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After the Credits Volver a "After the Credits "

At the movies with Covo & Ayotte: “Arbitrage” and “The Master”

By Angela Covo and Dennis Ayotte, Jr. | 14 de septiembre de 2012

Film critics Angela Covo and Dennis Ayotte, Jr. bring you the truth about Hollywood’s current offerings every week. Look for their reviews online whenever you need to know more about the latest films. This week, Covo covers “ Arbitrage ” which open Friday Sept 14 at the Santikos Bijou and Ayotte covers “ The Master ” which also opens in limited release on Sept.14.  Next week the two movie critics will review “ End of Watch .” Stay tuned for Ayotte’s exclusive interview with Michael Pena who stars in the soon-to-be-released “End of Watch.” Photo below:   Richard Gere and writer-director Nicholas Jarecki on the set of ARBITRAGE. (Photo by Myles Aronowitz)  

San Antonio.- Film critics Angela Covo and Dennis Ayotte, Jr. bring you the truth about Hollywood’s current offerings every week. Look for their reviews online whenever you need to know more about the latest films. This week, Covo covers “Arbitrage” which open Friday Sept 14 at the Santikos Bijou and Ayotte covers “The Masterwhich also opens in limited release on Sept.14.  Next week the two movie critics will review “End of Watch.” Stay tuned for Ayotte’s exclusive interview with Michael Pena who stars in the soon-to-be-released “End of Watch.” Photo below: Richard Gere and writer-director Nicholas Jarecki on the set of ARBITRAGE. (Photo by Myles Aronowitz) 

 

By Angela Covo and Dennis Ayotte, Jr. 
angela.covo@gmail.com and dennisayottejr@gmail.com

Covo’s take: “Arbitrage” Four Stars

Richard Gere is magnificent in this old-fashioned thriller that will keep you absolutely entertained from beginning to end. 

In fact all the performances in “Arbitrage” have a keen chemistry, thanks in no small part to writer/director Nicholas Jarecki. An amazing debut for Jarecki’s first feature film, the screenplay is taut, the character development is outstanding and the story is timely.

The suspense thriller covers the gamut – it’s about love, loyalty, high finance and moral dilemma. When we first meet the hedge-fund magnate Robert Miller (Richard Gere) on the eve of his 60th birthday, he is a shining icon in the world of big business and well loved by his family. But Miller is deep in a last ditch effort to save his empire and family from ruin – and deeply involved in an adulterous affair.

Richard Gere

Richard Gere, left, and writer-director Nicholas Jarecki on the set of "Arbitrage." (Myles Aronowitz / Roadside Attractions)

Complicated by trysts and the knowledge that his wealth could keep him just outside and above the law, Miller doesn’t exactly have the audience’s empathy – but he fully captures our attention. We want justice, but somehow we are rooting for Miller in the sense that we hope he ends up being a decent fellow. 

The film features fine performances from Susan Sarandon, Tim Roth, Brit Marling, Laetitia Casta and Nate Parker -- and as a bonus, Vanity Fair editor-in-chief Graydon Carter appears as James Mayfield.

Fabulous cinematography sets the mood with an authentic New York City feel that isn’t easy to capture. You know it’s the city the second the film starts to roll.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film – and I think anyone who loves a well-told story will agree. The movie is definitely worth your investment of time and cash this weekend. “Arbitrage” is rated “R” and runs just under 2 hours at 100 minutes. It opens Sept. 14 at the Santikos Bijou and The Santikos Palladium.

Ayotte’s take: “The Master” 3 stars

“The Master” is a confusing film. The story is pretty clear but somehow  it’s hard to relate to and like the movie.

Paul Thomas Anderson who wrote and directed also created “Boogie Nights” and more recently “There Will Be Blood.” He is known for his unique style of shooting and labeled as a true cineaste, which is apparent in “The Master.”

Each scene feels like it was treated with white gloves and doesn’t have an ounce of extra fat. Half of that is the all-star cast assembled for the film. Joaquin Phoenix, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams are absolutely killer. The film couldn’t have been cast any better.

The-Master.jpg

Hoffman plays Lancaster Dodd (The Master), Adams acts as his wife Peggy and Phoenix is a broken down, mentally unstable character Freddie Quell. Together they are magical.

Even if you leave the theater absolutely hating the film you won’t be able to deny the amazing (and most likely award-winning) performances. And the cinematography and sets are riveting.

Master takes in Freddie as a pseudo member of his extended traveling family, what we later find out is somewhat of a cult known as The Cause. Hoffman believes the soul lives on carrying all the troubles from the past and that the body is just a vessel. He thinks illnesses (mental or physical) can be cured by traveling back in time through the mind. It’s preposterous to everyone except those who are his faithful followers.

Freddie becomes Master’s little project. He tries to help Freddie resolve his mental problems. At first glance, that’s what the film is about. But 137 minutes later, the audience hopes there’s more. What is director/writer Anderson trying to convey? What is the message here?

I’m not saying every film needs to have a message but if I sit in a theater for over two hours it would be nice to leave with a sense of what the hell just happened. It seems like the film turned into a self-indulging project Anderson whipped together with an insanely good cast.

Like I said before, I‘m confused—more than I’ve ever been. It’s possible you have to be on another level intellectually to get it or watch it a few times before it clicks. Either way I don’t have the time and you might not either so if you dare, check out “The Master.”

“The Master” is rated R and opens in select theaters Friday Sept. 14.

 

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