REVIEW: THE MASTER

Starring

Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (Mission: Impossible III)
Amy Adams (Man of Steel)
Laura Dern (Jurassic Park)
Ambyr Childers (2 Guns)
Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody)
Jesse Plemons (Game Night)
Kevin J. O’Connor (Widows)
Christopher Evan (Lincoln)
Madisen Beaty (Other People)
Amy Ferguson (Split)
Patty McCormack (The Bad Seed)
Jillian Bell (Rough Night)
Fiona Dourif (Curse of Chucky)
W. Earl Brown (Bates Motel)

Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix in The Master (2012)Freddie Quell is a traumatized World War II veteran, struggling to adjust to post-war society and prone to erratic behavior. While working on a farm in California, an elderly colleague collapses after drinking a batch of Freddie’s homemade moonshine. Freddie flees after he is accused of poisoning him.Joaquin Phoenix in The Master (2012)One night, Freddie finds himself in San Francisco, and stows away on the yacht of a follower of Lancaster Dodd, the leader of a nascent philosophical movement known as “The Cause”. When he is discovered, Dodd describes Freddie as “aberrated”, and invites him to stay and attend the marriage of his daughter, Elizabeth, as long as he will make more moonshine, which Dodd has developed a taste for. Dodd begins an exercise with Freddie called “Processing”, a flurry of disturbing psychological questions. During the exercise, Freddie reveals details of his past, including his fathers’s death, his mother’s incarceration in a mental asylum, and his incestuous sexual encounters with his aunt. He also has a flashback to a past relationship with Doris, a young woman from his hometown who Freddie promised he would one day return to.Amy Adams in The Master (2012)Freddie travels with Dodd’s family as they spread the teachings of “The Cause” along the East Coast. At a dinner party in New York, a man questions Dodd’s methods and statements. Dodd loses his temper, calling the man “pig fuck”, and asks him to leave. Freddie pursues him to his apartment and assaults him that night.
Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master (2012)Other members of “The Cause” begin to worry about Freddie’s behavior. Freddie criticizes Dodd’s son Val for disregarding his father’s teachings, but Val tells Freddie that Dodd is making things up as he goes along. Dodd is arrested for practicing medicine without proper qualifications after one of his former hostesses has a change of heart; Freddie is also arrested for assaulting the police officers. Freddie erupts in a tirade, questioning everything that Dodd has taught him, and accuses him of being a fake. Dodd calls Freddie lazy and worthless and claims nobody likes him except for Dodd. They reconcile upon their release, but members of “The Cause” have become more suspicious and fearful of Freddie, believing him to be deranged or an undercover agent.Joaquin Phoenix in The Master (2012)Freddie accompanies Dodd to Phoenix, for the release of Dodd’s latest book. When Dodd’s publisher criticizes the quality of the book and its teachings, Freddie assaults him. Helen Sullivan, a previously acquiescent acolyte, causes Dodd to lose his temper after she questions some details of the book. Dodd takes Freddie to a salt flat with his motorcycle, telling him to pick a point in the distance and drive towards it as fast as he can. Freddie drives off and disappears. Freddie returns home to Lynn, Massachusetts, to rekindle his relationship with Doris. Freddie learns from her mother that she has married and started a family since he last saw her. He tells her mother he is glad she is happy.Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master (2012)While sleeping in a movie theater, Freddie believes he receives a phone call from Dodd, who is now residing in England and begging Freddie to visit. Upon arriving, Freddie finds “The Cause” to have grown ever larger, and to find Dodd seemingly bent to the will of his wife. Not expecting Freddie to stay with him, Dodd requests that if Freddie can find a way to live without a master, any master, to “let the rest of us know” because he’ll be the first person in history to do so. Still seeking closure, Freddie refers to the Dodd from his dream, who had claimed to finally remember where they’d met. Dodd then recounts that, in a past life, they had worked in Paris to send balloons across a blockade created by Prussian forces. Dodd gives him an ultimatum: stay with “The Cause” and devote himself to it for the rest of his life or leave and never return. As Freddie offers that they may meet again in the next life, Dodd claims that if they do, it will be as sworn enemies. Dodd begins singing Slow Boat to China as Freddie begins to cry. Freddie leaves and picks up a woman at a local pub, then repeats questions from his first processing session with Dodd as he is having sex with her. On a beach, Freddie curls up next to a crude sand sculpture of a woman he and his wartime comrades erected during the war.Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master (2012)The Scientology subject is there and there are connections that can be made but are they obvious or intended? Not necessarily. It’s not evident or offensive. I only hope that Paul Thomas Anderson and the film doesn’t suffer from anyone assuming that its a slight at the group or any particular one for that matter. Though the film takes time to warm up to, once the film soars, it’s soars high. While The Master is not for everyone and there could be many detractors, there are three scenes in particular that are masterpieces in filmmaking. Anderson levels and executes a difficult subject with no fear or hesitation. He also knows his characters, what they are, who they are, and marrying the actors to them in a way not many directors can do. Anderson unites film with art again and The Master is their bond. It’s good to see them together again.

