Its possible Odeon could have cropped the boom shot out by adjusting the projection on later screenings. I think its just one of those things that occasionally happens when a film is projected in an irregular format. A good thing that it could be corrected.




nc_jj -> Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" (5/11/2012 4:17:16 AM)

I absolutely loved this film. I know many will disagree, but for me, it was the most unique film of the year. Although, I can understand why so many people dissent or dismiss it. It's probably Anderson's most enigmatic and ambiguous movie, and while the style is characteristic of him, the film feels different from the rest of his movies. Joaquin Phoenix gives the performance of a lifetime, Oscar worthy, for sure; Hoffman is also astonishing and very charismatic; Adams is excellent, too; and, overall the whole movie was incredible, for me. Beautiful cinematography and music. Anderson did it again. Definitely, the best movie of the year.




Nicky C -> Most Satisfying Film I've Seen All Year (5/11/2012 12:13:55 PM)

This is the only film all year that's managed to get an emotional response out of me and I'm not sure why some think it pretentious. For me, The Dark Knight Rises was pretentious because it pretended to be grand and epic and 'important' but had very little substance beneath it. The Master is the opposite. It's subtley, beautifully played out and has a lot under the hood. I honestly came out of it thinking how the themes of the film are present in my life. I didn't necessarily like the conclusions I came too, either, and I think some viewers simply don't enjoy it when a piece of art holds up a mirror to their own shortcomings. Freddy's problems are not only believable but absolutely present in all of us on a daily basis. As for a 'lack of plot' I'm sorry but that's just utter bullshit. Freddy has a very distinct desire to find a new 'family' and sense of belonging but it's difficult for him because he's such an individualist. He's trying to integrate himself but he always feels the need to have one foot out the door and the thought of being 'shackled' in any way makes him aggressive. He's also a self-sabotaging bully, but he knows it and that knowledge seems to be eating him alive (hence the wonderful physicality of Phoenix's choices) I think it's an incredibly human story about how much of ourselves we need to surrender to others in order to have an identity within a community. I loved the ending as well but I won't spoil it. This film is a breath of fresh air in a year that's been quite stale. My personal best of the year ... with Avengers a close second.




UTB -> RE: Most Satisfying Film I've Seen All Year (6/11/2012 9:05:56 PM)

Went to see the 70mm print today after work.

What a great piece of filmmaking. I was truly engrossed from start to finish and the runtime flew by, barely seemed like 90 minutes to me.

The film's success rests obviously the shoulders of two towering performances from Phoenix and Hoffman and whilst Phoenix seems to be getting most of the praise I found myself thinking that Hoffman's performance was even better.

Its not a film for everyone, as I noticed upon exiting the screening that some people loved it, some didn't 'get it' (they were complaining it was too "random") and I heard one girl saying "I hated it. I couldn't wait for it to end".

I'm sure I will be thinking about the film for some time and whilst I'm not in hurry to see it again soon I will definitely revisit it (like with most PTA films).

It is brilliant in a very unique and unpolished way. Amazing score/soundtrack too.

I will be back to expand on this as I'm sure I'm not doing it justice but I literally left the screening half an hour ago.







homersimpson_esq -> RE: Most Satisfying Film I've Seen All Year (12/11/2012 6:56:22 PM)

There is a huge amount to recommend in this film. I need to fully mull over my thoughts on it, but I will say this: it won't be the classic people are saying. It is exception, though. Which seems contradictory, but there you go.

Re Boommikegate, I think it might have been a chandelier? I noticed something dangling from the ceiling in that scene, but my first thought was "odd light fitting" rather than "filmmaker error".





Olaf -> RE: Most Satisfying Film I've Seen All Year (12/11/2012 7:53:30 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: homersimpson_esq

There is a huge amount to recommend in this film. I need to fully mull over my thoughts on it, but I will say this: it won't be the classic people are saying. It is exception, though. Which seems contradictory, but there you go.




Having watched both within about two days of each other, I still honestly believe that this is a better film than There Will Be Blood. In a kind of perverse way, I think its major strengths are derived from the same place as the most common criticisms of the film - it's vague and open-ended, the dynamic between the two protagonists isn't as readily-defined as in TWBB (the relationship between Freddie and Lancaster is less clear than the relatively straight-up conflict between Plainview and Eli), etc etc. It's ostensibly a prestige picture like TWBB, but it feels almost like an ambient film (for some reason The Spirit of the Beehive was one of the films that I was really reminded of when watching it). For crass analogy's sake, I'll say it's the F For Fake to TWBB's Citizen Kane.




homersimpson_esq -> RE: Most Satisfying Film I've Seen All Year (12/11/2012 7:58:36 PM)

An apt analogy, as PSH was channelling Welles/Kane, I felt.




