Groundhog Day, Borowitz, Michael Moore, No Child Left Standing, Dan Grobstein File
Humor is Hard

The Master

2 stars out of 5
This rating is almost as hard to do as last week's six stars for Ruby Sparks was easy. Two weeks ago, this film set a record for the greatest per-screen take on an opening weekend. Reviewers were turned away from screenings. My older daughter and I went to see it in 70mm at the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland, one of only a dozen places in the country where it can be seen in this once widespread and still impressive format. The acting was amazing, mostly handled by Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix. The directing by Paul Thomas Anderson was up to his standards, the cinematography was impressive, the music was weird but appropriate. But the script, also by Anderson was... inadequate. It was clearly a roman a clef about Scientology, but it ended up coming off like a bad biopic. It was a strung together series of incidents, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Hoffman furrows his brow, and Phoenix leaves no scenery unchewed--to what end? Just goes to show you should review the film, not the box office. I suspect word of mouth is going to sink this turkey.