Month: July 2009

Two Lovers (2009), James Gray, A

American filmmakers don’t make this kind of movie in 2009. A fantastic, unpredictable and wonderfully observed character study. Any attempt at a synopsis would deaden the impact of what’s on screen. This movie isn’t about the plot points, it is about the behavior. Gray’s style (I’ve long been a fan) cuts through miles of bullshit and zeroes in directly on how people think and act and what is of importance to real humans in real situations. I have high praise for this movie. One of the best of the...

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Funny People (2009), Judd Apatow, B-

Judd Apatow makes his Almost Famous. Well, more like he makes his All That Jazz. Well, frankly, not quite as good as either. There are many, many funny moments in this movie (all hail Jason Shwartzman!) but, ultimately, it falls apart. Too long, too uneven, ending truly sucks. But I laughed many times. My “B-” is, frankly, a little on the kind side, but there’s so much good will up there on the screen I can’t in good conscience slam this movie. It is the epitome of “not...

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X-Men – Endangered Species

I like a nice Myriad Universe tale. Our story begins as Scarlet Witch proclaims an end to the Mutant Gene. Most mutants lose their powers – no new mutants are born. Beast – ever the believer is science – searches everywhere in this or other Universes to find the cause. Of course, the “dark Beast” from the Age of Apocalypse joins him. Best is when they enter the Santcum Santorum. Or make believe mountain ranges. Or make believe Eastern European countries. Either way, this is pretty great stuff. Beast is one of the coolest X-Men and this is all...

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The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), Woody Allen, A+

A perfect movie. I’ve probably seen it 25 times and I still catch new things here and there. Mia Farrow’s performance is what really nails it. She chooses not to make her working class Cecilia the typical dummy with “ain’ts” and “gonna’s” but with poise and dignity. She’s got herself in a bad situation and knows it – that’s why she chooses Gil over Tom at the end. She’s not stupid enough to throw everything away on a dream (but, of course, she is dumb enough to fall for Gil’s ploy.) This is one of the very few – maybe even the only – Woody Allen movie that makes me wonder about a sequel. Could Gil have gone back to New Jersey five years later? Maybe Raoul Walsh blacklists him and he is destitute his own damned self? Dear Lord, has anyone written Woody fan...

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Tron: Ghost in the Machine

Look – a Tron comic could be awful and it would still be great, you know? Ghost in the Machine isn’t awful. It isn’t good either. But it has Recognizers and I/O Towers and Alan One. How can you pass this up? The six issues are actually sequel to the video game Tron 2.0 (which is summarized in the first issue) and has a big, fat dollop of The Matrix-esque heavy philosophy in it. The entire run closes with a quote from Descartes, if you can believe such a thing. The art is awesome – well, scratch that. The art is unique (lots of digital-looking stuff) but since it is of the Tron world it instantly takes on awesome properties. I can not tell a lie and say I was too engrossed in the story or characters – but it is TRON! These comics are hard to find in the Real World. You’ll need the help of your computer to track them down. I am aware of the irony. The TPB is here, or you could use that same site to get the 6 single issues (as I...

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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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