Philip Seymour Hoffman’s amazing evocation of the title character, which transcends impersonation to touch on inhabitation, is the Oscar-worthy centerpiece of first-time director Bennett Miller’s biopic, but that’s just the start.


The Nights Are Getting Longer, and That’s a Good Thing Because There’s a Lot of Compelling Stuff Happening After Dark
It may feel like midsummer in L.A., as the sweltering Santa Ana winds usher in the transitional month of October (it happens every year, and every year the residents are surprised, because the word “October” sounds, like, cool). Even though it doesn’t feel like autumn, it sure looks like fall on your TV, with the networks scrambling to make prime time sci-fi time, the MLB playoffs underway and USC and UCLA both undefeated five weeks into the football season. Not only that, but the NBA is gearing up, and the plotlines are compelling, with Larry Brown at the Garden at long last and Phil Jackson back at Staples, where we’ll be facing something completely different, with Shaq 3,000 miles away and the Clippers looking down at the not-ready-for-Showtime Lakers. There are also some compelling plotlines at the cineplex, which is once again welcoming grown-ups. We love this time of year.

Friday, Oct. 7th

Angels @ Yankees (ESPN): With the series tied at a game apiece, the scene shifts to the Bronx, where “The Big Unit,” Randy Johnson, will pitch Game Three.

Coheed & Cambria w/ Dredg and mewithoutyou @ Ogden Theatre,
Denver (all ages)

The Bangles @ House of Blues, West Hollywood (18 and over)

The Selecter and Fishbone @ House of Blues, Anaheim

Franz Ferdinand @ The Greek Theatre

Gang of Four w/Morningwood @ 40 Watt Club - Athens, GA

Saturday, Oct. 8th
Angels @ Yankees: Depending on the outcome of Game Three, one of these teams has the opportunity to wrap up the series today.

The Download Festival: The Arcade Fire, Doves, Modest Mouse and many more appear @ the Shoreline Amphitheater - Mountain View, CA.

The Bravery @ Skoglund Athletic Ctr.
, Northfield, MN

Particle w/ ALO @ House of Blues, West Hollywood (18 and over)

ThundHERstruck @ The Blue Café: The ultimate female tribute to AC/DC comes to Long Beach (21 and over).

Judge Jackson @ Leroy's Hot Stuff, Porter, IN

Sunday, Oct. 9th
Times TBA
2005 Chicago International Film Festival: Check out innovative films from all over the world. @ Chicago Theatre. (175 N State St.)

Fall Out Boy @ Electric Factory, Philadelphia
Rob Dickinson @ Milestone, Rochester, NY
Motley Crue @ The Joint, Las Vegas

Yankees @ Angels: Game Five, if necessary, back in Anaheim.

Calla @ The Social - Orlando, FL (18 and over)

Mon. Oct. 10th

Monday Night Football (ABC): Steelers @ Chargers. The Chargers are red-hot and will look to continue their torrid play against the always-tough Steelers, who have a shot at winning the AFC, with the Pats reeling from injuries.

Tues. Oct 11th
3 Doors Down w/ Shinedown and Alter Bridge @ Gibson Amphitheatre

Philip Seymour Hoffman as Truman Capote:
The Puck of the NYC Social Swan Era of the late ’50s and ’60s, which will most likely be viewed as the Versailles of American 20th Century culture, Capote was a brilliant commentator and writer who just couldn't help himself. His Black & White Ball was the social event to end all. His Music for Chameleons could show you how thrilling prose writing can be—and Breakfast at Tiffany's gave the world the irrepressibly ebullient if heartbroken Holly Golightly. But it was his fall—post-Esquire profile outing the social jungle of New York’s thin and beautiful rich women—that led to his tremendous, inside-the-story non-fiction tale of murder In Cold Blood that scraped the max of his gift. Philip Seymour Hoffman is a Roman Candle channeler of humanity. His Lester Bangs from Almost Famous, every bit the falling-down, burning-for-the-music bombastic teddy bear, and the tentative clinger-on gofer in porno world who is so glad to be there he'd pop his knuckles hanging onto his place in Boogie Nights mark the poles of his gift. Now, the full immersion gift of Hoffman meets the mercury quickness of Capote.

The Truman Show
Capote (United Artists): Philip Seymour Hoffman
’s amazing evocation of the title character, which transcends impersonation to touch on inhabitation, is the Oscar-worthy centerpiece of first-time director Bennett Miller’s biopic, but that’s just the start. With its articulate screenplay by actor Dan Futterman (TV’s Saving Amy and Robin Williams’ son in Birdcage) and immaculate set design, the film captures with precision the moment the black-and-white, right-and-wrong Eisenhower ’50s turned into the gray shades of the celebrity-obsessed, narcissistic ’60s. Catherine Keener is a shoo-in for a Supporting Actress nod as To Kill a Mockingbird novelist Harper Lee, who accompanies her pal Truman to Kansas to help him research the murders that would form the basis of his celebrated, best-selling “non-fiction novel,” In Cold Blood. As effective as Clifton Collins Jr. is as condemned murderer Perry Smith, it’s hard to forget the haunting menace of Robert Blake in the original, though the realization it was Perry who actually committed the murders comes across as just as much a shock. But it is Hoffman’s turn as Capote upon which the film revolves—a remarkable performance that takes what could have been cliché or parody and turns it inside out, revealing the steely obsessive artist underneath the elaborately constructed pose by daring to ask if humanity should be sacrificed at the altar of art.

