Tag: Joaquin Phoenix

MOVIE REVIEW | Irrational Man (2015)

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I couldn’t remember the reason for living and when I did, it wasn’t convincing.

Woody Allen makes movies so regularly that you can almost set your watch by them.  And with his regulatory and prolific output, comes plenty of derision.  Every movie is either heralded as a return to form, or condemned as proof of him being long past his prime.  But here’s the thing, even when he doesn’t make amazing movies, Woody Allen makes really good movies.  Which is why I’ll watch everything he makes, including the pretty universally shrugged at Irrational Man.


Able Lucas (Joaquín Phoenix) is a college philosophy professor who has hit a wall.  He drinks, has a reputation as a philanderer, and is a tittle on the self destructive side.  But he finds a reason to be via one his students, Jill (Emma Stone).  She’s smart, confident, engaging and fascinated by the tragic, older man.  Their friendship gains the attention of other faculty and students, but Abe is determined to make sure things stay on the up and up. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Inherent Vice (2014)

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“If it’s a quiet night out at the beach and your ex-old lady suddenly out of nowhere shows up with a story about her current billionaire- developer boyfriend, and his wife, and her boyfriend, and a plot to kidnap the billionaire and throw him in a loony bin…”

There was a lot of hype about Paul Thomas Anderson that I refused to believe for years. I thought Boogie Nights was pretty awesome, but the pretentious wank of Magnolia and the meandering bullshit of Punch Drunk Love left a bad taste in my mouth for a long, long time. Then, he made There Will Be Blood, a movie unlucky enough to come out the same year as No Country for Old Men. Which is the only reason it wasn’t the best movie of 2007. It was followed by the ambitious, scientology baiting The Master, and I was officially OK with people calling Anderson a genius.


So when I first heard a new Paul Thomas Anderson movie was on the way, I was automatically excited. Then I saw the trailer, and it quickly became one of my most anticipated movies of the year. There Will Be Blood and The Master were dark, brooding, serious and epic. But the trailer for Inherent Vice was goofy, cartoony and genuinely hilarious. In the end, it turned out to be an amazing trailer for a movie that’s not quite amazing, but still pretty good. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | The Master (2012)

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“If you figure a way to live without serving a master, any master, then let the rest of us know, will you? For you’d be the first person in the history of the world.”

My general rule here is to only write about movies I’m seeing for the first time. Sometimes I’ll fudge that restriction if it’s something I haven’t seen in a couple of decades and barely remember. But here’s a movie that I only saw two years ago when it came out. Here’s a movie that I thought was amazing at the time, while being fully aware that I understood very little of it. Not the plot, I get that. I understood very little of why it was so amazing. Here’s a movie that I’ve thought about constantly for two years, knowing I needed to see it again. But I was kind of intimidated. I felt like the circumstances needed to be just right if I was going to give it the attention it deserved. Here is The Master.


It’s the end of the Second World War, and Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) returns home, unsettled and unsure what to do next. When his homemade moonshine poisons a man, Freddie flees and stows away on a yacht leaving port. He’s soon discovered by the boat’s owner, Philip Seymour Hoffman as Lancaster Dodd, a writer, a doctor, a nuclear physicist and a theoretical philosopher. But above all, he is a man, a hopelessly inquisitive man, just like you. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | The Immigrant (2013)

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“Is it a sin for me to survive when I have done so many bad things?”

Critical buzz is a two edged sword. Depending on the mood I’m in, it can make me absolutely certain that I have to see a movie. Or, it can make me write it off as pretentious, critic fellating dreck that should be avoided at all costs. Everything about The Immigrant should have put it in that second category. Period piece about oppression. Characters with thick, Oscar chasing accents.   A whole heap of terrible, terrible people, beating down the one good character for two hours. The Immigrant has the lot, but none of that got in the way of me really liking it.


It’s 1921 on Ellis Island and two Polish sisters wait to be processed by immigration so they can live with their aunt and uncle, and begin their new lives in the new world. The only problem is, one (Angela Sarafyn as Magda) has consumption and is immediately quarantined. And since the aunt and uncle are nowhere to be seen, the other sister (Marion Cotillard as Ewa) is unaccompanied by a man, and therefore seen as a probable financial strain on the state, and told she’ll be sent home. Enter Joaquin Phoenix as Bruno, a man with connections who is able to buy Ewa’s freedom. (more…)