Friday, March 30, 2012

The Festival Route: We Run Down The Odds

We now know that "The Master" will receive a October 12th release, most likely limited opening in NY/LA before expanding wider in the following weeks. It'll be going up against the Ryan Gosling noir "The Gangster Squad" and a Kevin James comedy called "Here Comes The Boom." As far as history is concerned this date puts it in the company of films like "Punch-Drunk Love," "The Social Network," "A Serious Man," "Where The Wild Things Are," "The Skin I Live In," "Martha Marcy May Marlene" and "Rachel Getting Married," all recent examples of challenging fare that doesn't strike us as your typical awards bait. So while we know where we'll be lining up on October 12, what we don't know yet for certain is whether the film will have its premiere at a festival (or several) along the way. With 196 days to go, we thought we'd run down the list of possibilities and what the odds are of "The Master" showing up on the festival circuit.

Cannes Film Festival (May 16 - 27)
The Vibe: Arguably the most prestigious film festival in the world. A mix of World Cinema auteurs (Von Trier, Haneke, etc.) and splashy Hollywood premieres ("Midnight In Paris," "Pirates of the Carribean").
The History: "Hard Eight" played Cannes (after it had premiered at Sundance) and "Punch-Drunk Love" had its World Premiere here back in 2002.
The Odds: Many have speculated (maybe just wishful thinking?) that "The Master" will show up on the Croisette this year but we think it's unlikely. The full lineup won't be announced 'till April 19 but we think May is awfully early for the film, which as of February was still being scored. And with all the secrecy surrounding the project we find it hard to believe they'd want to let the cat out of the bag this early.
Verdict: Long shot.

Venice Film Festival (August 29 - Sept 8)
The Vibe: Yet another long-running prestigious international film festival, Venice is also heavy on auteurs from around the world but in recent years has become home for films looking for the first stop on the Fall awards circuit. Last year's fest held premieres of "Shame," "The Ides of March," and "Tinker Tailor Solider Spy" among others.
The History: None of PTA's films have premiered here.
The Odds: Though he doesn't have a history with the fest, we wouldn't entirely rule out "The Master" showing up for a Venice premiere. Not only would it be a nice little vacation for the crew but would help to build the buzz stateside making U.S. critics envious of their international counterparts. However August/early September is still a little early if PTA intends to keep his packaged unwrapped as long as he can.
Verdict: Possible.

Telluride Film Festival (August 31 - Sept 3)
The Vibe: A festival that caters mainly for press and industry types features a mix of Awards contenders and more esoteric fare though the lineup is kept secret until the festival begins.
The History: Unless we're mistaken none of his films have played here though a 20 minute reel from "There Will Be Blood" was shown in 2007 as part of a Daniel Day-Lewis tribute.
The Odds: Though films like "Slumdog Millionaire" and "The Descendants" have received a huge boost from playing Telluride, we just don't see this as a proper venue for "The Master" premiere. Telluride is mainly thought of as a fest for rich folks and that just doesn't strike us as PTA's style.
Verdict: Long shot.

Toronto International Film Festival (Sept 6 - 16)
The Vibe: One of the largest film festivals in the world. This is where many critics and audiences get their first look at the films that will be coming out over the next few months. It may not be the first festival to play them but the range and quality of films showcased here is extraordinary.
The History: "Boogie Nights" premiered here and "Punch-Drunk Love" played here after its Cannes premiere.
The Odds: It might be a no-brainer to bring "The Master" here a few weeks before its theatrical release but with a lineup that includes over 300 films all vying for awards attention, it can be easy to get lost in the shuffle. The most buzzed about film to play during TIFF back in 2010 was a film that didn't play the fest at all. "The Social Network" famously had a critics screening in NYC during the festival where journalists flew from Toronto to New York and back in the same day just to catch the film, which could make holding back the film an even smarter play.
Verdict: Possible.

