Month: February 2009

Paris 36 (2008), Christophe Barratier, C

Pretty stinkin’ bland.  How can a movie about a music hall in the days leading up to WWII be bland?  Trust me, it can be done. When a plot hole arised, I didn’t even have the energy to fight about it.  I did, however, enjoy some of the songs and, I can not lie, the picture looked great.  Little boy playing the accordian with the Cathedrale Notre Dame behind him?  What’s not to...

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Tokyo! (2009), Michel Gondry, Leos Carax and Bong Joon-Ho, A

I don’t much care for “omnibus” films. Has there ever been a truly good one? New York Stories from the late 80s has an awesome short by Scorsese, a mostly-awesome short by Woody Allen and a piece of dreck from Francis Ford Coppola. And they had nothing to do with one another in content or form. And that might be the best one I’ve ever seen. Until now. Tokyo!, by three non-Japanese directors, also features three stories that have no connection to one another. However the three stories are really fantastic. Gondry’s short is straight-up Jules et Jim new wave/new lovers experiencing art and troubles in the big city. Bong’s short kinda rips off the work of Kerry Douglas Dye and Jordan Hoffman, featuring a man who never leaves his apartment and falling in love. But it trades the noir elements for existential symbolism. The real find is in the middle – Leos Carax’s absurdist tale Merde!. It is a tweak on the Godzilla paradigm. Something emerges from the sewers. In this case it is a stinking madman (Dennis Levant) who eats flowers and cash and talks in gibberish. That description makes little sense, I know, but you just kinda have to see it. It is one of the greatest performances...

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Watchmen (2009), Zach Snyder, ???

Who watches the Watchmen? More importantly, who watches the Internet? If I break the review embargo, even here on my personal blog, I’ll have broken a promise. So I won’t say a word about this movie. This post is really just to brag to the one or two of you who maybe didn’t hear that I saw this so much earlier than you did. I am...

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The Last House on the Left (2009), Dennis Iliadis, B+

Maybe I’m just tired of movies with all kinds of crazy twists. The remake of Last House on the Left plays it straight, just like the original. It is a basic tale of terror, protection, revenge. Unlike the original, it has a really nice filmic sheen. The simple story milks each moment – how is the guy down there gonna’ get the guy up there? A really slick, good time at the movies, provided you have the stomach for some...

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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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