The Venice Film Festival has always been a highlight of the festival circuit, but this year’s edition seemed to have even more buzz around it, thanks to the debut of Paul Thomas Anderson‘s The Master. The film didn’t take home top honors at the Festival, losing out to Kim Ki-duk’s Pieta, but Anderson won the jury award for best director, with stars Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix sharing the honor for best actor.
The film now heads to the Toronto Film Festival before opening nationwide on September 21st, but early reviews are already pouring in and they’re rather glowing. Below are some excerpts from the most notable.
There’s not enough space here to do more than indicate the wealth of ideas, images, inferences and influences ricocheting around in this complex study of a power-struggle bromance between cod-psychology and instinctive behaviour. But I can say that’s it’s a screen-acting masterclass and probably the most impressive American film I’ve seen since There Will Be Blood.
Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter:
In a film overflowing with qualities but also brimming with puzzlements, two things stand out: the extraordinary command of cinematic technique, which alone is nearly enough to keep a connoisseur on the edge of his seat the entire time, and the tremendous portrayals by Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman of two entirely antithetical men, one an unlettered drifter without a clue, the other an intellectual charlatan who claims to have all the answers. They become greatly important to each other and yet, in the end, have an oddly negligible mutual effect. The magesterial style, eerie mood and forbidding central characters echo Anderson’s previous film, There Will Be Blood, a kinship furthered by another bold and discordant score by Jonny Greenwood.
Christy Lemire, Associated Press:
But “The Master” isn’t interested in anything so clear-cut as joy vs. misery. It’s about the way people’s lives intersect, if only briefly and perhaps without a satisfying sense of closure. Anderson, long a master himself of technique and tone, has created a startling, stunningly gorgeous film shot in lushly vibrant 65mm, with powerful performances all around and impeccable production design. But it’s also his most ambitious film yet – quite a feat following the sprawling “Magnolia” and the operatic “There Will Be Blood” – in that it’s more impressionistic and less adherent to a tidy three-act structure.
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone:
Hoffman can lift his resonant voice to command attention or lower it to a velvet whisper, both equally mesmerizing. But it’s what the guru tries to conceal – his secret smile, his sudden wrath, the connection he feels with Freddie’s feral heart – that make his portrayal monumental. Hoffman excelled in four of Anderson’s previous films, but his tour de force here as a do-gooder-turned-silky-charlatan tops them all.
Phoenix completes this out-of-the-box love story by embodying Freddie as a raw, exposed nerve. The son of an institutionalized mother, Freddie forms a relationship with Dodd that seesaws from devotion to rabid doubt. He has the same reactions to the much younger girl (Madisen Beaty) he left behind. Then there are Freddie’s twisted sexual fantasies, notably Dodd dancing among naked female disciples. Freddie freaks out when Dodd’s son Val (Jesse Plemons) casually mentions that Dad is “making all this up as he goes along.” His animal-like breakdown in a jail cell makes Robert De Niro’s raging bull seem mildly miffed. Phoenix wears the role like a second skin; he’s a volcano in full eruption. You can’t take your eyes off him.
Justin Chang, Variety:
Anderson’s scripts have long delighted in the possibilities of language, particularly in period settings, and for long stretches, the scribe seems at once intoxicated and repulsed by the florid, fanciful, seductively high-minded diction Dodd uses to win and manipulate his converts. Hoffman, in his fifth collaboration with the director, simply mesmerizes here, his speech balancing the mellifluous with the ridiculous, his smiling eyes full of wonder and possibility even as his will and words maintain a grip of unyielding authority. Monstrous and monomaniacal though Dodd may be, he’s a character to love.
Also, looks like Moulin Rouge II... I mean the Great Gatsby is moving to next summer for its opening.
'Great Gatsby,’ featuring DiCaprio, moves to Summer 2013
Fans of Leonardo DiCaprio will have to wait until next year to see the actor in director Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of The Great Gatsby.
DiCaprio is Jay Gatsby in the film. Carey Mulligan plays Daisy Buchanan, and Tobey Maguire is Nick Carraway.
