Showing posts with label philip seymour hoffman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label philip seymour hoffman. Show all posts

13 January 2015

DVD Review - God's Pocket (2013)

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God’s Pocket will go down in history as one of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman’s last films. It won’t make any other serious dent in the history of cinema, but it’s a perfectly fine, indie-spirited, black comedy, that harkens back to the glory days of the character based stories of 70s cinema. It’s also the directorial debut of Mad Men’s John Slattery, which is why his Mad Men co-star Christina Hendricks plays Hoffman’s wife.

The film is set in a close knit, working class community where Mickey Scarpato (Philip Seymour Hoffman) tries to cover up the death of his son who has died in a mysterious accident. His wife Jeanie (Christina Hendricks) is convinced he was murdered. The local reporter Richard Shellburn (Richard Jenkins) also suspects something is amiss and begins to investigate.

God’s Pocket major flaw is in its tone: it is a dark comedy but it’s either too earnest or too broadly comedic to go full out. With that said, the film is funny at times, mostly because of the absurd situations Hoffman’s Micky gets into. For example, there is great set piece of him driving a dead body around only for it to fall out, which is reminiscent of Hitchcock’s unsung masterwork The Trouble with Harry. The film is passable however, due to a strong performance by Hoffman who could read the phonebook and make it captivating. John Turturro has a supporting role, and brings some comical relief as he normally does and Richard Jenkins is fantastic as usual as the alcoholic journalist.

Overall it’s a film that wants to be Five Easy Pieces or any other great 70s drama but at times it feels a little too forced. It does have strong performances from the cast, which is probably due to the fact the director is an actor himself. John Slattery makes an admirable directorial debut even though it doesn’t fully work and it’s nice to see a film about the working poor from the States as it’s so rare these day.


Ian Schultz

13 March 2013

Watch The UK Trailer For A Late Quartet Starring Christopher Walken, Philip Seymour Hoffman

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Our friends at Artificial Eye Films have sent us over the UK trailer and Poster for A Late Quartet starring Christopher Walken, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Catherine Keener.

Directed by Yaron Zilberman, A Late Quartet tells the tale of an renowned New York based Quartet on the eve of their 25th Anniversary cellist Peter Mitchell (Christopher Walken) announces he wants the upcoming season to be their last. Peter is diagnosed in early stages of Parkinson's disease leaving the the remain members egos to conflict and derail their friendship.

The film has been on the festival circuit since last years Toronto Film Festival  debut and to me the toughest challenge to any actor is playing in a film that's simple in structure but powerful in dramatics. A Late Quartet certainly has the drama and we look like we're in for a masterclass on how to act with the classic music brings a sense of tranquillity to the film too. Most of all after years of seeing him play a villain, tough guy, Christopher Walken does possess acting chops to be more dramatic, its ecstasy to the eyes!

A Late Quartet is due to be released in UK&Ireland on 5th April and co-stars Mark Ivanir and  Imogen Poots .


On the eve of a world renowned string quartet’s 25th anniversary season, their beloved cellist, Peter Mitchell (Christopher Walken), is diagnosed with the early symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. When Peter announces he wishes to make the upcoming season his last, his three colleagues find themselves at a crossroad. Competing egos and uncontrollable passions threaten to derail years of friendship and collaboration.

10 March 2013

The Master DVD Review

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So accomplished is director Paul Thomas Anderson’s catalogue of work, that every new film he presents is met with a degree of excitement and expectation reserved for only the most celebrated and enduring of filmmakers. Despite a relatively short career (one comprising less than two decades), Anderson has already hit the high notes with an excellent portfolio of work that includes, amongst others, Boogie Nights, Punch-Drunk Love and There Will Be Blood. Anderson has never really produced a poor film, and the notion of seeing him reunited with long-term accomplice, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, to cast their creative eyes over the thorny subject of a pseudo-religious cult, is a prospect certainly worth relishing.

Ultimately, The Master is a film which provokes an immense sense of awe, chiefly through the performances of its double-act of leading men; but it’s one which also instils a lingering sense of doubt and, dare I say it, disappointment.

As the Second World War draws to a close, US seaman Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) is little more than a drunken, sex-obsessed husk. As his comrades frolic on Pacific island beaches, Freddie is quietly mixing drinks, cavorting with women made of sand and draining and drinking the fuel from his ship’s torpedoes. It is abundantly clear that Freddie is struggling with post-traumatic stress, his efforts to maintain a steady job post-war end in disaster, violence, and soaked in home-made booze.

Ultimately Freddie’s penchant for hooch leads to the accidental poisoning of an elderly co-worker forcing him to flee his job for his own safety. Tired, desperate and inebriated, Freddie stows away on a passing boat unaware that it currently plays host to an eccentric cabal known as The Cause, led by their enigmatic and beguiling leader Lancaster Dodd (Hoffman), known to his acolytes as “Master”.

Freddie is welcomed into the fold and joins the ensemble in spreading Dodd’s good news, learning the ins-and-outs of the exercise known as “processing”, while simultaneously battling those outside influences who would seek to derail The Cause.

Hoffman’s Master is of course a thinly-veiled reference to author and founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard; and his performance as the mesmeric leader of The Cause is a thing to behold, as Hoffman imbues the leader with a tangible sense of self-assurance and thoughtfulness. Watching the commanding Dodd deliver his sermons to an adoring congregation, with their bizarre lectures on quasi-psychology and spirituality is as tempting as it is baffling. As a study of the cult of personality, it’s genuinely unnerving. Whilst every reasonable bone inside you should reject the nonsense on offer, it’s all too easy to see how Freddie and the rest of the herd become so affected and entranced by the Master’s teachings, so powerful and believable is Hoffman’s delivery.

As a counterpart to Dodd’s measured sermonising, Freddie’s alcohol-soaked, rotten futility is excellent too. Joaquin Phoenix brings a demoralising physicality to a role that under normal circumstances would elevate itself above the rest. The fact that it’s a performance that plays second fiddle says more about Hoffman’s presence in the piece than it does about Phoenix’s.

Together the performances are, save for the odd mumble of Phoenix’s, as damn-near pitch perfect as is possible. The setting in which these two performances are to be found is a beautiful, studiously reconstructed image of post-war USA. It’s a USA in which the iron curtain of atomic-age paranoia has most definitely descended; and yet the vestiges of hopefulness, of dewy-eyed belief in the American dream, still remain.

If Paul Thomas Anderson is guilty of anything, it’s that his stories can have a tendency to find themselves coughing and spluttering towards a resolution. There Will Be Blood’s grind towards the finishing line was expertly aided by its visual and aural magnificence; there was little room for dissent as you were being so firmly and skilfully grasped by the balls. Boogie Nights took a descent into a drug-fuelled hell which contrasted with its upbeat and romping (albeit sleazy) opening salvos, but maintained some sense of urgency; in the case of The Master ,the culmination of nearly two-and-a-half hours of soul-searching appears to be less assured.

A final act which appears to tread much of the same water trod in the film’s middle third feels like Anderson is searching for an ending which never comes. Freddie’s vision, experienced towards the end of the film, is one which exists as a symptom of his general lack of growth both spiritually and practically. For all the processing and sermonising, he’s never really moved on. A sobering thought, but it’s one which belies the fact that, as an audience, neither have we. Despite the mesmeric performances of Hoffman and Phoenix, you are left with a nagging feeling of dissatisfaction at a film which very much feels like it has a beginning, and a middle.

Chris Banks(@Chris_in_2D)


BD/DVD Release Date:11 March 2013 (UK)
Directed By: Paul Thomas Anderson
Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix , Amy Adams,
Buy The Master on:Blu-ray / DVD