Michael Hoffman

The Best of Me

The Nicholas Sparks idea well is running dry — also, hey, how come the guy hasn’t tried to kill anyone by tossing them down a well yet? surely, that has to be coming soon — and the prolific author has started cribbing from his own material to slap together lackluster storylines that only approximate genuine feelings, emotional ether floating on the breeze. The latest film to be adapted from Sparks’ written works, Michael Hoffman‘s The Best of Me is rife with plotlines pulled from other Sparks features — kid cancer, car accidents, using an interest in astronomy to prove that someone is smart, disapproving parents, a small Southern town (always a small Southern town, someone introduce Sparks to the North for chrissakes), trademark shocking deaths — but everything is so loosely cobbled together that the film feels closer to a cinematic adaptation of Nicholas Sparks-branded Mad Libs than it does an actual feature. There is, however, one thing that Sparks is still damn good at portraying: the idiocy of first love. But while Sparks’ stories are so often occupied with showing good-looking teens pawing away at each other (and, yes, also pawing away at deep emotions), Sparks steadfastly refuses to face the truth of what he’s writing. These kids are dumb. First love is not the end-all and be-all. The person you are at age seventeen is not the (cough cough) best version of yourself, and continuing to base books and movies on such ideals is, frankly, as immature as anything you’ll find in the average American high school. […]


CBS Films

Even the Coen Brothers deliver a dud on occasion, but the films usually still have something going for them. That isn’t the case with their penned remake of Gambit, directed by Michael Hoffman. It’s sad to say, but Gambit is like some fan aped their style in service of their flimsy idea of remaking Gambit. Replacing Michael Caine as Harry Deane is Colin Firth, playing a dweeby, undervalued Englishman. For years he’s suffered at the hands of his intolerable nudist boss, Lionel Shahbandar (Alan Rickman). To stick it to the art collecting Lionel, Harry decides to pull a fast one on him. Deane’s con involves pretending he’s found a famous painting by chance, owned by a small town American woman, PJ Punznowski (Cameron Diaz). Everything sounds so perfect in his head, but once he involves the unpredictable Punznowski his plan becomes less and less promising. Unfortunately, so does the film.


Gambit 2012 Movie

In the original Gambit, Michael Caine went up against the great Herbert Lom, but in the updated version, it’s Colin Firth attempting to pull one over on Alan Rickman. It’s a little bit like Ocean’s One, and instead of a dancer played by Shirley MacLaine, we get a Southern stereotype played by Cameron Diaz. Fortunately, everyone drops their pants in the trailer. The movie was written by The Coen Brothers and directed by Michael Hoffman (The Last Station, Soapdish), so it’s definitely got a pedigree. However there’s just something flat about this particular piece of marketing. Something sort of tired and silly without being funny. Check it out for yourself:



VE Day. 1945. The Allied Forces formally accept the surrender of Nazi Germany. For one night only, the teenage Princesses Margaret and Elizabeth are allowed out of Buckingham Palace to celebrate. Did that actually happen? I have no idea, but it’s the premise for the next project from director Michael Hoffman (The Last Station, One Fine Day, Soapdish). According to The Hollywood Reporter, Hoffman has cast Dakota Fanning as Margaret and is currently looking for his young Elizabeth (who people now know as the Queen of England (who just celebrated Ascension Day (so hopefully a young princess was allowed to go out and celebrate))). Historical fiction just hits me in the right spot, so I’m on board all the way. Hoffman continues to be an interesting director, and even though his work tends to be better if he writes the script as well, Girls’ Night Out was written by newcomer Trevor de Silva and was on the British version of the Black List (the list of great unproduced scripts) last year. Plus, Fanning has an undeniable talent. Now it’s just a matter of finding the best co-star for the job. Then, of course, there’s the question of how British fans will take the prospect of an American director toying around with their beloved royal family.

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published: 01.29.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015

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