The Transporter (2002), Corey Yuen and Louis Leterrier, B-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

I’ve seen Transporter 2 (okay, most of Transporter 2) but not this and since every article I publish at UGO seems to reference this film as a hallmark of our time I thought it appropriate that I check this out. The action sequences are indeed dazzling and the bizarre choice of music on the soundtrack makes it clear that you should be having fun. And much of it is fun. Lots of jumping and stuff.

Now I’ve seen The Transporter.

Lacombe, Lucien (1974), Louis Malle, A

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

There are a hundred different ways to interpret Lacombe, Lucien and that ambiguity is part of its perfection.

On the surface, it is a GoodFellas-like look into the waning days of Vichy-France. A young, dumb kid wanders his way into being a member of the Gestapo. Is the propaganda forcing him? Is he just naturally a brute? Is he just trying to impress the girls? Doesn’t he realize the girl he is trying to impress is Jewish?

Malle offers no answers, just observation, and lets you draw the line of culpability. One thing is clear: so much of history goes the way it does for “unofficial” reasons. Had Lucien been a little bit older (or the recruiter less of a stickler) he would have joined the Resistance. Had his mother not been sleeping around once his father had been takes as a POW, he might have just stayed on the farm. And on and on.

There are many remarkable settings in this film – the police station in the converted hotel with its never closing bar, Django Reinhardt records, aging film star and upstairs torture chamber. The ant-ridden, Malick-esque rural retreat where Lucien and “France” (the Jewish daughter of the patrician Parisian tailor) make their last stand. The Resistance-sympathizing doctor’s home where Lucien goes on a loot-filled sting. The detail is remarkable (lots of animals get killed in ways that don’t look fake); sadly, there is a lot of truth in this story.

Star Trek: Gold Key Collection #1

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

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Some months back I read collection # 3 and thought, man, this is such utter crap I won’t ever read another of the Gold Key collections. Yet, here we are.

There is a rare level of enjoyment in these dated, completely un-Trek like first comics. I mean, even the GOOD comics have their ridiculous qualities. Take the rather artfully painted TNG graphic novel The Gorn Crisis. Who can deny that part of its pleasure is that the baddie is named Captain Slesssh?!?

Anyway, with these early stories you get a crew that says things like “Holy Asteroids! What in Blue Blazes IS that thing?” The bridge looks like the inside of a submarine with planetarium equipment. Away teams beam down in teleport chambers, sending “radio TV transmissions” (read on reel-to-reel tapes.) Warp drive takes a back seat to “rocket power” and various nebulae are known as “space walls.” Spock only acts like a Vulcan when the writers seem to remember, the rest of the time he is quaking in fear or shouting.

This collection is pretty massive – 200 or so pages – and there’s a moronic chuckle on each on.

Technology

Jordan | Tales Of Hoffman | Sunday, April 27th, 2008

Un Coeur En Hiver (1992), Claude Sautet, C-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, April 27th, 2008

French cinema is often unfairly dismissed as slow, talky and plotless. A ridiculous statement, obviously. Which is why a movie like this is doubly awful. It is a carnival of French movie stereotypes. And also – flat out lies if you read the back of the DVD box that calls it sexy and sensual.

As far as I can tell it is about a violin repairman who is a snooty douche who is quiet all the time. A violinist decides she is in love with him, but he doesn’t much care. Then everyone looks sad. Seventeen hours later, the damned thing ends.

Some good music, though

King Corn (2007), Aaron Woolf, B+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, April 27th, 2008

Everything is made of corn! Even your hair!

And it isn’t really good corn, unfortunately. This well-told and humorous doc manages to be informative and helpful without being a pain in the ass. Unlike other, better known documentarians, the King Corn team lets you draw your own conclusion and goes easy on the pedantics.

On the surface, just watching the way modern corn is grown, sold and used is pretty fascinating. I know so much more about corn, now. And I’m never drinking soda again.

We Own The Night (2007), James Gray, B+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, April 26th, 2008

A great, overlooked small film.

Some critics ragged on this movie because it doesn’t have any unpredictable twists and turns. I say that is part of what makes it work. It is a straightforward cops & criminals movie that is more about terrific acting and realistic setting than anything else.

I always take an interest in a movie set in New York’s “Outer Boroughs” and this is one of the few that really nails it. The clothes, the furniture, the attitude. This movie is the anti-Guide To Recognizing Your Saints.

This movie won’t change your life, but it is worth checking out.

Iron Man (2008), Jon Favreau, A-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, April 26th, 2008

A tremendous amount of fun. Robert Downey is a blast to watch and watching him build the Iron Man suit both raw-dog style in a cave and hi-tech with Stark Industry’s 3-D GUI is worth the price of admission.

Far and away one of the most enjoyable comic book adaptations I’ve seen, Favreau keeps it light and fun. The only complaint could be that the final battle seems a little less-than-epic, but how much screen time can you devote to two robo-men banging metal at each other? The Tron-inspired/Sabbath-tuned closing credits are neat, too.

Star Trek: Ashes of Eden

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Saturday, April 26th, 2008

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Cover image

A thorough graphic novel based on a book “written by” William Shatner (with not one but two credited aides.)

Set between the events of Star Trek VI and Generations, this is a mostly cool story that, frankly, would’ve been better than some of the upcoming TNG films.

