MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III

Poffy The Cucumber

The Running Spy. Running. If you like running, you’ll love MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III. Because that’s all that Tom Cruise seems to be doing in it. Besides running, Cruise is also being IMF espionage agent Ethan Hunt. (When he tells someone that IMF stands for “Impossible Missions Force,” we realize how ridiculous it sounds, and why everybody’s trying to kill him). … Read More

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE

Poffy The Cucumber

Starving for ideas: Catching Cold. In THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE, the two models who survived the Hunger Games last year are forced by the Capitol to go on a Tour through the 12 Districts to rub it in everyone’s faces. And our faces too. Then they just repeat the last movie. And rub that in our faces too. In … Read More

THE MASTER

Poffy The Cucumber

MASTER-ful. Actor’s Actor + Actor’s Actor = Actors Actors Actors Actors. Joaquin Phoenix meets Philip Seymour Hoffman and all Asgard and Midgard tremble in their Acting wake. Freddie Quell (Phoenix) is a rudderless veteran returning from WWII, who stumbles upon the yacht of Lancaster Dodd (Hoffman), a “minister” for The Cause, one of those pseudo-scientific cults that likes to pretend … Read More

PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN | Eulogy

Jon Dunmore

The Passing of a Powerhouse. e was no Schwarzenegger or Cruise or Willis – but he could slam the breath from your body with greater force. He was no Pitt or Gosling or Clooney – but you could not tear your eyes from him. I cannot pinpoint exactly when Philip Seymour Hoffman appeared on radar as an Actor’s Actor (his … Read More

THE IDES OF MARCH

Poffy The Cucumber

Et Tu, Gosling? Campaigns turn our politicians into lunatics. — Tina Brown, “The Daily Beast.” THE IDES OF MARCH opens with campaign manager Steve Meyers (Ryan Gosling) at a podium, spotlit, declaring, “I’m not a Christian, I’m not an atheist. What I believe in is the Constitution of the United States of America.” He is reciting from prepared notes for … Read More

MONEYBALL

Poffy The Cucumber

When Statistics Became Sexy. Brad Pitt ends MONEYBALL with, “How can you not be romantic about baseball?” which is ironic, because he just spent the whole movie deconstructing The Great American Pastime’s romanticism with “sabermetrics” (a clinical mathematical process that focuses purely on statistics to choose players), wheeling and dealing at the highest levels of the baseball industry with wrath-of-God … Read More

THE BIG LEBOWSKI

Poffy The Cucumber

The Book of Duderonemy. All The Dude ever wanted was his rug back. –The Dude, THE BIG LEBOWSKI. Thus it begins. Two low-rent thugs mistakenly terrorize shiftless stoner Jeff Lebowski (aka The Dude) instead of the rich mark they were meant to threaten, also named Lebowski. They pee on The Dude’s rug for good measure, precipitating the rug’s demise. That … Read More

PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE

Poffy The Cucumber

Incredible movie of a non-credible story. PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE is not a movie. It is a tonal poem. Writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson (MAGNOLIA, 1999) paints in dire hues, onerous sound and shifty-eyed desperation. And he makes a Man out of Adam Sandler – an achievement in itself. Sandler is Barry Egan, a businessman whose company makes novelty toiletries. He’s not all … Read More

DOUBT

Poffy The Cucumber

Sinfully Good. DOUBT lives up to its title so staunchly that we cannot do anything but. About a Catholic priest, Father Flynn (the magnificent Philip Seymour Hoffman), accused by a nun, Sister Aloysius (the also-magnificent Meryl Streep) of inappropriate relations with a grade-school boy. No evidence, no proof, no witnesses, no reports. Yet Aloysius has no doubt. Caught in the … Read More

BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD

Poffy The Cucumber

Doing the business on the family business. “May you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead.” That old Irish saying warns that you can fool yourself into believing you’re in gravy, until Reality mops the floor with you. Walking a fine line between pulp noir and terrifying reality, BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD succeeds … Read More

CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR

Poffy The Cucumber

Owned By His Own War. Before George H.W. Bush sold weapons to Saddam, before Ronald Reagan sold weapons to Iran, before George W. Bush lost 190,000 guns in Iraq – there was Tom Hanks, selling weapons to the Mujahedeen. A splinter group of the Mujahedeen would later become the Taliban. Thanks again, American Politicians. In the Mike Nichols-directed political intriguer, … Read More

TWISTER

Poffy The Cucumber

TWISTER blows. I have spent my life laboriously doing nothing. — Hugo Grotius (on his deathbed 1645) Mysteriously-funded and irrationally-driven “storm-chasers” gad about the American midwest in TWISTER, trying to throw an aluminum thingy filled with little aluminum thingies into a tornado. They say it’s to research these natural disasters. Cue joke about this movie being natural disaster. Leading the … Read More

CAPOTE

Poffy The Cucumber

The movie about the book about the murders. CAPOTE, first of all, is not a biopic. It covers a short period in writer Truman Capote’s life when he immersed himself in his classic True Crime novel In Cold Blood, the first “non-fiction novel” of its kind. Published in 1965, this revolutionary book would make Capote the most famous writer in … Read More

ALONG CAME POLLY

Poffy The Cucumber

Along Came Seymour. In ALONG CAME POLLY, Ben Stiller is yet another dweeby nebbish, Jennifer Aniston, yet another luminous man-toy, carnal love muscle. How do writers squeeze any further substance from these same drop-dead-boring characters? Stiller is Reuben Feffer, depressed after leaving his slut wife (Debra Messing), finding rebound romance in the arms of Polly (Aniston). Adversity ensues blah blah … Read More