REVIEW: OLDBOY (2013)

 

Starrring

Josh Brolin (Deadpool 2)
Elizabeth Olsen (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
Sharlto Copley (Chappie)
Samuel L. Jackson (Shaft)
Michael Imperioli (The Call)
James Ransone (Prom Night)
Max Casella (Leatherheads)
Linda Emond (Dark Water)
Pom Klementieff (Guardians of The Galaxy Volume 2)
Lance Reddick (Fringe)
Hannah Ware (Cop Out)
Hannah Simone (New Girl)
Rami Malek (Mr. Robot)

Samuel L. Jackson and Josh Brolin in Oldboy (2013)In 1993, alcoholic advertising executive Joe Doucett gets drunk after losing a major account. Before he passes out, he sees a woman with a yellow umbrella. When he wakes, he finds himself locked in a hotel room. His unseen captors provide him food, alcohol and personal hygiene items but do not explain why he is held captive. Joe sees a news report saying his ex-wife Donna was raped and murdered and that he is the prime suspect. Their 3-year-old daughter Mia was adopted through the welfare system.Josh Brolin in Oldboy (2013)Over the next 20 years, Joe quits drinking and gets into shape, intent on escaping and getting revenge. He compiles a list of all those who might want to imprison him, and writes letters to eventually give to Mia. One day, he sees a televised interview with Mia, who says she would forgive her father if she ever saw him. Joe is drugged shortly thereafter. When he wakes, he is outside in the streets, with a cellphone and a small amount of money. He spots the woman with the yellow umbrella and gives chase, but encounters Marie Sebastian, a nurse who offers to help. He refuses but takes her business card. Joe goes to his friend Chucky, and explains what has taken place. While there, Joe receives a call on the cellphone from a man calling himself the “Stranger,” who mocks him. Joe spends a great deal of effort, with no success, to determine if any of the men on his list is the Stranger. Joe collapses from dehydration, and Chucky calls Marie to help. While he recovers, Marie is moved emotionally by Joe’s letters to Mia and offers to help him further. She helps him identify a Chinese restaurant which supplied his food while he was held captive.Josh Brolin and Elizabeth Olsen in Oldboy (2013)Joe follows a delivery from the restaurant to a warehouse where he was imprisoned, and meets Chaney, its owner. Under torture, Chaney confesses that the Stranger arranged for Joe’s captivity. Upon returning to Chucky’s bar, Joe finds the Stranger there with the woman with the yellow umbrella, his bodyguard Haeng-bok. The Stranger says they have kidnapped Mia, but if Joe can determine his identity in 46 hours, he’ll release Mia, give Joe $20 million in diamonds and proof of his innocence in Donna’s murder, and will commit suicide.Joe learns that Chaney and his men are seeking revenge by attacking Marie. After racing to her place, he is captured by Chaney. Just as Chaney is about to beat him savagely, the Stranger calls Chaney and offers to pay him for Joe’s release. Chaney releases Joe and Marie. She recognizes the ringtone from the Stranger’s call as the theme song of Evergreen Academy, which Joe had attended. At the school, they look through yearbooks; Joe recognizes a student, Adrian Doyle Pryce, and recalls tormenting his sister Amanda, for her promiscuity.Josh Brolin in Oldboy (2013)Their father Arthur is revealed to have sexually abused both his children. Arthur moved his family to Luxembourg, where he later murdered his wife and Amanda, severely wounded Adrian, and committed suicide. Adrian, who has convinced himself that his father’s abuse was an expression of love, blames the destruction of his family on Joe having revealed their secret. Joe calls Chucky with the name, who confirms that Adrian is the Stranger. When Chucky insults Amanda in conversation, Adrian, who is listening on a cloned cellphone, kills him before Joe reaches him. Joe receives a package; he opens it to find Chucky’s tongue. Joe hides Marie in a hotel for her safety. There they have passionate sex, unaware that Adrian is watching through hidden cameras.Josh Brolin in Oldboy (2013)Joe goes to Adrian’s penthouse, defeats Haeng-bok, and confronts Adrian. Adrian congratulates him, gives him the diamonds, and escorts him to where Mia is. Adrian taunts Joe with questioning why he was released at all; his tormentor shows that the interview with “Mia” was a setup; that woman was a paid actress. Adrian demonstrates that Marie is really his daughter; Adrian wanted Joe to know what it felt like to lose everything. Adrian commits suicide. Horrified, Joe writes Marie a letter saying they can never see each other again. He leaves her most of the diamonds, using the rest to pay Chaney to return him to the captivity of the hotel room.Possibly curious viewing for fans of Park’s original but a compelling must see for viewers not familiar with the story.