Kirk, feeling old (hasn’t that been a plot point since Wrath of Khan?) retires from Starfleet but is whisked away Johnson-first by a sexy Klingon-Romulan halfbreed whose planet “needs his help.” The planet is some sort of Fountain of Youth (echoes of cheesy Star Trek V – I guess Shatner was involved in the story after all) and the rogue elements in the Federation (not all wiped away from the end of The Undiscovered Country I guess) are setting him up for a big fall. Sulu and the Excelsior must save the day. Chases ensue.

I can not deny that I found this book a pleasant diversion on the 1.5 subway rides it took me to read.

The House of Quark, DS9 3

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Saturday, April 26th, 2008

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Quark defeats the Klingons! With his accounting prowess!

A drunken Klingon falling on his own sword mixes Quark up in a tale of battling Klingon houses, nets him a temporary bride and also affords him an opportunity to do something noble. Something he seems to be doing more and more of lately.

The Search Part II, DS9 3

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Saturday, April 26th, 2008

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Odo is having fun changing into eagles, Kira, while happy for him, can’t get off the hidden Shapeshifter planet and Sisko & co are all miraculously saved and brought back to DS9. And that’s when Admiral Nechayev seems even bitchier than usual, ready to commit to an unusually hasty treaty with the Dominion. The treaty will leave Bajor for dead and piss off the Romulans something fierce. Even Garak thinks it is a bad idea.

So what’s going on? Actually, a Jem’Hadar/Vorta run Matrix-esque test simulation. Our heroes are saved though when Kira and Odo discover the shenanigans are being run in a secret underground lair on the Shapeshifter planet. Why there? Because the Shapeshifters are the Founders. Whaaaaaaat?

The Search Part I, DS9 3

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Saturday, April 26th, 2008

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Season 3 opens with a sneaky bang. The Defiant! Replete with Romulan operated cloaking device, Sisko brings this “war ship” back from Earth to pop across the wormhole to try & make nice with The Founders. Good luck. After some early success from Quark, there are men left behind, kidnappings and what seems like Odo deserting. Turns out he is just “called home” and meets some pools of goo that are his parents.

The Darjeeling Limited (2007), Wes Anderson, C

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

The wallpaper is terrific, really it is. And the hand-stitched tablecloths. Seriously, fabulous. But surface delights aside, there is no connection to the characters here. With about twenty minutes left in the picture I asked aloud, “when is the movie going to start?”

Rarely do Ann and I disagree on a movie this much (she really dug it) but I just couldn’t get past the problem that I just couldn’t find the story. What was the conflict? Where are these people coming from? What do they want? What are we rooting for? And, frankly, the whole Kipling-esque sub-continent gawking seems a little bit crude. The only thing to actually happen in this movie is the death of a poor village boy – an opportunity for our three rich travellers to examine their place in the world? Sure, maybe – but, better yet, an opportunity to blast the Kinks and have a meaningless slo-mo tracking shot as hipster in cool haircuts walk across the frame.

Wes Anderson makes terrific AT&T and American Express commericals. Feature films just really aren’t his calling.

The Jem’Hadar, DS9 2

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

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What starts as a goof in the Gamma Quadrant with Sisko, Jake, Nog and Quark on a camping trip (?) turns ugly when we meet (finally, after many passing references) emissaries of the Dominion. Rescues lead to battles lead to some crazy-ass suicide runs to blow up a Starship for no real reason. Sneaky twists and a pall of ominous death hovers over the fade out.

Trek once again shows its precience for having its unstoppable, unreasonable terrorist force have a somewhat Islamic sounding name. Or is that just me?

And that’s it for Season 2!

Tribunal, DS9 2

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

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Our first visit to Cardassia Prime! And it ain’t fun for Chief O’Brien.

A Josef K. scenario gives us some good insight into Cardassian culture, meanwhile the Maquis and factions of the Central Command conspire to cause mishigoss with the treaty. Been a trend lately…

Avery Brooks directed this one; maybe he’s a better director than actor?

Me and Guillermo del Toro

Jordan | Tales Of Hoffman | Monday, April 21st, 2008

We shop at the same store!

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More Comic-Con stuff at UGO.com.

More News From Comic-Con

Jordan | Tales Of Hoffman | Monday, April 21st, 2008

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When the end of Sunday came I had reached a level of exhaustion I hadn’t felt since….since San Diego Comic-Con.

The highlight has to’ve been the Harold & Kumar interviews, though. When I introduced myself to the two directors, they did a double take. Hey – we know you – THANK YOU for that awesome review. A few moments later, I was quite pleased with my ability to force NPH go off-script by cracking him up. Should you ever interview NPH, just use foreign phrases and he’ll get an uncontrollable case of the giggles (in this case it was “esprit de coeur” and “recicative.”) I know I just said this about Willem Dafoe, but Neil Patrick Harris is one of the coolest celebs I’ve met. Completely easygoing, funny, smart and seemed (at least) to enjoy talking with me.

Above is me, director Louis Letterier and Tim Roth.

Next Stop, Greenwich Village (1976), Paul Mazursky, C

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, April 20th, 2008

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The annoyingness of the above poster kinda sums up the movie. Chest-pounding Jewish mothers and surface conversation about the Rosenbergs aboud in this cliche-ridden and predictable film.

It is very well intentioned and (I’m sure) exctracted directly from Mazursky’s experience. But – oy – subtle it is not.

I give it a “Gentleman’s C” because its heart is in the right place and they at least had the decency to shoot the Cafe Reggio scenes at the Cafe Reggio. Supporting role by Christoper Walken is entertaning, and a cameo by the young Jeff Goldblum is fantastic, too. The rest, I’m ashamed to say, sucks quite badly no matter how much Dave Brubeck is on the soundtrack.

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