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Paris 36 (2008), Christophe Barratier, C

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Friday, February 27th, 2009

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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 like? 

Groom Lake (2002), William Shatner, D

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Friday, February 27th, 2009

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It pains me to say this, but, hoo-boy, what a gargantuan piece of dreck. 

Although who can deny the pleasures of seeing Dick Van Patten launch rockets from behind an iMac?

Ed Wood lives…..and he’s Captain Kirk.

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

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

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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 ever.

Watchmen (2009), Zach Snyder, ???

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

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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 awesome.

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

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

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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 brutality.

You Are Cordially Invited, DS9 6

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

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I kept myself together at my own wedding, but got a little misty-eyed at Dax and Worf’s.

The Year of Hell Part I, VOY 4

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

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Maybe it is because I watched this toward the tail-end of a recent, long plane ride – but I kinda had trouble following this episode. Maybe that’s a good thing? Maybe the stories should be a little opaque? Or is this just incompetent? Let’s split the difference – all I know is that Kurtwood Smith (yay!) is fucking around with time and destroying all sorts of shit. As a result, the Voyager is a floating piece of junk and all hands are so busy they don’t even have time to fix a lightbulb. It is a different “year of hell” than what Kes predicted last season, but not so different they can use that to their advantage. It ends with an evacuation of pods and some minor chords of doom. What next?

Sacrifice of Angels, DS9 6

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

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The Federation vs. the Dominion at Terok Nor/Deep Space Nine.

Greatest space battle ever?

My heart rate has still yet to return to normal.

Scientific Method, VOY 4

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

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This one taps into all of my deepest fears. Our reality is just one floor on an interdimensional being’s elevator. We don’t know it, but aliens are all around us at all times. AND THEY ARE DOING MEDICAL EXPERIMENTS ON US! No wonder I have that splitting headache!

Janeway discovers crazy-ass shit going on and gets totally badass to defeat them. Good to see Janeway take the gloves off as she pulls a Kirk and authorizes an auto-destruct game of inter-species chicken.

Favor the Bold, DS9 6

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

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Sisko plots a daring attack against the Dominion forces to re-take Deep Space Nine. Worf and Martok must convince Gowron to support the Federation plan. And meanwhile Quark, of all people, must be the man on the inside.

Part 6 of 7 is also part 1 of 2. The shit’s about to fly.

Behind The Lines, DS9 6

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

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It is part 5 of 7 of the Dominion Occupied Station arc and things are humming along with a perfection seldom seen outside of a highly rehearsed Chinese acrobatics show. (Huh?) What I mean to say is, Odo is letting the Great Link infuse him with apathy, Kira is ready for destruction, Sisko is promoted, Dax is helming the Defiant and Worf is all worried. This is awesome stuff.

Little Green Men – Christopher Buckley

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

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It must suck a little bit to be thought of as a “humorist.” No doubt people take your work just a little less seriously. Then again, you sell six times as many books as a “serious novelist.” Anyway, dozens of times while reading Little Green Men, an 8 or so year old book from Christopher “Wry Martinis” Buckley, I had to stop myself right there on the subway and think, “Holy Shit, that is so clever!” If that isn’t one of life’s treasures I don’t know what is.

This tale of DC insiders colliding with Roswell lunatics is LOLworthy from cover to cover, and the “story” that frames it isn’t so bad either. There’s been talk of a movie version for some time – it could work, but what’s best are Buckley’s (tres, tres) bon mots. Should you find this one in a used book store, grab it.

Get Smart (2008), Peter Segal, D+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, February 14th, 2009

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The scenes with Alan Arkin are funny, but the rest is just frickin’ horrible. A real shame. The TV series was hilarious. And very Jewish. This movie is way too concerned with plot, stunts and Masi Oka – none of which are Jewish. There are two or three moments where Steve Carell reminds you that he has good delivery, but that ain’t enough.

Brainstorm (1983), Douglas Trumbull, A-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, February 14th, 2009

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Brainstorm is a movie that has so many fantastic things happening in it that one can totally forgive that the final, oh, thirty minutes are complete garbage.

The premise, if you don’t know, is about a machine that can transmit (later record) experiences. EG, I eat fudge – you taste fudge. Later the device is able to record emotions and, ultimately, death.

This is the movie that made me fall in love with Christopher Walken. No one can space out in 70mm quite like him.

Special effects genius Trumbull did all kinds of radical things with the look of this movie – special lenses, special aspect ratios for different scenes. The newly released DVD (Jan of 2009) is the first time the correct aspect ratios have ever been shown outside of its initial theatrical run – and even that was a bit of a boondoggle. And, yes, it makes a difference.

The problem with Brainstorm is the same problem with Altered States – it is hard to film what discovering the secrets of the Universe looks like. There can only be one 2001: A Space Odyssey. Points for trying, though – and awesome use of 1980s EPCOT Center-esque architecture.

This movie knocks my socks off. I’m so glad this DVD came out. I want to watch it again and again – indeed, I want to splice a loop of the really good parts and play it all night in my basement until my synapses freeze over …

Coraline (2008), Henry Selick, A-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, February 14th, 2009

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I’m glad I missed the press screening(s) of Coraline. It was much more fun to see this at leisure on the giant Zeigfeld Theater screen with Ann, Denise & Chris W with a gargantuan bag of popcorn and enormous drum of Sierra Mist.

Visually, the film alternated between effing sweet and absolute perfection. The story is classic, yet still original. My only complaint is that the ending felt a little rushed – but maybe it was just that the opening is unhurried.

Anyway, don’t wait til video for this one – it is worth the ticket price.

Oh, and if you want to know more about stop motion animation, with lots of cool examples, check this out.

Sons and Daughters, DS9 6

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Saturday, February 14th, 2009

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Every now and then I’ll think, whatever happened to Alexander Rozhenko?

Worf, second in command on the IKS Rotarran under General Martok, welcomes new recruits. Among them: Alexander, his quarter-Terran son. The one who refused to swing a Bat’leth sword on the holodeck of the Enterprise. Will he be fit for battle against the Jem’Hadar?

Also, Dukat returns from Bajor with Ziyal. Can Kira still be a mentor to her with Dukat around?

Oy, such problems!!

Rocks and Shoals, DS9 6

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Saturday, February 14th, 2009

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After destroying the Ketracel-White factory, Sisko’s stolen Jem’Hadar ship crashlands on a desert island….I mean, planet. And, wouldn’t ya know it, an injured Vorta is there with a handful of body men. And he’s nearly all out of White.

Some chess moves later and Sisko is forced to kill everyone and take the Vorta hostage before getting rescued by Martok.

A fantastic episode, especially because it ends with Angry Sisko yelling. That is always a plus.

Revulsion, VOY 4

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Saturday, February 14th, 2009

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This is a dumbass episode. I’m willing to buy that the EMH would have written into his program the ability to change and “grow” over time depending on its environment, but not a hologram who is designed to work in a boiler room all day. Oh, What that “Data is alive!” episode has wrought! We need a few cylons out the airlock once in a while.

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