Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master is both exactly what you expect and completely unexpected. Fans of the filmmaker will undoubtedly recognize his style, even though it has constantly evolved with each work. The movie is mesmerizing and unsettling. If you didn’t like There Will Be Blood, you more than likely won’t enjoy this one either. The pacing is similar and the momentary spouts of violence are there. Yet, as much as The Master feels like a blood relative of Anderson’s prior film, it’s far from it.
The following review will contain full spoilers. Please see the movie before reading.
I’ve had a day to think about The Dark Knight Rises and I’m ready to share my thoughts. But first, I should acknowledge that I saw the movie three times in a row: Midnight (regular), 3:10 am (IMAX) and 6:20 am (IMAX). While I would consider this technically a gut reaction review, I’ve formed my thoughts enough to share, but reserve the right to change my mind upon future dozens of viewings.
Wes Anderson is one of the few true auteur filmmakers left. His films don’t make a lot of money and he makes them in his own specific, quirky way. Either you love him or you don’t. If you don’t, Moonrise Kingdom won’t change your mind. But if you do, you’ll be in 90 minutes of heaven. Everything Wes Anderson has done up until now has simply set the tone for this masterpiece.
It’s time to shine a light on the millions of mindless, faceless henchmen who have lost their lives to fight our heroes. No longer shall hordes of alien races be massacred at the hands of one man. No longer will packs of secret agents drop like flies. No longer wil— oh, who am I kidding? Hollywood isn’t going to change. But this trend has bothered me for years. Whenever a hero (or villain) needs to prove their abilities to audiences, the filmmakers send mass of bodies their way, only to be wiped out one by one with a single blow. It’s tiresome. It’s dull. It’s boring. It’s utterly pointless.
[MILD SPOILERS AHEAD]
Every time a new romance film hits theaters, some moviegoers roll their eyes and others try to sweet-talk their boyfriend into going with them. Of course, by releasing the film on or around Valentine’s Day, they pigeon hole the reluctant male audience. But it’s narrow-sighted to just assume all romances are worthless cheese fests. They aren’t, even if you’d like them to be. I went into The Vow hoping for something worth remembering. And I think I got it, but then I couldn’t remember those moments anymore because Channing Tatum destroyed them like a snow plow to the back of the head with his flat, mumbling nervous acting. He’s like the love-child of Rocky Balboa and Hayden Christensen.
Joe Carnahan has crafted a fine film that should not be considered a typical January release by any means. In fact, Carnahan recently told press that the only reason The Grey released on January 27th is because they were delayed in post-production by some effects shots. The studio has already agreed to re-release it in late 2012 for an Oscars push. While I think it will be a huge stretch for The Grey to earn Academy Award recognition beyond the great performance by Liam Neeson, that’s quite inspiring and should evoke confidence in potential audiences. Otherwise, the movie is quite a ride and really does keep you on the edge of your seat, unlike 99% of movies that use that pull quote from corrupt journalists.
Yes, I went there. A pun review title. And trust me, that’s still less cheesy than Red Tails. You know how they say January is the dumping ground for bad movies? Red Tails reinforces that, and it’s unfortunate because the story of the Tuskegee Airmen deserves so much. If it didn’t take itself so seriously, maybe it could have been less embarrassing.
In our screening of The Flowers of War, a female audience member broke down into hysterical tears complete with sobbing and moaning. I had never heard a vocal reaction like that in a theater and it is one as unforgettable as the terrible events that transpired on screen. And the woman was well within her rights to do so, as the epic war film from China depicts some of man’s most detestable actions and rarely hides such details, though there is the occasional comedic relief thanks to (sometimes) drunk Christian Bale.
If you love movies in any fashion, you are likely aware that there is a huge transition going on in hollywood. Film production is literally dying and digital cinema is taking its place. Some filmmakers are thrilled, while others are frustrated. Actor Keanu Reeves has a new documentary called Side by Side that highlights this great divide and the trailer ensures it is a must-see.
Cameron Crowe brought all his regular ingredients to the table with his latest film, We Bought A Zoo. It’s got the traditional Crowe inspirational dialogue, excellent music choices and commercial appeal of most of his work. Put simply, it’s a movie that seems impossible to hate – although cynics will still find a reason. The theaters are full of options this holiday season, but We Bought A Zoo is about as close to a guarantee family-friendly experience as you can get.