February 3, 2014 |
As a theater actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman commanded a pile-driving force. He didn't start softly and build. He came out of the blocks in a fury and steadily ratcheted up to an apoplectic finish. Writing in the Village Voice about his performance as Konstantin, the suicidal young writer in Mike Nichols' 2001 Public Theater production of Chekhov's “The Seagull” in Central Park with Meryl Streep and Natalie Portman, I compared him to “a jackhammer in an orchestra of tinkling triangles.” The relentless intensity of Hoffman's brand of stage acting could take some getting used to. Reviewing a revival of Richard Greenberg's “The Author's Voice” for Variety in 1999, I was impressed by the ferocity of Hoffman's “vividly creepy” Kafkaesque performance as the id-like title character, but I found his performance to be somewhat monolithic, a tendency that was more apparent in his theatrical work than in his movie roles.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 2, 2014 |
Academy Award winner Philip Seymour Hoffman, one of the most acclaimed character actors and ambitious performers of his generation, was found dead of an apparent drug overdose inside his New York apartment on Sunday, police said. He was 46. A business associate discovered Hoffman in his bathroom with a needle stuck in his left forearm at about 11:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, police said. Two glassine envelopes containing what was thought to be heroin were near his body, and five empty envelopes were found in the trash, police said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 3, 2013 |
San Bernardino County officials said Tuesday they would investigate the Ecstasy-related death of a 22-year-old man who collapsed while attending a government-approved rave concert in September. A county spokesman said the officials were unaware of the death of Arrel Christopher Cochon until after The Times reported on it late Monday. The Los Angeles City College student was the third person since 2006 to die of a drug overdose after attending a San Bernardino-area rave staged by Insomniac Inc., a Times review of coroner records shows.
October 12, 2013 |
Johnny Cash's life in the 1960s is mostly remembered as a time of glorious achievement - from the landmark prison albums at Folsom and San Quentin to the launch of the ABC-TV series featuring such guests as Bob Dylan and the Doors that led to his becoming a giant figure in popular culture, a symbol to millions, no less, of the best of American social values. But Cash also experienced excruciatingly dark times in the decade, fueled by drugs and guilt over the breakup of his marriage.
September 6, 2013 |
Jesmyn Ward's heart-wrenching new memoir, "Men We Reaped," is a brilliant book about beauty and death. The beauty is in the bodies and the voices of the young men she grew up with in the towns of coastal Mississippi, where a kind of de facto segregation persists. There is C.J. Martin, one of her many cousins. "He was small and lean, angled all over with muscle," writes Ward. "His face was shaped like a triangle, and the only things that were dark about him were his eyes, which were so deep in color they were a surprise.
August 1, 2013 |
An explosion, a drug overdose, a car wreck, an undercover sting. All happen in such quick succession in the crime thriller "Drug War," the sensation is like being dropped into the middle of something much larger than random villainy. That is exactly what prolific Hong Kong director Johnnie To intended. The filmmaker treats "Drug War" like one of those high-profile cases that accidentally falls into law enforcement's lap. The film begins in Jinhai, a city in the southwest Chinese province of Guizhou and makes its way to one of the ports that a major drug cartel is considering for its export trade.