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A Matter of Perspective, TNG 3

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Friday, June 29th, 2007

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Oy.  A disaster.  Trek does Rashamon.  Whatever.  What I don’t like about this (and many Holodeck stories) is that it just doesn’t follow its own rules.  Holograms can’t think for themselves this much and, as holograms, they don’t take on the properties of what they are making facsimiles of.  Hence (and I hate that I have to get into this), the Kreiger Wave would never have assaulted the Enterprise.

Also:  what’s up with Troi’s uniform?  One day it is purple, the next it is blue.  I like both of them for different reasons.  

Deja Q, TNG 3

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Friday, June 29th, 2007

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I enjoy the Q episodes, even though I understand the frustrations.  He’s too powerful, he’s too goofy.  Whatever.  This is the one where he gets stripped of his Q-ness, yet Picard still defends him against the floaty silver stuff.  If Laura Roslin were in charge of the Enterprise, out the frickin’ airlock!

A Joke You Need To Spell To Make Funny

Jordan | E-motions | Monday, June 25th, 2007

. . .and even then you’ll need some help.

Nevertheless, I wrote this one yesterday on the rock trail at the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx and I’ve been repeating it nonstop.  So here goes.

Q:  How did one geologist greet the other?

A:  Gneiss to see you!

Ba dump bump.

New York Doll (2005), Greg Whiteley, F

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal,No News Is Good News | Monday, June 25th, 2007

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I may be being overly harsh, but this film, nearly frame-for-frame, is the perfect arguement against our culture’s obsessive proliferation with digital video documentaries about every artist who ever lived. One could argue that the New York Dolls could be the subject of a doc. Maybe. But a doc just on the bass player? The bass player??! Arthur “Killer” Kane used to be in the New York Dolls. Even back then he was mocked for being “a statue” on stage. Then he converted to Mormonism. “Oooooooh!” That’s the whole movie. Shots of him then with long hair, now with a white shirt. That’s it. That’s the whole fucking thing. Arthur Kane is, by the way, the most boring man on the planet. He has nothing to say. He is the least compelling interview subject in history. He looks wooden and mumbles and is probably thinking “why am I being interviewed?” Good stinkin’ question.

There’s a reunion concert. David Johansson lights up the room for 30 seconds. Then Kane drops dead. The movie ends on a sad note so people think they’ve seen something good. I hate to sound crass, but the filmmaker just lucked into that. If Kane didn’t die so unexpectedly, he’d have no film.

1408 (2007), Mikael Håfström, A-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Monday, June 25th, 2007

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By now you’ve probably heard that “1408″ is being heralded as the return of the intelligent horror film. I’ll jump on that bandwagon. In lieu of the torture-porn you’ll find in your “Saws” and “Hostels” (not that I’ve seen any of those films) is an actual story, actual emotion. “1408″ is essentially a one-man show and John Cusack is up to the task. Believe it or not, “1408,” a treatise on grief and loss, is actually quite touching (as well as being exciting, spooky & cool.) As far as movies about a guy going bananas alone in a room, I’d place it somewhere below “The Tenant” and somewhere above “Body/Antibody.”

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), Tim Story, C

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, June 24th, 2007

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I don’t know what my problem is, but I kinda liked this movie. Every critical bone in my body says, “Give this movie the ‘F’ it deserves” but, much like the first one, I found this Fantastic Four film a genuine piece of idiotic entertainment. Johnny Torch is amusing, junkyard-jew Ben Grimm has a funny accent and I’m not going to be the one to say that Jessica Alba (care of her team of surgeons, stylists and trainers) is unnatractive. And the Silver Surfer is Silver.

The High Ground, TNG 3

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Sunday, June 24th, 2007

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Ripped from today’s headlines, a dialogue on terrorism and its practical uses. A fairly 8th grade civics class conversation is had — is terrorism ever justified? Where is the line between terrorist and freedom fighter? Blah blah blah. It’s a decent enough episode, with Dr. Crusher trapped as the damsel in distress and a planet’s police force that looks surprisingly Logan’s Run/(original) Battlestar Galactica.

The Hunted, TNG 3

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Sunday, June 24th, 2007

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I remember seeing this 17 years ago and it was as awesome then as it is now. A planet that has acheived total peace has done so at the cost of their own soldiers. Altered at a molecular level to be awesome 6 Million Dollar Man-style killing machines, they were unable to reintegrate into society and have therefore been exiled to a small moon. Only you don’t know any of this during the first half of the episode because we are too busy seeing the Enterprised totally out-runned, out-gunned and out-thunk by just one man. He’s Space Rambo and he’s awesome. At the end, though, Picard gets to use the Prime Directive to his advantage and kinda stick it to the Man. Troi smiles.

The Defector, TNG 3

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Sunday, June 24th, 2007

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Bamm! High quality stuff. We open with a Shakespeare rehearsal (nod to TOS, P-Stew in-joke) then zip off the Neutral Zone for a Red October-esque is-he or isn’t-he Romulan defection. This one keeps you guessing right up to the end and supplies a nice twist. Also, references to episodes in this and earlier seasons, kinda before seasonal continuity was a mandate in TV.

