The Master (PTA fanboy reaction)

23 09 2012

Holy shit guys!  So The Master is really, REALLY fucking good.  I don’t think I can actually write a formal review on this yet, partly in fear of just raving too much.  Hopefully Maryann will find the time this week to write something more elegant and thoughtful so we can have some actual content about this movie on the site.  I’ve never seen anything quite like it, and everybody involved just seemed to go above and beyond, Joaquin Phoenix in particular.  Afterwards we were talking about how PTA often seems to channel a different filmmaker (Boogie Nights = Scorsese, Magnolia = Altman, There Will Be Blood = Kubrick), and with The Master I got an almost Malick vibe, though it was much more controlled (Malick has a tendency to go off on tangents, to say the least) with more focus on the characters and actors.  So many things stood out.  Jonny Greenwood’s score is amazing and surreal.  The writing and performances and the list just goes on and on.  Admittedly I’m biased as I’ve been a huge fan of PTA for years, but once again he exceeded my expectations.  If you’re at all curious about the film, please don’t hesitate to see it.



22 09 2012

A collaboration between director David Cronenberg and writer Don DeLillo seemed like the perfect match, but unfortunately DeLillo’s heavy dialogue didn’t translate so well to the screen in Cosmopolis, at least when it’s being spoken by lead Robert Pattinson.  Not to unfairly put all the blame on him, as just about everyone in this ensemble cast save for Paul Giamatti and Juliet Binoche seem to struggle with the dialogue and/or chemistry.  The book itself seemed cold and detached, but that feeling is amplified in this adaptation.  The saving grace comes in the film’s final confrontation where Pattinson comes out of his shell and the movie seems to finally find its pulse.

This is a short review partly because the film felt so empty (even as a fan of the book, to which it is mostly faithful) that I just don’t feel strongly enough to spend more time on it.  I felt similarly after Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method last year.  I’ve been a big fan of his for a long time, and I hope he can regain whatever edge he had, as his last few films have been strangely hollow.


Top 10 of 2011

23 08 2012

It’s late, but it took a long time to see everything on my list from last year.  After all, we’re not critics who get invited to screenings or have deadlines, so we took our sweet ass time.  2011 was an amazing year for movies, and there are quite a few that I loved but just couldn’t fit on the list.  Take a look and we encourage you to post your own top 10 in the comments.

10) Take Shelter

9) Shame

8) Midnight in Paris

7) Drive

6) HP and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2

5) Hugo

4) Melancholia

3) A Separation

2) 13 Assassins

1) The Skin I Live In


Almodovar’s probably one of very few who could make something so simultaneously bizarre, disturbing and thought-provoking.  I’ve loved Almodovar’s films for a long time, but with this I think he topped himself.  The Skin I Live In is a perfect mix of Almodovar with equal parts Hitchcock and Cronenberg.  It’s fantastic and my favorite film from an outstanding year.

The Raid: Redemption

22 08 2012

I’d been hearing amazing things about The Raid for a long time, so maybe my expectations were a little too high since for the most part, the whole thing fell flat with me.  The movie seemed confused: at times, it was an ultra-realistic action flick with some of the best stunt work I’ve ever seen, while at other times it turned into an over-the-top spectacle where all the characters turned into borderline superheroes. Spoilers: As awesome as it is to see a villain fighting with a fluorescent lightbulb sticking out of his throat and taking (literally) 500 punches to the face with seemingly no side-effects, it didn’t really fit with the rest of the movie’s vibe.  They also just couldn’t resist giving the hero the most generic and overused “wife and kid waiting at home” backstory.  I wish the filmmakers had picked one route, either realistic or fantastical, and stuck to it.  That being said, there’s some incredible fighting sequences (one rivals the awesome hallway scene from Oldboy)  and again, the stunts are really amazing.  Despite my complaints I still think this is worth seeing, especially if you’re a big action fan, in which case it’s unmissable.


Samsara Trailer

8 08 2012

Ever see Baraka? If not, I highly recommend checking it out.  It has some of the most beautiful time-lapses I’ve ever seen.  Samsara is the long-awaited follow-up, and it looks like more of the same awesomeness:

Full-Length Trailer for PTA’s “The Master”

20 07 2012

Hello? You may, or may not, have noticed that it’s been a long time since we’ve posted anything.  Basically, post-college life happened.  Maryann’s busy working full-time, and I’m working part-time and trying to finish up my thesis for Grad school, so this site kind of got pushed aside.  But now we’re back!  Posts might not be published quite as often as they used to, but we’re definitely going to give this site more attention, and what better way to start than with the trailer for Paul Thomas Anderson’s new movie?  Everything’s looking amazing: Joaquin Phoenix,  Jonny Greenwood’s score, dat cinematography.  Needless to say I can’t wait.  “There Will Be Blood” was one of my favorite movies of recent memory, so naturally I’m expecting big things from “The Master.”  Check out the trailer below:

The Illusionist

19 02 2011

The Illusionist is an incredible story directed by Sylvain Chomet, the same man who brought us Triplets of Belleville in 2003.  I should say that I loved Triplets, and so I came into The Illusionist with very high expectations.  It absolutely delivered, and on a more heart-wrenching level than Chomet’s first animation. 

The Illusionist follows the life of an older gentleman, a French traveling magician looking for work and finding it only in the lowliest of places.  His particular breed of stage performance is shown being eclipsed by young, up and coming rockstars, to both our amusement and dismay.  When he is invited to Scotland to perform in a bar, he meets a young woman who, seeking adventure, decides to go with him when he departs town.  Their lives are forever changed by this momentous decision. 

It is needless to say that the animation is absolutely breathtaking.  Each frame is a masterpiece unto itself.  Every character is completely different from every other but still they manage to exist seamlessly in the same universe.  Chomet is a genius because aside from a few muffled words and fully intended grunts, gasps, and yells, the film is devoid of a spoken narrative.  The storyline is propelled forward by subtlety and happenings that are fully compelling despite their quiet.  Chomet is able to make every movement and event have this momentousness and sensation that would have been lost on viewers if it were not for its silent treatment.  Quiet as it may be, the pacing is not sped up to make up for it.  In fact, the pacing is steady and bracing, slow but tension-building simultaneously.  This is aided also by an amazing score, some of which is done by Chomet himself.

I don’t want to talk about the story too much.  I want everyone who is reading this to go out and watch it instead of having it ruined by me.  But I will say a few things.  Each character is fully realized and goes through a tumult of development.  I feel as though there was more character development in this single 80-minute “cartoon” than I’ve seen in most movies from this past year combined.  They are charming, witty, and filled with hilarity as befits their whimsical illustrations and beautiful world, but they are also devastatingly believable, and force reality into firm view rather painfully at times.  In the end, The Illusionist is truly a film of intense self-reflection, made possible only through the viewing of the vulnerabilities and plights of the characters we easily come to love as the story unwinds. 

I give it a 10/10, easily.