Month: May 2006

The Longest Day (1962), Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton, Bernhard Wicki & Darryl F. Zanuck, A-

I’ve seen bits of this over the years, but never all the way through. Much like “A Bridge Too Far” it tackles the enormity of a major battle operation, zipping to all sorts of little dramas and perspectives. There may be one too many sequences of maps and pointer sticks for some people’s taste (not me) but there are other sequences — like Red Buttons watching his comrades get shot while hanging from his parachute caught on a church steeple — that remind us what only cinema can do. A surprisingly watchable film,...

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The Brothers Quay Collection (1987), Stephen & Timothy Quay, D-

I’m glad it wasn’t just me. Ann and I turned to one another — after our second attempt to watch this DVD (we wrote the first attempt off as us simply being sleepy) — and asked, “Is it me, or is this unwatchable?” Because, on paper, we thought we’d really dig this. The Brothers Quay cite Jan Svankmajer as their main influence (indeed, one of the shorts is called “The Cabinet of Dr. Svankmajer”) and we are both mad about Svankmajer. But. . .imagine if you took Svankmajer and drained all the humanity, all of the energy, all of the, hell, fun out of it. You’d be left with this. The technique is fascinating. . .for exactly five minutes. And then you want to go to sleep. We even tried to watch some of an interview with these guys, thinking that might give us some insight into their work. All we saw were two pretentious assholes who couldn’t formulate a sentence. I haven’t wanted to get a DVD back to Netflix this fast in...

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Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), Leonard Nimoy, A+

Here’s one of those movie-going experiences that changed my life. My Dad took me to see this at the Loews I would later work at, which is now a gym. Released just after my 12th birthday — I don’t think I’d ever seen a movie that so fully captured my imagination as this one. I’d always been a fan of Trek, but this turned me into the full-on psychotic that I remain today. But everyone loves this movie. When we dragged my mother to see it — even she admitted it was funny. And it still is funny. The shtick between McCoy and Spock discussing philosophy, while not as sidesplitting as I remember, still works. This is a perfect adventure movie filled with brain twisters, unexpected problems, good humor and a nice eco-friendly happy ending. Sometimes I marvel at the fact that there could ever be a discussion as to “which is better? Star Trek or Star Wars?” Star Wars is a collection of genre films. Star Trek is real...

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Sayonara (1957), Joshua Logan, B

An American married to an Oriental?! Whaaaaaaaa?! So, yes, this movie is obscenely dated and 100% predictable. And yet — we couldn’t turn away. Brando’s southern accent didn’t deter from the train wreck effect. Must admit I fell asleep before the end (TCM’s broadcast ended at 12:30 AM on a Friday) but I think I got the gist of...

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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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