Fantastic Fest (Sept 20 - 27)
The Vibe: Genre festival started in 2005 by Tim League of the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, TX that showcases horror, sci-fi, fantasy, action and cult films from around the world.
The History: "There Will Be Blood" famously had its World Premiere here as a Secret Screening back in September of 2007. Harry Knowles from AICN is closely linked with the fest and was able to book "Magnolia" at his first ever "Butt-Numb-A-Thon" 24 hour film festival back in 1999.
The Odds: Though "The Master" doesn't appear to fit into any of those genres, neither did "There Will Be Blood" despite the horror influences. We suspect that the decision to book the fest was a last minute decision to show it off in front of famously enthusiastic Austin film fans and not necessarily a strategy that they'll employ twice.
Verdict: Long shot.

New York Film Festival (Sept 28 - Oct 14)
The Vibe: A mix of favorites from Cannes and the Fall festivals that take place beforehand, the NYFF's relatively small lineup (about 30 films in the main section) and highbrow leanings make it a good place to have a splashy premiere and not feel like you're going to be lost in the shuffle.
The History: "Boogie Nights" played here after premiering at TIFF and "Punch-Drunk Love" closed the festival in 2002 after playing at Cannes and TIFF.
The Odds: Despite some WTF selections ("Hereafter"? "My Week With Marilyn"?) and omissions ("Black Swan," "There Will Be Blood"), NYFF is still thought of as a prestigious festival to be a part of and they have had a history of playing his films so it might make sense to roll it out during the fest right before a NY/LA opening. However, 'TWBB''s curious omission from the 2007 lineup (and surprise screening in Austin around the same timeframe) might mean they have other plans.
Verdict: Very possible.

Of course, the other option is to skip the festival route altogether. "There Will Be Blood" sidestepped all the major Fall festivals and still went on to being PTA's highest grossing and most acclaimed film. "The Master" isn't going to have any trouble stirring up attention and traveling the festival circuit also runs the risk of 'peaking too early.'

If the team behind the film just decide to have a couple of screenings (like they did for "There Will Be Blood" at The Castro in San Francisco and secretly in Austin), that would be just fine with us. With the curiosity surrounding the film - it appeared on nearly every site's Most Anticipated list for 2012 despite not even knowing at the time that it would be released this year - the festivals probably need the film more than it needs them. What do you think?

Check out our updated "The Master" cast and follow the entire history of the project here.

Stay tuned to Twitter and Facebook for the latest news and updates.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

More Join ‘The Master' Cast, Editor, Costume Designer, More Confirmed

After yesterday's big news, we didn't think things could get any better but we took a little stroll over to the IMDB page today and noticed that it's been filled out considerably since the last time we checked. So (as we posted on Twitter), we have updated our "The Master" cast/crew page from last summer with a ton of new info. Items of note include new additions to the cast of supporting players and a few key members of the production crew. Kevin J. O'Connor ("There Will Be Blood"), W. Earl Brown ("Deadwood"), Jillian Bell ("Workaholics") among many, many more have been added to the cast. And we've gotten a few details on who is playing who, even if those details are just names that might not mean anything yet. Lena Endre, Madisen Beaty and more have all been updated.

Additionally Peter McNulty has been chosen as editor. He's credited as Additional Editor on 'TWBB' but appears to have been upgraded to Editor which means that Dylan Tichenor who had previously edited 'TWBB,' "Magnolia" & "Boogie Nights" (but not "Punch-Drunk Love") will not be returning this time. Interestingly, McNulty's previous credits as Editor are all on 3 Wes Craven productions. And finally, Mark Bridges who has been Costume Designer for all of PTA's previous films will once again return for "The Master." We're working on another little piece now about the film that should be up in the next day or two so keep an eye out for that.

In the meantime, check out our updated 'The Master' cast and follow the entire history of the project here.

