Monthly Archives: June 2009

See More Hoffman

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Last week I had one of those inspired needs to watch several films of the same actor.It all started after watching Charlie Kaufman’s directorial debut Synecdoche, New York.I fucking loved the movie, and it left me with a compulsive need to keep watching Philip Seymour Hoffman movies.Next up was Doubt, a movie I had sitting at home for ages, and just never got around to watching it.It wasn’t that I didn’t want to see it, it’s just one of those ones that I always thought I had to be in the right frame of mind to watch.And true to Hoffman standard, the movie was brilliant.In perfectly cast roles, the three leads gave stellar performances (especially Amy Adams, who I have a new-found respect for after watching her in Junebug), and in my opinion, the movie should have won Best Picture at this year’s Oscars.But it didn’t stop there, I just kept going.Boogie Nights, Almost Famous, The Big Lebowski, Mission Impossible 3, Happiness, Magnolia, The 25th Hour and Capote to name a few.But I still have to watch The Savages, which I hear is brilliant.The guy is awesome and in every role, no matter how minor, he seems to steal each scene he’s in.I love the fact that whenever a director needs someone to play a creep, pervert, pedophile or loser, Hoffman is the first guy they turn to.In Synecdoche, New York, Hoffman plays hypochondriac, theatre director Caden Cotard (creep), who…I really have no idea of how to summarise this movie, so I’m going to cheat, and just insert this link to the summary posted on IMDB. It’s pretty long but that’s as good as it can get. You really just have to go and see for yourself.As with all Kaufman scripts, the line between brilliance and lunacy are hard to perceive.It really is a case of Alice and the rabbit hole. As Caden becomes more and more involved in his own creation, he (and the audience) begins to lose track of what’s fact and what’s fiction.It’s kind of like Kaufman has handed us a jigsaw puzzle and forced us to make sense of it all. And while some audience members will fit certain pieces together better than others, in the end, there are still plenty of them missing and other pieces that have been thrown in the box, which don’t actually fit at all.It is a strange balance, which in my head seemed to work, but for others just seemed ridiculous and confusing.The film features an incredibly likable and extremely talented female cast, including Catherine Keener, Michelle Williams, Samantha Morton, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Emily Watson and Dianne Wiest.Hope Davis tops the lot, with her brilliant role as Caden’s therapist; and whilst her character seemed to make no real sense at all, she seemed entirely essential.And little known actor, Tom Noonan does well to keep up with Hoffman, playing the actor, playing the actor, playing Hoffman’s character (try and get your head around that one!).All in all, I encourage people to check this one out. Not only for your own interest, but more so, so that someone can explain to me what happened.What the fuck was with the burning house?3.5/5

Nerds

Hi! How’s it going?So hey – John Hodgman did the correspondent’s dinner and it was, predictably enough, awesome.  Damn theat Hodgman, with his boring tendency to be consistently hilarious!There’s something sublime about talking Star Trek and Dungeons and Dragons and Conan the Barbarian to a president of the United States. And then calling him a nerd and a wingnut. And getting him to make the Vulcan “Live long and prosper” hand. And schooling him in the various brands of hobbits. And calling him the Quisatz Haderach…Checkit…. and asking the him a three-part question about the culture of the fictional world of Arrakis. The answers are “Shai Hulud”, “Thumper” and “The Water of Life”, by the way.For those of you who already knew this – hello nerds. :)How good is Obama? He’s switched on, good-humoured and clearly a huge geek even though he pretends not to know who Crom is. He also pretends to be a God-botherer, but hey – you gotta make a few PR sacrifices to be POTUS.And, just ’cause Obama is awesome, here’s link to the musical registrar of the American experience, Tom Waits, singing Chocolate Jesus.