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P.T.Anderson's, The Master

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P.T.Anderson's, The Master
Sorry, another thread about a preview. This one is Paul Thomas Anderson's trailer for The Master.

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I've been looking forward to another slice of PTA's mind for a fair while. The film is meant to be a fictional simulation of the founding of Scientology, back in the 50's, by L. Ron Hubbard. I have to say that this is what trailers, especially first-released trailers, should be like - giving an impression of the feel and the tone of the film rather than condensing the whole plot-line of a film that so many trailers go for these days.

I'm mos def roy to see this.
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looks awesome. is that joaquin?
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Quote:

Originally Posted by mogmac View Post

looks awesome. is that joaquin?

Yep. His face looks well contorted by the camera angle used for the close-up.
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i completely agree with you about the trailer btw. faultless IMO.
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so psyched for this.
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He's got Jonny Greenwood doing the score for him again.

sexual.
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was a little underwhelmed by his last movie (massive expecations at the time), but will still be among the first in the queue when this one hits screens
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New trailer. This is how you build anticipation - curiosity yo.

http://www.themasterfilm.com/
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Last edited by Geezah: 20-Jun-12 at 01:37pm

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This surely makes all cinefile's smile.



Out Sept 11 (not sure if that's worldwide release date).
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Yes.

And I have to get me one of these posters:

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That's cool, looks like an esteemed bottle of wine. Shame I'm not in Syder's no more, would be cool to peep this with you Geezah, and a few of the others in here.
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Cleaned up at the Venice Film Fest; Best Director, Best Actor (split between Phoenix and Hoffman), and was to be awarded Best Film but the VFF rules state any one film can't clean sweep all categories.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Underwater View Post

This surely makes all cinefile's smile.



Out Sept 11 (not sure if that's worldwide release date).

Out today. Pretty awesome. Have listened to it twice.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Underwater View Post

Cleaned up at the Venice Film Fest; Best Director, Best Actor (split between Phoenix and Hoffman), and was to be awarded Best Film but the VFF rules state any one film can't clean sweep all categories.


Not to discredit the achievement but there was apparently pretty slim pickings at Venice this year. From what I've heard anyway.
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I hope JP Joaquin raps on the soundtrack?

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Geezah View Post

Not to discredit the achievement but there was apparently pretty slim pickings at Venice this year. From what I've heard anyway.

Check out the reviews on the Guardian website. Or don't, and just go into it as fresh as possible (best option).
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Underwater View Post

Check out the reviews on the Guardian website. Or don't, and just go into it as fresh as possible (best option).


Dude, I'm amped. Love his films and this looks awesome. I was more commenting on the reports I've read about Venice having a not so great film program this year. Film awards are arbitrary things anyway.
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Yeah I know you're amped! I'm probably directing it more so at myself, I got so pumped for There Will Be Blood, then saw the 9:45pm session after working from 6am. My friend next to me fell asleep, and I was basically torturing myself prying my eyelids open, cursing at the slow meditation of a fucking movie with Day-Lewis playing another fucking shade of his usual character. PTA is a brilliant modern filmmaker, I guess what I'm telling myself is this ain't no fucking Batman with shitty one-liners and explosions set off every ten minutes to keep an audience awake, this will more than likely require well considered, patient viewing.

p.s. I refuse to believe that Venice had little depth to its program this year, maybe there weren't many big showcase numbers from the big boys but I'm sure there were some brilliant unassuming type of movies buried within... And I agree that yearly film awards are arbitrary though I do respect the process of awarding prizes at these type of film festivals, there was a great article on Sean Penn sharing his eye-opening experiences as head of the jury panel at Cannes a few years ago.
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On Venice: David Stratton seemed unimpressed.

