Philip Seymour Hoffman, the Oscar-winning star of Capote, recently revealed that he has spent the past year spiraling out of a prescription drug habit and into a week-long heroin snorting binge. That Mr. Hoffman, whose iconic voice and posture has been imitated by many, also disclosed (to TMZ.com) that he had struggled with drug issues in the past and had fallen off the wagon after 23 years clean only serves to make the amount of time the actor spent in detox more confusing.
The 85th Academy Awards
Update: Well, now we have an extra hour and a half of the red carpet! Talk amongst yourselves!
What is it about the Academy Awards? Intellectually, it’s hard to muster up that much enthusiasm about who “wore it best” (Ang Lee) or how modest Katniss will be in her acceptance speech, hopefully avoiding a First Wives’ Club reference that sounded like she was hating on Meryl Streep this time. And yet … we still feel compelled to watch. Maybe it’s because secretly, deep down, we still find it fascinating that the guy who does the voice of Stewie looks like the host of a reality game show about finding true love by having a dance-off on a stripper pole.
Or maybe it’s because we’re just suckers, who deep down believe that Beasts of the Southern Wild might still possibly have a chance against Argo or Lincoln.
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Tonight is the 85th Academy Awards, and for all intents and purposes it should be a good one. Look at all those serious films, and the one movie by Quentin Tarantino! And with big snubs for Best Director for both Argo and Zero Dark Thirty, does that mean one of them will be be sweeping up the Best Picture Award as a consolation prize? And most importantly, is it too late to write in a ballot for Javier Bardem in Skyfall? Because he was great.
In A Late Quartet, a somber, moody and uneven film about chamber music and the dedicated professional musicians who devote their lives to playing it, Christopher Walken takes some getting used to as a renowned cellist with Parkinson’s disease who is forced begrudgingly to end his career as leader of one of the world’s most celebrated string quartets. A far cry from the lurid and sloppy addicts, psychopaths and serial killers he usually plays as though walking in his sleep, it’s not the kind of role I would personally think of as perfect casting for him. Also, the movie is too slow, highbrow and sophisticated to draw the youth market that loves to see Mr. Walken play violent and stoned in trash like Seven Psychopaths. But playing the cello is such a pleasant change of pace that he eventually grows on you, scene by scene, proving for the first time since his role as Leonardo DiCaprio’s troubled father 10 years ago in Catch Me If You Can, that he really can act. He—along with the rest of the elegant cast—keeps A Late Quartet in tune when it threatens to go flat.
I never cease to be amused by the pile of unmitigated crap that gets shoveled off onto the moviegoing public by pretentious critics. They’re at it again with The Master, a load of film-festival tripe that was booed in Venice and greeted with massive walkouts in Toronto but is now being defended in an organized rescue mission that hopes to develop a minor cult following in New York before the whole thing mercifully vanishes in a puff of twaddle. With an embarrassing, overwrought performance by the dependably creeped-out Joaquin Phoenix that has to be the most hysterically misguided overacting since Dennis Hopper played Napoleon and Harpo Marx played Sir Isaac Newton in The Story of Mankind, I’m tempted to call it the worst thing I have seen this year, but there are two more coming up—Terrence Malick’s dystopic To the Wonder and a diabolically demented time-travel farce called Cloud Atlas—that are even worse. I will also refrain from labeling The Master “the worst movie I’ve ever seen!” because like the proverbial boy who cried wolf, I’ve blurted that cry of despair so many times, who would believe me?It might not even be the worst movie ever made, depending on how you feel about such hollow, juvenile and superficial trash as I ♥ Huckabees, Brewster McCloud, Punch-Drunk Love, Mulholland Drive, The Royal Tenenbaums, Lost Highway, Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses and … well, as they said in Hollywood during the McCarthy witch hunts, “the list goes on.”
The Master, Paul Thomas Anderson’s first film since 2007′s There Will Be Blood, is said to tell the story of Scientology’s inception–and its first full-length trailer, indeed, shows Philip Seymour Hoffman issuing an “audit”-like verbal test to a distressed Joaquin Phoenix. The trailer, on the whole, is too cryptic to allow for much plot detail–but Read More
It’s a far cry from Capote: Oscar-winner Philip Seymour Hoffman, next to be seen in P.T. Anderson’s Scientology drama The Master, is to play Plutarch Heavensbee in Catching Fire, the next installment in the Hunger Games series. Plutarch is the “gamemaker”–the gent who oversees the operations of the deadly competition in which Jennifer Read More
The Master, Paul Thomas Anderson’s follow-up to There Will Be Blood, is expected to be released in the fall (per IMDb, on October 12)–and its first trailer depicts Joaquin Phoenix being interrogated, and possibly brainwashed, by an unknown interlocutor. The film also stars Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams. Read More
The Tony nominations were released this morning, and the musical film adaptation Once leads the field with 11 nominations; it’s nominated for Best Musical alongside Newsies, Nice Work If You Can Get It, and Leap of Faith. The nominees for Best Play include Clybourne Park (a Pultizer-winning play), Other Desert Cities, Peter and the Starcatcher, Read More
Philip Seymour Hoffman is too young to play Willy Loman, the worn-out failure in Mike Nichols’s new revival of Arthur Miller’s masterful tragedy Death of a Salesman. Despite his drooped posture, crippling exhaustion and inability to stand proud—not to mention his preppie haircut, white as snow—he often looks no older than the two actors playing his sons. Still, he’s such an inventive and resourceful young character actor that he is never less than fascinating. To paraphrase the most famous line in the play, attention must still be paid.
Thank goodness Mr. Nichols is so obviously respectful of this high-water mark in American theater that he is reluctant to change, modify or jazz it up in any way to suit contemporary audiences. He has even restored much of Jo Mielziner’s moody set design, Alex North’s somber music and Elia Kazan’s electrifying direction from the original 1949 Broadway production starring the incomparably powerful Lee J. Cobb—all to brilliant effect, illuminating a sad, deeply analytical portrait of the death of the American Dream. And if Mr. Hoffman is not Lee J. Cobb or even Brian Dennehy in the latest Broadway revival, he serves the play in an oddly benevolent way.