One piece of advice - the nature of The Cause is irrelevant. It is not a film about that and it never was. It's not an expose on religion or Scientology. Rewatch the film ignoring that and you will see it differently.
What is Freddie Quell? What are his motivations? What does he represent? The incredibly disciplined screenplay and performance asks these questions without answering them.
That is the genius of the film. For once you are not being told how to feel about the subject - it is what it is. Quintessentially post-modern, I found it to be mesmerizing.
I'm confused. Do we have to have films with clear cut villans and heros like in Amadeus, to have "good films?" With cookie cutter characters and predictable plots? "You are passionate...but you do not persuade?" Duh, this is the mystery of human nature. What persuades or seduces one person does not persuade/seduce another. There are sharks swimming among minnows.
Nothing in the way of explanation or relationship? Why does Freddie care for the Master or viceversa? Perhaps Freddie longs for a father, or a family like more and more Americans of the post WWII generation do. Cults, and organizations like cults provide purpose and comfort our society has lost, or disregarded. Are they a scam is almost beyond the point.
At least one professional critic is willing to admit The Master is a long, slow mess where motivation & plot disappear into Anderson's lovingly crafted shots and Greenwood's There Will Be Blood reductive score. While that film had power, money & ambition to anchor its ethereal movement, The Master has nothing in the way of explanation for the relationship between its characters. Is it a scam? Is Freddie a convert, believer & protector? Why does The Master care for him? By the time an entirely pointless motorcycle ride in the desert comes you realize its a metaphor for this film and you just want to go watch The Avengers again. I loved Magnolia, which was a hot mess, but a captivating, enjoyable hot mess, whereas The Master suffers from an inability to tell a story let alone be willing to edit its run time to a bearable pace. At least the other auteur mishit of the summer, Moonrise Kingdom, realized it wasn't quite working and cut out a romantic triagle subplot to make it a manageable 90 minutes. On the other hand, the cast, especially Amy Adams and Phoenix, deserve recognition for strong performances in an otherwise incoherent emotional narrative.
Thanks for writing, Dorothea. For the record, Cavill has been making movies for over a decade now, and I've seen him in several. He has yet to make an impression on me, though there's always next time.
Admittedly, a bad film. The script was woefully lacking. The two big names (Willis and Weaver) were as animated as a broom stick, however, I thought the one bright spot was Cavill. You've obviously never seen him in anything else, projects where he had something to work with. Don't judge a movie and an actor's performance before it hits the theaters.
I can't see the Burton version as Dark Shadows at all, if it's a parody then it fails because nothing of the jokes reflects the original series.
The characters have very little that feels recognizable from the series, Depp's Barnabas is absolutely the worst with a completely different mannerism and speech than the original. Just because he's hot doesn't get him of the hook of me seeing him as an lazy actor nowadays.
Frid wasn't a Hollywood beauty (cute at his best) but he was sure more elegant and emotive looking than Depp's cold Barnabas.
I think this is an excellent and thorough review but I have to pick a couple of issues with it. Yes, I know my reply is late and I saw the movie two weeks ago but I disagree with where you place the sag point of the film. When Bane takes over the city it serves as an excellent diversion but also demonstrates the eagerness of the downtrodden to get even with the filthy rich.
Hilariously, I read a review by a right winger and in their pretend world this sequence was Nolan attacking the Occupy movement as being "unwashed criminals" when actually he was saying the opposite; apparently this reviewer (it's on rotten tomatoes if you're interested in laughing) apparently decided not to listen to a word of Anne Hatheway's dialogue which is pure exposition...yes, she's incredible to look at but her character is bluntly honest about the state of the current USA. I interpreted the scene as being a warning to the super rich to not take public safety and government for granted. That scene for myself as a political science/ social science nerd was very interesting; conversely I found the middle eastern prison sequence to be pretty boring. During this sequence the film which had been refreshing in its audacity turns sentimental and yes, I know it's a major establishing moment for the finale but honestly could it have been maybe 10 minutes shorter?
Anyway, I felt the prison sequence was a bit long and the movie does take its time to get to its conclusion..that being said it's an amazing movie and far more intellectual than the "Dark Knight" was. Sure, Heath Ledger wasn't on the other side this time (what might have been....) but Bane does spend around 3/4's of the movie whipping Batman in every possible way before the big wrap up. I won't spoil the climax for the one person who still may not have seen this movie...but it's actually a bit weak...I think Nolan has a hard time wrapping up these movies in a way that won't destroy his audience. The best comic-book films ever...these could easily have worked sans costumes which was the point of the trilogy all along...