On Penn article: Don't s'pose you have a link?
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Sorry bro, was too many years and braincells ago... will link you if I remember the publication.

p.s. that Michael Jackson doco by Spike Lee looks cool

p.p.s David enjoyed it, lol
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Underwater View Post

1. Sorry bro, was too many years and braincells ago... will link you if I remember the publication.

p.s. that Michael Jackson doco by Spike Lee looks cool

2. p.p.s David enjoyed it, lol

1. No wuckers.

2. Yeah, when I wrote that I only had had time to read the first couple of columns Stratton wrote about Venice, which weren't complimentary, but having since read the rest it seems he liked most of what he saw.
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Saw this last night on the Cremorne Orpheum's 70mm projector which I highly recommend going out of your way to see it on if you are thinking of seeing this (there is one place in Melbourne using a 70mm projector too but I'm not sure where it is).

I'm not quite sure what to make of this yet.

Visually it is stunning (again, I'd encourage you to try see it on 70mm). The lighting gives the film an ethereal, dream-like quality throughout.

edit: The score, if you can call it that, is pretty out there. A better description might be jarring discordant sounds. Whatever you call it it's pretty effective but you probably won't be humming it days later a la Indiana Jones, and if you are sitting at home in a darkened room, a bottle-of scotch in one hand, and revolver in the other, you might want to put that shit down and go and change the CD.

All the performances are amazing - Hoffman, Phoenix, and Adams are all amazing (particularly Adams).

The writing again is original. PTA has a great ear for finding, and writing, authentic and unique dialogue (which must be awesome for those actors fortunate to be able to deliver his lines) that might, in another director's hands, come across as ridiculous.

As to what the film is about: well it's deliberately ambiguous and abstract and there are bound to be many interpretations for the film's meta-theme/s but at its foundations is that of the dynamics of personal relationships and what people believe they require from the significant others in their lives, all viewed through the lens of a nascent religion (it's based heavily on Scientology no matter what you may read otherwise - and you will know this confidently if you read-up a bit about this purported religion).

Spoiler:
And if you think this review was pretentious wankery I won't disagree with you.
Spoiler:
I'm looking at you Oblivia


I'm not sure if I love this movie but at the very least it isn't spewing out formulaic dross, it is trying to do something a little more than just entertain; although whether you think it is just artistic excreta or pure genius there are some seriously fucked up and brilliant scenes that I think almost everyone will at a bare minimum go "what the fuck" at.

For the pure WTFness of these scenes alone I recommend seeing it.

Spoiler:
Did I mention attempting to see it on 70mm? Oh, yeah, I did just a bit ay.
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Last edited by Geezah: 09-Nov-12 at 02:13pm

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Sounds Tree of Lifey. I'm cool with that.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Kill Whitey View Post

Sounds Tree of Lifey. I'm cool with that.

Yeah, nah. I only got halfway through Tree of Life before being over it. This is a completely different film, all external dialogue, and its only similarity to Tree of Life might be the ambiguity it lends itself to the interpretation of what, if any, the larger theme/s might be.
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Cool. I'll be watching it regardless. Im a big fan of Anderson's stuff, except for Magnolia which is ok enough but highly overrated by others, imo.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Geezah View Post

(there is one place in Melbourne using a 70mm projector too but I'm not sure where it is).

The Astor theatre, it's screening that film format for a week in December.

Just came out of a regular screening an hour ago, the hit of the drug has worn off now slightly but about 45 minutes ago my whole body was buzzing, i felt a wholistic empathy with everyone in the world, i was smiling at people on the street. This is the sort of cinematic hit i live for, i don't get it much but by gee it's worth the wait. It's such an intense cinema experience.

Astounding film, just a remarkable experience, and above all such such a fascinating character study of the Freddie character. I thought Joaquin was sensational, Hoffman is always stunning; there were a few scenes where he really fucking pulled out the big guns, his mannerisms and delivery were prodigiously amazing. No fancy camera work in this movie, PT has moved beyond all that cosmetic sort of trickery.

