350 – The Master (2012)


I haven’t seen Inherent Vice yet (god-willing I will have seen it by the time you are reading this), but I hope it signals a new direction for Paul Thomas Anderson, not because I am tired of his examination of the darkness in solitary men, but because he has so perfectly examined this in his previous three films. Punch-Drunk Love‘s Barry Egan (Adam Sandler) has a boiling rage that is finally ameliorated when he finds another person with whom to share his life. There Will Be Blood‘s Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) tries to do the same, but his overwhelming greed is too much to bear. But what of the two main characters in The Master? Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) and Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman) battle the same darkness as these other men, but head-on. Is the outlook for them any better than that for Daniel Plainview?

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340 – Wild (2014)


This is quite the weekend for the Best Actress category of whatever awards ceremony you choose to follow with bated breath. After Julianne Moore’s tour de force as a woman slowly losing herself to Alzheimer’s in Still Alice, Reese Witherspoon takes her shot at the title with her portrayal of a woman trying to put herself back together.

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158 – The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

the fault in our stars

Guess what? Young adult novel adaptations are not just for attractive teens kicking butt anymore. Now the attractive-teens-dying-for-myriad-reasons genre is getting in on the game as well. Later this year Chloë Grace Moretz will star in If I Stay, as a coma-stricken girl on the verge of death. But first, Shailene Woodley leads The Fault in Our Stars, the latest and greatest cancer narrative. The Fault in Our Stars looks to take the top prize for best cancer movie from its current owner 50/50. 50/50, in turn, took the title from 1998’s Stepmom, which my own mother took me and a friend to see when we were nine years old because it looked like an uproarious comedy in the marketing. Can The Fault in Our Stars live up to this prestigious pedigree?

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