A Most Wanted Man

I watched “A Most Wanted Man” largely due to it being Philip Seymour Hoffman’s last film.  He provides, as always, a solid, absorbing performance. The movie itself, as most le Carré movies do, left me cold.   Hoffman plays a German espionage agent working without “official” authorization, who has best laid plans for “making the…

The Master

Once again, Paul Thomas Anderson has made a flawed work of genius. Freddie Quell is a WWII vet, psychologically damaged before he even went to war and currently spends his time drinking solvents and cleaners during and between various jobs. He stumbles upon “the master’s” (Lancaster Dodd’s) vessel before it embarks upon a seafaring, brain-washing…

Prometheus

There are a few things good about this movie, unfortunately they don’t make up for the movie being, well, stupid. If you’re reading this as a part of your decision process to see it in the theater, don’t. Overall, the movie misses its mark. Read on if you don’t mind spoilers or have already seen…

The Brave One

Confession: I watched this movie because Jodie Foster is too damn cute on the cover. We’ll see how my DVD cover instincts turn out judging a movie as a whole. Foster plays Erica Bain, a radio show host doing a “life on the streets,” “slice of life,” “heavy prose” presumably public radio show that I…

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Upon viewing Andrew Dominik’s “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford,” I found myself questioning my attention span. I had trouble following the plot, characters and keeping the thread going. To be fair, I sometimes have the attention span of a 4-year old, but this film was too long and complicated for…

Midnight in Paris

“Midnight in Paris,” Woody Allen’s current, in-theaters release is what I see as the perfect summer movie: not too long, doesn’t take itself too seriously, but is also very clever and has only the slightest hint of fluff. It is somewhat over-the-top, fanciful, and has a certain element that I’ve always deemed a deal-breaker (hint:…

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Elizabeth Taylor’s death prompted me to watch “Cat On a Hot Tin Roof” via Netflix instant viewing. I was instantly endeared to this film as the brat children are described as “no neck monsters” unrestrained by their parents. The endearment continues with the pure, Southern gothic screenplay adaptation of Tennessee Williams’s Pulitzer-winning play, co-penned by…

The Seventh Seal

Yet another one of my 50% off Criterion purchases was Ingmar Bergman’s “The Seventh Seal” made in 1957 – widely lauded as a classic cinema masterpiece. It takes its name from the Bible’s Book of Revelation, wherein seven seals are opened before rapture takes place and final judgement is rendered. As the film notes, “when…

The Call of Cthulhu

The 2005 film adaptation of “The Call of Cthulhu” done by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society is an admirable attempt at creating a period, silent-film retelling of the famous H.P. Lovecraft story. Although a very well-done endeavor, I find the mix of modern and silent film-making techniques to be distracting. An “either/or” philosophy would have…