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Jordan Hoffman

‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ Review

Grand Budapest Hotel review
Fox Searchlight

Wes Anderson has finally done it. He's gone and created his own country.

Zubrowka, the fictional town at the heart of 'The Grand Budapest Hotel,' is positioned on the farthest Eastern edge of Europe's great empire. It is a melange of stylistic flourishes and decorative signifiers from a make believe 20th Century - a memory of a memory, a fastidious, whimsical take on real horrors - a storybook samizdat that entices with madcap adventure then goes in for the kill with existential dread. It is an incredible place to visit.

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‘Winter’s Tale’ Review

Winters Tale review
Warner Bros.

'Winter's Tale' makes 'Safe Haven' look like 'The Godfather.' It is an absurd story adapted in the most dreary way possible, with lifeless performances, dull dialogue and laughable special effects. I need to cross-reference my files, but I think it is the worst major studio release with respected actors in five years. If any of us cared about our culture at all we'd be gathering our pitchforks and storming Hollywood now.

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‘RoboCop’ Review

RoboCop Pics
Sony

A few weeks back I was watching TV with friends who don't follow movies that closely. On came the ad for 'RoboCop.' They were baffled. “Who needs this?” they asked.

Forget that we were all old enough to remember the first one. This wasn't just defending our childhoods. If you want to step on a classic – and 'RoboCop' is something of a classic – you better come correct. What's this new one going to offer? The original's action and sly satire aren't dated. Who needs this?

I am afraid I must report that nobody needs this.

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‘The LEGO Movie’ Review

Lego Movie review
Warner Bros.

"Everything is Awesome!"

Much has been said about our recent cinema kowtowing to nerds. From the massive success of 'The Avengers' to the ill-fated sci-fi odes of 'Paul.' (Anyone remember 'Paul?') The nerds have won. But whither the spaz?

Take a moment to remember the spaz. The hyperactive, highly-excitable enthusiast who can barely stay in one place for longer than sixty seconds and makes a little bit of a mess of things with his chaotic energy. 'The LEGO Movie' is the film for that person. From its opening frame to its surprisingly heartfelt conclusion, 'The LEGO Movie' has a bright and brash, candy-colored go go go dynamism that crackles with a glorious alacrity set to the tempo of the classroom's biggest and most disruptive spaz.

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‘The Monuments Men’ Review

The Monuments Men review
Sony Pictures

“They don't make 'em like that anymore!”

That's what my old man always liked to say when we'd watch a black and white Hollywood classic. Sometimes he meant it as a sign of respect. Sometimes he meant it to mean, "Wow, that was super cheesy."

George Clooney's 'The Monuments Men' goes right down the middle.

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‘Happy Christmas’ Review

Happy Christmas Sundance
Magnolia Pictures

There's a moment in 'Happy Christmas' when Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey and Lena Dunham have a few cocktails in a basement converted to a tiki bar, and that moment quietly strikes gold. The scene – three woman jawing about the balance of work and life – doesn't gear up to be some big emotional breakthrough. It just happens au naturale, unladen with political pamphleteering or, quite frankly, even looking for any solutions. It is a great microcosm of Joe Swanberg's newest film. Insight does occasionally spring from this movie in what looks like an effortless fashion, but the movie as a whole looks like hardly any effort went into it.

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‘A Most Wanted Man’ Review

A Most Wanted Man Review
Roadside Attractions

Nobody shoots people through windows quite like Dutch photographer-turned-filmmaker Anton Corbijn. After coming out of the gate with the splendid Ian Curtis biopic 'Control' and the gorgeous but muted 'The American,' his adaptation of John Le Carre's recent novel, 'A Most Wanted Man,' suffers from his intentional coldness and precision. Recollecting on the film reminds me that it is an interesting yarn, but while watching it I was unable to shake that it was so ... freaking ... slow.

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‘The Voices’ Review

The Voices review
Vertigo Entertainment

There's nothing funny about schizophrenia. 'The Voices' understands this, and shows the horror of the disease. And then has you cracking up anyway. It's this diabolical blend of shock and candy-colored kitsch without mockery that makes this first English-language film from Marjane Satrapi ('Persepolis,' 'Chicken with Plums') so unique and, to be honest, something that will turn most people off.

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