a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘paul thomas anderson’

“The Master” is a Big Gay Movie! An accurate portrayal of the Closeted 1950s.

So FINALLY seeing “The Master” yesterday, I was astonished to find that my take-away from it was it’s A Big Gay Movie! Although clearly, it’s not being advertised as such. If only it were, I perhaps could’ve really loved it. But I found myself LIKING it more than I thought I would.

It really was to my great surprise a tortured, a VERY tortured gay love story, with two men who are so totally in the closet that they do not know what they’re experiencing as they both feel this inexplicable need and attraction for each other.

According to the Gurus o’ Gold, Daniel Day-Lewis in the still unseen “Lincoln” is right up there on the top of the list of Best Actors, separated by only one vote from Joaquim Phoenix’s tortured portrayal as Freddie Quell in “The Master.” And in Supporting, though again, he’s a LEAD, and shouldn’t be there, and he’s the title role for goodness sakes! Is Phillip Seymour Hoffman ‘s masterful portrayal of “The Master.” And he’s LEAGUES out in front of everyone else in that category. Maybe he’ll win his second Oscar for his role as Lancaster Dodd, the brutish, dapper, magnetic leader/creator/philosopher of “The Cause” a Scientology-ish cult.

The film is the story however of how Dodd, the Master, can NOT keep himself away from, or let go of the violent, abusive, lost drunken ex-sailor Freddie Quell. He becomes obsessed with him. He takes him with him everywhere, and his wife Amy Adams, does not like it. Unfortunately, her role is really nothing but pregnant wall-paper. She MIGHT get nominated if the film catches on with Academy voters, but there’s not much for her to do except, display her constant pregnancy and glare and glower at Freddie.

The fact that his wife is perpetually pregnant, and there is one scene in their bathroom, where she graphically masturbates her husband(Hoffman has his back to us, thankfully.) is meant to show that yes, the Master IS heterosexual, but NOTHING else explains this film and its’ existence except the explanation that The Master is in the closet and is in love with poor Freddie, who is also in the closet. In fact, the whole FILM is in the closet!

The Master”  starts out with a wrestling scene on a beach where a bunch of sailors in tight, brief  40’s navy-issue swim suits, their muscles glistening in the sun, are going mano a mano all around Quell. There is also a large breasted sand dune sculpture of a naked woman that Freddie masturbates, and gets himself a hand full of, of course, mud. Then HE jerks off, facing the ocean. Frustrated libido is everywhere. The film at the end returns to this shot of Freddie on the beach gazing at the gigantic sand woman’s breasts and nipples as he lies next to her on the beach.

Freddie has a girl friend named Doris who he deserts at the beginning of the movie. He’s a constantly in trouble ne’er-do-well, to put it mildly, and an alcoholic who is driven to drinking medicines from everyone’s bathrooms’ medicine cabinets to get high. His potions are so lethal, he accidentally poisons a man at one point a Mexican field hand, who drinks one of his concoctions of paint thinner and whatever else Freddie has devised to put into.And Freddie is then on the run from the law.

One night in a drunken stupor he wanders onto a boat where Lancaster Dodd is having a party that is about to set sail, celebrating his daughter’s wedding. They are to sail “through the Canal to New York” and Freddie stays on board and sails with them.

The Master likes Freddie so much at the outset because Freddie has put together the right combination of paint thinner and peach juice that DOESN’T kill The Master.

And this film is much more about Scientology than I thought it would be. WWII and the post-war 1950s are its’ backdrop and The Master’s control of all his followers in this cult that is called “The Cause” is really rather frightening and chilling. But as the film goes on and on and on(yes, it’s WAAAAY to long) it seemed to me that Hoffman’s portrayal of Dodd got more and more effeminate. And the big gay pay-off scene is of the Master and Quell rolling over and over each other, smiling and laughing, giggling even, as they embrace on the grounds of The Cause’s current posh residence. Over and over and over they roll on top of each other. And they both seem to be having the time of their lives doing so.

It’s the only scene in the film where you see the two men(or any of the characters in this bleak, chilly film) actually expressing human warmth towards each other and having FUN.

There, yes, is a scene, where Freddie, who is prone to alcoholic hallucinations, sees all of Dodd’s female followers dancing around the Master nude. But tellingly,none of the men are.

Clearly, Freddie can’t find happiness with a woman and his only positive, ongoing relationship is with Dodd. Freddie is such a lost soul, you can see why he’s drawn to the charismatic Dodd, but why is Dodd so drawn to Freddie? He loves him. He wants to save him. He wants him with him for the rest of his life. It homo-erotic to say the least.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s Master expresses every nuance that is required of him.

