Tag Archives: Paul Thomas Anderson

[Oscars 2013] – Predicting The Nominations

9 Jan

An actual Oscar statuette to be presented during the 79th Annual Academy Awards sits in a display case in Hollywood

I still have a few 2013 releases to catch up with, and I though I wanted to make my Oscar nominations predictions post having seen all of them, the nods are due early tomorrow morning so I’ll have to post them now.

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[Review] – The Master

30 Sep

Title: The Master
Year: 2012
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Writer: Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Laura Dern, Jesse Plemons
MPAA Rating: R, sexual content, graphic nudity and language
Runtime: 137 min
IMDb Rating: 8.1
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Metacritic: 85

First of all: you’re going to have to bear with me here, this will probably be one of my long reviews. That’s because, of course, not only is The Master one of the most buzzed about films of the year, but it’s also a film by Paul Thomas Anderson, my favorite director. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you may know I love lists, I love quantifying stuff from favorite movies to favorite long-takes, whatever. My list of favorite directors is a revolving door of greats, but for quite some time now I’ve known that, no matter which masters of cinema occupy the spots right below him, Paul Thomas Anderson is the solid number 1 for me.

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[Trailer] – The Master

27 Aug

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: there’s no film this year that even comes close as far as how much I’m anticipating it to Paul Thomas Anderson‘s The Master. With the film nearly two weeks away now (finally!) we’ve gotten the final theatrical trailer for it, which you can watch after the cut.

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[Teaser] – The Master

19 Jun

Nearly a month after that mesmerizing first teaser was released on the day some footage was shown at the Cannes Film Festival, we’re getting another teaser for Paul Thomas Anderson‘s The Master, which you can watch below.

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[Teaser] – The Master

21 May

The Master has always been my most anticipated film of 2012. After all, Paul Thomas Anderson is my favorite director and his last film, the masterpiece that was There Will Be Blood, was released five years ago. Well, now we have a teaser trailer for The Master, and I was dead wrong to think I couldn’t get any more excited for this film. This is truly amazing. Watch the teaser after the cut.

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Just Go with It

3 Apr

Title: Just Go with It
Year:
2011
Director:
Dennis Dugan
Writers: Allan Loeb and Timothy Dowling, adapting from the 1969 film screenplay by I.A.L. Diamond, which was adapted from the stage play by Abe Burrows, which was based on the french play by Pierre Barillet and Jean-Pierre Grédy
Starring:
Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Brooklyn Decker, Nicole Kidman, Dan Patrick, Dave Matthews, Nick Swardson, Bailee Madison, Griffin Gluck, Rachel Dratch, Kevin Nealon, Heidi Montag, Minka Kelly
MPAA Rating:
PG-13, frequent crude and sexual content, partial nudity, brief drug references and language
Runtime:
117 min
Major Awards:

IMDb Rating:
6.2
Rotten Tomatoes:
18%

 

By now we all know what to expect from an Adam Sandler comedy, we know what his style of goofy comedy consists of, so you know if you’d like to stay away from his films or not. Now, I personally like his style when it’s done right, but that hasn’t really seemed to be the case for his last few films, and even though Just Go with It is a film that you can, pardon the pun, totally go for, it’s not an amazing one by any means.

Moreover, I think it’s time for Mr. Sandler to go back and do a dramatic role. He is, much like Jim Carrey, one of those physical comedians that are super silly in their comedy, and yet have a really touching sensibility when they do dramas that I find incredible to watch. Adam Sandler has done two dramas, 2002’s Punch-Drunk Love, a film by the master Paul Thomas Anderson and one that I can’t praise enough, the other one was 2007’s Reign Over Me which wasn’t as perfect a film, but was still quite remarkable. I guess we could potentially count 2009’s Funny People, a film I liked better than many seemed to, as more of a dramatic entry in Mr. Sandler’s canon, but it wasn’t a straightout drama film like the others, so I won’t. But yes, Just Go with It was fine and all, Adam, but please, give us another drama.

But, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about the actual film. I’ll say this much for Just Go with It, for a romantic comedy, it’s pretty damn competent. I mean, it’s a film that while entirely predictable, does offer us a few surprises along the way to keep things fresh, and it has Brooklyn Decker in it, who is gorgeous enough to have any film she’s in bumped up a grade just for her sheer presence in it considering she wasn’t asked to really act all that much. Not to mention that Jennifer Aniston, who had been in last year’s The Bounty Hunter, needed a role like this to get her back to being her awesome girl-next-door self which we all love. But then again, I’d also like Ms. Aniston to go back and do another drama in the vein of The Good Girl again.

This isn’t a perfect film, don’t get me wrong, I’m not recommending it, I’m just saying that’s totally bearable and that, while it’s far from the best film you’ll see all year, it’s a good option in the horrible rom-com genre. I mean, it’s very very easy going, it tries to play naughty, but you know it’s innately good-hearted, it may try to seem as though it’s pushing the envelope with some of its stuff, but you know it’s actually quite the passive little bugger you’ll let pretend otherwise. And as such, there will be bits in which you’ll get frustrated by it, but there will also be parts you’ll find yourself laughing with it, and the ratio of those two is better than you’d expect going into it.

The thing is, we all feel like we know Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler already. They have been part of our media-loving lives for the past decade and a half, and they have been great friends themselves from way before that, so there’s that sense of watching people you know being funny and warm to each other, and that’s genuinely nice to see in this one. I mean, this is after all better than Mr. Sandler’s previous effort, which was the unfortunate Grown Ups. And, as for Ms. Aniston, even though I probably liked last year’s The Switch a bit better than this one, this is still heaps better than the disaster that was The Bounty Hunter.