REVIEW: BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY

Starring

Rami Malek (Mr. Robot)
Lucy Boynton (Murder On The Orient Express)
Gwilym Lee (The Last Witness)
Ben Hardy (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Joseph Mazzello (Jurssic Park)
Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones)
Allen Leech (The Imitation Game)
Tom Hollander (Bird Box)
Mike Myers (Wayne’s World)
Aaron McCusker (Shameless)
Meneka Das (Another Year)
Ace Bhatti (Wish 143)
Priya Blackburn (Pulling)
Tim Plester (The Wrong Mans)
Dermot Murphy (Animals)
Michelle Duncan Atonement)

Rami Malek and Gwilym Lee in Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)In 1970 London, Farrokh “Freddie” Bulsara, an Indian Parsi refugee from Zanzibar, studies art at a college while working as a baggage handler at Heathrow Airport. At night, he often goes out with friends to listen to music. One night, after a show at a pub, Freddie goes to find the band, Smile, and with help from an attractive young woman in the hallway, Mary Austin, he finds the band outside and he compliments drummer, Roger Taylor and guitarist, Brian May on their performance. Learning that their lead singer, Tim Staffell, had just quit, Freddie offers himself as a replacement and demonstrates his vocal ability. Later, Freddie goes to Biba and sees Mary. She approaches and helps him choose some clothes, complimenting him on his style. They begin dating and move in together.Joseph Mazzello, Rami Malek, Gwilym Lee, and Ben Hardy in Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)With the addition of Freddie as lead singer, and bassist John Deacon, the band play gigs across Britain, selling out at pubs and universities. Freddie urges the band to think bigger and record an album. After selling their van, they book time late at night in a studio to produce their debut album. While recording with experimental sounds and techniques, an A&R rep from EMI Records watches them. He asks Roy Thomas Baker, the sound engineer, for demos. Soon, Freddie changes the band’s name to Queen and designs their logo. He also legally changes his name to Freddie Mercury.Joseph Mazzello, Rami Malek, and Ben Hardy in Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)The band signs with John Reid, Elton John’s manager, and receives a contract with EMI. An appearance on Top of the Pops gives Queen a hit record, “Killer Queen”. After touring to promote the album, Mary and Freddie become engaged. The album hits the charts in America, and, during the band’s sold out U.S. tour, Freddie begins questioning his sexuality.Rami Malek and Lucy Boynton in Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)In 1975, Queen record their fourth album, A Night at the Opera, but they leave EMI when executive Ray Foster refuses to release the six-minute song “Bohemian Rhapsody” as the album’s lead single. Freddie has DJ and friend Kenny Everett debut the song on the radio. Despite mixed reviews, “Bohemian Rhapsody” becomes a smash hit. During the world tour, Freddie begins an affair with Paul Prenter, the band’s Irish day-to-day manager. Mary breaks up with Freddie when he comes out to her as bisexual, although she assures him that he is gay. Despite this, they remain friends and she moves next door after he purchases an extravagant house in 1980.Rami Malek in Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)The band’s success continues, but tensions arise over the direction of their music and changes in Freddie’s attitude resulting from his relationship with Paul. After a lavish party at his new home, Freddie falls for Jim Hutton, a waiter at the party. They soon part ways, with Jim telling Freddie to find him when he learns to like himself. Following a successful live show performing “We Will Rock You”, Paul puts Reid up to proposing to Freddie that he should pursue a solo career and disband Queen, prompting Freddie to fire him without the consultation of the band, furthering the strain within the group. A press conference to promote the 1982 album, Hot Space, is hijacked by the press, who bombard Freddie with questions about his personal life and sexuality, to which Freddie responds with insults and refusals toward the press.Rami Malek, Gwilym Lee, and Ben Hardy in Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)Freddie’s relationship with his bandmates sours after the “I Want to Break Free” music video, in which the band appears in drag, is banned from MTV. He announces that he has signed a $4 million solo deal with CBS Records, effectively breaking up the band. He moves to Munich in 1984 to work on his first solo album, Mr. Bad Guy, and engages in gay orgies with Paul. Freddie becomes increasingly debauched from drugs and alcohol, and begins to become seriously ill. Mary, now pregnant by her new partner and increasingly concerned about Freddie, visits and urges him to return to the band, as they have been offered a spot in Bob Geldof’s benefit concert, Live Aid at Wembley Stadium.Joseph Mazzello, Rami Malek, and Gwilym Lee in Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)Discovering that Paul withheld this news from him, an enraged Freddie severs ties with him, having finally had enough of Paul’s lies and manipulative behavior. In retaliation, Paul goes public about Freddie’s sexual escapades. Freddie returns to London to ask for forgiveness from his bandmates and new manager Jim Beach. They are reconciled and are given a last-minute slot in Live Aid. With the outbreak of HIV/AIDS spreading worldwide, Freddie discovers that he is infected with the disease. He reveals this to his bandmates during a rehearsal, and they embrace.Joseph Mazzello, Rami Malek, Gwilym Lee, and Ben Hardy in Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)On the day of Live Aid, he is reunited with Hutton and Mary, and reconnects with his family and with his father’s Zoroastrian maxim, “Good thoughts, good words, good deeds.” The band performs at Live Aid, performing “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Radio Ga Ga”, “Hammer to Fall” and “We Are the Champions”. The Live Aid set is a massive success, helping increase the rate of donations during the event. The film ends with a statement confirming that Freddie would remain friends with Mary and Jim for the rest of his life. It explains he would die on 24 November 1991 at 45 from AIDS-related pneumonia, how the band hosted a tribute concert for him, and how the Mercury Phoenix Trust would be founded in his honour to help AIDS victims.Rami Malek in Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)This movie is amazing. The acting, screenplay and of course music are out of this world. Definitely worth going to see!