Warner Bros. Pictures made the announcement today about the film's opening moving from December to next summer. The studio's president of domestic distribution, Dan Fellman, said the change is being made because "we think moviegoers of all ages are going to embrace it, and it makes sense to ensure this unique film reaches the largest audience possible."
"its ****ing garbage, we have to reshoot everything, we know baz lurhman is inept as a film maker, and it makes no difference becasue it will be lapped up just like his last stylized turd of a film- moulin rouge- but even we didnt know quite how terrible this sham would get. leo is too busy to do imediate reshoots so its gonna be many more months before we can churn it out"
hhhmmm, since we did this to the wonder has been panned, anna karenina blew donkey balls and lawless was solid. my top 2 remain the same but the storm of praise for the master has it breaking into my top 3.
1. amour("hanekes best film" im fully expecting one of the alltime great films)
2. beast of the southern wild(PEOPLE THIS IS OUT IN THE U.S AND NON OF YOU HAVE SEEN IT???)
3. the master(huge hype since is first screened few nights ago in venice)
4. killing them softly
5. argo(we know affleck is great behind the camera, now something more challenging)
6. cloud atlas(the most expensive independant film of alltime, high concept)
7. to the wonder(hey its still a malick film)
8. gravity(im expecting real greatness from this)
9. zero dark thirty(bigelows binladen hunt, awesome trailer)
10. looper(early reviews compare it to the terminator, 100% rt, huge praise)
springbreakers(harmony korine project is always intruiging)
‘Xerxes’ Spin-Off Now Titled ’300: Rise of an Empire’
At one point called Xerxes, and then known as 300: Battle of Artemisia, the prequel/sequel to the 2006 blockbuster 300 has gone by many different names. Now that the film is in the midst of production, though, it appears to have landed on an official title – 300: Rise of an Empire.
Obviously Warner Bros. wanted to keep the 300 connection alive in terms of titling, since most will jump at the opportunity to return to that world. While the film doesn’t star practically any members of the original’s principal cast, 300: Rise of an Empire does boast a story that runs concurrent to the events in the first movie.
Loosely based on the Battle of Artemisium, 300: Rise of an Empire will feature the naval section of a battle between the Persians and the Greek. During the battle, the Persians — led by Artemisia (Eva Green) — were making a second attempt at invading Greece, whilst another army, led by the god-King Xerxes, was advancing through Thermopylae. It was in Thermopylae that the events of 300 took place, a clever explanation as to why Gerard Butler and his 300 Spartans won’t be in the film.
The Rise of an Empire subtitle could be a nod to several of the film’s rumored plot points – including the Greek’s “rising” up to Persian attack or more likely Xerxes’ rise to power. While the film will focus primarily on the Battle of Artemisium, it will also serve as a prequel to 300 and establish the character of Xerxes before he becomes the self-proclaimed god-King. As we already revealed, Rodrigo Santoro will be reprising his role as Xerxes.
While Zack Snyder was initially pegged to direct this 300 sequel, his duties on Warner Brothers’ highly anticipated Man of Steel has kept him away from the project. Instead Noam Murro (Smart People) will be directing the sequel, but he will be working off a script written by Snyder and Kurt Johnstad (Act of Valor).
Along with Eva Green and Rodrigo Santoro, the 300: Rise of an Empire cast will feature a few relative unknowns including Animal Kingdom‘s Sullivan Stapleton as General Themistocles, the leader of the Greek army. Like with the first film Warners is presumably hoping to use the promise of insane action to lure in audiences rather than a cast of A-list stars.
However, it will have been nearly seven years since 300 when this sequel releases, which leaves us wondering if audiences are still interested in a return to hyper-stylized cinematic experiences. Films like Sin City and 300 pioneered a very specific style of filmmaking that was memorable at the time – but, after countless underwhelming copycats, may not generate quite as much interest in today’s movie-going audience.
300: Rise of an Empire releases in theaters on August 2, 2013.