Reactions Abound: 'The Master' Screens, Hyperbole Follows, Hype Reaches New Level

Joaquin Phoenix in The Master
Joaquin Phoenix in The Master
Photo: The Weinstein Co.

Last night Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master screened at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica as part of the American Cinematheque screening of a new DCP restoration of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. It was the first public screening of the film, and it was shown in 70mm, which is reportedly causing some problems for distributors with Time Out Chicago quoting a source at the city's Music Box theatre saying, "They're not offering it to us... the Weinstein Company seems to be moving forward with its own booking plans."

The film is targeting a limited September 14 release followed by a nationwide roll-out a week later, but it will first premiere at the Venice Film Festival followed by a screening at the Toronto Film Festival with press screenings assumed to be lined-up in advance as well. However, Friday night's screening is already causing a lot of noise. It was a well-placed screening for sure as only die hard film fans would be in attendance and, on top of that, stay even later to watch Anderson's film after the nearly two-and-a-half-hour Kubrick feature.

So what did people think? Well, let's first look to Jeff Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere who had email contact from one attendee. Here's what "Bobfilm" had to tell Wells:

"There are three or four scenes between Phoenix and Hoffman that are barn burners. It also contains the best work Amy Adams has ever done.

"Phoenix WILL win Best Actor unless Daniel Day Lewis blows us away with [his] Lincoln performance. This is Raging Bull territory for him. Believe it or not, his performance is stranger than that fake doc he made. The only way I can describe him is 'animalistic.' (I think the Master title refers to more of a dog and his master. At least that was the vibe I got).

"The style feels like Terrence Malick by way of There Will Be Blood. Wish you could have been there!"

"Bobfilm" added that while no definitive runtime could be attained, the film "was close to 2 hours and 30 minutes" but a source on Twitter says it's closer to two hours and 10 minutes.

Reactions don't end there as people took to Twitter in droves. Here are those reactions:

You get all that?

So we see love for Phoenix, Hoffman, Adams, the film, Anderson and the screenplay, all coming from a group that more than likely expected to see Room 237 as the second film on the double bill, but were treated to a nice surprise that included Anderson and his wife Maya Rudolph in attendance.

Of course, such surprise screenings are wont to get nothing more than the most hyperbolic of reactions so this is by no means a definitive end to how great or otherwise The Master is, but as far as those of us that are truly anxious to see it this is a great start.

I will be seeing the film in Toronto if it doesn't screen here locally before I leave, so expect to see my review some time in early September. Until then, here is the most recent trailer if you haven't seen it yet.

  • Khaira

    ooooo yeah.....i'm not surprised at the reactions looking at the talent involved.....but any sort of hyperbole is what worries me....i truly , truly hope that the reactions are genuine and not ramblings of over-excited, ultra-eager PTA enthusiasts ( god knows i could be one given the situation )....i'll reserve my judgement till i watch it but yes, i want to believe...

  • Travis

    The only thing I truly took away from the hype was the fact that there is now confirmation on who is lead and who is supporting

  • AS

    You have to take all of this with a grain of salt. Remember, TDKR got a standing ovation (with people calling it the greatest film of all time) so....

    • m1

      And TDKR ended up getting good reviews, so...

    • Lenano

      Uh, who exactly called it the greatest film of all time...? I heard the early buzz and I don't remember anyone saying that, unless you saw some early fan buzz who managed to see it early?

      And are you suggesting that TDKR was a flop? Because it wasn't.

      • AS

        No no, I'm not saying it wasn't a good movie, please, let's not go there. I'm just comparing the early reactions to the first screening of TDKR to The Master and saying "let's not get ahead of ourselves." I liked TDKR, but would you say it deserved a standing ovation? And yes, there were fanboys calling it "the greatest movie ever made" and one critic called it a "masterpiece."

  • Chris

    I learned my lesson to never listen to these initial reviews. U can never trust them.

  • The Bioscopist

    I'm just hoping we get to see the film, in the UK, around the same time as you guys.

    • Kob

      9th November I'm afraid.

      I never understand why people pay so much attention to hype. I trust my own opinion, not necessarily the opinions of others.

  • Kessler

    I'm happy that the buzz is positive. For me, Magnolia is PTA's best film and I don't think he'll ever top that. If the Master is as good as they say it is, then maybe its PTA's year.

  • adu

    TDKR's ovation was deserved on my opinion, and hearing the postivie comments about The Master definitely raises my excitement.

  • Lenano

    No matter how good the movie is, these are all kneejerk reactions, they don't mean anything. The fact that they're short, hyperbolic twitter reactions makes them even less meaningful. "Best film watching experience I've ever had," um, sure...

  • kyle coley

    remember when people said phoenixs was done?

  • DeepThroat

    It´s good to know that Twitter can´t be used by spin doctors in the movie industry to build hype, and that e-mails from people who want to be known as "Bobfilm" are the real deal.

  • Elijah

    I'm totally drooling over this movie, so glad it's being released a month early and I hope Phoenix finally gets his long overdue oscar win. PTA FTW!

  • Criterion10

    So excited for this film. PTA is one of my favorite directors currently working. I hope I can see it in 70mm, but something tells me that will be rather difficult...

  • Hank

    Smart marketing to play the film to a friendly audience then have them take to twitter with gushing endorsement. Good mind control master PTA.

  • linda

    I am very anxious to see this film. I have heard the buzz and checked out the trailers. Looks great. Some of my favorite actors are in this film. Hope we can see it in 70mm as I heard it is so much sharper.