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The Master - SPOILERS!

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Lewton

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Reply #375 on: October 09, 2017, 05:22:40 PM
Has this been posted already? This was made by the same folks (PlanetFab Studio) that did the other, more ubiquitous kaleidoscopic poster. I had never seen this one until today. Was it ever actually used?




modage

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Reply #376 on: October 10, 2017, 08:17:30 AM
First I've seen of it.
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.


ono

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Reply #377 on: October 22, 2017, 11:59:53 PM


So after 5 years, it's quite amusing/sad to watch this interview, because RIP PSH, and Haha @ Weinstein Q.  It's fluffy, but at least he got some press.


wilberfan

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Reply #378 on: December 29, 2017, 05:09:46 PM
How ‘The Master’ Untangles ‘Phantom Thread’
With its themes of control and submission, Paul Thomas Anderson’s newest work acts as a companion piece to the 2012 film that might be his masterpiece

https://www.theringer.com/movies/2017/12/29/16828404/paul-thomas-anderson-the-master-phantom-thread

This one is referenced also:

https://thepointmag.com/2017/criticism/the-master-paul-thomas-anderson
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Lewton

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Reply #379 on: December 29, 2017, 08:08:52 PM
https://thepointmag.com/2017/criticism/the-master-paul-thomas-anderson

I haven't read that other piece from The Ringer yet, but I read Pinkerton's piece a short while ago. I was going to post it, but I forgot. There are some interesting claims in there, and it's a useful and informed summation of PTA's movies. However, I'm assuming a few of the points raised will prompt reasonable disagreement from fans. Still, even though I disagree with some of the skepticism, it's nice to see someone challenging PTA's movies.

EDIT: Removed some excess here because, in retrospect, I find my comments in this post sorta rambling/annoying.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2020, 02:10:53 PM by Lewton »


Drenk

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Reply #380 on: December 29, 2017, 08:21:37 PM
I could argue that Eli and Plainview share a lot actually.

Quell and Dodd, it's kind of obvious to me, so...

I think some people are left cold by his movies and see them in a schematic way. It's, like, do you read the plot summaries of TWBB? It does sound like a lesser movie than it is. It's very easy to watch them as being schematic. But the oppositions—the tensions—are always organic. The Master is a perfect example of that. How would you describe the relation between Freddy and Dodd? I would make a list. In the movie, it becomes something more than a succession of words.
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Lewton

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Reply #381 on: January 20, 2018, 11:04:58 AM
I watched this amazing Vincente Minnelli movie recently. It's called The Cobweb. The opening moments focus on this anxious character played by John Kerr. He's fleeing from a psychiatric clinic, and is seen desperately running across some fields for quite a while as the camera tries to keep up. I think this was done mostly in one take.

Anyway, it reminded me of that shot of Freddie running near the beginning of The Master. I guess there's just something cinematic about characters running in a sustained shot. The 400 Blows is probably the most famous example. Still, the overall vibe of this scene from The Cobweb -- the sense of distress and the terrain -- just struck me as being very similar to that moment from The Master.

At any rate, it's a really interesting film that reminded me of PTA in a few other ways, too. There's also a shot of a lake, near the end, that is in no way by the numbers, and that alone is worth the price of admission.


eward

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Reply #382 on: January 20, 2018, 12:51:19 PM
I watched this amazing Vincente Minnelli movie recently. It's called The Cobweb. The opening moments focus on this anxious character played John Kerr. He's fleeing from a psychiatric clinic, and is seen desperately running across some fields for quite a while as the camera tries to keep up. I think this was done mostly in one take.

Anyway, it reminded me of that shot of Freddie running near the beginning of The Master. I guess there's just something cinematic about characters running in a sustained shot. The 400 Blows is probably the most famous example. Still, the overall vibe of this scene from The Cobweb -- the sense of distress and the terrain -- just struck me as being very similar to that moment from The Master.

At any rate, it's a really interesting film that reminded me of PTA in a few other ways, too. There's also a shot of a lake, near the end, that is in no way by the numbers, and that alone is worth the price of admission.