Olaf -> RE: Most Satisfying Film I've Seen All Year (12/11/2012 8:39:30 PM)

I was really surprised by PSH in this actually - going by the general idea of the plot that I had, I was expecting him to be a kind of Plainview-style apocalyptic force of nature style deal (at least that's how I tend to picture powerful cult leaders anyway). But he's quite charming - in a Wellesian sort of way, definitely - that darker undercurrent is always kind of there but it plays off the likeable aspects of his character in a lot of interesting ways. (of course, those sort of charismatic moments he has, in turn, play really well off those scenes where his more cynical/opportunistic side come to the fore.) As a result, those two sequences where he really raises his voice, even briefly, end up being really shocking moments since they're just cracks in the surface so to speak. And then Freddie is fascinating since he's basically the same but in reverse - he's violent and out of control or whatever, but those brief moments of intimacy and gentleness are so surprising because of the violence. We see him really going for it with the big sand lady in one scene, and then later we see him just curled up next to her with a gentle hand on her side. Unlike Plainview who sets out his stall pretty early and doesn't stray too far from it ('I hate most people' etc), Freddie and Lancaster seem a lot more amorphous in a quite deliberate way, I guess?

(I don't mean to be comparing this to TWBB as much as I have done, I think both films are masterpieces in their own right. It's just that they really feel like part of a distinct aesthetic period for PTA and really benefit from comparison to each other as well.)




homersimpson_esq -> RE: Most Satisfying Film I've Seen All Year (12/11/2012 9:56:51 PM)

PIGFUCK.




Olaf -> RE: Most Satisfying Film I've Seen All Year (12/11/2012 10:22:52 PM)

I actually meant to say three rather than two (PIG FUCK/the jail scene/discussing the new book with Laura Dern in Phoenix), though when I think about it more the second of those three seems quite distinct in itself. I'd be inclined to see it as a mirror of the earlier processing scene where Lancaster exposes something of the 'real' Freddie on his (Lancaster's) terms, while the jail sequence is Freddie exposing something of the 'real' Lancaster through violence/rage/etc (I'm thinking specifically of the way Lancaster is initially quite calm before being drawn into a shouting match).




talpacino -> RE: Most Satisfying Film I've Seen All Year (14/11/2012 3:50:43 PM)

Yeah it's almost up there with TWBB for me. The ending did bug me a little tbh but I saw it months ago so it might be grand on second viewing.




R W -> RE: The Master (16/11/2012 8:27:46 PM)

Five years have passed since Paul Thomas Anderson’s masterful fifth outing There Will Be Blood, which has been recognised as one of the top films of the last decade from critics’ list. While there are those who questioned the ambiguity of the film whilst highly praising Daniel Day-Lewis’ Oscar-winning performance, PTA’s latest is a more challenging drama that has gained much controversy over its analogies with Scientology, which can be commonly thought of as a bizarre religion.

Following World War II, the discharged veteran Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) struggles to adjust to a post-war society. When he meets Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who is the leader of a philosophical movement known as "The Cause", Freddie is accepted into the movement, but later starts to question the teachings of the Master.

If you were used to the non-linear narrative of There Will Be Blood, then you might feel right at home with The Master which is not the most plot-driven but more of a character study between the two male leads. From the early stages of the film, we are introduced to our troubling protagonist who constantly thinks about sex and drinks a lot, that he is unable to handle a professional or even personal life. Once he meets the eponymous master (loosely based on Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard) and his movement of which one sceptic describes it as ‘the basis of a cult’, Freddie believes in “The Cause” and sees it as a decent way of living.

The teachings of this movement is never fully explained as they do baffle Freddie initially and I imagine the audience, but one key scene where Dodd’s son says to him that the master is making up as he goes along, this is exactly the point of the film. Dodd is a conman who is putting on a show and somehow this appeals to some and works for them. However, despite the questions it raises, the heart of the film is the rather strange relationship between Freddie and Dodd, who respect one another for their individuality.

