Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Master


[The few spoilers are marked; the opening touches on what exists in an official trailer, below.]

When Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) stands, he stands bowed: his shoulders hunched, his head drawn to the earth. He shows the history of his varied career in his posture: aboard a naval vessel in the waning days of World War II, maneuvering below a torpedo bay; a department store photographer, always bending over the camera, taking pictures of those fortunate to have a carefree smile; a farm hand, stooping to break open head after head of cabbage. In each of these roles he concocts his own moonshine, at once brazen and secretive, and doesn’t care when this vice forces him to move on. Freddie moves like a beaten dog, never certain but always expecting. He is an outsider, literally – on the edges of whatever group he’s allowed to orbit.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Seeing The Master

I never thought I'd need to frame a Rorschach test.
Last night I was fortunate to attend an advanced screening of Paul Thomas Anderson’s new film, The Master, which was shown in its 70mm glory in the gorgeous Castro Theatre in San Francisco. That it was held as a benefit for The Film Foundation was a fitting bonus, giving the venue and format. Aside from my proper review, I would like to comment on the “event” itself, as I could not have been more excited for it and it turned out to be a once-in-a-lifetime kind of deal. Anderson is my favorite filmmaker, and made my favorite film, Magnolia. I saw Sydney on tape (!) just before Boogie Nights was released, and I’ve been going to opening night shows of Anderson’s films ever since.