As we rush headlong toward the Oscars, every award from every organization and critic group gives us a taste of what may be taking home the gold next month. Like many before it, the National Society of Film Critics has given their top prize to a film that is looking like a shoe-in for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award: Michael Haneke's 'Amour.'
By all accounts, Joaquin Phoenix is considered an Oscar frontrunner for his performance in 'The Master.' The only problem is that Phoenix himself wants no part of it. When asked about the possibility of an Oscar nomination, Phoenix took the chance to call the Academy Awards the "stupidest thing in the whole world."
There's been nothing normal about 'The Master's marketing campaign. The film has released clips (many of which were of scenes deleted from the finished film), and had numerous charity screenings, and now - a week after the picture went into wide release - they've released a four and a half minute trailer.
How do you define a hit? What's more important: total gross or actual audience enthusiasm? The answer to this question will help us decide who actually won the weekend. Call it the "Battle of the Paul Andersons": Paul WS Anderson's 'Resident Evil: Retribution' and Paul Thomas Anderson's 'The Master' both opened this week and both had completely different results, but they beg to be compared to each other.
With fewer and fewer truly weird mainstream actors out there, it's a bad idea to take the ones we do have for granted. On that note, we look to Joaquin Phoenix, who has proven to be one of the strangest actors of his generation. With his supposedly career redefining performance in Paul Tho
The year is 1950. Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman) has founded a new religious philosophy based on the notion that we can all be free of "past trauma" if we recognize that man is not an animal but rather a soul that lived through trillions of years and thousands of lifetimes. But if that's true, how do you explain Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix), whose back is so hunched, whose shoulders are so narrow, and whose arms hang so low to the ground that he looks like some missing link between man and beast. He walks upright, but unsteadily, as if he just learned how to do it. If anyone ever evolved from apes, it's Freddie Quell. And recently.
Quell, who wanders into Dodd's life in a drunken stupor and becomes his confidant, assistant, photographer, and unofficial bodyguard, doesn't just look like an animal; he behaves like one, lashing out anyone who threatens Dodd with the ferocity of a caged tiger. Most of the members of Dodd's movement called him "The Master" because he is the head of their religion. When Quell calls Dodd "Master" it sounds different. Their relationship is as much teacher and pupil as attack dog and owner.
That relationship forms the core of Paul Thomas Anderson's remarkable new film 'The Master,' which is less about the origins of Scientology -- although Dodd is an undeniable analogue for L. Ron Hubbard, the man who invented the infamous religion -- than about the push and pull between these two men.
It seems fairly obvious to anyone with a functioning brain that Paul Thomas Anderson's upcoming film 'The Master' is, in part, based on Scientology and its creator, L. Ron Hubbard. Unfortunately for Anderson, Scientologists are unhappy with this portrayal and they're railing against the film.