Pick of the week: “The Master“ — My full review is here. My favorite movie of 2012 was Paul Thomas Anderson’s masterpiece that puts the lie to the American ideal of the “free-thinking, self-made man.” Anderson’s two men — a physically and emotionally damaged veteran (Joaquin Phoenix) and a charismatic cult leader (Philip Seymour Hoffman) are deeply flawed, but find their flaws fit together in a charged, fascinating way.
“I Am Divine“ — My full review is here. John Waters’ muse in “Pink Flamingos” and “Polyester” was a giant transvestite entertainer who would do anything on camera, and this entertaining documentary looks at the man behind the mascara, and his attempts to go beyond his cult status.
“The Battered Bastards of Baseball“ — My full review is here. This wildly entertaining documentary tells the saga of the Portland Mavericks, a scruffy ’70s team of major-league rejects that ended up whomping the competition at minor-league ball under the tutelage of former actor Bing Russell, Kurt Russell’s dad. It’s a Netflix Original doc and a lot of fun.
“The Immigrant” — Less than a week after playing at Sundance, James Gray’s masterful and grim historical drama is now on Netflix. Marion Cotillard gives another masterful performance as a Polish woman who arrives in 19th-century New York and is preyed upon by two men (Phoenix and Jeremy Renner).
“Eight Men Out” — After watching “Battered Bastards,” go back and check out John Sayles’ film about the Chicago Black Sox scandal. It’s a great film, and will tell you everything you need to know about what really goes on inside the world of organized baseball.