There is no such thing as a bad Philip Seymour Hoffman performance and there is no exception here as you are engaged by this character that should be unsympathetic as his teachings are preposterous, but there are moments where the movement is probably beyond his control, such as Amy Adams’ truly menacing wife who seems to pull the strings. Whilst you always expect great things from Mr Hoffman, it is Johnny Cash himself Joaquin Phoenix who truly dominates the screen. Like Daniel Day-Lewis’ Plainview, Phoenix presents a very self-destructive and physical performance as his violent behaviour can be unpredictable, especially in a jail scene involving the demolishing of a toilet, which is enough to gain him an Oscar.

As always, Paul Thomas Anderson is pulling new tricks on the narrative as it is not the conventional third-act play, but something more novelistic from the very talky sequences to the epic yet intimate imagery of Freddie’s distorted body; special praise to cinematographer Mihai Malaimare Jr. and if you can see it in a 70mm screening, do so. Following his extraordinary score from There Will Be Blood, Radiohard’s Jonny Greenwood doesn’t let down as his subtle yet powerful music contributes to the course of the film and certainly in the intense scenes involving Freddie’s conversion to “The Cause”.

Whatever expectations (good or bad) you have towards Paul Thomas Anderson’s most divisive film to date, you will go in completely cold but hopefully come out trembling as I was. I know this is perhaps a cheap gag, but The Master is quite the master-piece.




demoncleaner -> RE: The Master (16/11/2012 10:56:32 PM)

Writing this a half hour after a first viewing I'm drawn to say it probably doesn't quite score the full marks with me, which feels even odd for me to say it since I know I haven't seen a film this year with scenes as mesmeric and electrifying that just seemingly proliferate (certainly in the first two thirds) of The Master.

If I have a qualm with the completeness of the package it's ironically embedded in the probability that Mr. Anderson as director-as-story-teller is just too good, too quick for his script which becomes perhaps a bit too hypothetical in the end. What I mean is the film has such a deceptive pace that I wasn't prepared for it to end, it's a longish, substantial film but I didn't see the time go in and it wasn't until Slow Boat to China (when I realised Christ, this is this films drink your milk shake) that I knew I was in the final third, the penultimate scene for all intents and purposes. It was as though the film chose it's final stages to become ponderous when in its every moment from the beginning until this point it was precisely not ponderous, indeed it was like a fucking X-Ray into human behaviour, albeit one wrapped in this beautific visual fugue. In hindsight the ending's probably fine, probably better than fine, we can't really wish for a guignol skittle bludgeon murder to manifest a release or to telegraph an ending, in many ways it's the least contrived Anderson has ever been, a precise antidote to the critical misgivings of TWBB's climax? Perhaps. I'll need to see it again to really feel the truth behind that proposal.

Celebrating the technical for a minute I thought Joaquin Phoenix (a screen presence I've never relished) was phenomenal. The Oscar's his right? I mean it has to be, once again we're watching one of those total character immersal things, and it's thrilling to think this comes from someone no one really considered a masterful character actor. With his most recent brace of films Anderson is cementing a reputation as a film maker whose trademark is committed and uber credible performances. It isn't much of a creative coup to capture the gravity of a Daniel Day Lewis turn, but with The Master he can now point out Joaquin Phoenix and say, "yeah well, I can get it from someone like him too”. Perhaps now we really get the sense that PTA wasn't flukey with his last film.

Hoffman is obviously great as well, but I imagine him to be in more of a comfort zone than his co-star, and imagine him taking a more wry approach to his character, perhaps adhering to the one rule that Dodd himself is constantly acting. I found the three principal characterisations of Freddie, Dodd and Amy Adams' Peggy fascinating. Adams is so understated as to make it appear she's underused until you realise pretty much every scene she is in nails the rather high probability that she is the mindfuck bolster behind The Cause. It's not often you watch a film and get a glimpse of the much vaunted back-story that actors create for themselves alone. Through various choice intimations I got a sense that Dodd was a bit of a swaggering wastrel, a desultory con-man who fell for Peggy's passive insistence that he re-evaluate his life and perhaps his sins. Dodd is a man who probably fell for his own con, believing that there really was something transformative in this self-regard brought on by the expert nagging of a passive/aggressive spouse. What is “exercise” and “training” to The Cause members is really only a form of re-programming through dull repetition and an insistence on suppressing reactions which are humanly instinctive. Add Freddie to this and I think Dodd has an entity who does two things for him. Fundamentally I think Freddie appeals to Dodd's manchild – who is still very much there despite his newly respectable veneer, but Freddie also gratifies a challenge in “The Master” to prove his own chauvinist theory by elevating this animal to human heights. I love the inherent joke in this film which is that it isn't Freddie's intelligence (he doesn't have any intelligence) that makes him a failed cult member, it's his lack of imagination that means he can't quite jibe with the whole scene no matter how much he fervently wants to be a zealot. In this way Freddie is cult proving. Legitimate movements require a communion of intelligence, cults only require imagination from their people.




