Joshua Wolf Shenk doesn't believe in the myth of the lone genius. "What has one person ever done alone?" he asks NPR's Robert Siegel. "We think of Martin Luther King and Sigmund Freud and Warren Buffett and Steve Jobs as these great solo creators, but in fact, if you look into the details of their life, they are enmeshed in relationships all the way through."
Reckless immaturity in young people is generally diagnosed across generations, most often by parents worried about their supposedly underachieving kids. That makes the premise of Joe Swanberg's Happy Christmas relatively refreshing, even as it covers well-known ground.
Fittingly, one of Philip Seymour Hoffman's final performances is in a movie about role-playing. The masterly actor mutters and growls his way through A Most Wanted Man as a spy who's simultaneously fighting two losing wars: against the West's enemies as well as his own putative allies.
Further deepening the movie's ambiguity, the American actor plays a German in a story whose payoff is pungently anti-American.