YES - I recently saw another Vincente Minnelli film called Some Came Running with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Shirley MacLaine that really evoked The Master for me in a number of striking ways - the blocking of many scenes, the color palette, the compositions - it felt like The Master if The Master had been shot in scope...

I need to watch more Vincente Minnelli movies.
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Lewton

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Reply #383 on: January 20, 2018, 01:14:45 PM
YES - I recently saw another Vincente Minnelli film called Some Came Running with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Shirley MacLaine that really evoked The Master for me in a number of striking ways - the blocking of many scenes, the color palette, the compositions - it felt like The Master if The Master had been shot in scope...

Sounds great. I'd like to watch this one.

I need to watch more Vincente Minnelli movies.

Same here. Luckily, TCM has scheduled some of his movies, so I'll be PVRing a few. That's how I managed to see The Cobweb.

By the way, while I actually didn't know about this when I made that post, I just searched around and found out that PTA is a Minnelli fan. I feel like I must have come across this before, but I guess I forgot about it. Back in 2002, he described Barry's blue suit as something influenced by Minnelli.

Quote from:
There's another, subtler musical element in ''Punch-Drunk Love.'' Throughout the film, Mr. Sandler's Barry Egan wears a suit made of the most amazing deep blue material. ''It's from, well, I always loved 'The Bandwagon,' the Vincente Minnelli musical,'' Mr. Anderson said. ''And if you watch 'Singin' in the Rain,' too, it's sort of indicative of these movies that there's a fantastic rich blue suit in just about every one of them. Look next time and you ll see them.

''So it's a little bit like a musical thing,'' Mr. Anderson said. ''It's an MGM suit.''

Incidentally, TCM is playing The Bandwagon tonight.


Drenk

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Reply #384 on: February 04, 2019, 03:00:27 PM
Mason & Dixon, Thomas Pynchon, page 406


"Someone owns you, Sir. He pays for your Meals and Lodging. He lends you out to others. What is that call'd, where you come from?"
"Why, and if you are free of such Arrangements", Mason shrugs, "hurrah thrice over and perhaps one day you may instruct all the rest of us in how, exactly."
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greenberryhill

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Reply #385 on: April 05, 2019, 01:55:07 PM




wilberfan

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Reply #386 on: August 16, 2019, 10:28:40 AM
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eward

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Reply #387 on: November 06, 2019, 12:30:39 PM
Placed #10 on Ebert.com's Top 25 of 10s list.

by Glenn Kenny

It is odd to be asked to write about “The Master” in 2019. Primarily because the movie features one of the actor Joaquin Phoenix's most searing, uninhibited, and revelatory performances. A performance from which he borrows, or at least echoes, or recalls maybe, extensively in this year’s "Joker."

In “The Master,” Freddie Quell is first seen in the Navy, near and at the end of World War II; his actions and his small but vivid patches of dialogue (as when he describes the best way of getting rid of crab lice) suggest an infantilized sexuality and a near-constant state/pursuit of inebriation. Arthur Fleck of "Joker" has no enthusiasm for drink—he’s already on a bunch of ineffectual meds in any case—and his infantilization extends not so much to the realm of sexuality as to idealized romance.

But both are marginalized people—guys who, in a less enlightened age, many of us might call “losers.” Phoenix gives both men a peculiar, often contorted, physicality. Freddie often hunches his back while putting one or both hands on hips. He’s kind of crablike, especially when he stands on a beach and as masturbates, or feigns masturbation, into the incoming ocean tide. Fleck is more extended, like he’s trying to stretch himself out of his body.

But both characters display their spinal curvatures in disturbing ways. Both show little compunction about putting unfamiliar substances into their mouths. Freddie takes a swig of Lysol, Arthur licks white face makeup off a brush. Freddie freaks out an army psychologist with his answers to a Rorschach test, Arthur alienates his social worker with his complaints that she doesn’t really listen to him.

