The Master: Master Class

by Ethan Alter September 17, 2012 4:36 pm
<i>The Master</i>: Master Class

Five years after its release, Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood is looking more and more like one of the few genuine masterpieces of the young century, a film of such remarkable formal discipline, graceful, intensely dramatic storytelling and rich thematic content that it reminds you what cinema is capable of as an art form, as opposed to merely an entertainment delivery service. It's difficult for a filmmaker -- no matter how talented he or she is -- to make a movie that scales those lofty heights more than once during the course of their careers, let alone on back-to-back productions. So when I say that Anderson's latest movie The Master isn't as good as There Will Be Blood, that's somewhat akin to rating Da Vinci's "The Last Supper" just behind the "Mona Lisa." If The Master doesn't resonate as deeply as Blood -- a movie that burrowed so deeply into my mind, I felt compelled to see it at least four or five times in theaters and could probably watch on a 24/7 loop at home if I didn't have to worry about little things like eating and sleeping -- it's still a remarkable film, one whose stature may only grow through the years and multiple re-watches.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, February 26, 2013

by Ethan Alter February 26, 2013 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, February 26, 2013

We talk about PTA's The Master once more, with feeling. Read Full Entry »

Oscars 2013: Our Gut Reaction to the Nominations

by Ethan Alter January 10, 2013 10:26 am
Oscars 2013: Our Gut Reaction to the Nominations

We reflect on the just-announced 2013 Oscar nominations. Sorry DC Nation... Marvel Studios has kicked your butt one more time.

The Top Ten Movies of 2012

by Ethan Alter December 27, 2012 9:56 am
The Top Ten Movies of 2012

The Moviefile puts a bow on 2012 with our official Top Ten list, plus a bunch of honorable mentions.

Happy Anniversary: The Cult of Boogie Nights

by Ethan Alter September 12, 2012 1:43 pm
Happy Anniversary: The Cult of <i>Boogie Nights</i>

It's been 15 years since Paul Thomas Anderson became a critical darling with the premiere of his sprawling '70s porn epic Boogie Nights. As widely liked as the movie was then, one couldn't have anticipated the quantum leap Anderson's already impressive skills would take over the next decade-and-a-half, as he crafted films as diverse and challenging as Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love and his masterpiece, There Will Be Blood. Put alongside those titles, Boogie Nights stands out as his most conventional movie; it's a straightforward rise-and-fall-and-rise-again Hollywood narrative that just happens to take place in the adult film industry rather than bright lights of the studio world. Seen today, the film is still a lot of fun -- before it goes to some truly dark places in the second half -- packed with great performances (it's still a crime that Burt Reynolds didn't win that Best Supporting Actor statue he was nominated for) and lots of razzle-dazzle filmmaking, but it's also a reminder of how much richer and complex Anderson's pictures have gotten since.

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