Stay tuned to Twitter and Facebook for the latest news and updates.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

‘The Master' Set For An October 12th Release

Yep, this is the day we've been waiting for. "The Master," now officially titled (again), has been scheduled for an October 12th limited release date by The Weinstein Co. according to Box Office Mojo. Producer/financier Megan Ellison dropped us a line 3 weeks ago to "keep an eye on October" and it appears that date has come to pass. This tells us two things. One: once and for all (hopefully) the film's title is "The Master." And two: there are a little over 6 months (or 199 days for those of you who are counting) until the film will hit theatres presumably in NY & LA. Images, footage, promotional materials should be forthcoming? PTA, feel free to drop us a line any day now if you want to chat. (via everywhere/everyone, thanks!)

Check out 'The Master' cast and follow the entire history of the project here.

Stay tuned to Twitter and Facebook for the latest news and updates.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sleigh Bells Guitarist Drops PTA A Mixtape

File this under: highly amusing. Our buddy, Playlister Drew Taylor just dropped us a link to a brief PTA mention on Pitchfork by Sleigh Bells guitarist Derek Miller.
The guitarist was in Paris prepping for a show when we chatted with him at the beginning of March, a couple weeks after Sleigh Bells' divisive performance on "Saturday Night Live". Talking about that appearance, which was met with some online criticism, he was blunt. "On television, you have to compromise all your production values and it's impossible to sound good," he said. But the gig wasn't a total wash-- Miller got to meet "SNL" host Maya Rudolph's significant other, filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson, and even slip him a personalized mixtape. "That's just my way of saying hi to someone," says Miller. What was on the tape? "Just a bunch of crazy shit I've been listening to: a bunch of Lil B, some Burzum," he says, laughing. "I haven't heard back from him about it yet."
We'll have to wait and see if any of those tracks end up in 'The Master.' We've helpfully included a lil' Lil B below.

Sleigh Bells new album "Reign of Terror" is out now (and features the excellent single "Crush"). In the meantime, what's on your PTA mix?

Stay tuned to Twitter and Facebook for the latest news and updates.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Jonny Greenwood Talks Collaborating With PTA

We're running a few days behind here because of a certain Austin festival but the NYTimes Magazine recently posted a nice long article on Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood. Greenwood discussed how his initial collaboration with Paul came about for "There Will Be Blood," with Paul adding some comments of his own. (He speaks!) You can find most of the relevant info on page 6, quoted below:
In 2003, he composed his first film score, for Simon Dummell’s documentary “Bodysong” — some classical stuff, some guitar, some oddball hip-hop beats, even some honking, sideways jazz. It opened up doors and got him the residency at the BBC, during which he wrote pieces like “smear” (2004) and “Popcorn.” Elements of that last piece, which had its premiere in 2005, turned up in the score Greenwood wrote for “There Will Be Blood,” Paul Thomas Anderson’s epic film about the moral decay of an early-1900s oilman.

Greenwood, who went on to score movies like Tran Anh Hung’s adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s “Norwegian Wood” and Lynne Ramsay’s “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” is currently writing music for Anderson’s next film — an untitled period piece about a charismatic, L. Ron Hubbard-esque religious leader played by Philip Seymour Hoffman.

When I ask Greenwood, who’s almost pathologically self-deprecating in conversation, how his initial collaboration with Anderson came about, he says, “Well, that was Paul getting this bootleg recording of the orchestral concert, putting it against the film and deciding to use it, and then asking for more written like that. So, yeah.”

Anderson tells the story a little differently. Even before he saw “Bodysong” at a film festival in Rotterdam, he says: “I knew there were arrangements that he had done within those Radiohead songs that obviously said he could do more than just play guitar in a band. And I thought, If the opportunity arises, I bet he could do something interesting on a film score. I was just sort of waiting for the opportunity.”

