THE MASTER
2012, The Weinstein Company, 137 min, USA, Dir: Paul Thomas Anderson

Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) is a mentally unstable and alcoholic WWII veteran whose search for purpose is complicated when he forms a profound yet explosive bond with charismatic author Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), the leader of a mysterious philosophical movement known as “the Cause.” Set to haunting original music by Radiohead’s Johnny Greenwood, this deep character study features astonishing performances from Phoenix, Hoffman and Amy Adams, and is a tense, visually stunning exploration of religion, power and social structures.


SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK
2008, Sony Pictures Classics, 124 min, USA, Dir: Charlie Kaufman

After his wife leaves him, theater director Caden Cotard (Philip Seymour Hoffman) decides to stage his most ambitious piece, a production that will encompass his entire life. Screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, ADAPTATION), here directing for the first time, uses Caden and the world he creates (which consists of a replica of New York built in a warehouse) to explore the vastness of human experience in all its emotional and intellectual complexity. The result: what Roger Ebert called the best film of its decade. With a stellar supporting cast that includes Catherine Keener, Michelle Williams, Hope Davis and Jennifer Jason Leigh.


MAGNOLIA
1999, Warner Bros., 188 min, USA, Dir: Paul Thomas Anderson

Director Paul Thomas Anderson’s mosaic of American life woven through a series of comic and poignant vignettes centers on one day in the San Fernando Valley. A dying father, a trophy wife (Julianne Moore), a caretaker (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a flashy and misogynist self-help guru (Tom Cruise), a police officer in love (John C. Reilly), a boy genius, an ex-boy genius (William H. Macy), a game-show host (Philip Baker Hall) and an estranged daughter (Melora Walters) each become part of a dazzling multiplicity of plots devolving into one magnificent story.


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