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Reel Change Away From Home

First of all, I’m very grateful to the hundreds of you who read and shared my piece about Philip Seymour Hoffman. Like many other fans, I am revisiting his work these past few days and find myself laughing, smiling, and crying all over again. It is a great loss, but I’m so moved by our…

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Let it Rain: On the Death of Philip Seymour Hoffman

When I was a teenager, my uncle told me that the person whose death affected him the most in his life was John Lennon. Not his father or his mother, nor a childhood friend. Instead, he mourned for a person he never knew and had little chance of ever having a personal relationship with. When…

The Campaign

2012: The Love/Hate List

In 1988’s Bull Durham, Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) famously said that “fastballs are boring, and besides that, they’re fascist.” Well, that’s how I feel about Top Ten Movies of 2012 lists. It is that time of year in when critics of every stripe release their own personal Best Of lists. Not me. It is presumptive…

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Casting Call: Rush Limbaugh

Last week, John Cusack announced that he will play conservative talk show icon Rush Limbaugh in a new biopic to be directed by Betty Thomas (Private Parts, 28 Days). The project is being described as an exploration of “the rise and reinvention of American Talk Radio, and Limbaugh’s continued influence and impact over the last…

Walken

“A Late Quartet” is Adult Drama Done Right

Critics were busy last weekend heaping praise upon big-time director Robert Zemeckis for Flight, which they deemed the kind of sophisticated adult drama Hollywood does not make much of anymore. But that film, with its sex-drugs-and-rock-and-roll opening and its after-school special of an ending, is more like something a teenager thinks an adult film is…

Joaquin Phoenix

Paul Thomas Anderson is a “Master” of History

“The Master” opens on a shot of the marbled blue-white wake of a battleship, and director Paul Thomas Anderson returns to that image several times throughout the film. Soon, it becomes clear why; the image embodies the film’s subject, the muddled and mysterious history that we leave behind us, specifically the history of one sailor…

Hoffman

A Few Words on “Death of a Salesman”

Last weekend, I was in New York to see the Broadway revival of “Death of a Salesman,” directed by Mike Nichols (“The Graduate,” “Catch-22”) and starring Philip Seymour Hoffman as Willie Loman. I was blown away by his performance, became even more enamored of another actor in the show, and walked out of the theater…