Tag Archives: Philip Seymour Hoffman

The Boat That Rocked

1 BOAT. 8 DJS. NO MORALS. In 1966, teenager Carl (Tom Sturridge) is sent to a pirate radio ship in the North Sea to spend time with his godfather (Bill Nighy), the ship’s captain; the crew is a motley bunch of DJ’s. Director Richard Curtis’s first film since Love Actually (2003) is a celebration of an era that … Continue reading The Boat That Rocked

Almost Famous: Band On the Run

EXPERIENCE IT. ENJOY IT. JUST DON’T FALL FOR IT.   I don’t think there’s a rock critic around who doesn’t love this movie. In fact, it should appeal to any kind of critic because it’s not really about music but passion for the art of writing about it. I bet that every press screening back … Continue reading Almost Famous: Band On the Run

Boogie Nights: Sex, Drugs and Disco

THE LIFE OF A DREAMER, THE DAYS OF A BUSINESS AND THE NIGHTS IN BETWEEN. The movie that looked like it might reenergize Burt Reynolds’s career (it didn’t really) is a fascinating look at the American porn industry in the late 1970s. Reynolds visited real porn sets in order to better understand the industry. He … Continue reading Boogie Nights: Sex, Drugs and Disco

The Invention of Lying

IN A WORLD WHERE EVERYONE CAN ONLY TELL THE TRUTH… HE’S JUST INVENTED THE LIE! Mark Bellison (Ricky Gervais) lives in a world where everyone is truthful all the time; one day he suddenly tells a lie… and realizes the potential of this invention. The first movie Gervais ever co-directed is a largely formulaic (and … Continue reading The Invention of Lying


THE DARK SIDE OF NATURE. When Bill Harding and his girlfriend (Bill Paxton, Jami Gertz) go to see his soon-to-be ex-wife (Helen Hunt) to get the divorce papers signed, they get caught up chasing tornadoes in Oklahoma. The visual effects may look cheaper by today’s standards, but this is still a hugely entertaining (and well-made) disaster … Continue reading Twister

Capote: Writing in Cold Blood

Truman Capote has had a tremendous influence on journalism. “In Cold Blood” is the book to read for any student aspiring to become a great reporter. Apparently, Capote was aware of the future legacy of his book; at one point in this film, he says “Sometimes when I think of how good my book is … Continue reading Capote: Writing in Cold Blood

Charlie Wilson’s War

WHEN THE WORLD WASN’T WATCHING, THEY CHANGED IT FOREVER. In 1980, wealthy and deeply conservative Houston socialite Joanne Herring (Julia Roberts) sets up a meeting between her old buddy, Congressman Charlie Wilson (Tom Hanks) and Zia-ul-Haq (Om Puri), the military ruler of Pakistan; Herring wants to see something done about the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. … Continue reading Charlie Wilson’s War

Strangers With Candy

HIGH SCHOOL IS DIFFICULT… FOR A 47-YEAR-OLD EX-CON JUNKIE CRACK WHORE. 47-year-old ex-con Jerri Blank (Amy Sedaris) promises her comatose dad (Dan Hedaya) to go back to high school. That’s the plot and fans of the original TV show (which ran from 1999-2000) will recognize it. One has to wonder why they didn’t try to … Continue reading Strangers With Candy

Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead

GREED. BETRAYAL. REVENGE. FAMILIES CAN BE MURDER. Andy Hanson (Philip Seymour Hoffman) talks his younger brother (Ethan Hawke) into robbing their parents’ jewelry store; they’re both in dire need of money, but the heist goes awry. Director Sidney Lumet may be in his 80s, but that won’t slow him down; in this dark thriller about … Continue reading Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead

The Talented Mr. Ripley

HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO TO BECOME SOMEONE ELSE? Here’s director Anthony Minghella’s sophisticated, good-looking remake of the less complex but equally gorgeous classic Purple Noon (1960), featuring a fine performance by Matt Damon as Tom Ripley, the psychopath who makes friends with a wealthy young man (Jude Law) in Italy, then kills him and … Continue reading The Talented Mr. Ripley

Punch-Drunk Love

A slightly odd loner (Adam Sandler) suffers at the hands of his seven annoying sisters, but rescue comes in the shape of a woman (Emily Watson) who is genuinely interested in him. Director Paul Thomas Anderson actually likes Sandler’s comedies (go figure), which is why he has made an art movie that perfectly fits the … Continue reading Punch-Drunk Love