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September 2012 Archives

September 29, 2012

Looper math




12 Monkeys

12 Monkeys


The Terminator



Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

And a little sprinkle of Source Code. It's just about as good as the median goodness of all those genre movies, too.

It's got everything: existentially messy time travel, wistful memory erasing, love, guns, extermination of a people who share one characteristic with a Sarah Connor-like target, and a Terry Gilliam-esque combination of futuristic technology and old timey set design. And the third great performance from Joseph Gordon-Levitt this year (and he's in Lincoln, too!) It's a good one.

September 28, 2012

The cool deleted stuff from The Master trailers

Girl With Gun shot from The Master trailer

When then trailer for The Master came out a few months ago, this image was one of the most exciting parts for me. I thought at the time that the woman with the rifle was Amy Adams, and the thought of little musical theater sweetie-pie Amy Adams blasting a big gun in cowboy boots was pretty irresistible, especially considering the other clips of her in the trailer made her look like a menacing, cold-blooded, baby-faced nutjob.

It took me a few days after seeing the movie to realize there was no such scene in the actual movie, which partially explains why I didn't fall over and die for it like a lot of other people have (the kind of people who mysteriously insist that you won't "get it" unless you watch it twice, in the theater, with a 70mm print.) I also think the girl in the clip is [SPOILER ALERT] actually Philip Seymour Hoffman's flirty daughter, and not Amy Adams, who's big and pregnant and definitely not wearing any cute cowboy boots in this movie.

Apparently there's loads of other stuff from the various trailers that also didn't make it into the movie, which has of course been exhaustively compiled. To satisfy all the devoted Master completists out there, a long new trailer has been released, weeks after the movie actually came out, which has even more deleted clips in it.

Warning/Recommendation: boobs.

September 17, 2012

Paul Thomas Anderson and Maya Rudolph, the great mystery

Maya Rudolph and Paul Thomas Anderson

I went to see this week's big new movie, The Master, which is the latest one from the talented and intense Paul Thomas Anderson. He's made six movies, and they all fall somewhere on the great-to-masterful spectrum. It's been a long 5 years since his last movie, There Will Be Blood, but the time he takes always pays off.

A lot of The Master is pretty inscrutable, but as a character study and a reflection on power, control, and the magnetic appeal of cult leaders, it's dead on. Anderson's main man Philip Seymour Hoffman plays a charismatic leader of a pseudo-scientific spiritual organization called The Cause, which purports to unlock human potential and relieve suffering by helping people understand their past lives. It's a lot like Scientology, but that doesn't really matter: Anderson's interested in his characters, not Scientology. Hoffman's character is a gifted performer, and laser-like in his ability to identify weak, disturbed people who need someone to follow and obey.

Joaquin Phoenix is back, and actually really good, as Freddie, a ferociously messed-up alcoholic vet who returns from WWII with major problems with sex, violence, women, men, and most human interaction. He falls hard for PSH, but he's pretty much the definition of an unreliable narrator, and sometimes it's not clear what's really happening and what's only in Freddie's deranged mind. It's also not at all clear whether his involvement in The Cause helps him in any real way, but it sure is interesting and strange to watch. The movie is visually beautiful, the soundtrack is amazing, and the songs in the movie all speak to the kind of devotion and fidelity that followers like Freddie want to give to their leader.

It's a good movie and all, but here's what I really want to know: What is life like at home for Paul Thomas Anderson and his longtime partner Maya Rudolph?

They've been together for around 10 years, they have three kids, they seem to be happy, and they're both gifted in their lines of work. But while PT Anderson is writing and directing these dark, wrenching, intense portraits of emotionally disturbed people and exploring the deepest recesses of history, the American dream, love, success, evil, violence, and self-destruction, Maya Rudolph is doing her own thing, such as pooping in the middle of the street in a wedding gown.

I don't mean to imply that Anderson's craft is somehow better or more important than Rudolph's; on the contrary, watching Maya Rudolph do Bronx Beat or play Whitney Houston on SNL is vastly more rewarding than that opening oil-well digging sequence from There Will Be Blood. They're both talented and successful, but their styles could not be more divergent. The closest things PT Anderson has to a comedy is probably Punch-Drunk Love, which is actually more about alienation, intimidation, and rage than it is about love. His '90's relationship with Fiona Apple didn't work out, but it made more immediate sense.

I'm glad these two are so happy together, and sincerely hope that they never work together on any projects.

About September 2012

This page contains all entries posted to Amy's Robot in September 2012. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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