More later, I need to head out for a few drinks. What scares me / strangely compels me is that I'm going to meet up with my ex-housemate who is identical to Freddie, in all aspects: completely pure of heart, yet completely off the rails when drinking.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Geezah View Post


edit: The score, if you can call it that, is pretty out there. A better description might be jarring discordant sounds. Whatever you call it it's pretty effective but you probably won't be humming it days later a la Indiana Jones, and if you are sitting at home in a darkened room, a bottle-of scotch in one hand, and revolver in the other, you might want to put that shit down and go and change the CD.

Just quickly, though, so as not to paint a different picture in other people's heads, the score only makes up about 30-40% of the film's soundtrack. A lot of it comes from 50s music of the kind that you'd hear in a Woody Allen movie...

But anyway, more later. Man, I already wanna see it again, lol.
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Kid A

I think you're right about it being his most ambiguous film. Whilst frogs fall from the sky in 'Magnolia' with no explanation, and a step piano mysteriously appears in 'Punch Drunk Love', 'The Master' throws the audience with very minimalistic, drawn out scenes that are completely opaque. Nothing wrong with that, he does that a bit in Magnolia, There Will Be Blood and Boogie Nights too. But in those films he offers ultimate gratification with surrounding scenes of climactic drama. There was very little of that overt epicness in 'The Master'- he went (almost) all in with subtlety and ambiguity. Again, nothing wrong with that, I like a film that asks a lot of its audience, but I think it rendered it 'sub-classic', seeming to me like a b-side to 'There Will Be Blood'.

And I admit my expectations were quite high.

The incidents you mention in Punch Drunk Love and Magnolia are both odd and weird but I wouldn't say they are ambiguous (in the sense of making the whole of each film so). In the case of the piano in PDL it happens right after a car crash which compels Sandler to go out and see what has caused the large noise and is distracted by the van stopping and leaving the piano-thingamy right in front of him. There is no metaphysical ambiguity at play (I don't think). It's disconcerting and strange but no further meaning is attached.

The frog-rain in Magnolia is explained by the narration at the beginning of the film: that strange, coincidental, unexplainable, unbelievable things do happen. Some people have suggested this is an allusion to an allegory in the Bible. Again I would contend that the frog-rain has no real meta meaning it is just a hint of magical realism that interconnects all the characters (more successfully than the melo-audiation of the the Aimee Mann song they all sing at the same time).

I think The Master keeps the Anderson tradition of oddities alive - the nude scene, the song The Master sings at the end - but as unexplainable as I still find those scenes, and as ambiguous as they are in meaning, I found the whole film ambiguous in both tone and meaning but unlike you I didn't feel that this ambiguity (word for the day yo! ha ha) was superficially layered on top for the sake of it: it was more that the characters' evolutions or devolutions were not definitive, or that their ambitions were never certain. At least not in my mind.

All that is to say, I think it is PTA's best film to date and that you don't think it is a classic is fine with me. The subjective response to movies is part of the great joys of the artform. I'm long past getting butthurt by people not enjoying, even criticising, cultural things that I myself do like. And farther away still am I from the time where I would try to change people's feelings about films they might not have liked as much as me.
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Last edited by Geezah: 10-Jan-13 at 06:51pm

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I don't disagree with you much at all, although I suspect (without evidence) that there could be something deeper intended with the piano in Punch Drunk. And I (perhaps over simplistically) read that nudity in that scene of The Master as just a common phenomenon of cult- 'cult leader satisfies his perversions by weaving acts nudity and sex with doctrinal relevance.'

With regard to overall ambiguity, I don't think it was a superficial layer, but i just hoped for more "punchy", dramatic, direct scenes to counterbalance the scenes I thought were particularly vague and minimalistic.

Having made the criticisms I have, let it be known that I don't think I'm offering an objective assessment. As is usually the case, the experiential disappointment came first and then reasons were formulated after, rather than the other way around. As a side note, I liked Johnny Greenwood's score on 'There Will Be Blood' a lot more than his work on this film, which I think also added to my disappointment.

