More than a month before "The Master" opens in the U.S., director Paul Thomas Anderson secretly premiered his much-talked-about drama in Santa Monica. Instead of throwing a star-studded red carpet premiere, Anderson held the first public screening for his film at Aero Theater right after the screening of Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining".
The surprise and unannounced screening soon drew positive comments among reviewers who were left impressed by Anderson's preferred format of 70mm. As highlighted by The Playlist, a host of reviewers continuously sang praises to Anderson's work which marked Joaquin Phoenix's acting comeback.
"Possibly the best film watching experience I've ever had. #THEMASTER70MM," tweeted @michaelwhittle. Another reviewer @TotallySketch wrote, "Just saw 'The Master'. A movie has never made me feel quite like this one did. I can't describe it or even rate it. I am speechless."
Andrew P. Alderete, who is "The Social Network" producer Dana Brunetti's assistant, wrote, "The Master was amazing. Oscars all over this one." Meanwhile, @DubstepElitist tweeted, "duuuuuude, the master was goooooooooood"
Some other reviewers highly praised Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman's "excellent" performances in the drama. @prfessorbigsock gushed, "Hoffman is one of the finest actors alive. The Master is (more) proof. #themaster," while @jessecrall stated, "The Master: B+ hazy, meandering story with beautiful staging and headed by Phoenix's brilliant, year's-best performance."
"THE MASTER is...interesting...I'll be thinking about it for days #THEMASTER70MM J Phoenix and P S Hoffman are out of this world," wrote @Super_Matts. Similar review was also offered by @scottEweinberg, who said, "No doubt about it. I've yet to see one bad PSH performance but this one may be his best."
Becoming a critics darling, "The Master" was also dubbed a potential Oscar contender. "2hrs 10 min. Will get nods for Picture. Good chance of winning original screenplay and acting awards," @prfessorbigsock gushed. @TheDaltonator added, "If it were me, I'd put them both in the Best Actor category but if one them is getting the supporting nod, its Hoffman."
"The Master" has been generating positive buzz due to its theme, which was rumored to be related to Scientology. After holding an unconventional screening strategy, the highly-praised movie reportedly will participate at Venice Film Festival before heading to Toronto International Film Festival.
Set in America in the years following World War II, "The Master" follows a charismatic intellectual (Hoffman) who launches a faith-based organization and taps a young drifter (Phoenix) as his right-hand man. However, as the faith begins to gain a fervent following, the onetime vagabond finds himself questioning the belief system he has embraced, and his mentor.
Recently, The Weinstein Company decided to move the release schedule for the film to September 14 after it was previously slated for an October 12 release. It was previously rumored that the decision was made since the film is affiliated to Scientology, which has recently been put into attention following Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' divorce, but the studio denied the speculations.