Tag Archives: Phillip Seymour Hoffman

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE heats things up

6 Jan

THE-HUNGER-GAMES-CATCHING-FIRE

I have not read the books, but everyone tells me the first film was water down when it came to the politics. As for the second film, the same people told me the second installment was closer to the book’s true intention. From an objective point of view, the politics come from  the same oppressive position found in most science fiction films. It was suggested in the first through an ideological state apparatus, whereas in the second film it manifests itself into a repressive state apparatus through military force and law enforcement, which makes it easier for audiences to identify. Both films were good, but the second film is entertaining because the antagonists’ intentions are blurred, making a more complex film for audiences to enjoy. Winning is not the only thing that is important in this film, which creates opportunities for Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) to build and explore their characters’ darker side.

WORD COUNT: 158

Chuck’s Grade: B

Adam’s Grade: B

Punch-Drunk Love is an awkward romantic comedy

10 Apr

PUNCH-DRUNK-LOVE

Paul Thomas Anderson has established himself as one of the most innovative directors of his generation. His film is a departure from his previous projects because it focuses on one character as opposed to an ensemble cast. Barry Egan (Adam Sandler) is a socially awkward character with anger management issues. His loneliness leads him to call a phone sex agency for comfort, but all this will change when a woman named Lena (Emily Watson) enters his life and helps him to open up to the world. The chemistry between Sandler and Watson is wonderful, with Sandler finally shedding his comedic roots for a more serious role. The phone sex storyline is difficult at times to accept, but I can forgive this diversion to appreciate an experimental romantic comedy. Anderson direction is unique and his use of silences in Punch-Drunk Love reinforces the socially awkwardness of his lead character and his film.

WORD COUNT: 152

Adam’s Grade: B+

Chuck’s Grade: B

Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead

28 Mar

before-the-devil-knows-your-dead

It is ironic that Sidney Lumet’s final directing effort borrows from the phrase “May you be in heaven a full half-hour before the devil knows you’re dead” for its title because his contributions to film and television for the past sixty years have created some of the most memorable movies in contemporary Hollywood history. At 82 years young, Lumet directs one of his finest and important films in Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead.

Two brothers rob their parent’s jewelry store.  Andy (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), a businessman who’s also an embezzler and his brother Hank (Ethan Hawke), a deadbeat dad who owes his ex-wife child support. The brothers face serious consequences after the robbery doesn’t go as planned.

The story is edited in an episodic fashion that provide alternative perspectives for each character, as well as reveal more and more about these characters making such poor decisions. The actors are ferocious and Lumet’s fine craftsmanship makes this film unforgettable.

WORD COUNT: 158

Adam’s Grade: B+

Chuck’s Grade: B+

The Master is just shy of perfection

22 Sep

Writer/Director Paul Thomas Anderson provides audiences with another amazing character to study. In my opinion, this one is the most fascinating to watch. Joaquin Phoenix gives the performance of the year as Freddie Quell, a deeply troubled man on the verge of a psychological meltdown. One night he meets Lancaster Dodd aka “The Master” (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), an intellectual who has created a faith-based organization. Dodd makes it his goal to help Quell through the organization, but soon Quell begins to question it and The Master himself.

The Master is one of the most breathtaking cinematic achievements in recent years. I am an admirer of Anderson’s work and I had high expectations for this film. Fortunately, he exceeded them. Everything in this film is superb, especially the cinematography, direction, score, editing, and production design. Some people may find the script a little difficult, but I think for the most part it is just shy of  perfection.

WORD COUNT: 156

Adam’s Grade: A-

Chuck’s Grade: B

Magnolia: These strange things happen all the time

20 Sep

Writer/Director Paul Thomas Anderson is a master at revealing his film’s characters like a chef peels away at an onion. Magnolia’s action intertwines about a dozen people on a random day in the San Fernando Valley. Each character has something important going on in their lives that will ultimately lead to different levels of loneliness, sorrow, and frustration. He is a perfectionist when working with amazing talent, such as Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore, William H. Macy, and Tom Cruise. All of which give top-notch performances.

Anderson and Director of Photography, Robert Elswit collaborate to create so many memorable scenes. Their choice of camera angles and shots, as well as a unique script keeps this three hour plus film interesting. Magnolia may turn off some viewers, but if audiences allow the characters and the story to unfold, then the film will leave a lasting imprint like only a few can.

WORD COUNT: 149

Adam’s Grade: A-

Chuck’s Grade: A-