As for what Greenwood said about “Blood,” Anderson laughs. “Yeah — he likes to say that. And I like that about him. That’ll never be beaten out of him. It’s a lot of head-scratching and, like, ‘Oh, I really don’t know if I can do this,’ or, ‘No, I can’t do this,’ or even, y’know, ‘I just shouldn’t do this.’ And then the next thing you know, you have an e-mail with like, 45 minutes of music in your in-box, and it’s all amazing and wildly different and terrific. That’s kind of him in a nutshell: ‘No, no. I really can’t. I don’t know how to do this.’ And then you get this huge platter of stuff.”

Although “There Will Be Blood” will probably be remembered by people who never saw it as the source of the goofy Internet meme “I drink your milkshake” — the way pop culture has reduced “The Shining” to “Redrum” and Jack Nicholson saying “Here’s Johnny!” — “Blood” is one of the great movies of the 2000s, a work of historical fiction that presents the lust for petrochemical riches as a kind of American original sin, and a horror movie with a human monster at its center, the prospector-turned-oil-baron Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis). And Greenwood’s music is as crucial to the story as disco and “Sister Christian” were to “Boogie Nights.”

The first 12 minutes of the movie have no dialogue — we watch Day-Lewis digging for silver in a filthy hole while the strings from “Popcorn Superhet” shriek and buzz menacingly, establishing right away that we’re looking at elemental evil. Yet Anderson says that when he screened the sequence for Greenwood without music, “he was jumping up and down, saying, ‘Oh, you’ve got to do it that way.’ ” (The director eventually overruled his composer: “It really became a question of how European we wanted to get,” Anderson says.)

All told, Anderson estimates, Greenwood gave him about 90 minutes of new music for the movie. But because the final version of the score mixed that material with bits and pieces of “Popcorn” and a cut originally written for “Bodysong,” Greenwood’s work was ineligible for the Academy Award for Best Original Score, because of strict bylaws excluding “scores diluted by the use of tracked themes or other pre-existing music.” (The rule was also famously invoked when the Academy was forced to withdraw the composer Nino Rota’s nomination for “The Godfather” in 1972 upon learning that Rota had recycled some music he wrote 15 years earlier for an Italian film called “Fortunella.”)

“Yeah, we got maneuvered out of the big one!” Anderson says. “I just wanted to see Jonny in a tuxedo. I would have paid top dollar for that.”
The pair stay typically mum on 'The Master' which we now know should hit in October. Stay tuned to Twitter and Facebook for the latest news and updates. (Thanks Grant for the heads up!)

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

EXCLUSIVE: ‘The Master' Eyeing October Release Date

Well this was not the news we expected to wake up to this morning. Though it's far from a done deal, we've received word that 'The Master' (or Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson Project or whatever it ends up being titled) is looking at an October release date! (So we can now officially put those 2013 rumors to rest). How did we come across this information? Well, by none other than Annapurna founder Megan Ellison herself, who was kind enough to drop us a line this morning on Twitter.
@cigsandredvines I know you guys are waiting on a release date for 'the Master', and it's still a bit early, but I'd keep my eyes on October
There are a few interesting things to note about this. This would pretty much rule out those Cannes rumors, which we had figured were a long shot anyway and put it on track to come out around the same time as "Punch-Drunk Love," though that film had premiered at Cannes and NYFF beforehand. Assuming that The Weinstein Co. will want to go the festival route with this one too, 'The Master' might try to score a spot at the New York Film Festival (which typically runs around that time) where 'PDL' and "Boogie Nights" both had their premieres. "There Will Be Blood" had a secret World Premiere at Fantastic Fest in Austin around that same time back in 2007 but it looks like that fest is running a little earlier this year (as are Venice and TIFF) so let's just go ahead and cross our fingers that "October" means a firm release date. Time will tell. Whatever ends up happening we're 7 months away from getting a look at the film and we could not be any more excited.

Check out 'The Master' cast and follow the entire history of the project here.

Stay tuned to Twitter and Facebook for the latest news and updates.