The Vengeance Factor, TNG 3

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Sunday, June 24th, 2007

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An advanced, peaceful society wants to broker a peace with its exiled, marauding faction. But maybe not everyone on the Prime Minister’s council is so dovish? A so-so episode that might’ve been better if the mullets weren’t so intense and the set didn’t look like the staging area for a ride at Great Adventure.

The Illusionist (2006), Neil Burger, B+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Friday, June 22nd, 2007

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I really enjoyed this movie. It is a “high B+” if that makes any sense. The photography, sets & art direction are astounding. Paul Giamatti is magnificent, Edward Norton is, as always, terrific and Rufus Sewell does a nice Joaqin Phoenix from “Gladiator.” (Correct me if I am wrong, but Jessica Biel is a little bit awful. Like, “I am watching a high school play” awful. Still, there isn’t much for her to do other than look pretty so it isn’t that big of a distraction.) The movie is predictable, though, and there’re one or two things that aren’t explained. . .but, still, this is a great old fashioned Hollywood movie that is quite enjoyable.

Mahler’s 7th Symphony at the New York Philharmonic

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Friday, June 22nd, 2007

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Sometimes it is great to see a performance of a classical piece you’ve never heard before. I mean, that’s how they did it in the old days, right? I figured this is a good bet. I am familiar with and adore many of Mahler’s other symphonies. Well, I cannot lie, 90 minutes of nonstop Mahler that I’ve never heard before. . .in a dark room after a long hot day. . . No, I didn’t fall asleep. But I had to fight it. Does this make me a philistine? If so, hey, at least I am an honest one.

The NY Phil season is over — I enjoyed my package of X amount of shows (I forget how many I saw) and I am certain I’ll sign up again for the Fall.

The Price, TNG 3

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Friday, June 22nd, 2007

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I gotta be honest. “The Price” is a decent enough episode and I’d probably rate it higher if it weren’t for one thing. . . Deanna’s love interest is Lloyd Braun???? Yes, it is impossible to take George Costanza’s childhood nemesis (and co-computer salesman) seriously so, as a result, this episode is ruined for all time. Even if the stuff with the wormhole is cool (first wormhole story!) and we get to see Troi and Dr. Crusher engage in near-tribadism whilst working out in bizarre space-spandex.

The Good German (2006), Steven Soderbergh, C+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

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Everyone I spoke to late last year who saw “The Good German” said that, surprisingly, it kinda sucked. I tried to put that out of my mind and, during the opening credits, I thought, They’re all nuts! This movie is gonna’ be great. After the opening credits, I saw what they were talking about. Don’t get me wrong: the credits (and the poster, and the overall look and performance style) are remarkable and Soderbergh (who directed and shot and cut this picture) deserves all the accolades for his genre exercise. Still, somehow, the movie is a drop dead bore. The main problem is the characters. Can’t quite figure out or empathize with our two leads. Too busy trying to unravel the maddeningly twisted plot. One’s mind can’t help but compare this to the material it apes: “The Third Man,” “A Foreign Affair,” “Casablanca,” the middle section of “Gravity’s Rainbow.” And one can’t help but realize how much better that stuff is.

Signs of Life (1968), Werner Herzog, B

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

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Herzog’s first feature is deep Herzog. I’d only suggest this if you’ve tackled Fata Morgana or Heart of Glass. This movie is slow. This movie is about boredom. Seriously. A group of soldiers stationed on Crete have nothing to do. One (slowly) goes bananas from boredom. When this happens a little bit of action follows and then the movie ends. Here’s what happened to me: I turned this movie on one night and fell asleep. I turned it on the second night and fell asleep. I turned it on in the early evening and then I realized there were a lot of beautiful shots and odd, little moments I hadn’t noticed before. I’m guessing this is a good one to see in a theater. The rewards are there if you work for ‘em.

Q: The Winged Serpent (1982), Larry Cohen, C

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

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You’d think that “Q: The Winged Serpent” would be a good movie, wouldn’t you? Quetzalcotl is living in the spire of the Chrysler Building? Well, apart from some fantastic location shots (best is seeing the old Memorial Hospital on 106th & CPW — now multi gazillion dollar apartments — in complete disrepair) this movie is a mess and (alas) even a bit of a bore. It took me nearly the entire movie to realize that the guy who I thought we were supposed to dislike was actually the good guy. Why? WHYYYY? I so wanted to like this, but I couldn’t. Instead it is merely okay average fun.

The Enemy, TNG 3

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

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Space storms, secret Romulan doings, Picard acting tough (not even acting, being tough!) plus Worf’s refusal to be part of a Romulan blood donor plan. An action packed episode that leaves a few things unresolved, and, even better, lets Worf be Worf. I feel liks sometimes everyone is yelling at Worf, making him compromise. Like he’s some bratty kid or something. This time Worf sticks to his guns. He tells the Captain that he would only give his blood (which, of course, is the only kind that would save the captive Romulan) if ordered. When Picard tries to guilt him into it without issuing an order, Worf basically tells him to fuck off. Good for you, Worf!

Booby Trap, TNG 3

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

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A classic race-against-the-clock episode as the Enterprise falls into an old trap for a long forgotten war. LaForge can only solve the riddle by monkeying about in the Holodeck and (naturally) falling in love. When he kisses his holo-girlfriend we finally see the first inkling of what we all know is the real reason to have a Holodeck on a multi-year deep space mission.

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