Dollar Movie

February 14

The Master
7:30 10 12:30

Much has been said about The Master. Advertised as a Scientology exposé, audiences were startled to find a dense, demanding character study. Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman are at the center of this film, playing an emotionally battered WWII vet and a charismatic cult leader, respectively, who enter into a deeply complicated relationship. Director Paul Thomas Anderson is one of the greatest living cinematic maestros; he created the masterpieces There Will Be Blood, Boogie Nights, and Punch-Drunk Love, all before his 40th birthday. The Master is a harrowing experiment that displays utterly electric cinematic force. Anderson continues his deconstruction of 20th-century America with one of the five best films of 2012 — a must-see.

February 15

Life of Pi
7:30 10 12:30

Anyone who has read the novel upon which this film is based will attest to its seemingly unfilmable structure and aesthetic. “But how do we get a tiger in that little boat?” they asked. “CGI, I guess,” replied some savvy studio executive. CGI, indeed. Life of Pi gives us an excruciatingly boring story mixed with some of the most unthinkably spectacular visual creativity. Director Ang Lee (_Brokeback Mountain_, Crouching Tiger, and Hidden Dragon) crafts the last 40 minutes of this film in an uncommon display of computer-generated spectacle. While the film hasn’t done particularly well in the American market, it is setting international records.

February 16
February 17

7:30 10 12:30

Denzel Washington turns in another admirable performance in this frustrating picture. He plays airline captain William “Whip” Whitaker, a pilot struggling with alcoholism and cocaine addiction. The film suggests an interesting premise — that we would rather be in a plane piloted by a cocaine-addicted but controlled drunk than by a sober, panicky stickler. But Flight is primarily concerned with punishing Whip for his addiction. Still, the movie contains one of the most exciting and excellent scenes of last year and a seriously convincing performance of oft-explored material by one of our greatest living actors.