The Weinstein Company previewed a trio of potentially Oscar-bound movies on Monday in "Django Unchained," "Silver Linings Playbook" and "The Master."
The glimpse featured new work in vastly different voices from three of their generation’s most talented directors: Quentin Tarantino, David O. Russell and Paul Thomas Anderson.
It seems Russell has put his neuroses down on celluloid again in “Silver Linings Playbook,” starring Bradley Cooper (left) as a mentally unstable man, coping with his relationship with his father, Robert De Niro, and battling a love relationship with Jennifer Lawrence.
The preview showed Cooper wandering through several scenes wearing a black trashbag as shirt. It harked back to Mark Wahlberg in “I Heart Huckabees,” wandering dazed in a firefighter’s uniform, and raised thoughts of Ben Stiller, fighting to understand his father, Alan Alda, in “Flirting With Disaster.” It’s another sad-funny-absurd work, back in Russell’s quirky personal sandbox.
“The Master” seems destined for controversy. Paul Thomas Anderson has written a tale that is loosely inspired on the life of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. The short piece shown was enough to suggest that Anderson (“Magnolia,” “There Will Be Blood”) has again taken on an epic subject and will face it down fearlessly.
Philip Seymour Hoffman, in moustache and suspenders, plays The Master, the Hubbard-like leader of what is referred to as The Cause. Amy Adams, in fierce dramatic scenes, plays his headstrong wife.
Joaquin Phoenix (right) is the center of the story as a postwar drifter, searching for a path and racked by anguish or mental illness or both.
In one scene, The Master demands: “Is your life a struggle? Is your behavior erratic?”
It looks ambitious and exciting, though no frogs appear to fall. Remains to be seen what the never-shy Church of Scientology will have to say about this portrayal, however fictionalized.
And the best for last: Tarantino appears to be in the process of delivering another revenge fantasy that will set critics on edge and thrill audiences to the core.
Also read: Complete Report From Cannes 2012
“Django Unchained” stars Jamie Foxx (left) as a liberated slave and the inimitable (and Oscar-winning) Christoph Waltz as a killer with his own agenda who teams up with him.
Suffice to say that the cast is another dream team: Leonardo DiCaprio as a plantation owner, Samuel L. Jackson, Don Johnson, Kerry Washington. The scenes shown in the preview were stamped with the violence and humor of the creator of “Pulp Fiction.”
If it feels a bit like “Inglourious Basterds” set in the prewar South – who cares? There’s something unnaturally thrilling about watching a slave-driver get blown away by a freed slave, his ankles still raw from his chains.