"The Master" trailer introduced

Now if this isn't your most anticipated movie of 2012 then this blog is just not for you. No true movie buff would dare miss Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master. Following up his intricate 2007 masterpiece There Will Be Blood, Anderson tackles another heavy subject. Religion. Oh boy this is surely going to offend religious zeitgeists but hell I don't care and neither should you. From what we can gather in this trailer, Anderson is taking on Scientology and its creator Ron L Hubbard. The lighting, music, camera shots all look top notch and so does Philip Seymour Hoffman as the Hubbard-like figure and Joaquin Phoenix as the master's protege. Click the link above only if you dare.

As for Anderson, what more can you say. He's proven over the years his worth and talent. which got me thinking about ranking his films in terms of quality. Anderson is right up there with the best American filmmakers working today. I'd put him on top of a list that includes David Fincher, Darren Aronofsky, Wes Anderson, Joel Coen, Alexander Payne and Christopher Nolan. P.T has only made phenomenal pictures in his career -mixing ambitious ideas with incredibly Altman-esque/Scorsese storytelling- and The Master will look to continue his winning streak.

1) There Will Be Blood
2) Magnolia
3) Boogie Nights
4) Punch-Drunk Love

"Prometheus" and its ambitious reach

In Ridley Scott's ambitious "prequel" -or so its touted- of his 1979 Sci Fi classic Alien, Scott tackles the biggest question of all of humanity; our existence. In Prometheus the year is 2093 and a team of scientists journey through the universe on the spaceship "Prometheus"  to investigate Alien life forms, what they find is a possible answer to whom our creators might be. A question arises as the film's central theme, would we be greeted with hostility and violence if we ever had the chance to meet the creators that made us? It's deep, dark stuff that is handled with real intrigue by Scott and his screenwriters John Spaihts and Damon Lindeloff.  Think of it as The Tree Of Life for the summer blockbuster crowd, although Prometheus doesn't really need to be compared to Terrence Malick's masterpiece. That would only lead you to believe it is a whole other movie than it actually is. It isn't.

Scott stages the actions scenes remarkably well. He's always had a gift for creating character in a sea of action. Think of Gladiator, Black Hawk Down and -more recently- American Gangster. His films have wounded male characters who's lives are filled with violent pasts and presents. In Prometheus, male characters come and go but Scott creates a true action heroine for 2012 in Noomi Rapace. The original Girl With The Dragon Tattoo ignites the film with enough gas to fill a tank. She's dynamite and becomes a true heir to Sigourney Weaver's Ripley in the first two Alien films. The same brilliance can be attributed to Michael Fassbender who plays the deceiving android that accompanies the crew on their journey. The best compliment I can give Fassbender is that I forgot it was the actor just acting and actually did believe his David was a droid. The whole cast is solid and to reveal more plot would be to ruin Prometheus' dark surprises.

There are holes in Prometheus, its 124 minute running time is overdone and Scott doesn't always know when to stop. Yet its claustrophobic atmosphere is palpably intense. A mix of rich visuals and a thinking man's movie. The questions asked in the film don't all get answered and it infuriates just as much as it entertains. However the ambition of Prometheus is what makes it a solid blockbuster in a sea of muck. The ideas spin out of control and Scott's story somewhat gets out of hand but there's something refreshing about watching a summer movie with ideas. A concept that has not existed in any of the popcorn movies released thus far this summer. Come on, as if The Avengers had a deep layer of existential thought in its candy colored brain. Not that there's anything wrong with just wanting to entertain but sometimes a little extra thought would suffice along with the diversion. Prometheus has that, even when it sometimes misses its swing.

"Headhunters" brings the buzz

Headhunters is a Norwegian thriller that will make your head spin faster than a pop of ecstacy in the mouth.  We first meet Roger Brown - a solid Aksel Hennie.  During the day Roger is a top notch go-to headhunter for the rich and during the night a forging high art burglar. You see, Roger is actually close to going bankrupt and he wouldn't even dare say it to his hot, blonde, tall wife Lotte whom he thinks married him just for his millions. The plot thickens as Clas Greve is introduced to us via charm and charisma. Greve is a millionaire himself, having invented the GPS system in holland and basking in the riches of his invention. He owns a piece of high art at his new apartment that could be worth more than 100 million bucks. Brown sees this as an opportunity to commit the perfect heist yet he gets more than he bargains for in the process. I won't spoil anything else for you except to say that Headhunters - directed with sly wit by Morten Tyldum - bites more than it can chew and overloads on subplots near its closing. Its disappointing second half can't match its sexy, hypnotic first half. Nevertheless this is more than solid entertainment if you are capable to suspend your disbelief.

The Dictator

★★ (R)

Sacha Baron Cohen might just be the funniest guy in movies. 2005's Borat was not just funny, it's now a comedy classic. Expectations were high for Cohen's latest incarnation as an oppressive, western hating dictator. However The Dictator has failed at the box office and reviews were lukewarm. What went wrong? You have to look at the  resulting movie which is encompassed by hit and miss jokes. The problem isn't with the newly sketched character Cohen has given us - it's actually quite inspired on paper. The problem lies with the fact that Cohen's first two films -Borat and Bruno- were what I'd call guerilla style documentary filmmaking. A glorious mix of fact and fiction that made us entertainingly cringe under our seats all in the while laughing hysterically at the absurdity that was happening on screen. The Dictator is a result of Cohen delving his satirical teeth into fiction film and striking out. The pacing is average, the screenplay terribly conceived and the style -by director Larry Charles- almost juvenile.

The film's title character is one Haffaz Alladeen (Cohen) - a bizarre dictator of the oil-rich African nation of Wadiya. Alladeen is as egotistical and ruthless as dictators come, executing anyone who disagrees with him by using his signature "head chop" signal. Alladeen is summoned by the UN to address their concerns about his nuclear program. That's when things get complicated and Alladeen's assistant, played by Ben Kingsley, tries to take control of the operations and rid Alladeen of his powers. Anna Faris plays Alladeen's New York City girl and she couldn't have been more miscast. In fact, there really isn't much good to say about a film that tries to be funny but ends up being the opposite. The R rating given to the film usually spells laughs for many comedies in the studio system but here it doesn't get used in an advantageous way. Cohen has proven that he has endless talent and one can go past his brilliant impersonations (Ali G, Bruno, Borat) and right into the supporting roles he's had in films such as Sweeney Todd and Hugo to see just what I'm talking about. He's an actor that deserves our attention, The Dictator is his sour note.

"Django" Unleashed

Now here's something to look forward to ! Quentin Tarantino's new movie and really, any new film by this man warrants attention and should be a movie event for film buffs. I'm mixed on the trailer but I got a feeling there's much more than meets the eye here. His last film was the flawed but uproariously entertaining Jewish wet dream Inglourious Basterds - It won an Oscar for Christoph Waltz, who's back here. Just click on the link above and let me know what you thought.