(USA) Drama. Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams. Category III. 138 Minutes.
(USA) Directed by Bennett Miller. Starring Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Chris Pratt, Robin Wright. Category IIA.
I hardly know anything about baseball. The closest I’ve gotten to the sport is doing an interview with Willie Mays during the 2007 San Francisco All-Star Game and having a boyfriend who played baseball for 10 years. Unfortunately, neither got me interested in the game. So trust me when I say that you don’t have to be a baseball fan to understand and enjoy “Moneyball.”
(USA) Directed by George Clooney. Starring Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood, Marisa Tomei. Category IIB.
“Beware the ides of March!”—a soothsayer’s warning to Julius Caesar tells us that the political game has been dirty since before the birth of Christ. So when George Clooney treats such common knowledge as a revelation in his hit-and-miss political drama, viewers are unlikely to find themselves blown away.
The stage-to-screen adaptation is a strange beast. Some, like “West Side Story” or “A Streetcar Named Desire,” benefit greatly from the increased sense of scope and scale. Others, like “Sleuth” or David Mamet productions, lose much of their immersive edge. And others still are so absorbing, and have themes that resonate so deeply, that it matters little whether they’re two feet in front of you or on a screen 40 feet high. John Patrick Shanley’s “Doubt” is one of those few.
(USA) “Hell is other people at breakfast.” Nobody knows the full Sartre quote better than Caden Cotard (Philip Seymour Hoffman). A theater director living in Schenectady, New York, he wakes up on an autumn day to find that everyone and everything has suddenly gone wrong. Despite his production of “Death of A Salesman” being a success, his painter wife Adele (Catherine Keener) leaves him to go to Berlin with her wicked friend Maria and their daughter.
Category IIA. I cannot begin to describe how depressing this film is. By and large, I tend to avoid this kind of “arthouse” fare – the breed of film that has no real purpose but to emotionally debilitate. But I sat through it for the sake of my job and am I glad I did.I’m still a little depressed though.
(USA) By the time you leave your seat after watching Mike Nichols’ new film, you’re left with two thoughts: Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote) has just stolen the movie from underneath the nose of Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump), and this is the first time since grade school that anyone has tried to depict government in such a Boy Scout-ish way. The first impression must certainly come at the consternation of Mr. Hanks, who, despite his attempt to seize this screen with his Texas drawl, is rendered pathetic next to the ingenious Seymour Hoffman.
Category III. “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” is the latest from veteran filmmaker Sidney Lumet, the auteur behind such masterpieces as “12 Angry Men,” “Dog Day Afternoon” and “Network.” At 84, you’d think that the 50-year veteran of cinema would be showing signs of letting up, but after miraculously conjuring a great performance out of Vin Diesel in 2006’s “Find Me Guilty,” Lumet is back with this, his strongest film in two decades.
If you get the chance to choose this mission, accept immediately and grab the popcorn on your way in. “Mission: Impossible III” is easily the best in the series and marks a fine start to the 2006 summer movie season.
To the average person, especially here, a movie about the late author Truman Capote may not have much initial appeal. But skipping this film would be a big mistake for film lovers, since Philip Seymour Hoffman doesn’t so much act like Capote as much as he inhabits the role. It’s an astonishing Academy Award-nominated performance not to be missed.