The Inner Tube
Desperate Housewives/Lost/Curb Your Enthusiasm/Extras:
Perhaps it’s merely the large expectations I had for the return of (and in the case of Ricky GervaisExtras, debut of) these series that has me feeling a little let down. Like Twin Peaks, both Desperate Housewives and Lost are suffering from trying to walk the fine line between revealing too much and not revealing anything, in other words, maintaining viewer interest as the plotlines grow every more outlandish. And, even in this age of TiVo, it couldn’t have helped that the second episodes of both were marred by cable difficulties, with Lost being lost in a flurry of static, and Housewives broadcast in Spanish (a problem blamed by Adelphia on “sun spots”). Actually, the latter is kind of fun en Espanol, a language that seems to best communicate the show’s rising level of absurd consternation. Larry David’s Curb, of course, remains a blast of Seinfeld-ian ethical, politically incorrect conundrums, though the targets—racism, egotism, religion, etiquette—seem to be hardening into routine. Still, you won’t hear me complaining about Larry scalping tickets for the Jewish High Holidays, or wiping his eyeglasses with his yarmulke and getting kicked out of shul for his troubles. As for Extras, Gervais’ follow-up to the BBC series The Office, its Hollywood satire and show business setting don’t quite suit him as well, though the Ben Stiller self-parody of the last episode went beyond “making fun” to truly nasty. I’ll continue to watch, but it’s nowhere near as cringe-worthy (or as damning of the biz) as Lisa Kudrow’s underrated The Comeback. Of the returning shows, only Arrested Development, which started off surreal and has gotten even surreal-er, avoids the sitcom’s traditional nemesis of formula by toying with the notion until it’s no longer recognizable. And while I thought it tried too hard at first, the show’s loopy, “anything goes” humor is proving scattershot enough to eventually hit its mark.

Apple Polishing
Fiona Apple, Extraordinary Machine (Epic):
Get set for another “this is bullshit” awards show acceptance speech, because Fiona Apple is bound to add a Grammy to her mantelpiece with this slice of brilliance. Waylaid by an Internet leak of an early version of the Jon Brion-produced work-in-progress and the subsequent “Free Fiona” protest of fans who urged the label to release it, this final version is both more focused and even sparer than that bootleg, thanks to hip-hop guru Mike Elizondo, whose credits include 50 Cent’s “In Da Club,” Eminem’s “I’m Back” and Mary J. Blige’s “Family Affair.” In the end, though, it’s about the songs, the most bitter, eff-you valentine to an ex-lover this side of Get Behind Me, Satan, with the subject not bothering to spare herself from some of the bile, either. “O’Sailor” is probably the place to start, but you can still hear Brion’s touch on the opening title track and the closing, “Waltz (Better Than Fine).” Check “Red Red Red” for a Patti Smith-like incantation in the mode of “Horses.” The most interesting female performer this side of Nellie McKay and Cat Power, Fiona’s not just an emotive singer, but a savage lyricist, as in “Parting Gift”: “I opened my eyes/While you were kissing me more than once/And you looked as sincere as a dog does/When it's the food on your lips with which it's in love.” Hell hath no fury like a diva scorned.

Two for the Money
Starring: Al Pacino, Matthew McConaughey, Rene Russo, Armand Assante, Jeremy Piven, Jamie King.
Synopsis: A star college football player blows out his knee, forcing him to consider other career options. He's hired by a man who runs a big-time sports-gambling business, and soon he's on the way to the top.
Thoughts: Ahh, yeah, Pacino is back!!! I think this one has all the makings of being really good.

In Her Shoes
Starring: Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette, Shirley MacLaine, Mark Feuerstein, Brooke Smith, Francine Beers, Richard Burgi.
Synopsis: Two sisters, one an irresponsible party girl named Maggie and the other an ambitious attorney named Rose, clash when they move in together. When Maggie refuses to get a job, Rose gives her the boot, forcing Maggie to shack up with a grandmother she never knew she had.
Thoughts: This is a total CHICK FLICK, but for some reason I have the feeling I will be dragged to see it… Oy vey.

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Justin Long, Anna Faris, Robert Patrick Benedict, Chi McBride, Luis Guzmán, David Koechner.
Synopsis: Several 20-somethings work in a chain restaurant called Shenanigan's, and while the place is seen as just a dead-end job by most of them, it at least affords plenty of opportunities to sit around talking about sex and playing food servicerelated practical jokes.
Thoughts: I’m a big fan of the always-hilarious Ryan Reynolds, and this movie looks like it is pure comedy. The premise is stupid and most likely the movie itself will be stupid overall, but I am betting it will be worth going just for some laughs.
Limited Release:

Good Night, and Good Luck: Directed by George Clooney based on the story of Edward R. Murrow. It has a great cast, including Clooney, David Strathairn as Murrow, Patricia Clarkson, Robert Downey Jr., Ray Wise, Frank Langella, Jeff Daniels and Tate Donovan.

Time to get the hell outta Dodge. (7/19a)
The score at the half (7/19a)
Hat trick (7/19a)
He's a one-man dynasty. (7/19a)
One titan salutes another. (7/19a)
Who's already a lock?
Three chords and some truth you may not be ready for.
The kids can tell the difference... for now.
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