Best Picture Odyssey: “Her”

Are we too invested in our technology?

I’ve always brushed that question off as the standard generational denigration that’s existed for as long as the concept of change. The idea that “things were better back then” has always been fallacious, because it implies that people living “back then” weren’t also complaining about how terrible things had become. The critiques of the current youngest generation have always been based on their (okay, our) perceived over-reliance on technology. “People are so attached to their smartphones that they can’t look around and experience real life!” has been the battle cry of crotchety old fogies since the first behind-the-times cable news report on this newfangled thing called “texting.” It always seemed ridiculous. Continue reading Best Picture Odyssey: “Her”

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A Review of “The Master”

By the time that The Master was released in the fall of 2012, writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson was already a critical darling. His first five films, Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love, and There Will Be Blood, had built up his reputation as a masterful director of quirky but dark films, who had a stellar eye for visuals. Although The Master was plagued by delays, it was hotly anticipated by Anderson’s fans. The question wasn’t whether or not the film would be good, but rather just how good it would be. The Master, like many great films, ended up being very divisive in the critical community. Even the people who liked it disagreed sharply over what the film actually meant. What had been rumored to be a film about the founding of Scientology turned out to be an esoteric, lyrical study of the relationship between a broken veteran and a charming cult leader. Continue reading A Review of “The Master”