First Look: Anderson back with cult drama ‘Master’

What: “The Master”

When: Opening Friday

Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams

Writer/Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

The story: A volatile former Naval officer (Phoenix) has trouble settling into post-World War II America, until he’s taken in by the flamboyant leader (Hoffman) of a fledgling religious movement – very much like Scientology – named The Cause.

The buzz: It’s Anderson’s first movie since 2007’s Oscar bait “There Will Be Blood” – and only his fifth – “Punch-Drunk Love,” “Magnolia” and “Boogie Nights” are the others – since his debut with the Reno-based gambling drama “Hard Eight.”

– CHRISTOPHER LAWRENCE

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