REVIEW: THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN – PART 2

CAST
Kristin Stewart (Snow White & The Huntsman)
Robert Pattinson (Sword Xanten)
Taylor Lautner (Tracers)
Peter Facinelli (Supergirl)
Elizabeth Reaser (The Ex List)
Ashley Greene (Burying The Ex)
Jackson Rathbone (S.Darko)
Kellan Lutz (The Legend of Hercules)
Nikki Reed (Sleepy Hollow)
Billy Burke (Red Riding Hood)
Maggie Grace (Lost)
Jamie Campbell Bower (Sweeney Todd)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)
Michael Sheen (Underworld)
Daniel Cudmore (X-Men 2)
Dakota Fanning (Taken)
Cameron Bright (The Butterfly Effect)
Mia Maestro (Alias)
Judith Shekoni (Heroes Reborn)
Lee Pace (The Hobbit)
Andrea Gabriel (Lost)
Rami Malek (Mr. Robot)
Valorie Curry (The Tick)
Joe Anderson (The Grey)
Noel Fisher (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Julia Jones (Westworld)
Booboo Stewart (Descendants)
Christian Camargo (See)
Omar Metwally (Treadstone)
 
Bella awakens from her transformation from human to vampire, aware of her new abilities, but unaware of changes within the coven, such as Jacob having imprinted on her child, Renesmee. It also appears that Bella’s father, Charlie, has been attempting to contact the Cullens for updates on Bella’s illness. They intend to tell him she didn’t survive, which requires that they move away from Forks, Washington to protect their identities. Jacob, desperate not to lose Renesmee, tells Charlie that Bella is in fact alive and well, and explains that Bella had to change in order to survive. He morphs into a wolf, revealing his tribe’s shape-shifting power, but does not tell Charlie about vampires.
 
Several months pass with Carlisle monitoring Renesmee’s rapid growth. On an outing in the woods, a bitter Irina sees Renesmee from a distance and believes her to be an immortal child. Immortal children were vampires who were changed in childhood, and because they could not be trained nor restrained, they destroyed entire villages. They were eventually executed, as were the parents who created them, and the creation of such children outlawed. Irina goes to the Volturi to report what she has seen. Alice sees the Volturi and Irina coming to kill the Cullens and instructs the others to gather as many witnesses as they can to testify that Renesmee is not an immortal. The Cullens begin to summon witnesses, such as the Denali family. One of the Denali, Eleazar, later discovers that Bella has a special ability: a powerful mental shield which had protected her from Edward’s mind reading even when she was human, and which she can now extend to protect others from mental attacks.
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As some of their potential witnesses are attacked and prevented from supporting the Cullens, Carlisle and Edward realize they may have to fight the Volturi. Their witnesses ultimately agree to stand with them in battle, having realized the Volturi increase the Guard by falsely accusing covens of crimes, destroy them and then recruit vampires with gifts. The Volturi arrive prepared for battle, led by Aro, who is eager to obtain the gifted members of the Cullen coven as part of his guard. Aro is allowed to touch Renesmee, and is convinced that she is not an immortal child. Irina is brought forth and takes full responsibility for her mistake, leading to her immediate death. Aro still insists that Renesmee may pose a risk in the future, validating his claim that battle is necessary. Before any violence, Alice shares with Aro her vision of the battle that is to come, during which both sides sustain heavy casualties, including Aro who would also die. Aro believes her, giving Alice and Jasper an opportunity to reveal their witness (a half mortal half vampire just like Renesmee). The witness proves that he is not a threat, supporting the notion that Renesmee is not a threat. The Volturi unhappily leave without a fight.
Back at the Cullen home, Alice glimpses the future, seeing Edward and Bella together with Jacob and a fully matured Renesmee also together. Edward reads Alice’s mind and feels relieved that Renesmee has Jacob to protect her. Alone in the meadow, Bella pushes her mental shield away and finally allows Edward a peek into her mind, showing him every precious moment she and Edward shared together and the two share a kiss after Bella telling Edward, “No one has ever loved anyone as much as I love you”, and both Edward and Bella saying they’ll love and be together forever. The end credits present the cast members from all five films.
I enjoyed seeing the characters develop, especially  Stewart who steals the show. She has grown into a respectable actress and she has turned a wooden and unlikable character (in the novel) into someone you root for in the film.