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items tagged with Philip Seymour Hoffman

Kat-and-Mouse Game: "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2013-11-25 03:44:23

Stanley Tucci and Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games: Catching FireTHE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE

My unfamiliarity with its source material was, I’m convinced, a large part of why I enjoyed last year’s The Hunger Games movie so much. To be sure, I dug the film itself, with its exciting and moving survival-of-the-fittest encounters, and its fierce Jennifer Lawrence performance, and its bevy of grandly outré supporting figures (and, in the Capitol sequences, beyond-outré production design). But not having read any of the three books in Suzanne Collins’ seminal young-adult adventure series, what I was most taken with was the surprise of the experience. Hunger Games newbies such as myself were allowed to take in Collins’ richly imagined dystopian saga with gradual understanding and horror, much the way (I’m presuming) the books’ readers did, and while we had every reason to expect Lawrence’s teen warrior Katniss Everdeen to survive, the storyline was just spiky and unpredictable enough to make us wonder how, exactly, she ever would.


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Oscar-a-a-aziness: Analyzing the Trickiest Categories (and They’re Big Ones) in the 2013 Academy Awards Race
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Feature Stories

2013-02-13 12:00:00

Don’t tell anyone. But usually, when it comes to predicting the winners of the Academy Awards’ major races, it doesn’t take much to look like you know what you’re talking about.


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Cult of Personality: "The Master"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2012-09-24 03:32:16

Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman in The MasterTHE MASTER

Some 40 minutes into The Master – Paul Thomas Anderson’s fascinating, vexing drama about the leader of a questionable self-actualization movement and the man’s devoted acolyte – there’s a scene between stars Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman so thunderously well-written and -performed that, for movie lovers, it might singlehandedly make viewing the film less recommended than mandatory.


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Primary Concern: "The Ides of March," "Real Steel," and "Courageous"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2011-10-09 21:02:46

Philip Seymour Hoffman and George Clooney in The Ides of MarchTHE IDES OF MARCH

Audiences demanding insight, or even much depth, from director George Clooney’s The Ides of March will no doubt leave the film disappointed – unless, that is, the revelation that political candidates and their staffers routinely lie and spin and backstab strikes any of those viewers as a newsflash. Yet if you enter this tale of Machiavellian (and, as its title suggests, Shakespearean) intrigue not expecting trenchant analysis so much as a good, gripping yarn supremely well-told, you’re in for a major treat. Smart and fast and gratifyingly vicious, Clooney’s latest is a drama that plays like a thriller, and it’s full-to-brimming with sequences you want to watch over and over again; for those conversant in West Wing-ese, the movie suggests a juicy episode of Aaron Sorkin’s TV series if every character in it was played by Ron Silver.


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Contract Highs: "Moneyball," "Killer Elite," and "Abduction"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2011-09-25 17:32:32

Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill in MoneyballMONEYBALL

On paper, the casting of Brad Pitt as Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane in Moneyball must have seemed inspired. On screen, it’s so, so much better than that. Pitt has, of course, given many wonderful performances over the past two decades (and just as many blandly acceptable or downright dreary ones). But to my mind, his Billy Beane – driven, hopeful, cocky, incensed, funny, tender, and smart as hell – is the actor’s first chance to employ all of his gifts in the service of an emotionally expansive, fully shaped character, and Pitt’s beautiful and generous work here is truly a sight to behold. Director Bennett Miller’s last feature film was his 2005 debut Capote, which netted Philip Seymour Hoffman a Best Actor Oscar. With Moneyball, Miller might find himself batting 2-for-2 for his stars in that category.


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