3. The Master
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Jesse Plemons, Ambyr Childers, Madisen Beaty, Lena Endre, Joshua Close
Release date: September 14
If you've been following the early word on Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master as incessantly as we have, then you're no doubt just as restless. The latest film from one of Hollywood's most tight-lipped and singularly creative filmmakers, The Master has been at the center of months' worth of pre-release discussion, all of which focused on PTA's supposed riffing on the origins of L. Ron Hubbard's controversial religion known as Scientology; you know, the one famously and notoriously practiced by Tom Cruise, John Travolta, and many others. But once some lucky folks actually saw the film, which Anderson secretly unveiled in a series of unannounced, 70MM screenings, the chatter shifted from speculation to adulation.
Not that there's really been any doubt. Following his 2007 masterwork There Will Be Blood, Anderson (Boogie Nights, Magnolia) is back on the scene with, per steadily appearing reviews, a dreamlike look at the dangerous bromance between a charismatic cult leader (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and an alcoholic drifter (a rejuvenated Joaquin Phoenix) in a post-WWII landscape. The more people say that The Master's haunting, untraditional narrative requires multiple viewing, the more we're itching to dive into Anderson's elegantly unsettling world ourselves. For art-house types, Anderson's new one feels bigger than The Dark Knight Rises.