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: COLD CASE – SEASON 1-7

CAST

Kathryn Morris (Mindhunters)
Justin Chambers (Grey’s Anatomy)
Danny Pino (Law & Order:SVU)
John Finn (True Crme)
Jeremy Ratchford (Angel Eyes)
Thom Barry (Texas Chainsaw)
Tracie Thoms (Looper)

cold-case-tv-series-seasons-6-episode_1_d5697e27ab4d3ea9433559a2108b4f92

Recurring Notable Guest Cast

Sherman Howard (Superboy)
Kate Mara (Fantastic Four)
Becki Newton (Ugly Betty)
Brett Cullen (Lost)
Christopher Shea (Star Trek: DS9)
Bree Turner (Grimm)
Isabella Hofmann (Legends of Tomorrow)
Jimmi Simpson (Westworld)
Douglas Smith (Big Little Lies)
Daisy McCrackin (Halloween 8)
Aimee Teegarden (Rings)
Cory Hardrict (Warm Bodies)
Barbara Eve Harris (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Aldis Hodge (Hidden Figures)
Vincent Ventresca (Dollhouse)
Josh Hopkins (G.I. Jane)
Lacey Beeman (Dexter)
Tim DeZarn (Cabin In The Woods)
Summer Glau (Firefly)
James DuMont (Jurassic World)
Brandon Routh (Superman Returns)
Barbara Tarbuck (Walking Tall)
Laura Regan (Mad Men)
Kathleen Gati (Arrow)
Silas Weir Mitchell (My Name Is Earl)
Christina Cox (The Chronicles of Riddick)
Fredric Lehne (Lost)
Jeffrey Nordling (I’m Dying Up Here)
Kaitlin Doubleday (Waiting…)
Blake Shields (Heroes)
Robert LaSardo (Nip/Tuck)
Chelsea Field (Masters of The Universe)
Marc McClure (Superman)
Ray Campbell (Breaking Bad)
Geoffrey Lewis (Deep Impact)
Leslie Silva (Odyssey 5)
Ryan Francis (Hook)
Garrett M. Brown (Roswell)
Molly Cheek (American Pie)
Autumn Reeser (Sully)
Amanda Wyss (Highlander: The Series)
Robin Riker (General Hospital)
Nichole Hiltz (Bones)
Marisol Nichols (Riverdale)
Karen Austin (Bitch Slap)
Amber Benson (Buffy: TVS)
Maggie Grace (Taken)
Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica)
Mehcad Brooks (Supergirl)
Cameron Dye (Smallville)
Lee Garlington (Cobra)
Laura Allen (The 4400)
Michael Paré (Gone)
T.J. Thyne (Bones)
W. Earl Brown (Bates Motel)
Tracy Middendorf (Scream: The Series)
Michael Nouri (The Proposal)
Jason Dohring (Veronica Mars)
Noel Fisher (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
John Mahon (Armageddon)
Sam Witwer (Supergirl)
Indigo (Weeds)
Aloma Wright (Scrubs)
Shirley Knight (As Good As It Gets)
Ian Bohen (Young Hercules)
Joseph Campanella (Mannix)
Jenna Fischer (Slither)
Rance Howard (Far and Away)
Chad Morgan (The Purge: Anarchy)
Stacey Scowley (Date Night)
Nicholas D’Agosto (Gotham)
Roxanne Hart (Highlander)
Chad Lindberg (The Fast and The Furious)
Bruce A. Young (Jurassic Park 3)
Joel McKinnon Miller (Big Love)
Nicholas Guest (Trading Places)
Frederick Koehler (Death Race)
Emma Bates (South Dakota)
Daveigh Chase (S.Darko)
Virginia Williams (Fuller House)
Chad Donella (Final Destination)
Nicki Aycox (Jeepers Creepers 2)
Josh Randall (Ed)
Patrick J. Adams (Legends of Tomorrow)
Bob Papenbrook (Power Rangers Zeo)
Orson Bean (Two and a Half men)
John Billingsley (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Phil LaMarr (Futurama)
Johnny Whitworth (Limitless)
Paul Gleason (Van Wilder)
Robert Baker (The Originals)
Danielle Harris (Halloween 4)
Jordana Spiro (Ozark)
Michael O’Neill (Transformers)
James MacDonald (Roadkill)
Amy Sloan (Timeline)
Scout Taylor-Compton (Return to Sender)
Brigid Brannagh (runaways)
Brent Sexton (God Friended Me)
Audrey Wasilewski (Red)
Michael Shamus Wiles (Breaking Bad)
Andrea Savage (Izombie)
Meredith Salenger (Village of The Damned)
Clare Carey (Maid to Order)
Michael B. Silver (Jason Goes To Hell)
Dee Wallace (E.T.)
