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Jordan Hoffman

‘Need For Speed’ Review

Need For Speed review
DreamWorks Pictures

There are 35,000 deaths due to motor vehicle accidents in the United States each year. Every ten seconds someone is given emergency treatment because of a car crash. According to a report by the CDC the financial impact is close to $100 billion on injury care and lost productivity.

I know 'Need For Speed' is just a movie, and movies are entertainment, but it is shocking beyond all reason how much this movie thinks automotive safety is a big joke. I understand loving an outlaw, but when 'Bonnie & Clyde' robbed banks they were “punching up.” When Aaron Paul and his merry band of mayhem mechanics destroy public works and send innocent bystanders careening off of highways, they are “punching down.” 'Need For Speed,' its producers, writers, director and maybe even its stars should all hang their heads in shame.

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‘Mr. Peabody & Sherman’ Review

Mr. Peabody & Sherman Review
DreamWorks Animation

“I forbid you from fighting in the Trojan War!”

It's something any father would say to his son, provided that the pair regularly traveled through time. In the case of 'Mr. Peabody & Sherman,' Sherman, the adopted tyke just old enough to start attending school and form his own personality, suits up for battle after he has “ran away” from his father – a Nobel Prize-winning polymath and dog.

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’300: Rise of an Empire’ Review

300 Rise of an Empire review
Warner Bros.

Before anything else: the sex.

There is a sex scene in '300: Rise of an Empire' that is an all-timer. Put it right up there on the shelf next to 'Don't Look Now,' 'A History of Violence,' 'Blue is the Warmest Color,' '9 ½ Weeks' and any of the others that make those best-of lists. Actually, put next to that insanity in the pool from 'Showgirls' (you know, with the dolphin statue?), because there's a level of playful absurdity that changes it from a representation of love (or, more accurately, lust) to something of a Broadway choreographer's interpretation of a fight. Like a 'West Side Story' rumble, but with Eva Green moaning and bent over a table with maps and war figurines. A rise of an empire, indeed.

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‘Non Stop’ Review

Non Stop review
Universal Pictures

The opening shot of 'Non-Stop' has Liam Neeson pouring whiskey in a coffee cup and stirring it with a toothbrush. He then reaches out to a photo of a young girl to stroke it with his fingertips. After this the phone rings and the caller ID reads 555. In other words, three of the biggest movie cliches, all in about sixty seconds.

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‘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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