Susan Hoffman

Susan Hoffman

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Noise (2007, U.S.) Review


OK
I hate car alarms as much as the next guy, but make a feature film -- with Tim Robbins and William Hurt -- as a thinly-veiled diatribe against noise pollution? That's about as obsessive as it gets.

Noise offers Robbins as David Owen, a supernaturally angry New Yorker who eventually snaps after one too many car alarms distrub his piece and quiet. Rather than, say, move out of Manhattan, Owen takes a hammer, baseball bat, wire cutters, and whatever else is handy to demolish cars that ring out for no reason. Later he moves on to wayward building alarms (apparently a problem in New York). Soon he's running an organized, mapped-out campaign as "The Rectifier," disabling vehicles and cutting their battery wires across the city, leaving behind a sticker as a calling card.

Continue reading: Noise (2007, U.S.) Review

Noise (2007, U.S.) Review


OK
I hate car alarms as much as the next guy, but make a feature film -- with Tim Robbins and William Hurt -- as a thinly-veiled diatribe against noise pollution? That's about as obsessive as it gets.

Noise offers Robbins as David Owen, a supernaturally angry New Yorker who eventually snaps after one too many car alarms distrub his piece and quiet. Rather than, say, move out of Manhattan, Owen takes a hammer, baseball bat, wire cutters, and whatever else is handy to demolish cars that ring out for no reason. Later he moves on to wayward building alarms (apparently a problem in New York). Soon he's running an organized, mapped-out campaign as "The Rectifier," disabling vehicles and cutting their battery wires across the city, leaving behind a sticker as a calling card.

Continue reading: Noise (2007, U.S.) Review

Murder By Numbers Review


Unbearable
Since her "breakthrough" performance in the Sylvester Stallone action vehicle Demolition Man, I've never much liked Sandra Bullock or her selection of films. My initial reaction to the previews of Murder by Numbers was a laughing fit. But I ventured into the theater not based upon the marquee name of Bullock, but by the crew behind the camera - renowned director Barbet Schroeder, cinematographer Luciano Tovoli, composer Clint Mansell, and screenwriter Tony Gayton (who wrote the solid, upcoming film The Salton Sea). In the end, I didn't know who to blame for this awkward and schlock-filled "serial killer" flick, which is about as enjoyable as watching that new Andy Richter TV show.

Bullock plays hard-nosed, seasoned homicide detective Cassie Mayweather, who has more issues than four of my ex-girlfriends combined. After a young woman is found dead in her district, Cassie and her new partner Sam Kennedy (Ben Chaplin) take the case and discover conflicting evidence. Using techniques she must have picked up by watching CSI, Cassie's intrepid sleuthing leads her to cocky high school student Richard Haywood (Ryan Gosling, who eerily resembles a Muppet), who owns a unique pair of boots linked to the crime scene but were stolen weeks before the crime. Richard's airtight alibi and carefree nature only confounds Cassie's intrepid sleuthing skills and brings to surface memories of a tragic event in Cassie's life, involving a bitter husband and 17 stab wounds.

Continue reading: Murder By Numbers Review

Kiss Of Death (1995) Review


Excellent
Ever get the feeling that no matter what you do, you're screwed? That basically sums up the life of Jimmy Kilmartin (David Caruso), an ex-con trying to go straight in the new feature, Kiss of Death.

Jimmy, his wife Bev (Helen Hunt), and their daughter live an inner-city dream, trying to make ends meet. When Jimmy's cousin Ronnie (Zebrahead's Michael Rapaport) shows up, begging for a driver for his chop shop caravan, all hell breaks loose. Jimmy is busted, and his descent back into the pit of crime, prison, betrayal, and the government begins. Soon, Jimmy and his family are hounded by cop Calvin (Samuel L. Jackson), asthmatic psycho kingpin Little Junior (Nicholas Cage), and a host of other unsavory players. We are invited to watch and see how Jimmy extricates himself from the mess.

Continue reading: Kiss Of Death (1995) Review

Before And After Review


Weak
(Not to be confused with last year's Now and Then.) And aside from that brief statement, I scarcely know where to begin trying to critique Before and After. I don't even quite know how to describe it, but I do know that it isn't a good sign.

Let me try my best here, in the process trying to spoil the plot as little as possible. In small town Massachusetts, the Ryan family lives a semi-typical semi-functional family life. Carolyn (Meryl Streep) is a physician. Ben (Liam Neeson) is an avant-garde artist. Daughter Judith (Julia Weldon) is a precocious elementary school student but is wise beyond her years, and son Jacob (Edward Furlong) is the typical bratty teenager.

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Desperate Measures Review


Grim
Michael Keaton as a serial killer? Well, why not, I guess. He was the original Batman, after all. But Michael Keaton as a serial killer who happens to be the only man alive whose DNA matches the son of the cop who busted him and needs some kind of transplant? Er, someone needs to go back to reality school.

The Believer Review


Grim
Religious doubt leads to violence in this slice-of-lifer that won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival -- now finally making tentative steps in general release.

Jewish self-hatred is an interesting foundation for a film, if only because it's a subject never explored by an industry still apologizing for the Holocaust. The lengths to which someone will go to redefine and prove themselves a member of the enemy circle are certainly compelling. But when the main character in question dives between extremes without a single clear definition of his motives, the strength of the narrative suffers. A double life can only work when you are aware of some of the triggers that push some semblance of reality into the character in question.

Continue reading: The Believer Review

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