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Sweeney Todd is, at its core, ridiculous. At least in the sense that if the turns of the plot were translated into a non-musical, it would probably make for a half-decent Fear.net movie. You know, one of those they can pump out on a weekly basis. But, the thing is, musicals are inherently ridiculous. Unless you normally detail and solve your problems in song and dance. In which case, I commend you. But ultimately, I think Sweeney Todd works, and works well. Read the rest of this entry »

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Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead is bleak as hell. The plot is depressing and the characters unlikable. While I neither demand positive plots or likable characters, in this case I was left wondering, what’s the point?

I really enjoyed Philip Seymour Hoffman as the conniving, colder older brother Andy. I’m halfway through PSH’s terrific work this year and both of his performances I’ve seen (this and The Savages) are Oscar-worthy. Andy is ruthless but also desperate and delusional and Hoffman nails it. The other performances are good here too: Marisa Tomei, Ethan Hawke, and especially Albert Finney. Looking at it from an Oscar perspective, all of them appear to be long shots but I would welcome a nomination for any of them. While I merely liked the film, it was interesting and unique enough that I hope it gets at least one nomination somewhere.

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