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: 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!