Jay Acovone (Stargate SG.1)
Daniel Roebuck (Lost)
Bradley Stryker (Smallville)
Barry Bostwick (Spy Hard)
Claire Coffee (Grimm)
William Morgan Sheppard (Transformers)
Piper Laurie (Carrie)
Tom Bower (Die Hard 2)
Tessa Thompson (Thor: Ragnarok)
Susan Chuang (Miss Congeniality 2)
Karina Logue (Bates Motel)
Brooke Anne Smith (Too Close To Home)
Sarah Brown (VR Troopers)
Kristin Richardson (Rock Star)
Cheryl White (Major Crimes)
Lindsay Hollister (Get Smart)
Pat Skipper (Halloween)
Nick Wechsler (Roswell)
Mimi Kennedy (Mom)
Hillary Tuck (Life as a House)
Christina Hendricks (Bad Santa 2)
Diane Ladd (Joy)
Natasha Gregson Wagner (Urban Legend)
April Grace (A.I.)
Edwin Hodge (The Purge)
Jon Huertas (Sabrina: TTW)
Phillip Jeanmarie (Power Rangers Wild Force)
Michael Grant Terry (Bones)
Dabier (Black Lightning)
Deborah Van Valkenburgh (Streets of Fire)
Lori Lively (Free Enterprise)
Robin Weigert (Deadwood)
James Handy (Alias)
Christopher Cousins (Breaking Bad)
Michael Mantell (Angel)
Michael Welch (All The Boys Love Mandy Lane)
Skyler Gisondo (Santa Clarita Diet)
William R. Moses (JAG)
Meredith Monroe (Minority Report)
Megan Follows (Reign)
Zachery Ty Bryan (Home Improvement)
Christine Elise (Cult of Chucky)
Laura Johnson (Four Christmases)
Alona Tal (Cult)
Meagen Fay (The Big Bang Theory)
Shannon Woodward (Westworld)
Priscilla Pointer (Carrie)
Tina Holmes (Shelter)
Veronica Cartwright (Alien)
Jeremy Davidson (Roswell)
Brennan Elliott (Cedar Cove)
Benjamín Benítez (Tru Calling)
Zeljko Ivanek (Heroes)
Shiloh Fernandez (Evil Dead)
Bre Blair (Narcos)
George Coe (The Stepford Wives)
Thomas F. Wilson (Legendsd of Tomorrow)
Laura Bell Bundy (Anger Management)
Eric Lange (Lost)
John Rubinstein (Angel)
Meredith Baxter (Family Ties)
Dean Norris (Breaking Bad)
K Callan (Lois & Clark)
Peter Graves (Airplane)
Michelle Harrison (The Flash)
Stacy Haiduk (Superboy)
Tonya Pinkins (Gotham)
Dale Dickey (Iron Man 3)
Sam Anderson (Lost)
Steven Grayhm (White Chicks)
Mageina Tovah (Spider-Man 2)
Susan Walters (The Vampire Diaries)
Kenny Johnson (Bates Motel)
Jeanette Brox (Still Life)
Kyle Gallner (Veronica Mars)
Will Rothhaar (Grimm)
Michael Trevino (Roswell, New Mexico)
Nestor Carbonell (Ringer)
Lesley Fera (24)
Kristin Bauer van Straten (True Blood)
Brian Gross (2 Broke Girls)
L. Scott Caldwell (Lost)
Jack McGee (Gangster Squad)
Neil Jackson (Push)
Enuka Okuma (Impulse)
Ryan Cutrona (Sliver)
Brian Bloom (The A-Team)
Mark Famiglietti (Terminator 3)
Jake Abel (The Host)
Greg Cipes (Teen Titans)
Julie Adams (Crooked River)
Rutanya Alda (The Dark Half)
Eric Jungmann (Not Another Teen Movie)
Robert F. Lyons (Roswell)
George Newbern (Justice Leage Vs The Fatal Five)
Robert Pine (Red Eye)
Matthew Glave (Stargate SG.1)
Annie Wersching (Runaways)
John Aylward (Alias)
David Henrie (How I Met Your Mother)
Bobby Hosea (Xena)
Bruno Campos (Nip/Tuck)
Mary-Pat Green (Mom)
Brian Hallisay (Hostel – Part III)
Shane Johnson (Power)
Charles Mesure (V)
Conor O’Farrell (Lie To Me)
Sonja Sohn (Shaft)
Dorie Barton (Down With Love)
Polly Shannon (Lie With Me)
Jake McDorman (Limitless TV)
Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager)
Ernie Hudson (Ghostbustes)
Lucinda Jenney (Rain Man)
Sam McMurray (Raising Arizona)
Jamie Bamber (Battlestar Galactica)
Kelly Overton (Van Hesling)
Sam Trammell (The Order)
Bruce Boxleitner (Babylon 5)
Sterling Beaumon (Lost)
Obba Babatundé (How High)
John Diehl (Stargate)
Greg Finley (Izombie)
Vanessa Williams (Candyman)
Don Swayze (Passenger)
Paula Malcomson (Caprica)
Holmes Osborne (Donnie Darko)
Faran Tahir (Iron Man)
Darcy Rose Byrnes (Desperate Housewives)
Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games)
Tom McCleister (Twins)
Mitch Pileggi (The X-Files)
Sean Whalen (Superstore)
Whitney Able (Monsters)
AnnaLynne McCord (Excision)
Drew Powell (Gotham)
Charlyne Yi (This Is 40)
Erin Cahill (Power Rangers Time Force)
Ellen Albertini Dow (Wedding Crashers)
Carolyn McCormick (Enemy Mine)
Michael Massee (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Brad William Henke (Lost)
Helena Mattsson (Seven Psychopaths)
Vyto Ruginis (Moneyball)
Ksenia Solo (Lost Girl)
Anthony Starke (Nowhere To Run)
Lynda Boyd (Sanctuary)
Justina Machado (Final Destination 2)
Cynthia Ettinger (Frailty)
Terry Rhoads (Hitchcock)
Kirk Acevedo (Arrow)
Jack Conley (Angel)
Melissa Leo (The Fighter)
Mark Rolston (Aliens)
Raphael Sbarge (Risky Business)
Randall Park (Aquaman)
Robyn Lively (Teen Witch)
Shailene Woodley (Divergent)
Danielle Bisutti (Curse of Chucky)
Monet Mazur (Torque)
Justin Bruening (Ringer)
Daphne Ashbrook (The O.C.)
Rodney Rowland (Legacies)
Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther)
Jonathan Scarfe (Van Helsing)
Lawrence Pressman (Dark Angel)
Ralph Waite (Bones)
Aisha Hinds (Cult)
Wings Hauser (The Insider)
Jonathan Keltz (Reign)
Justin Hartley (Smallville)
Diane Delano (Jeepers Creepers 2)
Nikki Deloach (Longshot)
Michele Greene (LA Law)
Deirdre Lovejoy (Bones)
Ian Anthony Dale (The Event)
Patti Yasutake (Star Trek: Generations)
Kim Coates (Goon)
Ryan Kelley (Teen Wolf)
Timothy Omundson (Xena)
Jeffrey Combs (Gotham)
Johnny Lewis (Sons of Anarchy)
Brianne Davis (Six)
Lilli Birdsell (Doom Patrol)
Kevin Cooney (Roswell)
Kathleen Munroe (Patriot)
John Pyper-Ferguson (Caprica)
Joe Nieves (How I Met Your Mother)
Gigi Rice (CSI)
Maury Sterling (Coherence)
Paul Wesley (The Vampire Diaries)
Bobby Cannavale (Ant-Man)
June Squibb (The Big Bang Theory)
Brea Grant (Heroes)
Nicholle Tom (Superman:TAS)
Molly Hagan (No Good Nick)
John Prosky (Hulk)
M.C. Gainey (Lost)
James Karen (Hercules In New York)
Sean O’Bryan (Vantage Point)
Justice Leak (Supergirl)
Cassidy Freeman (Smallville)
Patricia Belcher (Bones)
Adetokumboh M’Cormack (Lost)
Jenna Leigh Green (Sabrina: TTW)
Jennifer Hetrick (Star Trek: DS9)
Vernee Watson (The Big Bang Theory)
Nicholas Braun (How To Be Single)
Richard Herd (Get Out)
Charles Napier (The Silence of The Lambs)
Kim Director (Blair Witch 2)
Ajay Mehta (Anger Management)
Joel Murray (Two and a Half Men)
Elena Satine (The Gifted)
Nicole Bilderback (Clueless)
Erin Cummings (Bitch Slap)
Patrick Fischler (Happy!)
Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther)
Tyrees Allen (Robocop)
Jonathan LaPaglia (Seven Days)
Keith Szarabajka (The Dark Knight)
Christine Woods (Flashforward)
Tania Raymonde (Texas Chainsaw)
Lee Majors (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Adrienne Barbeau (Argo)
Lindy Booth (Odyssey 5)
Taylor Cole (The Originals)
Mary Elizabeth Ellis (New Girl)
Jeff Kober (Sully)
Louis Mustillo (Mike & Molly)
Zack Ward (Transformers)
Courtney Ford (Legends of Tomorrow)
David Starzyk (Veronica Mars)
Bailey Chase (Buffy: TVS)
Brad Greenquist (Heroes)
Wynn Everett (Agent Carter)
Jerry Hardin (The X-Files)
Katherine LaNasa (Two and a Half Men)
Tyler Blackburn (Roswell, New Mexico)
Jeff Fahey (Lost)
Beth Broderick (Sabrina: TTW)
Clayne Crawford (Lethal Weapon)
Brit Morgan (Supergirl)
Jeremy Roberts (The Mask)
Clarence Williams III (The Butler)
Victoria Pratt (Mutant X)
Johnathon Schaech (Legends of Tomorrow)
Alexandra Holden (Dead End)
Shalim Ortiz (Heroes)
Tess Harper (Breaking Bad)
Valerie Azlynn (Julia X)
Channon Roe (Boogie Nights)
Muse Watson (I Know What Youd Did Last Summer)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
Jesse Plemons (Game Night)
Daniel Baldwin (Hwaaii Five-0)
Gary Hudson (Road House)
Jessica Tuck (True Blood)
Raymond J. Barry (The Gifted)
Ashley Johnson (Avengers Assemble)
Erin Chambers (Stargate: Atlantis)
Tracey Walter (Batman)
Chris Browning (Supergirl)
Steven Culp (Jason Goes To Hell)
James Earl (Scream Queens)
Cress Williams (Black Lightning)
Meagan Good (D.E.B.S.)
Jamie Hector (Heroes)
Eugene Robert Glazer (La Femme Nikita)
Yara Shahidi (Alex Cross)
Lolita Davidovich (Blaze)
Alan Blumenfeld (WarGames)
Julianna Guill (The Resident)
Sharni Vinson (Bait)
Dakin Matthews (True Grit)
Carel Struycken (The Addams Family)
Rachel Miner (The Nutterfly Effect 3)
Sean Maguire (Meet The Spartans)
Lauren Cohan (Chuck)
Roddy Piper (The Live)
Glenn Morshower (Transformers)
Patrick Gallagher (Glee)
Johnny Messner (Spartan)
Jon Gries (Welcome To The Jungle)
Melissa Ordway (Ted)
Peter Jason (Mortal Kombat)
Azura Skye (28 Days)
Darren Criss (Glee)
Rob Benedict (Birds of Prey)
JR Bourne (Staragte SG.1)
John Kassir (Pete’s Dragon)
Mae Whitman (The Duff)
Dana Davis (Heroes)
Thomas Ian Girffiths (XXX)
Thomas Kopache (Stigmata)
James Black (Anger Management)
Keone Young (Crank)
Jonathan Banks (The Lizzie Borden Chronciles)
Ryan Wynott (The Cape)
Susanna Thompson (Arrow)
Dawn Olivieri (The Vampire Diaries)
Steven Williams (The X-Files)
Loretta Devine (Crash)
Nelson Lee (Blade: The Series)
Chandra West (White Noise)
Justina Vail (Highlander: The Series)
John D’Aquino (Seaquest)

51751707I’m glad I got the opportunity to catch this show. It’s no doubt one of the best shows on TV, between 2003-2010. it was a very well written show. The episodes always has their twist even though the cases, at first sight, might seem pretty much alike. This show captures the individuality of each crime, the persons involved and the surroundings in a very good way.cold caseThe fact that the crimes have been committed years ago and that everything involved has changed over the time, gives this show something different then every other cop show. It also captures the humanity of both the victims the suspects and the investigators. There are a lot of feeling in it and it often gets rather touching. Some episodes might contain elements from the characters personal life. It just gives the characters a life beyond the job and this is good as it never takes over the episode or is used to cover a bad plot. The show involves several investigators and you get to know them as well. They got lives and personalities too, yet they don’t steal the show from Rush, witch in the end is the star of the show.
cold_cast_mainThe cast is great. Kathryn Morris does a great job portraying Rush. The cinematography and lightning of this show is just beautiful. It all looks great. Both scenes from past and present. They have given the show a unique look. A kind of white or blue, cold look. They also manage to capture the unique eras in witch the crime was committed. You know just by looking witch decade we’re in. It’s the colors, the way they shoot, the quality and the overall look that make this. The art director, production designer, costume etc. deserves credit for this too. Making the sets and such fit the era.cc4cc1221The original music of this show it catching and good. In addition there is a lot of none original music from the year the crimes are committed. This really gives the right feel and easy gives you the idea of witch year we’re in. The only downside to the use of music of the era means that copyright laws prohibit them being used on DVD and this is why the show has yet come to disc.

REVIEW: VANILLA SKY

CAST

Tom Cruise (Knight and Day)
Penelope Cruz (Grimsby)
Cameron Diaz (Bad TEacher)
Kurt Russell (Big Trouble In Little China)
Jason Lee (My Name Is Earl)
Noah Taylor (Game of Thrones)
Timothy Spall (Rock Star)
Tilda Swinton (Constantine)
Michael Shannon (Man of Steel)
Ivana Milicevic (Casino Rtoyale)
Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory)
W. Earl Brown (Bates Motel)
Alicia Witt (Two Weeks Notice)
Ken Leung (Lost)
Mark Bramhall (Alias)
Brent Sexton (God Friended Me)
Laura Fraser (Breaking Bad)

MV5BMTU5NTUxOTkxNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODk0MzY2MjE@._V1_Vanilla Sky didn’t really have it easy in the year of its release. On top of being a Hollywood remake of the critically-acclaimed Spanish film, it also had to contend with the debut of Lynch’s Mulholland Drive and the wider distribution of Nolan’s Memento — both of which generated buzz by accomplishing similar things in superior ways — earlier that year. Therefore, the field was crowded in the psycho-puzzle subgenre, and the twisted story of David Aames’ conflict of romantic pursuits and amnesiac murder mystery wasn’t, in a literal sense, anything new.MV5BMTU3NDE1ODA3NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDk4NTA4MTE@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,999_AL_Crowe tweaks the narrative, though, by emphasizing the protagonist’s legacy as the heir to a publishing empire, accentuating his recklessness with the business end of things and a general self-awareness of the tools at his disposal: charisma, wealth, and appearance. That makes it all the more intriguing to watch his casual tryst with clingy actress Julie Gianni (Cameron Diaz) evolve beyond his control, and to see it all deconstructed by a beautiful but comparatively commonplace dancer, Sofia (Penelope Cruz), who immediately steals his heart.MV5BMjAwMjc2MTg4N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDM5MDM2MDI@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1528,1000_AL_Cruise admirably embraces the understated commentary on his persona through his character’s carefree place of power and his thorny relationship with his father, with his easy charm and building anxiety driven by writer/director Crowe’s good-natured style of human interaction. An immediate spark ignites between his character and Sofia within, unsurprisingly, a cluttered celebration of the greatness of David on his birthday, and it stays credible throughout the film due to how Penelope Cruz’s down-to-earth wit and allure drags him out of the clouds, shaping into a poignant love story. The standout performance, however, emerges in Cameron Diaz with arguably the best turn of her career, encapsulating obsession and one-way affection in a beautiful shell that’s both sympathetic and unsettling, the cloud over David’s happiness.MV5BMTc4MjU0MDY4NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzg1MTUyNA@@._V1_SX1522_CR0,0,1522,999_AL_Infusing ethereal tracks by composer (and wife) Nancy Wilson and Icelandic band Sigur Ros with classic and contemporary melancholy pop songs, director Crowe again uses his musical awareness to heighten the visual and dramatic tempo in Vanilla Sky. Instead of directly enveloping scenes in the feel of a time period or the clear emotional state of a character, however, his musical selection here transports the audience through the complicated space of David Aames’ mind, guiding the film in both similar and differing tonal directions to that of Amenabar’s original intents. Crowe’s attunement to sound mixes intriguingly with the growingly abstract nature of David’s telling of the events, embracing an attitude that’s somewhere between the earnest warmth of the director’s previous pictures and the disappearing grip on reality within David’s psychosis. Overt sentimentality does get in the way of establishing a consistent suspenseful mood, but that duality also becomes one of the film’s distinguishing attributes as the tone shifts between those margins.MV5BZDRkOGQwNWItZjQ1ZC00MjU0LWJiZTUtZWIwMjZkMTdhNWM5XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTI3MDk3MzQ@._V1_Along the way, Cameron Crowe never lets the viewer forget that this is a narrative being spun by an imprisoned man in a latex mask, divulged to an inquisitive psychiatrist as he builds a case for David’s mental state surrounding a murder accusation. Paired with the evocative perspective of Braveheart and Almost Famous cinematographer John Toll, surreal cues emerge through the film’s visual language that suggest there’s more to everything than what we’re shown, where little details scattered about — photographs, drawings, even the mole on someone’s body — begin to play with the perspectives of both David and the audience’s trust level in him. It’s at this point where Vanilla Sky pulls the curtain back on what it’s really about, descending into the pandemonium of nightmares and unreliable narration through warped science-fiction that recalibrates just about everything that’s transpired thus far. Crowe doesn’t get carried away with it all, either, keeping a firm grip on what’s safe to be deduced and not as the film shapeshifts into a psychological thriller.MV5BZmQ0YmE1MTMtYWQ2ZS00ZDNhLWIzOTctNjk4YTQ1YmQzZDZhXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTI3MDk3MzQ@._V1_Vanilla Sky tumbles down that rabbit hole in a wild, slyly unsettling climax to the tragic mysteries of David’s life, both revealing the truth of what’s going on and inviting different interpretations to what it all means through layered clues, more flashes of images and whispers in the distance. It’s unsurprising that heavy emotion speaks louder than thematic lucidity in Crowe’s ending, the most divergent part of the film from the original; however, the bittersweet nature in how it feeds into the choice between moving on with one’s life or perpetuating an illusion says enough. Despite tiptoeing around some rather dark elements, it leaves the audience with a degree of cathartic optimism hanging in the air alongside swelling atmospheric music and painterly surroundings, yet there’s also the lingering sensation that everything hasn’t been, and won’t be, fully answered. Whether repeat viewings will bring that more into focus depends on the viewer, but thankfully experiencing the sweet and sour of David’s life is compelling enough to continue doing so anyway.