Month: December 2007

Juggernaut (1974), Richard Lester, C+

The Brits do a disaster film. So it is a little more tasteful, but also boring. The sequences where there are actually bombs being diffused are pretty cool, though. Every English actor you ever heard of is in this – including a young and dark haired Ian Holm. A question, though – was Omar Sharif always an awful actor, or did I slowly become one? I rented this because it got a lot of praise from Steven Soderbergh in his book Getting Away With It. That musta been the Soderbergh of The Good German...

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I’m Not There (2007), Todd Haynes, B

Am I really going to compare I’m Not There to The Passion of the Christ and James Cawley’s New Voyages films? Yes – and I will do it with love. Before I do, first, hats off to Haynes and co for making the only possible Bob Dylan film – one that doesn’t once mention the name Bob Dylan. I enjoyed watching this film tremendously. But I am a big Dylan fan. In fact, there was a time when I was a little obsessed and, as such, I caught (I think) all the easter eggs in this movie. But I kept wondering about my friend Kerry. Kerry probably knows two facts about Bob Dylan – that we sang “Like A Rolling Stone” and, well, that might be the only fact he knows about him. So I’m Not There will be a gigantic puzzle. Much like The Passion of the Christ offered a tale with no context – the iconography of I’m Not There will mean nothing to those that aren’t already converted. And speaking of iconography – from a formal point of view, this may be Haynes best work. What a sandbox he has to play in! (And Ed Lachman to shoot it!) The costumes, the hair, the houses and sets – Haynes was no doubt in heaven recreating the scenarios hinted at in documentary footage and on the inner...

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Birthright Part 2, TNG 6

So Worf’s father did die at Khitomer – but there is a secret Romulan “prison” holding some leftover Klingons from that battle. The defences are down, though, and both sides are living in (gasp!) peace. Cool for the older generation, but what about the youngsters? Worf comes to give everyone a lesson in hate in one of the oddest philosophical statements ever made on TV. Be true to your heritage – even if that makes you a big...

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Birthright Part 1, TNG 6

Worf learns that perhaps his father did not die at Khitomer, but is living in a Romulan prison. Meanwhile, the Enterprise, which just happens to be docked at Deep Space Nine, allows Dr. Bashir to come aboard to tinker with a gizmo he got in the Gamma Quadrant. After a good zapping, Data unlocks a part of his brain that allows him to dream. But did he “earn it” as Dr. Soong hoped, or is it all the zapping’s fault? Dunno – Data is too busy groovin’ on his own...

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30 Rock, Season 1, A

I don’t have enough nice things to say about 30 Rock. Ann and I watched the entire first season in two sittings (albeit with a 2 month gap in between.) I don’t know which character I like the best – Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Jane Krakowski, Tracy Morgan and the dude who plays Kenneth are all top contenders. I can say for sure that my favorite side character isn’t Josh or Dot Com or Grizz or the Beeper Salesman — it has to be Dr. Spaceman. Sometimes I just say Dr. Spaceman and laugh and laugh. If anyone knows how I can get my hands on the Season 2 epsiodes that already aired before they come to DVD, please let me know. In the meantime, I’ll be humming the theme...

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John Barth – The Sot-Weed Factor

For months, literally months, I’ve been slowly making my way through this dense 1960 novel by John Barth. I am pleased it is over. I enjoyed it tremendously, but, much like Gravity’s Rainbow (a book it resembles only in its chutzpah) it was a bit of a chore. At 800 pages of prose written as ye’d be likely to o’erhear a typical wight speakin whilst in his cups, it was very slow going. If you have the patience, though, I strongly recommend it. I can think of no more humorous book about prostitutes, pirates, rape, defecation, sexually transmitted diseased, dildos, “salvage” Indians, rebellious slaves, scheming indentured servants, incest, bestiality, poetry, starvation, prurience, virginity, opium, obscure history about the Province of Maryland, corrupt judges, Protestantism vs Papacy, lunatic plot twists, mistaken identity and more. It is actually based on a real Maryland settler Ebenezer Cooke who wrote a 17th Century satirical verse called The Sot-Weed Factor. (Sot-weed a term for tobacco, a factor being a salesman.) Barth fabricated (slowly, and in florid verse) the inspiration that lead Cooke to pen his poem. This is the second Barth novel I’ve read. I think I enjoyed The Last Voyage of Somebody The Sailor a little more as that was truly sick and twisted – The Sot-Weed Factor and its horrible lewdness described in acceptable, respectible English might be...

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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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