I’m comfortable admitting these characters are not-so-secret sharers despite the fact that I feel entirely differently about “The Master” than I do about “Joker.” And this essay is not the vehicle in which to contemplate/complain that one of these performances occurs in a box-office-record-breaker while the other, the portrayal of Freddie Quell here, is in a film that made a mere $16 million in the U.S. But that is an interesting factoid, in any event.

Kent Jones’ essay on “The Master” in the September/October 2012 issue of Film Comment remains, to my mind, definitive. In it, he writes of Anderson and Phoenix’s creation: “Phoenix’s Freddie seems like genuinely damaged goods. He and his director feel their way into this man-in-a-bind from the inside out, and they establish his estrangement from others in those opening scenes through awkward smiles and out-of-sync body language alone. A lot is made of Phoenix’s wiry physique and misshapen upper lip, which seems to direct the tilt of his head up and away from whoever he happens to be talking to through a clenched mouth as he feigns an air of skepticism which covers an urge to run. He handles objects with the fragile tentativeness of a child, and his gait is so furiously deliberate and imbalanced that he seems to be avoiding spastic convulsions. This is a performance with a difference, the behavioral creation of an actor and a director with a fierce devotion to the ragged, the unkempt, the authorless.”

Unlike Arthur Fleck, though, ragged and unkempt Freddie finds a savior, or at least a shepherd.

We are with Freddie alone, and very uncomfortably, for the first 20 minutes of the movie: his drunkenness, his drooling sexual humor, his “nervous condition,” his rages, his lying, his desperation, his “nervous condition.” We are with him as he runs across a field chased by those who would possibly kill him, and have maybe not good but definitely coherent reason to, and then we are behind him as he advances toward a pier. Festive music and an array of out-of-focus lights ahead greet him; a steamboat on which there’s a party comes into focus and goes out again. The Alethia is the party boat. Freddie’s salvation and curse are aboard it. We see him from afar, from Freddie’s perspective, doing a silly dance to the silly faux Latin music, in a black jacket and white shirt, fingers pointing upward as he bops. He is Lancaster Dodd.

Freddie wakes up on that boat. His “rescue” has a near-fairy tale quality to it. “You’re safe. You’re at sea,” a woman tells him as her rouses from his slumber. He is then ushered to the quarters of the title character, Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s Dodd, who upbraids Freddie for abusing alcohol and then asks him to recreate the concoction he made for Dodd the blacked-out night before.

“I do many many things,” Dodd tells Freddie. The character is based on L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. Perhaps “inspired by” is the more apt term, despite the fact that writer/director Anderson seeds the scenario with a substantial amount of esoteric Hubbard lore. Hoffman, in one of his final screen performances, plays Dodd with a contained strength that masks, sometimes barely, a hopeless and virulent insecurity, one that is fiercely guarded against by Amy Adams' Peggy, Dodd’s wife. Even as he lies, cheats, commits fraud, damages property, he hangs on to the notion that he is doing good, that he is innovating, that he is contributing to human progress.

One could say that, after Dodd takes on Freddie as a “guinea pig and protegé,” Freddie becomes an enforcing id on Dodd’s behalf. And yet Dodd needs no such thing, as we see when he ends an argument with a skeptic by sputtering “Pig. Fuck.” The relationship of the two characters is more complex in its intertwined nuances and conundrums. “Man is not an animal” is one of the Dodd adages that Freddie hears repeated on first coming into the fold. “Do you often think of how inconsequential you are?” asks Dodd of Freddie during their first round of “processing.” (Freddie answers “yes.”) When Freddie spontaneously destroys the toilet in the jail cell next to Dodd after they’ve both been arrested (and as he does this he wrestles free of his shirt as if it’s a straitjacket, and pops out his right shoulder blade as if trying to dislocate it), Dodd, calmly but almost truculently, notes, “Your fear of capture and imprisonment is an implant from millions of years ago. This battle has been with you from before you know.” And he believes it. And he’s not wrong. This is mere minutes after Dodd’s son waves off Freddie’s concern that he hasn’t been properly following his father’s teaching: “He’s just making it up as he goes along.”

