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Philip Seymour Hoffman

Philip Seymour Hoffman Lives Again in ‘God’s Pocket’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Watching Philip Seymour Hoffman perform, now that he has passed on, is a bittersweet reminder of his ability and power to embody his deeply felt characters. He does it again in one of his last roles, adding his special brand of acting to the messy story within the gritty noir drama, “God’s Pocket.”

Entertaining, Complex ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Second acts to incredibly popular and entertaining mainstream fare can be a tough prospect. For every “The Dark Knight,” there are too many films like “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” – works that essentially just repeat what audiences fell in love with instead of trying to expand on the world of their predecessors.

Author Remains Elusive in Documentary ‘Salinger’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Jerome David Salinger, J.D. to his readers, remains one of the most influential and controversial authors of the 20th Century. Known intuitively for the classic novel “Catcher in the Rye,” he also was known as a reclusive soul. His life and times make up the new documentary, “Salinger.”

‘A Late Quartet’ is Passionate Symphony of the Human Condition

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Those who know the language of music at its highest levels seemingly know the secret of the world. But as “A Late Quartet” demonstrates, they also possess the same human foibles as the rest of us. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener and Christopher Walken portray maestros at an emotional crossroads.

Meandering ‘The Master’ Serves Up Powerful After Effects

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – ‘The Master’ is the type of film that invites days of contemplation. It is a film about America, but only a certain type of American. It is a film about the need to belong, but in the end it separates all its characters away from each other. Lead actors Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix radicalize writer/director P.T. Anderson’s strange alchemy.

Stunning Ambition Drives P.T. Anderson’s ‘The Master’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 5.0/5.0
Rating: 5.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master” screened publicly last week in Chicago for only the second time in the world. It was shown in glorious 70mm, the format in which the film was shot, but in which most people will never get the chance to see it. While much of the conversation surrounding the screening seemed to hinge around the technical specifications, the increasing dearth of actual film projectors in the city, or the aspects of the plot related to Scientology, those aren’t the elements of the film that have been rolling around my head for the last four days.

Ryan Gosling, George Clooney in ‘The Ides of March’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

CHICAGO – George Clooney’s “The Ides of March” is a star-studded political thriller of the variety that was made much more commonly in the ‘70s and would therefore seem like a perfect vehicle to restart for today’s controversial times. We could use more political thrillers with complex dialogue aimed at adults to offset the fact that a vast majority of motion pictures are aimed at children.

Brad Pitt, Baseball Evolve in Magnificent ‘Moneyball’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 5.0/5.0
Rating: 5.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Using sports, especially baseball, as a metaphor for life can get dicey – sometimes the symbolic pieces don’t fit universally for everything. But “Moneyball, ” starring Brad Pitt, hits a grand slam with this old allegory, and educates regarding the true nature of modern large dollar sports.

Philip Seymour Hoffman Stars in Directorial Debut ‘Jack Goes Boating’

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – One of the best working actors takes his skills behind camera in Philip Seymour Hoffman’s “Jack Goes Boating,” a character drama about one couple forming as another relationship falls apart at the same time. This gentle story of modern relationships is a subtle, slow-moving drama of moments and repercussions that works due to the talents of its cast and quality of its source material despite a few notable flaws.

Despite Smothered Direction, ‘Doubt’ Brings Out Best in Performers

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – The inherit drama of a Catholic priest accused of molesting an African American boy during the 1960s would be enough to make for an interesting film on its own. In “Doubt,” this is one of the less-explored themes writer and director John Patrick Shanley examines.

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  • Bad Words

    Looming over “Bad Words” is the potential it could have had, as is, were it released ten years ago. With its focus of R-rated behavior poking at the projected innocence of children, along with the couple of chromosomes that keep Bateman’s Trilby from being a Vince Vaughn character, this movie is certainly a product of the comedies that have sculpted out the manchild story in the past decade.

  • Winter's Tale

    The theatrical poster for “Winter’s Tale,” after promising that “It’s not a true story, it’s a love story,” made a large demand from its viewers at the bottom: “This Valentine’s Day, Believe In Miracles.” While there is indeed a difference between filmmaking and marketing, it is hard to not imagine writer/director Akiva Goldsman whispering “believe in miracles” into the ear of every executive who helped “Winter’s Tale” come to life, immediately after throwing glitter on them.

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