Tagged: Philip Seymour Hoffman


Summary: Set in contemporary Manhattan, PERFORMANCE tells the story of four musicians, bound together by their passion for music and a long, faithful collaboration. The celebrated string quartet struggles to stay together as they mark their 25th anniversary.

When their dignified patriarch and cellist, Peter (Walken) is diagnosed with a terminal illness, it throws the future of the group into question. His attempt to find a replacement player and organise rehearsals for their upcoming concert bring up unresolved issues and grievances.

Daniel (Ivanir) is the first violin. Robert (Seymour Hoffman) plays second violin, but longs to be the lead. Juliette (Keener) plays viola and is married to Robert, and steadfastly refused to consider the quartet without Peter.

Alliances are forged, egos bruised and passions flare as the dysfunctional family of artists begin to implode. Can they pull together for one final great performance – of Beethoven’s Opus 131 at Carnegie Hall?

Year: 2013

Australian Cinema Release Date: 14th March, 2013

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Yaron Zilberman

Screenwriter: Seth Grossman, Yaron Zilberman

Cast: Liraz Charhi (Pilar), Philip Seymour Hoffman (RobertGelbart), Mark Ivanir (Daniel Lerner), Madhur Jaffrey (Dr. Nadir), Catherine Keener (Juliette Gelbert), Nina Lee (Nina Lee), Megan McQuillan (Brenda), Imogen Poots (Alexandra Gerbert), Wallace Shawn (Gideon Rosen), Anne Sofie von Otter (Miriam), Christopher Walken (Peter Mitchell), Andrew Yee (Steve)

Runtime: 106 mins


Dave Griffiths’s ‘A Late Quartet’ Review:

Films such as ‘The Runaways’ and ‘Almost Famous’ work because they are about rock music right? But is it possible that a film about classical music could be just as dramatic and gritty? It seems like the answer should be no but ‘A Late Quartet’ (known as ‘Performance’ in some film markets so it can’t be confused with Dustin Hoffman’s ‘Quartet’) proves that theory very wrong indeed, because this well-written drama is about as tense as you can get. 

Robert Gelbert (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Peter Mitchell (Christopher Walken), Juliette Gelbert (Catherine Keener) and Daniel Lerner (Mark Ivanir) are at the top of their game. Their successful quartet is highly regarded and sells countless albums while they also get to tour the world packing out concert halls as they do. 

But then things start to fall apart for the talented musicians. First of all Peter learns that he is suffering from the early stages of Parkinson’s Disease and informs the group that he no longer knows how long he will be able to keep playing for. Then Robert and Juliette’s marriage seem to hit the skids as Robert grows more jealous of Daniel being lead violinist. 

As if all of that isn’t already putting stress on the quartet Juliette starts to wonder whether or not she wants to continue in the group if Peter isn’t around while Daniel heads into a taboo relationship with Robert and Juliette’s daughter Alexandra (Imogen Poots) who is a budding musician herself. 

Director/screenwriter Yaron Zilberman teams up with Seth Grossman to deliver a classy drama that leaves its audience absolutely intrigued. All of the characters are likable and you can’t help but feeling sad when your realize that life is taking dramatic turns for all of them, Zilberman makes the relationship between the four central characters extremely claustrophobic and incestuous which only enhances the suspense and drama of the film. So good is Zilberman’s work on the film that it comes as some surprise when you learn that this is his debut feature film (he only had one documentary to his credit before), this is proof that he is one talented filmmaker who has a rosy future ahead of him. 

Sometimes the use of classical music in a film can scare off audience members who expect the film to be pompous and snobby, but that certainly isn’t the case with ‘A Late Quartet’/’Performance’. While the film does rest heavily on the world of classical music you certainly don’t need any knowledge of that world to understand what the characters are going in. 

As you would expect from a cast of this caliber the performances are amazing. Philip Seymour Hoffman is his usual best and he is well supported by Mark Ivanir and Catherine Keener. Christopher Walken puts in one of his best performances in years (surprisingly he hasn’t garnished some award nominations for his performance) while young Imogen Poots really announces herself as a star of the future with a standout performance. 

‘A Late Quartet’/’Performance’ is a brilliantly written character drama that should alert the cinema world to the fact that Yaron Zilberman is a director to watch. 


Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘A Late Quartet′: Check Episode #24 (available 14th March, 2013) of our The Good The Bad The Ugly Podcast for a more in-depth review of ‘A Late Quartet’.

Rating: 4/5

IMDB Rating:A Late Quartet (2012) on IMDb

Mary And Max

Summary: A tale of friendship between two unlikely pen pals: Mary, a lonely, eight-year-old girl living in the suburbs of Melbourne, and Max, a forty-four-year old, severely obese man living in New York.

Year: 2009

Australian Cinema Release Date: 9th April 2009

Australian DVD Release Date: October 2009

Country: Australia

Director: Adam Elliot

Screenwriter: Adam Elliot

Cast: Eric Bana (Damien (voice)), Toni Collette (Mary Daisy Dinkle (voice)), Renee Geyer (Vera (voice)), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Max Jerry Horovitz (voice)), Barry Humphries (Narrator (voice)), Michael Ienna (Lincoln (voice)), Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum (Homeless Man (voice)), Bethany Whitmore (Young Mary (voice)),

Runtime: 92 mins

Classification: M




David Griffiths:

Way back in 2004 Adam Elliot won an Oscar for his short-animation ‘Harvie Krumpet’, so it is scary at just how far the marvelous ‘Mary And Max’ will go. ‘Mary And Max’ is one of the finest animation films to ever surface and leaves the critically acclaimed ‘Persepolis’ for dead.

Young Mary Daisy Dinkle (voiced by Bethany Whitmore) is a lonely young girl that has no friends, parents who don’t pay her enough attention and a poo-coloured birthmark on her forehead that results in her constantly getting teased. While her mother shoplifts in a Post Office one day, Mary decides to flick through a New York phone book to find someone she can write to in a bid to discover whether ‘American babies come from the same place as Australian babies… out of a beer glass’. She chooses Max Jerry Horovitz (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a man who is just as depressed as her, but is constantly startled by the questions she asks. Over time they both get older. Adult Mary (Toni Collette) goes to uni, marries Damian (Eric Bana) while Max continues to suffer and realises that he suffers from Aspergers Syndrome and battles with his obesity

What Adam Elliot has managed to create here is an absolute masterpiece of a film. This is no Pixar animation, it delves into some very dark areas of human life but always manages to have a laugh at hand that will actually get audience members to chuckle. The story holds up so well that you can only imagine just how well this film will do overseas. It will become an absolute smash hit amongst European cinemagoers and may even be the film that attracts Australian film goers back to actually paying to see an Australian film.

Elliot is a visionary director and he manages to capture shots that would normally be impossible in animated films. The scenery and Elliot’s eye-for-detail leave the audience in awe and even those who would normally avoid animated films will see the true beauty in ‘Mary And Max’.

Some may be surprised at the caliber of actors that Elliot has managed to get involved with ‘Mary And Max’. Certainly you wouldn’t normally expect for someone like Philip Seymour Hoffman to voice a character in an Australian animated film but it’s not hard to see that Hoffman would have read this script and fell in love with it straight away. The story found here has produced one of the best scripts that an actor could ever have fall into their laps.

Films as brilliant as ‘Mary And Max’ don’t come along very often. If I had to grade it out of ten I would give it one hundred.





Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(5)


IMDB Rating:  Mary and Max (2009) on IMDb


Other Subculture Entertainment Mary And Max reviews: This Mary And Max review first appeared in Buzz Magazine – October 2009.