If you’ve seen the trailers you already know what this one’s all about. Mr. Sandler has his heart broken on what was supposed to be his wedding day, and decides to get back on the horse by having a lot of sex with anyone he could find who would be disarmed by a man armed with a wedding ring and tales of a wife that broke his heart. Ms. Decker plays one of those girls, except when it’s all said and done, Mr. Sandler’s character, Danny, thinks she might be more than just a one-night thing, and she’s probably thinking the same way, except she first wants to meet Danny’s soon-to-be ex-wife, who obviously doesn’t really exist.

So then Danny enlists his assistant Katherine, the character Ms. Aniston plays, to pretend to be his crazy ex. And you probably know how the rest of this one goes. And there’s no shame in this film for being so obvious in its next steps, it still has the likable and beautiful Ms. Aniston, the gorgeous and sexy Ms. Decker and the dependably goofy Mr. Sandler to keep it afloat. Not to mention that the supporting cast includes an Academy Award winner in Nicole Kidman and Minka Kelly, who I personally find to be even more beautiful than Ms. Decker, not to mention that she’s actually got some acting chops, not that this is the sort of film in which she could prove that.

Go see this one if you have time to kill, if not, don’t bother with Just Go with It. I mean, I liked it much better than I thought I would, which is why this review may sound a bit enthusiastic, but that only says things about how low my expectations were, the greatest thing I can say about this film is that it looked as though everyone involved had a great time making this one, and since it’s not as though we were invited to hang out with movie stars in Hawaii then I guess that’s neither here nor there, so go see it if you’re a fan of the stars or if you have two hours of free time and the other options seem crappier.

Grade: C+

Middle Men

19 Aug

Title: Middle Men
Year: 2010
Director: George Gallo
Writers: George Gallo and Andy Weiss
Starring: Luke Wilson, Giovanni Ribisi, Gabriel Macht, James Caan, Laura Ramsey, Jacinda Barrett, Kelsey Grammer, Terry Crews, Kevin Pollak
MPAA Rating: R, strong sexual content, nudity, language, drug use and violence
Runtime: 105 min
Major Awards:
IMDb Rating: 6.8
Rotten Tomatoes: 44%

The script of Middle Men is what ends up hurting this film, because this one really could have been rather good had the screenplay been solid, and I was sorta bothered by that fact, especially because every single castmember, especially Luke Wilson, gives a good performance. But alas, the great ensemble piece this one had the potential to turn out to be was ultimately thwarted be a weak script.

I guess this one will earn some comparisons to Boogie Nights, Paul Thomas Anderson’s 1997 masterpiece, this one being the internet-age equivalent of that one, but Boogie Nights is a true masterpiece, while this one is just decent enough, entertaining but with some considerable flaws, so the comparison ends with the theme and both of them being amusing hard-R films.

The film is essentially about how online pornography came to be, about the online billing companies designed for the many men who in the early stages of internet dominance were willing to put out their credit cards for some pornography on their monitors. And as just that the film works, it combines the thematic material of the aforementioned Boogie Nights with some of the characteristics that gave the gritty and ambitious look to another great 90’s film, Martin Scorsese’s Casino. As I said before, this one isn’t nearly as perfect as Boogie Nights was, nor is it as good as Casino for that matter, but it is pretty damn entertaining and interesting how director George Gallo tells the true story of how one of the internet’s most prominent businesses came to be.

But, as I won’t tire of saying when I discuss this film, the script was what prevented it from being truly great. The aforementioned Boogie Nights had an Oscar-nominated screenplay (Paul Thomas Anderson lost to Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s Good Will Hunting that night), and Casino had a pretty solid screenplay, too. And though the huge scope and big ideas are all there on screen, the script for Middle Men does absolutely nothing to make these concepts come across as genuine or effective, and it all gets lost on a film that uses over-used techniques in these sort of films, such as voice-overs, to no real benefit.

The stories are all over the place and can’t get tied up in any sort of coherent way, I mean, this is a film that tries to tell too much stuff out of an extensive topic, and that just can’t be done in an under-two-hours feature film, and the voice-over seems too epic for a film that really isn’t, though, as I said, the guy that does all the talking, Jack Harris, is played by Luke Wilson in what is definitely one of the better performances he’s ever given.

Jack is a guy we get presented to as a stand-up family guy, but once we get to see a bit more of him, and see the many shades under which Mr. Wilson plays him we get to know that this is a guy that has some dark stuff going around, and that, even though he does indeed love his family, will do quite a lot to fulfill the aspirations he has for himself and his wife, played by a wonderful Jacinda Barrett.

This is a story we know all to well from different sort of films, the guy that is just a straightup guy with some ambitions, he finds something that will fulfill them and then some, but to pursue that opportunity he must compromise some stuff, and he most likely won’t know when to stop. But to see it based on internet pornography, a much more modern phenomenon, is pretty entertaining, and it’s based on true events, on the guys that invented anonymous credit card billing to get photos scanned from porn magazines on your computer. Jack is hired to manage the up-and-coming business, but they quickly start making more money than they know what to do with, and start venturing into far more perilous situations that, at one point or another, actually involve the Russian mob and a kidnapping.

Middle Men is a film I sincerely enjoyed, and I would probably give good word about it if someone asked me about it, but if I had to pinpoint one problem is that it dealt with both the implications of getting involved in such a business, and of the new age of pornography, but it dealt with both of these topics in a sort of mild-mannered way, and I would have much rather have had the film ditch one of those topics for exploration in exchange for a full-depth insight into the other, and not just be in between of the two not really going deeply into either, that’s another thing that separated this one from the masterpiece that Boogie Nights was. But yeah, while Boogie Nights it’s not, this one’s still a pretty okay film that boasts a great performance and introduces a topic that strangely enough hasn’t been exploited that much in films, and that actually has a helluva lot of potential so, if only for that, Middle Men is worth a shot.

Grade: B-