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Blurb Reviews: The Master, Robot and Frank, and Moonrise Kingdom - by Zach Maynard

My blurb reviews of the three best films of the year (so far) : The Master, Robot and Frank, and Moonrise Kingdom.

Sorry, readers-- it's been awhile, I know. I think I've been cursed with writing full reviews for The Master and Robot and Frank; let me give you a history: 

A couple of weeks ago I was uploading my reviews for Robot & Frank and Ted when the power went out during a storm. I got my Ted review written, and I attempted to write the Robot and Frank review the other day. I tried uploading it today and my Internet crashed. So, since I saw The Master recently, I figured I could get away with writing "blurb" reviews for the films -- which are basically just 2-3 paragraph reviews. I also thought I should include a blurb for Moonrise Kingdom, a fantastic film I saw earlier this year in June. I really wanted to review it for you anyway, so I figured I would group it with the other two films, because combined I believe that the three are the best that the year has offered up so far. I'm crossing my fingers that nothing goes awry while I'm writing this..... anyhow, enjoy! 

The Master: This recently released film is set to take home a whole lot of Oscars. It contains fantastic performances from its seasoned cast (Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams), including a mesmerizing performance from Joaquin Phoenix. I really think that Phoenix should win the Oscar for Best Actor and Phillip Seymour Hoffman should win Best Supporting Actor. Trust me, come awards season, this film will undoubtedly be among the top contenders. 

Speaking of the Oscars, this film should also be nominated, if not win, Best Director. Paul Thomas Anderson paints a beautiful picture here, taking many filmmaking risks that could easily win him that coveted gold statue. The Master is similar in a lot of ways to P.T.A.'s last film, There Will Be Blood (2007, Best Picture nominee), in that it is very long-- and, unlike Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises (at 2 hrs 45 minutes, it rivals The Master's running time of 2 hrs 32 minutes), it definitely feels like that amount of time. It's unnoticeable if you're riveted enough, which you will be. I definitely noticed the film's lack of flow and good pacing, but it didn't really hurt it's score. But fair warning: if all you enjoy is action and explosions, you will be in agony. I give The Master a 9/10

Robot and Frank: This smart indie dramedy, starring Frank Langella as a stubborn elder with developing memory problems (and a past as a skilled cat burglar) who receives a robot from his concerned son programmed to take care of him. The film is set in the near future where robots are commercialized and serve as mini-butlers for the average family. The film deals with heavy themes quite well, and it deftly blends drama and humor with a script that is probably the most smartly written I've seen this year. The acting is great; in fact, Langella might give Phoenix a run for his money if they are both nominated for the best actor category. Bottom line, I laughed, nearly cried, and smiled throughout this wonderful film. I felt that this movie was made just for me, in fact. It gets every mark on my checklist of what I like in a film: humor, drama, great acting, great script, and a nice story. And not to mention it is a perfect length at 1 hr 35 minutes. I give Robot and Frank a 9.5/10

Moonrise Kingdom: Director Wes Anderson lends his signature style to this handcrafted-feeling tale of young love set on a community-sized island off the coast of New York in the 1960s. It is, in a word, utterly brilliant film making at its finest. The story seems so simple- but that is the beauty of it. Everything here is stripped down to its roots, which makes the whole experience feel organic and almost new, in a way. There is a quirkiness and charm here that I haven't seen in a film in years. It feels like you are witnessing a storybook in motion (for instance, most of the indoor scenes are shot like you are looking into a doll house). The cast, which includes two unknown child actors who play the young lovers, Bruce Willis as the stern sheriff, Edward Norton as the scout master of Camp Ivanhoe, and Bill Murray as a grumpy grandfather. They are all fantastic and, even though the characters at first seem like they could never be real people, they each have their own heartfelt moments that make them human. This is definitely a movie that film make you smile all the way through. It is very reminiscent of childhood and its many undertakings. Moonrise Kingdom is not to be missed. I give it a 9.7/10

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