Month: October 2004

Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein (1994), Kenneth Branagh, C

Flawed, yes, deeply flawed, but not quite as horrible as I was led to believe. Firstly, as one who’s never read the book, I was at first taken with how different this is from the James Whale 1931 version. And through most of the picture I was taken with just how wise they were back then to shelve the melodramatic, rolling thunder plot. It just keeps going and going and gets more absurd and shifts through time and introduces people just to kill them and, frankly, makes it seem that the book was written on a drunken bender. But at other times, and perhaps I must give credit to Branagh’s performance in a film loaded with hammy performances, I was moved by the central character’s fury with, essentially, existence. The subtext here is rage against the machine, something untouched upon in the original film (which is fine because it has windmills and towers and Karloff’s flat head) but shown here in all its frustration and depravity. These moments, chiefly Frankenstein’s reactions to death, are striking, perhaps more so because the rest of this movie blows so overwhelmingly. Now — De Niro. We don’t like to admit it, but sometimes the guy is a fucking hack. And he is a joke here. There is a scene here where he and Branagh are angrily philosophizing in a cave and I flashed...

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Tootsie (1982), Sidney Pollack, A+

Caught this on TCM’s “The Essentials.” The script is like an atomic clock. Dustin gets into drag 25 minutes in and by then we’ve met a half dozen fantastic characters and feel like we know them our whole lives. Perfect economic writing. Everyone has a favorite scene — mine might be Teri Garr and the chocolate covered cherries. Her performance is hysterical and her character (the insecure and not-very-good faux-jolly unemployed actress) is the part she was born to play. I don’t understand how Jessica Lange and not she got the oscar. But I take it back. . .the scenes with Pollack as George the agent. These five scenes kill me every time. Pollack’s timing is wonderful. But, no. . .the party scene at the beginning. . .with Hoffman hitting on every woman there babbling about auras and Bill Murray waxing over his rain-drenched dream audience. . .surely that’s the best scene. Or the wacky shopping montage? Or the big “live” climax? Who can...

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We’re almost all moved in. We don’t have a couch and the art room is nothing but boxes, but you can get up in the middle of the night to take a leak and avoid bumping into things now. Not bad for the 1 week anniversary, I think. Photos coming...

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Boxed In!

I write to you from a pay terminal. My G4 is still in a box in a room we haven’t gotten to yet. Big thumbs up must be given to the following people with much haste: Denise Stockman Kerry Douglas Dye John Schmit Rob Haussmann Kim Tabatt Jason Rozger William Repsher and Jake & Larry Eventually I’ll write a bit more about who Jake & Larry are. Oddest thing in my new home: a Braille typewriter First best thing about the new ‘hood I’ve taken advantage of: Thai food. Second: I can take the N/W *or* the R train. First thing I don’t like about the new place: Plumbing. The toilet is on constant hiss, the kitchen sink drips and the shower gave me a 3rd degree burn. Lastly, 311 remains the coolest thing to happen to NYC in 10 years. I called it and quickly found out when garbage day was. I’ll never have to speak to neighbors again! Morte info soon. ....

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Jordan Hoffman is a New York-based writer and film critic working for The Guardian, Vanity Fair, Thrillist, Times of Israel, NY Daily News and elsewhere.

He is the host of ENGAGE: The Official Star Trek Podcast, a member of the New York Film Critics Circle and challenges you to a game of backgammon.

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