And that includes Dodd’s sick, controlling side, too. Which is frightening when it explodes. He HAS to be in the power position over all these people, and to me, he was sublimating his homosexual impulses into this scary, and sometimes violent, controlling persona.

But when Dodd calls Freddie transatlantic from London and says “I need you!” it was a quintessential  gay moment, closeted, of course, to be sure. Freddie is watching a Casper the Friendly Ghost cartoon in an empty balcony of a movie theater when this moment happens. But it is telling nonetheless. It was the ’50s! THIS is how closeted gay men expressed themselves, the only outlet they had. Everything was coded, or sublimated. At that time, it was a love that couldn’t even be mention to those that felt these emotions.

So Freddie expresses it in violence and drunkenness and the Master expresses through his obsessive need of  control over others. It’s a disturbing film, but it may bring Phillip Seymour Hoffman his second Oscar.

Joaquim Phoenix’s Freddie Quell has to duke it out with Daniel Day Lewis’ Abraham Lincoln in “Lincoln.” Only a vote separates them on the Gurus o’ Gold chart. When we can see “Lincoln” in its’ entirety, we will know who really is on top for Best Actor.

“The Master” is a divisive film, because it doesn’t wear its’ homosexuality on its’ sleeve, so you don’t know what is REALLY going on between these two men, but it is there, though unstated, nonetheless. And that was the pre-Stonewall America to a T.

More Oscar Actress Action – I Get the TIFF Catalogue for the First Time!

Landing like a bomb in my lap, after 14 years of yearning (they’re too expensive for words) is the 2012 TIFF Catalogue! I got handed one on the way out for attending a lovely do this week in NYC featuring Canadian Filmmaker’s whom TIFF is featuring. And was proud enough of to fly them all into New York and put them up in style for a presentation to the New York TIFF-bound press. Or some of them.

I was the most famous person there, which always makes me wonder…like, where’s everyone else? As I said, trips begin before the start, and the Toronto International Film Fest, was ALREADY in full, delightful swing at this event. Held in a swank Soho setting, with more free champagne flowing than I can ever remember anywhere at TIFF itself.

But the TIFF catalogue, with its’ beautiful, classy, snazzy, new 2012 red cover of movie-goers in presumably the Bell Light-Box, is a gift from the Gods, in full color yet, because in it is every single film of the 300 plus movies that TIFF is going to be throwing our beleaguered way in ONE WEEKEND two frenzied weeks from now. With extended and accurate descriptions of each film and complete contact info and credit list of each film as well. *swoon*

And aside from enjoying the hell out of its’ lavish self, what have I learned from it? Since we’ve been discussing actresses here, I’ll just continue along in that vein. Why? Because they’re easier to quantify. Less roles. Less films….Easier usually to get a bead on…Most films coming up later in the year, don’t feature lead actresses the way they almost all do men. The actress race is going to be decided at TIFF. I make one of my famous predictions. Or at least who’s going to be IN, and most clearly, who is going to be OUT!

ANYHOO, Simone….

Front and center, we find out that in addition to Laura Linney, Keira Knightley, Marion Cotillard, we now have Dame Maggie Smith coming full force at us in “Quartet,” the directorial debut of Dustin Hoffman! Set in an old age home for retired opera singers.(Does Dame Maggie let loose with an aria or two? Or just let loose with on-target zingers a la”Downtown Abbey”?”) it looks irresistibly Oscar-bait-y.

And now we can see why Fox Searchlight has been pushing Dame Judi for Supporting for “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” not lead, though she is the lead. Because they don’t want her colliding with her “Best Exotic” co-star Dame Maggie.

Dame Maggie is everywhere! Like her Oscar-winning role as Miss Jane Brody, she is in “Her Prime!” And that  right there is her problem. She’s won Best Actress before. For that very same “Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.”

“Rust and Bone,” Marion Cotillard’s feature in French, is playing for the public on opening night, but is NOT the Opening Night film. Something called “Loopers” is…In recent years, the Openers at TIFF have been almost ridiculous, if not laughable…Last year’s Canadian Hockey Musical “Scores” is a perfect example…So everyone will pile into the Princess of Wales theater in the theater district for “Rust And Bone.” This beautiful old candy-box of a Victorian show palace is usually housing legit features these days, but this year, it being commandeered by the festival, and will be where “The Master” is being shown. Because it can sustain the 70mm requirements of Paul Thomas Anderson’s much buzzed about take on Scientology. Or is it really about AA? Or something else? All will be revealed next week. Or the week after. Can I wait?

