Anderson’s “The Master” Final Trailer: No Similiarities to Persons or Groups Living or Dead, We Totally Swear

Readers who consider themselves unabashed Midlife Crisis Crossover completists (i.e., my wife and me) may recall my preoccupation with the trailers for Paul Thomas Anderson’s new film The Master, in which Academy Award Winner Phillip Seymour Hoffman plays a charismatic jack-of-all-trades who’s not named Hub L. Ronnard, who attracts followers to his self-invented belief system that’s not called Scientetics or Dianology, who has Academy Award Nominee Amy Adams as the wife by his side, and who’s trying to lure Academy Award Nominee Joaquin Phoenix to his side with vague platitudes and cryptic encouragement.

Recapping our first three installments for newcomers:

* Teaser Trailer #1: a reserved interrogation, a forgotten fight, some crawling through machinery, and adult sand sculptures, all set to spooky bass-‘n’-percussion from composer Jonny Greenwood, the Radiohead guitarist who also worked with Anderson on There Will Be Blood.

* Teaser Trailer #2: Hoffman takes center stage with his myriad talents and elliptical statements of purpose, all overlapping and fighting to surface in the consciousness of Phoenix, who chafes in a new, awkward chapter of his life. Adams loves her husband. The Greenwood score repeats.

* Full Trailer #1: an unbalanced Phoenix fails at life on the post-war homefront and instead follows a writer who’s big on doublespeak and revival tents. Adams is not at all happy this time around — glaring at doubters, questioning Phoenix’s sanity, and acting perfectly fine with her husband’s shenanigans. Greenwood is replaced at the 1:39 mark with Jo Stafford’s maudlin 1950 hit “No Other Love“.

And now, the four-part miniseries, “The Trailers of The Master“, concludes with the final, fragmented chapter:

Other than reruns from previous trailers, the core is a stilted speech about how human spirits trump the animal kingdom. A soft orchestra is drowned out by Joaquin Phoenix drumming like Buddy Rich on a locked window. Standard male viewers should now be excited by the prospect of fights, guns, motorcycle races, and sex scenes. (Yeeeey.)

The officially R-rated movie begins its limited-release rollout to American theaters on September 14th. IMDb lists release dates in several other countries over the next several months, mostly in Europe. (Is Scientology discussed or even heard of in Asia? I’d be curious to know.) My intrigue in the general concept has ebbed a bit, but we’ll have to see if Indianapolis’ only art-house cinema offers it before next Oscar season; how my curiosity, budget, and conscience are doing by then; and if I’m not yet tired of those involved repeating in every related interview like a holy mantra, “IT’S NOT ABOUT SCIENTOLOGY.” When I turn it over in my head, it’s funnier because I hear it in the voice of Arnold Schwarzenegger from Kindergarten Cop. In reality, it grows more disappointing every time I hear it.

2nd Teaser for PT Anderson’s “The Master” Stars Philip Seymour Hoffman as Bell Bon Bubbard

In the first teaser trailer for Paul Thomas Anderson’s next film, The Master, we saw Joaquin Phoenix as an uneasy rapscallion on the verge of doing something different with his life. In the new teaser, Philip Seymour Hoffman is a jack of several trades probing Phoenix with questions and strange reassurances. While the Internet is firmly convinced The Master chronicles the secret origin of Scientology with all the names changed, let it be known Hoffman here distances himself from the late L. Ron Hubbard in a very concrete way: he disguises himself with a mustache.

Not only do we finally see and hear costar Amy Adams, we also hear her hint at Hoffman’s character working on his most important text, a revolutionary self-help tome possibly to be titled Ianetics-Day.

Meanwhile at home, the most optimistic Scientologists hope this film will be, best-case scenario, their version of The Last Temptation of Christ. If it’s not, Anderson may look forward to being banned from working in their half of Hollywood in the future, and resigned to working in the Jewish half instead. If all else fails, there’s always work to be done in the malnourished field of Christian direct-to-DVD.

Disney’s “Wreck-It Ralph” Has First Trailer Ever to be Made Entirely of Easter Eggs

This week saw the release of the first trailer for the next Walt Disney Animated Classic, Wreck-It Ralph, which promises to do for video game characters what Who Framed Roger Rabbit? did for cartoon characters — namely, see how many entertainment companies are willing to stuff theirs into the same clown car as their competitors’.

Casual gamers should obviously recognize King Bowser from the Super Mario Bros empire. Anyone who doesn’t know Clyde from Pac-Man won’t be using the Internet to see this trailer or watching movies made after 1980 anyway. I like to think I made it to level 3 by recognizing a King Malboro from Final Fantasy X-up.

After watching the trailer a second time, I suspect all the pieces and clues of this clever how-many-can-you-name trivia game have also been used to construct a sort of movie to connect the various stages of the game. The difficult part to perceiving this value-added extra is ignoring the game and paying attention to the dialogue instead. That’s harder than it sounds, considering this may be the first recorded instance of a modern game whose cutscene graphics are of equal quality to the in-game graphics. (Sorry, Agni’s Philosophy — you were so close. If only graphics processor technology had progressed at a more supernatural rate for your sake.)

The Wreck-It Ralph Theatrical Trivia Game stars Academy Award Nominee John C. Reilly (Chicago, Step Brothers), Jack McBrayer (30 Rock), Jane Lynch (Glee), Brandon T. Jackson (cruelly underrated in Tropic Thunder), and hopefully hundreds of video game voice actors. If Steve Blum isn’t somewhere in this film, then there’s no point to its existence.

