Month: December 2009

Fight Club (1999), David Fincher, B-

The popularity of Fight Club proves that even uneducated people like to pretend they are smart once in a while. Okay, that may be a little harsh, but that is, really, the engine that’s pushing this kinda-almost interesting movie. There certainly are a lot of playful moments, and lots of good work on display (hats off especially to Helena Bonham Carter, who seems to be acting in her own little mannered, slapstick-y comedy off in the background) but, really, I weep for anyone who extracts meaning or, heavens, a philosophy from this preposterous film. Its biggest flaw (and there are many) is that it paints itself into the corner of needing to be realistic because, eventually, some serious stakes are raised. I bet this problem doesn’t happen in the book, where the silliness can stay hidden on the page. I wonder, maybe, if this was an adaptation that should never have happened. So, if I hate it so much, why the B-? Well, it is watchable. Edward Norton is a rock solid actor, the look is distinctive and the way it is all stitched together, albeit idiotic, is somewhat dazzling. I’ll probably watch this again in ten...

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The Beaches of Agnes (2009), Agnes Varda, B+

If you want to be a film diarist but are not French, you may as well give up right now. Agnes Varda is French (well, Belgian) so when she says things like “I live here, inside my cinema” somehow she can get away with it. This is a very charming, crafty autobiography that gets a little bit away from itself in some sections (more clever reenactments, less yap about your fabulous friends and kids) – but who the hell am I to tell this vibrant, 81 year old tornado of art and joy what to do!??! Just watch the movie, missteps and all, and...

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Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932), Robert Florey, C+

I wish I were one of those people who could get all worked up about the old Universal Horror pictures. But I can’t. This film is just kinda boring, except for when Bela Lugosi is arguing with an ape over who gets to chew more scenery. The wacky, put-upon roommate is fun, but not in a way the filmmakers intended. Cinema purists can bite my head off – but I just don’t really dig...

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Endgame, VOY 7

It certainly is a controversial ending but, you know, Voyager is a controversial show. The entire seven year struggle just kinda. . . .ends. The fact that we were given no coda, no ticker tape parade, is something of a travesty. A thumb in the eye, almost. Plus, the fact that Admiral Janeway went back in time opens up SOOO many loose ends. Still, though, when this episode is cooking, and much of it is, it is good. Voyager is done now. It was the red headed step child of Star Trek at the time. The question now remains. . .will Enterprise be any...

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Renaissance Man, VOY 7

1/2 The Doctor has to save the day by. . .um, bopping people on the head and hiding them in the morgue while he assumes their identity to try and trade the warp core for a kidnapped Janeway? Or something. It’s a little confusing but, bear with the EMH’s quips and it will soon 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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