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.
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.
For me, the collaboration is sort of akin to working with a lyricist. There's no lyrics in the score, so you're basically working with the scenes as lyric and trying to find a way to emotionally support what's going on with that.
Machete, which turned veteran character actor Danny Trejo into a leading man, was a wild and wildly violent action-comedy, a spoof of exploitation films of the 1970s. So, obviously, is Machete Kills. How much of a spoof?