• Philip Seymour Hoffman as charismatic leader Lancaster Dodd in The Master

Click here to read Drew Hunt’s take on the 70-millimeter presentation of The Master.

Last night the Music Box presented the Chicago premiere of The Master, the latest drama from the enormously talented Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, Magnolia, There Will Be Blood). As Ben Kenigsberg wrote recently at Time Out Chicago, Weinstein Company is releasing the film September 21 in 70-millimeter, a beloved format for cinephiles but one that can be shown in fewer than a hundred venues nationally (more on this in Drew Hunt’s forthcoming post). The only place in town that can accommodate The Master is Music Box, and as theater manager Dave Jennings announced last night, other commitments may prevent a full-fledged Chicago run until 2013. By then the movie, about a charismatic spiritual leader closely modeled on L. Ron Hubbard, could well be in Oscar contention, because it’s damn good. Tickets for the screening sold out quickly, and the theater was jammed. I had the bad luck to be seated behind Ted Cassidy for the first reel or two, so I was probably watching in about 45-millimeter. But I soon moved and found a vacant seat with a better vantage point.