The Master

Arbitrage 2012 Film

Resident Evil: Retribution won the box office this weekend with $21.1m domestic (an average amount for the franchise), but it was The Master which impressed most with a stunning $146,000 per theater average (scoring a total of $730,000 before expanding next week) and Arbitrage which scored over $2m in just under 200 theaters. The 5-theater feat from Paul Thomas Anderson‘s latest makes it the second-highest opening per theater average in history for a limited release live-action film (behind Red State). If that seems like a lot of qualifiers, it’s because it is. However, it’s important to keep in context that top record-makers for per theater averages are 6 Disney-released films (The Lion King, Pocahontas, The Princess and the Frog, Toy Story 2, A Bug’s Life, Hercules) followed by Red State, followed by another Disney-released film (Atlantis: The Lost Empire), followed by The Master in the #9 spot. So it’s not like this is a wide-open field or anything. This is an achievement almost solely regulated to animated features, but it’s unsurprising considering the massive buzz that The Master has achieved ahead of a very small release. [Box Office Mojo]  

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In his vitriolic review of Film Socialisme (Jean-Luc Godard’s self-indulgent mess that screened at Cannes in 2010), renowned critic Mark Kermode said: “the movie is incredibly boring and incomprehensible, but so boring and incomprehensible that critics concluded it must be quite profound.” With that quote in mind, I carefully read every single glowing review I could find of Paul Thomas Anderson‘s new film The Master (including one already on this site) after watching it at the Toronto Film Festival. Before the love fest, I walked out of the theater feeling confident that everyone else in attendance hated it as much as I did. Instead, it seems as if everyone has found a safe place for their beloved director’s latest to hide by looking for praise anywhere they could. The film follows the life and tribulations of former sailor Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) whose rather random but instant bond with Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman) turns into a lasting friendship that puzzles everyone around them. Quell is a deeply damaged soul who appears to be guided by his basic human needs of sex and violence but also hides greater emotional devotion to a long lost love – one he tries to retrieve years too late. Lancaster Dodd is an equally insane but significantly more eloquent oddball thanks to his natural ability to influence others around him. While his ego knows no bounds and his methods reveal no logic whatsoever, he displays such a sense of self-assurance and persuasion that he can […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that stays up late, making it a prime candidate for movies at midnight. Our evening begins with a shot from the upcoming season four premiere of Community (Oct. 19) that will include a parody of, you guessed it, The Hunger Games. It all centers around some lost student records and a competition to get into a class called “The History of Ice Cream.” I pre-enrolled, so I’m good.

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Looper

Finally the summer movie season is over. It was decent, never truly great or terrible. The main films that left any lasting impression were the little guys, besides The Avengers and maybe one or two other exceptions. Now that we’re out of summer, it’s fitting this month seems to be a hybrid of what we expect from the previously exited season and awards time. We got the new Paul Thomas Anderson film, while we are also in store for the movie you all really care about: Dredd 3D! Overall, it’s a light month ahead of us, but one with enough potential. Plus, even if we were getting a new Resident Evil pic every weekend this month, we’d still have The Master to overshadow all that blandness and Milla Jovovichness.

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TIFF 2012 Header

Editor’s Note: We’ve asked a Jamaican to go to Canada to cover the movies of TIFF 2012. Andrew Robinson, whose work you can check out over at his blog, has obliged and will be filling us all in on the antics in the Great White North. Here’s his first missive. Any day now I’ll be on a plane heading to Toronto for the very first time in order to attend a film festival for the very first time. I’ve been excited to attend the Toronto International Film Festival (affectionately known as TIFF) for the past three years, and now it’s finally happening. Before we dive into this list, which honestly cannot do the festival’s amazing looking lineup any justice, I will give a couple caveats. It’s based on my confirmed schedule, and therefore two films which I’m genuinely excited for but will not be able to see (Rian Johnson’s Looper and Michael Haneke’s Amour) are not on it; it’s also in no sort of ordered preference. So with that out of the way and with all the excitement being thrown around, let’s take a quick look at the films that I’m most excited for:

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Jurassic Park Mosquito

Movie trailers are one of the few things in the industry that you really can’t improve upon with technology. It’s just editing – that’s it. Nothing else can make a trailer better besides skill. This is also why it seems like they generally get better every year (not always the case though). It’s difficult to nail down exactly what makes a teaser trailer effective, which is why we’re going to focus simply on intensity. It’s the best part, especially when a film is already anticipated from the start due to being an adaptation or a sequel. So here we go – fifteen movie teasers that have your heart pounding before the feature presentation even begins.