UTB -> RE: The Master (17/11/2012 2:41:57 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: demoncleaner

Celebrating the technical for a minute I thought Joaquin Phoenix (a screen presence I've never relished) was phenomenal. The Oscar's his right? I mean it has to be, once again we're watching one of those total character immersal things, and it's thrilling to think this comes from someone no one really considered a masterful character actor.


Absolutely agree with this. I've never been a fan of Phoenix particularly (U-Turn aside) and thought exactly the same.




BelovedAunt -> RE: The Master (18/11/2012 3:34:59 PM)

One of those occasions where in spite of the great soundtrack, first class acting talent and cinematography I cant say I enjoyed this. I honestly just couldn't 'get' this at all. I even found The Tree of Life more accessible. Felt like a slow boat to China.




adambatman82 -> RE: The Master (18/11/2012 3:54:49 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: UTB


quote:

ORIGINAL: demoncleaner

Celebrating the technical for a minute I thought Joaquin Phoenix (a screen presence I've never relished) was phenomenal. The Oscar's his right? I mean it has to be, once again we're watching one of those total character immersal things, and it's thrilling to think this comes from someone no one really considered a masterful character actor.


Absolutely agree with this. I've never been a fan of Phoenix particularly (U-Turn aside) and thought exactly the same.


I'm a big fan of Phoenix's work with James Gray (Two Lovers was came second in my top ten of the last decade back in 2010). As I said upthread, as much as I like his turn in The Master (it's my favourite performance for years) I'm not convinced it's an Oscar-friendly one. I can see him sweeping the boards at the critic circle awards, but think it's a tad too abstract for the Academy, not to mention it faces a split vote from his very own compadre Hoffman.




Qwerty Norris -> RE: The Master (19/11/2012 2:26:03 PM)

Far & away the least accessible PT Anderson film to date, with a pair of towering performances by Hoffman & Phoenix who convey a "story" about the powers & fragilities of beliefs, brain-washing & the process of seeking answers to questions one cannot ever hope to successfully respond to - something which no doubt resonates with any person or society (particularly of those in the states) dealing with the immediate aftermath of the trials & tribulations of the Second World War. Extremely impressive if a difficult watch. By no means for everyone.

4/5




Filmfan 2 -> RE: Most Satisfying Film I've Seen All Year (20/11/2012 11:29:33 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Nicky C

This is the only film all year that's managed to get an emotional response out of me and I'm not sure why some think it pretentious. For me, The Dark Knight Rises was pretentious because it pretended to be grand and epic and 'important' but had very little substance beneath it. The Master is the opposite. It's subtley, beautifully played out and has a lot under the hood. I honestly came out of it thinking how the themes of the film are present in my life. I didn't necessarily like the conclusions I came too, either, and I think some viewers simply don't enjoy it when a piece of art holds up a mirror to their own shortcomings. Freddy's problems are not only believable but absolutely present in all of us on a daily basis. As for a 'lack of plot' I'm sorry but that's just utter bullshit. Freddy has a very distinct desire to find a new 'family' and sense of belonging but it's difficult for him because he's such an individualist. He's trying to integrate himself but he always feels the need to have one foot out the door and the thought of being 'shackled' in any way makes him aggressive. He's also a self-sabotaging bully, but he knows it and that knowledge seems to be eating him alive (hence the wonderful physicality of Phoenix's choices) I think it's an incredibly human story about how much of ourselves we need to surrender to others in order to have an identity within a community. I loved the ending as well but I won't spoil it. This film is a breath of fresh air in a year that's been quite stale. My personal best of the year ... with Avengers a close second.


Whilst I disagree with the bit about TDKR (that's for another thread), this pretty much sums up The Master for me.

Phoenix is a shoe-in for Best Actor, unless Daniel Day-Lewis sticks his oar in. A fantastically physical performance, and there are moments, such as the scene where he listens to that first meeting in Laura Dern's house, where he articulates the inner-hell Freddy experiences quite heartbreakingly; all that torment expressed in just a look. One of the best movies of the year by far.




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