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Jan Wahl Movie Review: 'The Master' & 'Trouble With The Curve'

Joaquin Phoenix
Joaquin Phoenix in a scene from "The Master" (credit: The Weinstein Company)

(KCBS) – KCBS Entertainment Editor Jan Wahl reviews "The Master" starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix & Amy Adams. She also reviews "Trouble With the Curve" also with Amy Adams and Clint Eastwood.

KCBS Entertainment Reporter Jan Wahl:


There's been a lot of positive buzz about this film. Much of the excitement seems to be that one of our great actors, Philip Seymour Hoffman, plays the leader of a quasi religious cult called The Cause, based on Scientology. The Cause has a "process" leading subjects through past traumas, using a combination of hypnosis and tricks. He is The Master.

But, most of the film actually belongs to Joaquin Phoenix, an alcoholic, violent, lying wreck. Phoenix pays it with so much pain and agony and such a lack of humanity that it is almost hard to watch.

Amy Adams shows up as Hoffman's latest wife - and voice of reason.

The acting is fine, but the lack of a cohesive script is the problem. Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, Magnolia) has made a movie about ego meets regret, and there are moments of insight into religious cults. But, without a compelling script it gets very tiresome. Two hats.


Amy Adams & Clint Eastwood
(L-R) Amy Adams & Clint Eastwood (credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)


Gus has been one of the best scouts in baseball for decades. Though age is starting to catch up with him, he refuses to be benched.

But, this craggy, tough guy may not have a choice about the final innings of his career.

There is some fine acting, notably Clint Eastwood playing Gus' arc of sadness, frustration and fear. His daughter, played by Amy Adams (also in The Master), joins him on his latest scouting trip, jeopardizing her own legal career to save his baseball career. Father and daughter are forced to spend time together, and new discoveries about their relationship are made with humor and truth. Justin Timberlake, John Goodman, other fine actors show up, but the movie belongs to a terrific Eastwood.

The film was actually not directed by Eastwood, but some fine storytelling is given us by his longtime producing partner Robert Lorenz. Touching and entertaining. 3 hats.

Trouble With The Curve - Now Playing by Warner Bros. Pictures on YouTube


See Right Now: The Words, Arbitrage.

Home Viewing/DVD: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Hysteria, Salvation Blvd.

You can hear KCBS Entertainment Editor Jan Wahl's movie reviews on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM Fridays at 8:53am & 4:53pm.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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