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The Master

Editor’s Note: On Friday night in Santa Monica’s Aero Theater, a group of movie fans gathered to enjoy a 70mm print of The Shining were treated to the first screening ever of Paul Thomas Anderson’s forthcoming The Master. We’ve asked film geek Victor Escobar, who was lucky enough to be there, to offer his thoughts on the film. It hits theaters September 21st. I thought that I was lucky just because I had won tickets to see The Shining on Friday,  but before it began, we were told that a special 70 mm print was being shown right afterward and that we were welcome to stay for the screening. During the movie, I kept thinking of films that were shot in 70 mm which would make a great follow-up to Kubrick’s hotel-set horror. The first and most logical film that came to mind was 2001: A Space Odyssey. So the film ends, the lights go up and we’re told that we will be the first people to see Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest film, The Master. The announcement was greeted by a unanimous roar from the audience. The Master is about Freddie (Joaquin Phoenix), a man without any self control or a sense of direction life, who is taken under the wing of Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Both men find inspiration within each other but as Dodd’s religion grows, Freddie finds himself going against not just Dodd’s teachings, but Dodd himself.

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The Master Trailer

Looks like The Weinstein Company is doing a little end-of-week clean-up, as Variety (via ComingSoon) has now gotten word that the production company has moved around a couple of its major awards season contenders. First up, everybody’s most anticipated fall film, Paul Thomas Anderson‘s The Master, has moved up to September 14. The film was last scheduled to open on October 12. The Philip Seymour Hoffman- and Joaquin Phoenix-starrer will now open on the 14th in limited release, with an expansion on the following Friday, September 21. This puts the film against the Finding Nemo 3D re-release, Resident Evil: Retribution, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Liberal Arts. It’s interesting that TWC has announced this move now, after a few days of fevered chatter about why The Master was not headed to any big upcoming festivals – like Venice and TIFF. It also removes the possibility that the film would pop up at Fantastic Fest as a big surprise. With FF kicking off on September 20, perhaps The Master will open the festival, as it’s quite likely that the festival’s hometown, Austin, TX (what what!), will not get the film during its first week limited run. Here’s to hoping.

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The Master Trailer

So far, we’ve been treated to two very different (yet equally as engaging and wonderful) teaser trailers for Paul Thomas Anderson‘s upcoming film, The Master, but today gifts us with the film’s first full trailer. And it was worth the wait. Drawing from the film’s second teaser, this look at the Philip Seymour Hoffman- and Joaquin Phoenix-starring film dives deeper into the world of Hoffman’s mysterious, eponymous “master” and the outsider who at first embraces him, and then threatens the very fabric of his work and existence. The auteur’s apparent take on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology is set in the 1950s and it centers on Hoffman’s character, “a charismatic intellectual known as ‘the Master’ whose faith-based organization begins to catch on in America” and Phoenix’s character, “a young drifter who becomes his right-hand man.” Check out the film’s first full trailer, complete with lots of looks at the inevitable rift between the leads, after the break.

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Joaquin Phoenix in The Master

Isn’t it nice to know that no matter the chaos of the universe, Paul Thomas Anderson is out there making movies? Amidst a an ebbing sea of hype and disappointment, he’s out there, takin’ ‘er easy for all us sinners. The second trailer for his forthcoming film, The Master, is an incredible example of cinematography and contemplative acting from Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix. Plus, Amy Adams round out the mix. The movie focuses on Hoffman’s religious icon known as “The Master” as he builds a relationship with Phoenix’s character Freddie – a drifter who becomes his assistant. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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Joaquin Phoenix in The Master

Though everything we’ve heard about Paul Thomas Anderson’s upcoming project, The Master, paints it as being a Philip Seymour Hoffman-starring story about the head of a new religion, its new teaser trailer doesn’t give us any indication that this is the case. There’s no mention of religion, no scenes of cult-like indoctrination, and not even a glimpse of Philip Seymour Hoffman. What it does give us is a conversation between military personnel and Joaquin Phoenix, who’s playing a 50s-era serviceman who seems to be having some mental problems. Phoenix has a glint in his eye, a glow to his smile, and a hole in his memory – and it all adds up to a scene that manages to build a ton of tension and mounds of menace without ever actually showing us anything dangerous or getting spooky with the music. It’s a good example of how thoroughly a great filmmaker and a talented actor can manipulate your emotions, even while being completely subtle.