The scene of the two men, side by side, one on a feral rampage, the other trying to illuminate him with an outlandish line of quasi-philosophical sci-fi nonsense that he himself may actually believe, culminating with schoolyard-like taunts—“Who likes you except for me?”—is terrifying and awe-inspiring not just for its blatant content, but for all it implies about human desire and human loneliness and the elaborate, peculiar, destructive mechanisms we construct to cope with them.

This is a movie of unusual density: in all of its two hour and 17 minute length, there’s not a word uttered or gesture made that lacks for numinosity, for presence. Its details become more illuminating and more mysterious, simultaneously, on every repeat viewing. (The movie now also offers the pleasures of seeing early glimpses of now-more prominent talents, including Jesse Plemons, Rami Malek, and Jillian Bell.) And it is not just the particulars of the dialogue and the action. The mural and the chandelier behind Freddie and hometown sweetheart Doris, for instance, and its evocations of courtly love, stuck out on my most recent engagement with the picture.

There’s a sense in which “The Master” paints itself into a corner because there can be no satisfying or just resolution to the Freddie/Dodd intertwining. Perhaps that is the reason why, in the movie’s final quarter, it shifts from dream to reality and back again who knows how many times—but the point, finally, is that in the movie’s circumscribed world there’s no effective difference.

When Dodd sings “Slow Boat To China” to Freddie near the movie’s end, it is emblematic of both the strangeness and the acuity of Anderson’s concept. “If we meet again in the next life, you will be my sworn enemy, and I will show you no mercy,” he says before he begins the not-quite-standard, a 1948-penned Frank Loesser song that’s both inconsequential and evocative. “All to myself, alone,” Dodd sings, in tune, with a slight lilt in his voice and a grave look on his face. There’s no “explanation” for what is going on here nor, I think, any proper or correct interpretation—it’s a scene that calls, critically, for what Susan Sontag called “an erotics of art.”

Which is not to say that there is no “meaning” to the scene. In these two characters, one “inconsequential,” one “not,” flow currents of cultural history feed directly into the present moment, in ways that grow more terrifying by the day.

https://www.rogerebert.com/balder-and-dash/the-best-films-of-the-2010s-the-master

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And we're all so sick and tired of seeing things as they are...


d

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Reply #388 on: February 10, 2020, 03:55:49 AM
I cannot be the only one who thought of this (at around 2:00 obviously):


immediately after hearing that:



Right? Given the chaotic nature of his speeches I doubt that was intentional but on the other hand, thinking that it was subconscious or that part of Freddie is stil with him makes it even cooler. ;)


wilberfan

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Reply #389 on: June 20, 2020, 12:14:36 AM
The Unexpected Story Behind Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Improvised ‘The Master’ Line

Quote
“I have so many good memories from that, but one that sticks out that I’ll never forget is there’s this sequence in the movie where they go to this fundraiser and someone speaks out against Dodd,” Plemons said. “He starts badgering him and berating him with questions. We’d been shooting that scene for a long time; it was almost lunch. Paul usually does quite a few takes, and it seemed like Phil was reaching a point where [he] didn’t know what he wanted. Paul had to just walk up to [him], look at his hairline, and pluck a hair out. Like, what the fuck?”

Plucking out Hoffman’s hair sounds unusual, but Anderson knew what needed to be done in order to coax the performance out of Hoffman. The hair plucking did the tick, as Plemons remembers Hoffman nailing the next take with an improvised line that would impress everyone on set and become one of “The Master’s” most shocking moments.

“With the next take he reached a place that he hadn’t in previous takes, and out comes the ‘pig fuck’ line: ‘You pig fuck!,’ Plemons said. “Then it was like, ‘Alright, that’s lunch!’ We were all just totally in awe, mouths on the floor.”

The “pig fuck” line was so memorable that Anderson kept it in when the scene in question had to be reshot at a later date in a different location with a different actor opposite Hoffman. Plemons added, “I think about that a lot. Just one of a kind, no one like him,” while also calling Hoffman “so generous, nice, and focused.”
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