I can wait.

I’ve got to get through the endlessly enchanting Montreal Festival des Film du Monde first….I’m leaving SOON! BYE!

And “What Maizie Knew” with the always-wonderful, always-an-Oscar-bridesmaid, Julienne Moore is a gala presentation. As is “Hyde Park on the Hudson.” But the lovely Laura Linney isn’t enpictured in the catalogue! Only Bill Murray as FDR! What does THAT mean? If anything… Also a gala is “Silver Linings Playbook” with Jennifer Lawrence. The only Weinstein film in the Gala List…hmmm…

Then we have the Masters section, which is where “L’Amour” and Emmanuel Rivas can be seen, followed by “Special Presentations” which is where you’ll find Dame Maggie with her arms flung high into the air in “Quartet,” Keira Knightley looking ravishing in “Anna Karenina”(she ALWAYS looks ravishing), Marion’s “Rust and Bone” (used to be “OF Rust and Bone” in Cannes. They lost the “Of” I guess in translation), Greta Gerwig in “Frances Ha”,Kristen Wiig’s “Imogene”with Annette Bening in Support, Helen Hunt’s ” The Sessions”, Rachel McAdams AND Noomi Rapace in Brian Di Palma’s “Passion”…and well, it now looks like the Best Actress race is more crowded than ever! Oliver Sudden! And Special Presentations is where “The Master” is falling, too.

But by then half these films will be deemed worthy and the other half un-worthy. Separating the Oscar Lambs from the Oscar Goats is something that the Great Gods of TiFF are particularly adept at doing. And it can be brutal.

And Jeff Wells, that great Oscar scalawag, over at www.hollywood-elsewhere.com is stirring the waters today by saying he’s heard that ONE of the aforementioned films ^ is an unmitigated “disaster”! But he teasingly won’t say which one!

Usually, I rely in the TIFF-ites to choose their Galas and Special Presentations very, very carefully…Or maybe it’s something at the NYFF coming up immediately after TIFF?

Jeff said it’s something opening in the Fall…My best first guess would be David Chase’s “Not Fade Away” which is the centerpiece at the New York Film Festival. But it could be one of the above, or Jeff is just stirring the Oscar pot, as is his wont…

But if one of these films really does get blown out of the water, you heard it here first. Or rather, second!

“The Master” Sneaked Last Night in Santa Monica. Massive Tweet/Reviews Result.

Ok, Ok, I missed this one completely ~til this evening in NYC. Last night the world stood still in shocked silence as Paul Thomas Anderson’s Weinstein Company Oscar Seeker “The Master” sneak-screened last night to a surprised audience of cinephiles in Santa Monica!

However, it seems Anne Thompson was there…She liked it. You can read about it over at http://www.indiewire.com in her Thompson on Hollywood section. It’s not really a sneak screening for the public if ANNE THOMPSON was actually there and reviewing it. Read her early review.

When that happens, the critic is almost FORCED into a writing a positive response but St. Anne does say she thinks the film is going to be “devisive,” which is her way of saying, “not everyone is going to agree with ME!”

Nor does she expect them to.

But then also at this screening was a frequent poster at http://www.awardsdaily.com and http://www.hollywood-eleswhere.com named Jessie Crall, and he had an even-handed response. Everybody else was, like as Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone put it ,”hyperbole on toast.” More like Fanboys Gone Wild!

But here is my reactions to their reactions, esp. Jessie’s, which made me believe him.

I wrote this at Awardsdaily.com just now in their comment section on “The Shining” and “The Master.”

“ONLY Jessie Crall who posts frequently here and at Hollywood-Elsewhere seemed to have his head screwed on right.

I guess I should just refer you all to the other thread (at http://www.awardsdaily.com)and what Jessie said.

Essentially, good ,but not great. Great to see in 70mm.(What isn’t?) and Amy Adams has nothing to do. Nominations for all. but no wins. PSH in Supp. not lead. Joaquim Phoenix is drawing universal raves, but already all are saying “Can he beat Daniel Day Lewis as Lincoln? ALREADY this is THEE question!” And at this early a date!

Not having seen either film I can’t say, but I don’t like that Sept.15 release date and all the tweet/reviews don’t mention Scientology AT ALL. Like it’s not the topic of this film.

Seems to be about Alcoholism if anything.

No religious overtones, or undertones, or references WHATSOEVER.

B+ not A, I’m sensing. Which is in line with that TOOOOO early Sept.15 release date.

HW wouldn’t be releasing the film in a rush like that if he didn’t have to, methinks.”

