More to come in a minute, but I thought I’d kick off today’s session with a quick note about Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, which I saw last night. The acting is wonderful but the characters themselves are somewhat two-dimensional. The plot is aimless and the movie’s too long. Finally, it feels like something of a vendetta against Scientologists from a director who’s surely come across his fair share in Hollywood. The similarities to Scientology are so distracting the viewer can’t consider Anderson’s depiction of the cult on its own terms.

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Simon van Zuylen-Wood is a writer for Philadelphia Magazine.