Month: February 2007

Daisy Miller (1974), Peter Bogdanovich, B+

Call me crazy, but I quite liked this movie. Yackity-yak-yak Daisy is quite well played by Cybill Shepherd. She’s putting her neck way out there in a role like this. (She also has the best plastic surgeon in Hollywood. She looks the same now as she did in 1974!) There is a lot of talking but everything is framed beautifully. Bogdanovich uses close-ups very effectively — the shooting style is similar to “Last Picture Show,” as are many of the themes of the story. A little catty at times, but always droll. Most of the movie is like a champagne buzz, so I was surprised that by the tragic end I found myself quite touched. I guess the soft sell does work...

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Fritz the Cat (1972), Ralph Bakshi, A-

Two shocking things. First: no, I’d never seen this before. In fact, other than the first reel or so of “Lord of the Rings” I’ve not seen *any* film by Ralph Bakshi. (I know, I know.) Second: this movie is actually good on its own merits — not just as shock value or a late-60s curiosity. But. . .as a late 60s curiosity. . .it is awesome!!!!. Two of my main fascinations is late 60s counter culture and its politics and New York City. So. . . when these two topics collide, I get quite giddy. (I find little mirth in London or San Francisco hippies. . .but longhairs on St. “Marx” Place get me very happy.) Anyway, Fritz, the assholic, date-raping, joint-sucking, negro-enchanted, vaguely-leftist NYU-attending cat has a number of far-out adventures. Best are the ones where real people were brought in to a studio to “rap in the mike” and the scene was later animated. All of the drawings of NYC are just beautiful. And Skip Hinnant, the voice of Fritz (and later of many, many children’s shows), has a real understanding of the “I-kinda-get-it” student who yearns for bohemianism so much that he’s rendered unable to find it. Sexist, racist, anti-Semetic, needlessly violent and morally ambivalent — this movie is *waaaay more* than cats fucking. But there are a lot of cats fucking. That’s fun,...

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The Counter-Clock Incident, TAS 2

The Animated Series ends on a high note — a solid what-if premise that’s fun and engaging. The Enterprise slips into a backwards universe. Space is white and stars are black. And everyone is getting younger. How to get back in time before Mr. Spock forgets his sums?!? An inordinate amount of techno-babble to explain the solution, I grant you, but I dare you to watch this and not have fun. And isn’t Baby Uhura...

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How Sharper Than a Serpent’s Tooth, TAS 2

This episode gets high marks just for being so fucking insane. It is an idiotic episode, don’t get me wrong, but anything so earnest and high concept — I have to have respect for it. Turns out *all* of Earth’s great societies owe a dept to a certain Froot Loops-colored winged space-serpent called Kukulkan (despite that Kirk insists on calling it KuKLAkan.) Mr. Kukulkan visited ancient Earth and hepped them it his society — but the peoples of the time were very selective in what they decided to keep. Pyramids and ziggurats, mostly. So now, thousands of years later, when Big K. is just kinda getting wind of this, he is naturally annoyed. So he has decided to wipe out humanity. Kirk & co. (aided by an Ensign Walking Bear, someone we’ve never seen before and won’t see again) talk him down from this position. Oh, and there’s a ferocious, electric pussycat. All ends...

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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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