However, nobody makes Harvey do what he doesn’t WANT to do. Harvey knows best is TWC’s mantra, and who can argue with that? He’s a SUPERB distributor of his films, and I can’t think of ONCE in all the years I’ve been covering him, which is now 24 on my TV show, has he ever done wrong Oscar-wise, or distirbution-wise with a film of his. So we shall see…

Guess I should start figuring out which theater in NYC can project in 70mm?

Harvey Weinstein Changes Oscar Chess Game ~ Again!”The Master” to be shown at TIFF!

The great chess game/board that is Oscar just got a little bit more complicated and a little bit more interesting with the Weinstein Co.’s sudden announcement that Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master” is now opening at the Toronto International Film Festival.

This renders Dave Karger’s “Top Ten Film To See at TIFF” list, er, a bit outdated. Because now this move makes PTA’s “The Master,” his first film since “There Will Be Blood,” now THE movie to try to get in and see REAL fast at Toronto! And *groan” I’m sure it’s going to be one of the 8:45am press screenings!

Yes, they do have them. And they keep scheduling them. This was the exact same slot that “The King’s Speech” was in two years ago. And I bet it’ll be right at the beginning on FRIDAY morning, and then they will have the press day, press conference and junket, if there is to be one, right after that.

This is how Harvey does things, and by holding back “The Master”s news til now, after the first round of TIFF films was announced, “The Master” now gets maximum and SERIOUS Oscar publicity. Whether it lives up to the hype or not, we shall see.

The venerable Steve Pond at “The Wrap” seems to be the one that broke this story first, but he certainly got the juiciest quote of TWC. This of course is the fact that the film is supposedly an expose of Scientology. Or a religion very similar to it. And the break-up of the Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes marriage is on everyone’s mind. Did this influence the change in release strategy by TWC?

To which someone there, who Steve Pond is quoting says, “It sure as hell can’t hurt.” It’s quotes like that that sell tickets.

You can read all about it at http://www.thewrap.com It’s a very good, solid website. I like it.

This also changes TWC’s emphasis in Toronto. It now shifts the focus from “Silver Linings Playbook” the David O. Russell Bradley Cooper/Jennifer Lawrence starrer to, well, “The Master”.

The fact that it’s also now being shown in Venice indicates to me an Oscar strategy being put into motion. This ia  a game that Harvey has played before, and played it this way, and won.

But is a movie about Scientology, starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquim Phoenix,  any match for the later- in-the- year films, films like “Lincoln” and “Les Miserables,” certainly crowd pleasers? At least on paper.

Time will tell, but it does seem like TWC has now kicked “Silvers Linings Playbook” ever so slightly to the Oscar curb, and planted “The Master” s Oscar flag RIGHT in the middle of everything.

Another slight tip, though. It’s a Special Presentation at Toronto, not a Gala. If TIFF thought that much of it, they’d have made it a Gala. Interesting….And Phillip Seymour Hoffman is always great. THIS we know.

If this wins the Audience Award at TIFF, look out “Lincoln” and “Les Miz”! It’s a Harvey Weinstein World and we’re all just living in it!

This move, coupled with the Venice Film Festival bow, as well, immediately preceding TIFF, makes “The Master” a film we all now HAVE to take seriously Oscar-wise.

Oscar Updates as Gold Derby Puts Leo at NY#1 for “Django”for Supp! Dwight Henry Is #2 “Beasts”!

The great Tom O’Neil lets us know just what is what with the Oscar race on an almost daily basis. Certainly weekly. And for sure, monthly. Now that we’re reaching the last day of June, it’s interesting to note that the race that has changed THE MOST is Best Supporting Actor!

June 1, it was wacky Jaoquim Phoenix for Paul Thomas Anderson’s Scientology take “The Master“. Now, less than a month later, Joaquim is nowhere to be found at the top of this category. Possibly because Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone of http://www.awardsdaily.com clued Tom in that Joaquim is THE LEAD in “The Master.” Lol….And who’s at #1 now? Why Leonardo DiCaprio, as a scuzzy, sleazy slave owner in Quentin Tarantino’s Civil War shoot’em up “Django Unchained!” With Harvey Weinstein at the helm, this could certainly happen.

However, right behind him, is non-actor until now, newcomer Dwight Henry playing Hushpuppy‘s abusive, alcoholic father for “Beasts of the Southern Wild”! I don’t think Dwight Henry was even on the chart last time I checked! Go Dwight! He’s a baker turned actor and really scores in this magnificent debut film of Benh Zeitlin.

