Valdosta Daily Times

Features

March 22, 2013

'The Master' is masterful

VALDOSTA — “The Master” (Drama: 2 hour, 18 minutes)

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

Rated: R (Thematic elements, sexuality, nudity, alcohol usage, profanity and violence)

Movie Review: Naval veteran Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) arrives home from World War II. He becomes a drifter and alcoholic, a man committing one sin after the next. His future is dim until he meets Lancaster Dodd (Hoffman), the charismatic leader of The Cause, a new religion with different views outside of other mainstream religions.

Paul Thomas Anderson helms this mental-driven screenplay that takes place in a post-World War II United States. Anderson directs solid films with an edge: “Boogie Nights” (1997), “Magnolia” (1999) and “Punch-Drunk Love” (2002). He directs like a maestro artist. Even more, his photoplays have a genuine intellectual component. They are thinking films as much as they are entertaining. Therefore, they exist for certain intellectual crowds, which mean many ignore his films.

"The Master” is another edgy film. It is a higher thinking film. One must decide if the characters are sincere about their beliefs. This is not an easy task. Anderson, as director and scripter, makes this a film about characters and their nature. More important, he uses his players and their often-dysfunctional relationships with each other.

What makes this film somewhat controversial is that it appears based on Scientology and its founder, L. Ron Hubbard. According to reports, Anderson finally admitted in fall of 2012 that he based the charismatic leader Lancaster Dodd on Hubbard. This is evident if one sees the film.

A question remains. What is Anderson’s intent?

This will matter little for those who are fans of Anderson’s film. His films are cerebral. They contain good acting and a plot with original twists.         

Like many of the movies of 2012, the acting is superior to the movie as a whole. Phoenix, Seymour and Adams received Academy Award nominations for their roles. Their acting is phenomenal, especially Phoenix and Hoffman.

The plot on the other hand is worthy, but while energetic mentally, it is not necessarily entertaining. This is not the film to see if one is tired. This exists because this film is thoughtfully provocative. It engages by being unapologetically in your face as a brainteaser.

This style works in most of Anderson’s screenplays. It does here, too. The major problem is that “The Master’s” characters argue and commit the same actions repetitively. This aspect of this film can be tedious and equally perplexing at moments. When the cast commits these repetitive actions, audiences must ponder characters’ intent.

In that manner, “The Master” is mind scrambling often, but its quality is topnotch. Anderson delivers again.        

Grade: B (Anderson remains a master of filmmaking.)

 

“The Call” (Thriller: 1 hour, 34 minutes)

Starring: Halle Berry, Michael Eklund, Abigail Breslin and Morris Chestnut

Director: Brad Anderson

Rated: PG-13 (Profanity, violence and thematic elements)

Text Only
Features
  • 140418-AR_Paul_Townsend001.jpg Graphic novelist draws on inspiration

    A few moments with graphic artist Paul Townsend is all you need to understand that his mind swirls with stories that he’s willing to explore on paper – no matter where they take him.

    April 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Pompeys Pillar.JPG Pompeys Pillar

    Along their journey west to the Pacific and return east to St. Louis, Lewis and Clark left numerous marks recording their presence in order to validate a claim to the land for the United States.

    April 20, 2014 5 Photos

  • 1vsusr2014.jpg seen.yer-shoh

    Two of the most revealing exhibits each year at the Valdosta State University Fine Art Gallery are the fall and spring senior art shows.

    April 20, 2014 4 Photos

  • Film Review Draft Day_Rich copy.jpg ‘Draft Day’ scores a field goal at the theater

    Our reviewer looks at the movies "Draft Day'" and "Rio 2."

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • emerging1.jpg Emerging Artists: VSU shines spotlights on student performers

    Three years ago, Valdosta State University Theatre & Dance created a twist on its seasons’ conclusions.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • bicycle safety.jpg SGMC, Kohl’s to host Bike Smart safety event

    SGMC, Kohl’s Department Store, Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department and Safe Kids Lowndes County will host Bike Smart!

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140410-AR-Wake_Compound001.jpg Bringing wakeboards to Lowndes

    In college, many dream of their future career paths and, while some may seem far fetched, some people are able to make theirs a reality. Luke Tilt and Quinn Silvernale were able to do just that.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140401-Ballet003.jpg Beautiful Dancers

    The Ballet School in Valdosta offers children with special needs the chance to live out their dreams of being a dancer. For many, this may have seemed like a far fetched dream given their physical limitations, but as the Ballet School proves, there is no such thing as a physical limitation.

    April 13, 2014 5 Photos

  • Dido and Aeneas 1.jpg VSU Opera, Chamber Singers Present ‘Dido and Aeneas’ April 19-20

    The Valdosta State University Department of Music will present “Dido and Aeneas” at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 19, and 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 20, in the West Hall Rotunda. Seating is limited to 100 people per performance.

    April 12, 2014 2 Photos

  • Film Review Captain A_Rich copy.jpg A salute to ‘Captain America’

    Our reviewer looks at "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," 'The Grand Budapest hotel' and "Bad Words."

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

Given the amount of rain recently, what's your favorite “rain” song?

Singing in the Rain
Purple Rain
Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
November Rain
Rainy Night in Georgia
Other
     View Results