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The Master

You can tell from the opening frames of The Master that it takes itself very seriously and expects the same of you. Its world is very heavy. And I think that is a conscious stylistic choice, not a directorial ego trip by Paul Thomas Anderson who tends to make big movies with big themes, most of which I have liked a lot (There Will Be Blood, Magnolia). This is Cinema with a capital C. It pulls you in and makes it impossible to look away. And that is aided by having two really amazing actors at the center capable of carrying it. Philip Seymour Hoffman is the weightier character, a cult guru called The Master, but Joaquin Phoenix is the more interesting Freddie, an unmoored alcoholic searching for purpose, and his full-body immersion performance will most likely earn him another Oscar nomination.