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What is Movie News After Dark? Well, it ain’t like dusting crops, boy. Our fearless leader, Neil Miller is taking the night off and has left you in my very incapable hands. And thus we spring forth to the internet to see what new bounty of cinematic gifts that unfaithful mistress doth offer up to we lowly cinephiles. Or something like that. We begin, boys and girls, with Paul Thomas Anderson. For my money, he’s easily one of it not the very finest directors working today with apologies to Christopher Nolan. There Will Be Blood was quite frankly a masterpiece and my expectations are high for his next film, The Master. The folks over at Cigarettes and Red Vines got a nice exclusive today from the man himself, revealing a few behind the scenes photos of old fashioned negative cutting going on. Not only is this new PT Anderson film shooting on glorious celluloid but this particular negative was of the much higher quality 65mm variety. Word has it that the film will be comprised of both 35mm and 65mm elements, though the question remaining is will the distributor be willing to strike a 70mm print. Exhibition options for 70mm are scarce, but Oscilloscope Labs appears to be striking a 70mm print for Baraka follow-up Samsara. It appears the Weinstein’s are in charge of theatrical distro for The Master, hopefully they’ll have the courage to pony up for a 70mm print

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Cannes! It’s upon us! At this stage last year, I offered my pre-festival wishlist for what films might screen at Cannes (and got six out of eighteen picks correct in the process), which was based on rumors and guesswork from around the net. This year, in the interest of embracing the spirit of imagination, the emphasis is on spurious gossip and pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking. Plucking films that might have an outside chance of screening on the Croisette this year (in some cases so far outside they won’t even be in France until months after the fest, probably), I’ve compiled my Ultimate Cannes 2012 Wishlist. The caveat to this of course is that probably very few of the bloody things will actually screen – at least not to the majority of the collected press – but what’s life without whimsy? Yes, the bent is firmly on American films, and English language ones, but in my defense, I don’t care. It says “wishlist” up there for a good reason. Realism aside, here are 13 movies I hope play at Cannes this May.

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Paul Thomas Anderson

Yesterday, I ragged all over the hiring of Kenneth Brangah to helm the long-gestating Jack Ryan prequel, mainly because I don’t believe that the film will ever happen and I’m not necessarily sure that I care if it does – but not every long-talked-about project is a bust, not every heavily touted production is destined to never come to fruition. Some do. And some of them are more than worth the wait. Paul Thomas Anderson‘s maybe it is/maybe it isn’t Scientology feature, The Master, has been buzzed about for awhile now – and it’s hit some hurdles on it way to the screen. But that doesn’t mean that this Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, and Amy Adams-starring feature isn’t going to be great – in fact, I’ll be shocked if it’s not. With a resume like Anderson’s (including no less than Boogie Nights, Punch-Drunk Love, Magnolia, and There Will Be Blood ), a talented cast, and a compelling plot, it’s looking like a can’t-miss (which is why it landed on our most anticipated list for the year). But, when, oh when can we expect to see it?

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Paul Thomas Anderson

I didn’t think it was possible for me to be any more excited about P.T. Anderson’s upcoming religious drama that was at one point called The Master. First off, Anderson is one of my very favorite directors, so anything he does is going to excite me. Secondly, Philip Seymour Hoffman is starring as the L. Ron Hubbard stand-in who serves as the main character, and he’s about the best actor on the planet. And third, much like Anderson’s last film, There Will Be Blood, this one is going to feature a score by Radiohead’s Johnny Greenwood. Last time around that equaled aural awesomeness. But now there’s a new rumor swirling around the project that is almost too cool to believe, and coming from these sources, I’d say it’s pretty dang reliable. Cinema Blend was peeping in on a Twitter conversation between two directors from the Pixar stable, Brad Bird and Andrew Stanton, about movies being shot in 65mm, and they uncovered the tidbit that Anderson is going to be the next director to utilize the format. Somewhere in the thread of the conversation Bird said to Stanton, “ … Nolan shot a lot of Dark Knight Rises in IMAX. I think PT Anderson’s next is 65 too.” To which Stanton replied, “The Master is indeed in 65. They nearly lost a camera shooting in the Bay.”

