So, we’ve arrived at the top 20, slowly creeping toward …
In Anton Corbijn’s foreign espionage thriller A Most Wanted Man, the late Philip Seymour Hoffman lends his take on an unconventional looking German intelligence agent, one without the usual dashing attributes associated with cinematic spies. Although sprinkled with cerebral-minded intrigue and conducting its atmospheric tension in methodical fashion, A Most Wanted Man feels relentlessly sluggish in its execution to live up to its labored political-coated drama. This low-energy, plodding spy showcase has its isolated highlights in sleek suspense, but fails to drive home any genuine revelations about its touchy subject matter regarding counter-intelligence suspicion and terrorist paranoia. Despite solid and committed performances, it’s a slow burn of a thriller that simply lingers without fortifying any convincing punch.
Throughout the beginning of Anton Corbijn’s A Most Wanted Man, it is hard to ignore that there are only a handful of upcoming performances left from Philip Seymour Hoffman in this world. The actor’s untimely death earlier this year left a hole in the world of cinema, one that will not be filled anytime soon. Hoffman was a character actor who managed to become an A-lister, without ever losing his chameleon-like ability to channel whatever or whomever he wanted.
House of Cards premiered last year to tremendous buzz, the highly-anticipated, prestige-soaked first original program from Netflix. Viewers embraced the series and no one was surprised to see it rack up nomination after nomination, both for the Golden Globes and Emmys. After the initial furor died down however, many critics were left cold by the show’s self-satisfaction and paint-by-numbers approach, the strong individual performances let down by predictable plotting and under-developed characterization. Fortunately season two of House of Cards, while still flawed, greatly improves on many of the first season’s biggest problem areas and this self-awareness bodes well for the already-commissioned season three.
The struggle to maintain one’s personal sense of youth is at the heart of Adore, an Australian drama that wishes to be provocative without being particularly salacious or deep. Based on one of four short stories by Doris Lessing in the collection “The Grandmothers,” Adore feels very much like an adaptation of a story that’s too brief, a mere wisp that should be a gale force.