Tag Archives: Philip Seymour Hoffman

Magnolia: Meet the Miserables

THINGS FALL DOWN. PEOPLE LOOK UP. AND WHEN IT RAINS, IT POURS.  After the success of Boogie Nights (1997), director Paul Thomas Anderson found himself in a very fortunate position and thought hard about how to take advantage. He started writing what was supposed to be a small and intimate movie, but it blossomed and … Continue reading Magnolia: Meet the Miserables

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

THE REVOLUTION IS ABOUT ALL OF US. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and her allies prepare to liberate the people of Panem and defeat President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and his troops once and for all. The fourth and final chapter in this franchise is largely an overblown war movie, with scenes that might remind audiences of … Continue reading The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

FIRE BURNS BRIGHTER IN THE DARKNESS. After surviving another Hunger Game, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is in District 13 where the rebel leader, President Coin (Julianne Moore), wants to turn her into the Mockingjay, a symbol of the resistance. The third and fourth films in the franchise cut the last novel into two. A pointless … Continue reading The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

Scent of a Woman

COL. FRANK SLADE HAS A VERY SPECIAL PLAN FOR THE WEEKEND. IT INVOLVES TRAVEL, WOMEN, GOOD FOOD, FINE WINE, THE TANGO, CHAUFFEURED LIMOUSINES AND A LOADED FORTY-FIVE. AND HE’S BRINGING CHARLIE ALONG FOR THE RIDE.  Charlie Simms (Chris O’Donnell), a New England prep school student, is hired by a blind, retired army officer (Al Pacino) … Continue reading Scent of a Woman

The Big Lebowski

THEY FIGURED HE WAS A LAZY TIME WASTING SLACKER. THEY WERE RIGHT. L.A. slacker Jeffrey Lebowski (Jeff Bridges) goes to see a millionaire who has the same name as him to get compensation after an unfortunate encounter with two thugs, but is drawn into a kidnapping case… The Coen Brothers’ attempt to have a little … Continue reading The Big Lebowski

A Most Wanted Man

A Chechen refugee arrives in Hamburg illegally; he’s believed to be a terrorist, but intelligence agent Günther Bachmann (Philip Seymour Hoffman) sees a chance to catch bigger fish. Anton Corbijn delivers another spy thriller after The American (2010) and he’s well-suited to portray the stylishly gray world of John le Carré. This adaptation depicts the … Continue reading A Most Wanted Man

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

EVERY REVOLUTION BEGINS WITH A SPARK.  After winning the Hunger Games, tributes Katniss and Peeta (Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson) inspire rebellions in several districts, and President Snow (Donald Sutherland) comes up with a new version of the games. The sequel has a new director and a somewhat darker shade of colors, but it is also … Continue reading The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

A Late Quartet

NO ARRANGEMENT IS MORE BEAUTIFUL… OR MORE COMPLICATED. Approaching its 25th anniversary, a string quartet is shaken when the cellist, Peter Mitchell (Christopher Walken), announces that he’s retiring because of a debilitating illness. Documentary filmmaker Yaron Zilberman brings a sense of honesty and carefulness to his first dramatic feature, which is obvious in the way … Continue reading A Late Quartet

The Master

Shortly after World War II, alcoholic veteran Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) joins a “family” dominated by a colorful philosopher (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who has plans for a wider movement. Inspired by the rise of L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology, this grand epic portrays an America trying to find its feet after the horrors of the … Continue reading The Master


WHAT ARE YOU REALLY WORTH? In 2001, Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) tries to overcome his team’s financial limits by devising a new strategy for creating a competitive team, together with a young economics graduate (Jonah Hill) who has radical ideas. A compelling drama about how math changed baseball from the director … Continue reading Moneyball

The Ides of March

AMBITION SEDUCES. POWER CORRUPTS. Shortly ahead of a Democratic presidential primary in Ohio, Pennsylvania Governor Mike Morris’s (George Clooney) junior campaign manager (Ryan Gosling) learns a few lessons about the difference between ideology and politics. Clooney and his crew expanded Beau Willimon’s play (which was based on the 2004 Howard Dean campaign) and turns it into … Continue reading The Ides of March

Doubt: What If I’m Wrong?

THERE IS NO EVIDENCE. THERE ARE NO WITNESSES. BUT FOR ONE, THERE IS NO DOUBT. John Patrick Shanley reportedly told the actors who would play Father Brendan Flynn (Brían F. O’Byrne in the play, Philip Seymour Hoffman in the movie) the truth about the character. Only they were supposed to know whether or not Father … Continue reading Doubt: What If I’m Wrong?

Synecdoche, New York

New York theater director Caden Cotard (Philip Seymour Hoffman) tries to understand his life and relationships while fretting over dying without having accomplished something lasting. Charlie Kaufman’s directing debut was hailed as a masterpiece by some, but it is a frustrating experience. Wildly ambitious, with elements that are more or less brilliant, Kaufman as a filmmaker … Continue reading Synecdoche, New York