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It’s already the second day of 2012, which means we’ll all be sober within the next day or two. It also means that we can officially start looking (through blurry eyes) ahead to the future. A future of promise and potential. A future of hope. A future of tingling anticipation that the road stretched out in front of us that leads to the cinema will be paved with gold. Will there be piles of excrement along the way? Of course, but we don’t know how many or how badly they’ll tarnish our yellow-bricked roller coaster ride. All we can see from this far out is the shimmering wonder of movies to come – the vast unknown that looks wonderful (and might just live up to the hype). In past years (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011), we’ve gone with a fairly arbitrary count of 20-30 movies. This year, we decided to prove that there were 52 movies worth prematurely celebrating (even though what we found were many more). That’s one for every week (even if there are some weeks with a few and some weeks with none at all). Regardless of the number, Rob Hunter, Neil Miller, Kate Erbland, Allison Loring, Landon Palmer, Brian Salisbury and Cole Abaius have joined forces to remind us all that there are a lot of great movies to hope for this year. Go grab a calendar and pencil in everything that gets your blood pressure up toward unsafe levels. It’s going to be a busy, flick-filled […]

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Jonny Greenwood

Remember when P.T. Anderson’s last movie, There Will Be Blood, came out and everybody was going gaga about how it was probably the best movie they’d ever seen, and how it was going to win pretty much every Oscar in the world, and how great the music was at establishing mood and creating tension, and how the guy who did the music was the guitarist for Radiohead, and he was definitely going to win an Oscar for Best Score, but then he didn’t even get nominated for anything because his music happened to have a couple samples in it or something? Do you remember all of that? Okay, good, because it’s probably going to happen again.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news round-up that takes place after the sun has set, as the title suggests. On Sunday’s it is a relaxed, refreshed look at what happened over the weekend. Which usually isn’t much, but we do our best. We open tonight with a new photo from Captain America: The First Avenger, a surprisingly detailed look at Red Skull released this weekend by Paramount Pictures. Surprisingly detailed in the make-up effects, which I believe to be some of the best we’ve seen this year. We’ll see how sinister Hugo Weaving plays it, but he looks good thus far. And because I love you, I’ve set up a full Captain America photo gallery here.

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The last time I heard some news about Paul Thomas Anderson, he had two possible projects that he was working on, and heiress Megan Ellison was going to help him finance them. There’s big news on that front as The Weinstein Company has won the rights to distribute the religious drama Anderson has written that was once titled The Master. Whether or not that will remain the film’s title is unknown, as it has reportedly undergone some serious rewrites, but it is now confirmed as Anderson’s next film. The project already has Philip Seymour Hoffman set to star as the creator of a new religion in post WWII America. The movie seems to explore the beginnings of a cult movement, and is said to have a parallel or two to the life of L. Ron Hubbard and his founding of Scientology. Perhaps further exploring the theme of lost souls, Anderson has also cast Joaquin Phoenix, who has recently returned to acting after a very public and very fake meltdown. Other than that, not too many details are known, but what else do we need? All you have to tell me is that PT Anderson is making another movie and I’m on board. Get Hoffman in a starring role and I’m positively salivating. A release date for this one can’t come soon enough, no matter what it ends up being called. [Deadline Tilden]

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Megan Ellison is the 25-year-old daughter of Oracle boss Larry Ellison. It wasn’t too long ago that she was gaining attention all around the Internet for being a rich girl out of control. Reports of her bisexuality and hard partying ways were pouring in from all sorts of highly reputable news sources conducting investigative reports into her MySpace profile. It was very clear from just a brief glance at these pieces that we were about to have another Paris Hilton on her hands, another Lindsay Lohan. Not content to just release a line of handbags and designer perfume like all of the other billionaire heiresses, Ellison has recently taken up the hobby of film producing. Oh great, that’s all we need, some dim bulb in her twenties throwing around money and influencing what gets made in Hollywood. What has she done so far? Well, she co-financed the Coen brothers’ remake of True Grit, which has gone on to make over 150 million dollars to date. And her next move was to invest in Jonathan Hillcoat’s awesomely cast Wettest County in the World. Wait… who is this girl?

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