Love 'Sweetness of Freddie' and the evil part in 'Baton Sparks' though.

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Kid A View Post

1. I don't disagree with you much at all, although I suspect (without evidence) that there could be something deeper intended with the piano in Punch Drunk. And I (perhaps over simplistically) read that nudity in that scene of The Master as just a common phenomenon of cult- 'cult leader satisfies his perversions by weaving acts nudity and sex with doctrinal relevance.'

2. With regard to overall ambiguity, I don't think it was a superficial layer, but i just hoped for more "punchy", dramatic, direct scenes to counterbalance the scenes I thought were particularly vague and minimalistic.

1. Perhaps the piano-y thing does have a larger meaning but I doubt it. I might do some googling later and see if PTA has ever given an explanation as to if it has a deeper relevance to the story.

The nudity scene in The Master I don't think can easily be explained as just the lurid sexual lustings of a cult leader as it seems to be coming from Freddie Quell's pov.

Spoiler:
Is it just the sexual yearnings of a returned soldier who hasn't been able to successfully fulfil these desires since coming home thus making his imaginings of sexual fantasies become especially lifelike and colourful? After all, this is a guy who would fuck a sand sculpture of a woman and masturbate about it afterwards.

Or is it a conflagration of both Freddie and Peggy's imaginations (she is seen to be looking purposefully in Freddie's direction while holding her pregnant belly)?

But it seems to me less likely that the nudity is real, rather than imagined, and less likely still that it is the imagination of Lancaster, over Freddie's, that we are witnessing.


2. Again I respectfully disagree with you.

Spoiler:
There's Freddie in the department store picking a fight with a customer. There's that compelling scene where the Dodd's and Freddie are taken to some New York socialite's residence where the journalist keeps questioning the validity of Lancaster's claims which leads to the Master errupting in a short pique of righteous incredulity. Followed by Freddie and the son-in-law meting out punishment to the journalist, at his apartment, for his instransigence.

Later the Dodd's son is telling Freddie how he thinks his dad is just making all this shit up and is completely ambivalent to it, provoking another almost-violent response in Freddie.

The scene in the jail where Freddie breaks a toilet.

The scene where Freddie starts getting irritated - to the point of punching the wall - by the nonsensical way he is being told to keep traversing the room, up and back, to no apparent effect other than to make him feel crazy.

The scene at the end where Lancaster is announcing the publishing of the second part of The Cause only to have Laura Dern's character question the contradicting dialectical nature of his new work against his original work: the Master again errupts in a short pique of rage. Followed directly by Freddie and the New York high-society dude's exchange about what thy thought of the new work: the New Yorker thinks that it is a bunch of mumbo-jumbo, of which you feel Freddie agrees, but is so conflicted by this thought measured against the filial-type love he has for Lancaster, he again violently acts out, this time throwing the guy to the ground outside.

I found all these scenes punchy counterpoints to the more sedated discussions about life and The Cause and don't think further erruptions of rage or violence would've made the film more explainable or believable (I'm not suggesting this is what you mean by "punchy" and I myself didn't take the term literally btw).

To each their own I guess.
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Re: the Harmonium and its symbolism. I don't know if PTA meant all this but it's a pretty good read nonetheless:

The harmonium in PDL
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fuck me - best movie of 2012 by a mile - 10/10 would master again.

PTA is up there with Kubrick so far....and his next movie is described as a cheech n chong movie. bring that fkn shit!
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ps on the nude scene - i think its seen through the eyes of both freddie and lancaster - lancasters wife has just woken freddie up to the loveliness of women and lancaster is being a horny **** (as illustrated in the next - jerkoff scene) - so imo its basically what both those guys are seeing at that moment. (which also makes lancasters wife the sexual master and perhaps along with other evidence - THE master)
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