CBS’ “Elementary” to Introduce Sherlock Holmes of Earth-2, Possibly Precipitate “Sherlock War” Crossover

Despite the objections of BBC fans, this fall CBS plans to air their own Sherlock Holmes series, Elementary. Starring Jonny Lee Miller as Our Hero and Lucy Liu as mandatory progressive Dr. Watson, the show promises some or all of the following:

The last time I watched a detective show with a British counterpart, whose American version was antsy and not entirely stable, it was Robert Pastorelli in Cracker. Other than introducing the world to young Josh Hartnett’s unkempt hair, it didn’t go over well. I’m curious enough that I might tune in for the pilot. I’m a fan of unlikely heroes with too much nervous energy to spare, but I hope the rest of the cast is given more to do than simply standing around slack-jawed and watching him do all the overacting.

Shocking confession time: despite recommendations from many smart people, I have yet to watch a single episode of the BBC’s renowned Sherlock. My wife and I keep forgetting we have BBC America, and I keep forgetting that season 1 is on DVD. The only excerpt I’ve watched in full is this one:

Frankly, I’m sold. I wish I could say I’m making an Amazon one-click purchase right now, but I have a vacation in two months that needs funded first, and my pre-existing backlog of unwatched DVDs weighs upon me with some shame. Maybe I can rank it at the top of my Christmas list.

1st Teaser Trailer for PT Anderson’s “The Master” Avoids the 11-Letter S-Word

From Paul Thomas Anderson, the director of There Will Be Blood, comes another fictional biopic about a potentially disturbed self-made man whose work would come to affect millions in ways not necessarily for the better. Despite Anderson’s own denials, parts of the Internet swear The Master is thinly veiled nonfiction about L. Ron Hubbard, Dianetics, and/or the creation of Scientology. Any similarities to any movements living or dead, real or fictional, will no doubt be left to the viewer to decide and write pretentious essays in response.

(That’s not meant as derogatory. Seriously, I look forward to reading said essays. Some days I thrive on pretentiousness.)

The cast includes Joaquin Phoenix, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Laura Dern, and Kevin J. O’Connor (the lanky toady from Stephen Sommers’ The Mummy). As with Blood, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood is composing the presumably eerie, non-traditional score. This first teaser avoids any overt hints of its ostensible subject, instead focusing on flashbacks of Phoenix’s shenanigans while an obscured interrogator watches his immature smugness melt into unease.

[Content warning: teaser contains brief clip of bawdy sand-sculpting.]

I’ve played this a few extra times for the soundtrack alone, but I’m also savoring the one-minute sample of Phoenix’s performance that hints at grander, controversial, hopefully pretentious things to come.

Batmania Returns, Preempts Avengermania One Week Ahead of Schedule

Please allow this old newcomer to practice inserting video links. Chances are you’ve already seen this one. Nothing for you to lose if I screw it up, then.

I was viewer #303 when that landed on YouTube circa 11:30 p.m. EDT Monday night. Bragging rights for being slightly ahead of the curve for that brief moment are mine.

And yet…my head failed to explode. I’m trusting the finished product will be exciting and as vital as any other Nolan film. Maybe the ads for this year’s Best Picture winner, Marvel’s The Avengers, have desensitized me to awesomeness. Whatever the reason, I have yet to burst into Caps-Lock cheers or pound my exclamation mark key until it cracks.

Mostly what I see is:

Bale grimaces and suffers. His two previous Bat-performances were much more than that, especially when he wasn’t being outshined by all those elderly Oscar vets. The evidence for this installment is thus far concealed. Again, I trust all the meaty soliloquies and jump-cut brawls are being saved for the actual viewing experience.

Bane sounds stilted instead of garbled. I’ve enjoyed Bane as a comics character in recent years, particularly as a demented father figure among younger villains in Gail Simone’s unfairly canceled Secret Six. There, he was well-spoken and had a twisted sense of honor that spurred him into the most unpredictable decisions in any given situation. In this trailer, his two lines wouldn’t sound out of place in any other Batman film or TV show. Any of them.

Anne Hathaway does martial arts. I’ve had a hard enough time coping with the reality that Princess Diaries graduated to nude scenes. Seeing her perform snippets of rehearsed chop-socky was only slightly less disorienting. In her defense, it doesn’t help that I’ve never cared for Catwoman as a character, not even Julie Newmar’s version. It’s one of my many secret shames that bars me from attending all the really good comic conventions.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is mysterious beat cop. I suspect his average-Joe character will bring unto the film Great Meaning. Either that or he’s undercover Dick Grayson, and/or by film’s end he’ll be the new Batman. His nebulous nature frightens and confuses me. Let’s hope it was worth walking away from playing Cobra Commander.

Batplane Returns. Whether live-action or animated, nine out of every ten Batplane appearances follow the same pattern: Batman flies somewhere he would normally drive. He activates one or two weapons. He fails to win. Sooner or later, it explodes. Spread across his appearances in various media, Bruce Wayne by now has spent hundreds of billions on single-use disposable Batplanes. The Nolan version looks sleeker than most previous versions, but is doubtlessly just as fragile.

Midair plane stunts! Between Bane’s apparent jailbreak and the BatKamikaze, TDKR looks to stay airborne at length. After the accomplishments we’ve seen in the occasionally intersecting oeuvres of Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay, are there truly any new stunts left to perform above the horizon?

There shall be Occupying. Please, no.

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