Phenom-of-the-Year Zeitlin has NOT managed to crack the top five of the directors chart. Go to http://www.goldderby.com and see who the rest are. Usual suspects, all. All previous Oscar Winners.Spielberg, Tom Hooper, Ang Lee, Except Paul Thomas Anderson who tops the list, and I’m so sure won’t win. “The Master” is going not to be a loved-by-the-masses film, I’m feeling. Scientology isn’t a topic that the ticket buying public is going to warm to. Where the now critically acclaimed “Beasts of the Southern Wild” sure is.

And it’s 6-year-old heroine has cracked the top five of the Best Actress contenders. That category is still headed by my darling Laura Linney for “Hyde Park on Hudson.” #2 in Best Actress is Carey Mulligan for “The Great Gatsby” and #3 is Keira Knightley for “Anna Karenina.” Keira’s always nominatable, as of course is Laura. Previous recent winner ++is #4 for the French language “Of Rust and Bone.” And then comes Qu’venzhane Wallis at #5.

I think it speaks to the strength of “Beasts” A+++ reception that BOTH Dwight Henry and Qu’venzhane Wallis have popped into the top five since the month began! And Dwight Henry is #2! Higher than Benh Zeitlin or QW(as I will now abbreviate her). The charges of racism that were thrown the Academy’s way when Viola Davis lost(though Octavia Spenser won – albeit in Supp.) for “The Help.” Dwight Henry could be the beneficiary of the famous Academy catch-up boomerang effect.

What they don’t do right one year, they correct the next.

And it’s also interesting to note that Anne Hathaway still seems to be a mortal lock for Best Supporting Actress for “Les Miserables,.” nailing one of the best trailers in movie history, which is already playing at a theater near you.

Likewise Daniel Day-Lewis in Best Actor and “Lincoln” for Best Picture remain where they were June 1.

It’s the arrival of “Beasts of the Southern Wild” that has shaken this list up! Good! No! Great! Go Team “Beast”!

Further Oscar Parsing and Predix at Gold Derby by Tom O’Neill

Taking a look at www.Goldderby.com  Tom O’Neil’s never-quiet-for-a-moment Oscar site, I realized that I hadn’t gone ALLLL the way with the other categories he and his pals were predicting beyond saying “Lincoln” was going to win Best Picture. I wrote about that a few days back, and I looked at it again, and realized I hadn’t discussed his OTHER predix BEYOND “Lincoln.”

Did I mention I didn’t think Daniel Day-Lewis is all set up to win a THIRD Oscar for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln himself? Well Tom does. And for Best Actress, he’s got as Laura Linney as Number One for “Hyde Park on the Hudson,” which would be wonderful if that happened. And it could. Laura’s been nominated three times and never won. And she ages decades in it as F.D.R.’s secret-until-now mistress.

For Best Supporting Actor he’s got Joaquin Phoenix for “The Master“, Paul Thomas Anderson’s new film (due later this year) This could also happen. Phoenix has been nominated twice and never won. And this is one of Harvey Weinstein’s year-end Oscar hopeful films. It’s about Scientology and Phillip Seymour Hoffman is the lead, playing, I guess L.Ron Hubbard.

This sounds more like a strong possibility to me. Just based on HARVEY’s recent track record with Meryl Streep,”The Artist,”Jean Dujardin, Michel Hazanviscius, “The King’s Speech”, Colin Firth & Tom Hooper, a nomination for Phonenix, if he cuts the Oscar mustard,  is for sure likely. But a win? He’s up-against another Harvey contender, Leonardo di Caprio, of all people, as the villain in “Django Unchained.” Quentin Tarantino’s latest, which is still shooting, making Anne Thompson of Indiewire’s Thompson-on-Hollywood wonder if it will even be finished on time for its’ Christmas Day release.

And Tom, last but not least, has Anne Hathaway for Best Supporting Actress for “Les Miserables” and this is the MOST likely prediction to come true, solidly. As the trailer of “Les Miz” Universal released caused SUCH a, well, universal ripple throughout the blogosphere, and the song “I Dreamed a Dream” which is the only one performed, yes, by Ms. Hathaway, and she totally magnificently nails it.

It’s too early to predict all these things anyway. But it doesn’t stop Tom O. Check all his other race-track odds on literally hundreds of potential nominees, (he’s leaving NO ONE out. No turn un-stoned) He’s not missing a trick. But of course, it’s Tom O’Neil, so he very well may be right.

But like for instance if say “Lincoln” does win Best Picture, Steven Spielberg would win Best Director. Not Paul Thomas Anderson.

I would say all bets are off until after the Toronto International Film Festival unfurls its’ Oscary wares in Sept.

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: