Making a film is the art of retroactive hypnotism. And there is no greater cinema hypnotist than Paul Thomas Anderson. It's rare to see a movie simultaneously this interesting and this good; this incoherent and this profound; this frustrating and this enjoyable.
The smiles are the same, and so are the values, the ambitions, the dedication to our families and to our friendships, as are our idiosyncrasies that we still love each other for.
I haven't seen a Joaquin Phoenix film since I'm Still Here back in 2010. I was reminded of what a brilliant actor he is. Not only did he bring an innocence to a role that could have been played much darker, but he brought a physical humor to it.
There are films that make you want to run to the bookstore or, in reality, Amazon.com. Any Jane Austen or Dickens adaptation. Atonement. Requiem for a Dream perhaps. Then there is Paul Thomas Anderson's adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's Inherent Vice.
Sometimes, instead of reviewing the movie you're watching, you end up reviewing the movie you thought you'd be watching. This happens especially with a director known for a particular style or genre who then switches it up.
The Immigrant stands as a reminder that, while we have come so far in this nation of immigrants, we have still farther to go to live up to the promise of Emma Lazarus' poem inscribed beneath the broken chains on the pedestal where Lady Liberty stands in New York Harbor.
While not perfect, it is more than just a feel-good sports movie about overcoming obstacles (though it is, in fact, that). Million Dollar Arm is less a movie about sports (in this case, baseball) than a film about one man's transformation from sports agent to human being.
How do we secure, even among people who care about the world around them, a moment for animals? We Animals should do the trick.
A two-hour documentary can be condensed into a 5 minutes spoiler, and now the dating process can be shrunk to the glowing rectangles of our cell phones and intermittent chats throughout the day.
The universal idea moving forward after loss is something that resonates and connects with people on a very deep level.
This year the top movies reflect the hopes, fears, and obsessions of their audiences, and so they offer us a chance to reflect on what these films can teach us. As our opening images suggest, one of the primary themes of our current films is one of our current dilemmas: Why do we feel so alone in a world in which it is possible to be connected 24/7?
He'd no doubt find Samantha's remark that not having a body has distinct advantages a hoot.
Her and the lack of a female body seems less like a feminist victory, and more like the unfortunate end result of an industry thoroughly uncomfortable with the realities of the female form.
What if your soulmate didn't have a body?
Particularly tricky is writing strong and memorable female characters when you are a dude. Sure, from Shakespeare on, its been done but the challenge remains.
In the end it is not a movie about the end of men. It's about breaking the man trance. It frees us all from everything we thought a relationship should be and uplifts us toward a higher state of living called "joy."