Brunson, you've pegged it --- especially with the relentless and never-ending chase scenes.
What many people don't understand about plot is that the extremity of action isn't what makes something interesting, but the contrast between extremities.
A screaming johnny-one-note is as boring as a sleeping one.
I'm going to disagree with you on the pass for being Earth-bound, however. I'm all with suspending my disbelief, but I've got two major issues:
1. How is it LESS dangerous to drill a hole through the center of the planet and shuttle through it twice a day than it is to fly a transport across the surface of the planet? That's more ridiculous than warrior Ewoks.
2. Killing the colonists so the privileged can build more luxury condos is a ridiculous motive. Killing the colonists so you can grow food on their land is a good one.
THESE are the reasons it needed to be on Mars. If you take stuff off-planet you can conceivably make up far-fetched exceptions to physics and the basics laws of nature and allow your audience to suspend disbelief. If you keep things on the planet you have to contend with pesky things like: where do they grow their food? If their technology is good enough to bore a permanent hole through the planet and use it as an over-sized Chunnel, then why can't they build bubbles on the toxic surface of the rest of the planet so that we don't have population control issues? Hell, how do we even have population control issues since they can't grow any food???
I'm really bummed. I wanted to like this and was instead bored out of my skull until I started looking at the anomalies and then I was just disgusted. It's like nobody who had a hand in making the film knew anything about Sci-Fi except that you need a lot of cool set design.
A total waste of some talented actors -- especially Farrell.
Tend to agree with your review, Matt.
Although everyone wanted to see Bourne again, we knew we weren't going to. That being said, I was completely willing to explore what else was going on during the Bourne events.
The acting, the writing, the music...all received high marks, in my humble opinion. The action? You said it best. I loved the house scene & thought they hadn't lost a step...until...well...that tension was never revisited throughout the rest of the film. No real hand to hand combat for Cross (save some throw away security guards & police officers). No cat & mouse games with another agent. Seriously, when he jumped from one motorcycle to another & proceeded to throw that operator off & keep going, that took me right out of the movie. It lost a sense of realism there & was just ridiculous. Very anti-climactic.
Nothing had changed prior to the ending. They were still being persued. Nobody had any evidence of anything. We were set adrift...much like that last scene.
One of the things I was very grateful for, was a return to steady camera work of the first. Greengrass may have made a couple of quality films (for B2 & B3) in terms of story, acting, pacing, etc. But his shaky camera technique is flat out AWFUL. It is distracting & unnecessary & makes it impossible to see what is going on for close range action.
Overall, the Bourne Legacy gets an average rating from me, but I am encouraged by where they may take Cross in future films, completely out of Bourne's shadow. Someday, maybe the characters will meet...that is, unless they already have & we just don't know it yet. Cue "Extreme Ways"...
Was this written by a 3rd grader? What was it worth it using a Palin reference to lose all credibility and lower the perception of your own IQ by 30 points?
Thanks for writing, nobody. Sorry you viewed it as condescension; I meant it as cold, hard fact. If you live in the South and have NEVER seen this sort of character in all your life here, I'm frankly amazed!
"Those of us who live in the South see this type at least on a weekly basis" Too good for the NC and the South, aren't you, Mr. Brunson? You have to maintain a certain level of condescension to remain acceptable in your liberal circle...? :-)
Movie looks so bad. But most Will Farrell fare does.
I just returned from seeing this movie.
I, too, was disappointed that it didn't take place on mars, but I enjoyed the movie and would recommend it to anyone who asked.
I wish it had been made in 3D
While I haven't seen the new Total Recall, it seems likely I would agree with your review. I think I know why you didn't like this movie, Mr. Brunson. It's because you're old enough to remember Blade Runner; Who Framed Roger Rabbitt?; Arnold Schwarzeneggar, action star; and Sharon Stone sex symbol....and 1990. This movie was not made for you.
I always enjoy reading your reviews but I think you are reaching a bit to find something wrong with this absolutely flawless work from Nolan. I would even argue that this film might just be the best of the superhero film genre to date. The only disappointment is that Nolan will not remain at the helm for another installment.
You have great insight and I really enjoyed reading your review of TDKR. I think your observations are spot-on. I especially like your observation of the supporting cast. They actually outperform Bale in both performance and screen time, in my opinion.
Again, nice piece and keep on critiquing.
Your's is the best and most honest batman review I have read in years.
Thank you for making the internet a better place.
But . . . I like Bruce Willis in paycheck-whore mode. Besides, a professional actor's first responsibility is to bring home the bacon. The "art" stuff depends on many factors out of his control, along with a bit of luck.
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