Jonathan Poritsky

Review: Star Trek

Live long and pros­per” is the least that one could say about the Star Trek fran­chise. Over four decades have passed since the first incar­na­tion of Gene Roddenberry’s brain­child. The orig­i­nal series, known for it’s cheese and moral pomp, ran a mere three sea­sons, but nonethe­less inspired eleven movies, five tele­vi­sion series, count­less books, toys, videogames and, above all, gen­er­a­tions of space enthu­saists and geeks. Daunting, then, is the task of re-introducing the clas­sic char­ac­ters onto the big screen. Thankfully, direc­tor and tele­vi­sion impre­sario J.J. Abrams rises to the occa­sion to make Star Trek (it’s actu­ally the first film to bear that name alone) not only a wel­come addi­tion, but an inspired thrill-ride which really kicks sum­mer 2009 into gear.

Unlike some other 2009 block­buster, screen­writ­ers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman have crafted a legit­i­mate ori­gin story for the fran­chise. The film opens with Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock as chil­dren on their respec­tive plan­ets show­ing a dis­tinct promise of great­ness. Over the years, the Star Trek galaxy has become so vast that the char­ac­ters within it seem to have shrunk in stature, con­sid­ered more to be model cit­i­zens of the Federation than any­thing more. By focus­ing on the early years of these two ship­mates, Mr. Abrams is empha­siz­ing that Kirk, Spock and their cohorts are not the norm; they are extra­or­di­nary; they are super­heroes. Continue read­ing at the can­dler blog.

Review: Pineapple Express

It had to hap­pen some­time. As much as I had hoped to stave it off for as long as pos­si­ble, the day had to come when I would leave a Judd Apatow pro­duc­tion utterly dis­sat­is­fied. “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” nearly did me in, but fur­ther rumi­na­tion on the film showed a real mat­u­ra­tion hap­pen­ing in the cabal of dirty lit­tle boys that sur­round the Hollywood com­edy mag­nate. Too bad that the pro­gres­sion toward a bet­ter kind of toi­let humor didn’t make it’s way into the teams lat­est, and arguably most antic­i­pated, “Pineapple Express”.
Read on…

Review: Sex and the City — The Movie

Sex and the City The MovieOf the few episodes I have seen of the suc­cess­ful HBO series, I can say with con­fi­dence that the tele­vised incar­na­tion of Sex and the City is smarter, fun­nier, classier and all around more sig­nif­i­cant than the recently released film ver­sion. This wouldn’t be such a prob­lem if that laun­dry list of pos­i­tives didn’t apply to pretty much every film I’ve seen in the past year when stacked up against Michael Patrick King’s first foray onto the sil­ver screen. In the end, as with every male-driven action film that comes out around this time, qual­ity isn’t such a con­cern for the core audi­ence, who have come out in droves to instantly push this rom-com into the black. We’ll get to the ladies who turned out their pock­ets and bedaz­zled purses at the box office in a moment, but let’s start with the movie.

The film starts almost like any episode of the show, with a mod­i­fied title sequence that should a har­bin­ger of shlock to come. Instead of Carrie’s tutu-ed prance about town which ends with her get­ting splashed with muck, we are put through an awful mon­tage updat­ing us on the shows ups and downs over some ter­ri­ble popi­fied ver­sion of the theme song. Message: this is a fash­ion show of fool­ish­ness you are about to see. Read on…

Review: Iron Man

Robert Downey Jr. as Tony StarkI’m work­ing on some­thing big.”

The last thing you’d think the world needs is another comic book movie fran­chise, and yet Jon Favreau’s Iron Man breathes fresh air into an oth­er­wise stale sum­mer block­buster sea­son. It has all the sta­ples of a big sum­mer hit (star power; grade A spe­cial effects; built in rock anthem) but it does feel, even if only in the tini­est way, that some­thing like the comic book genre in large part has been rethought, and not a moment too soon.

The sum­mer of 2007, the most suc­cess­ful on record, was rid­dled with sequels that helped solid­ify the stu­dios’ ridicu­lous haul to the bank. The pow­ers that be knew there would be only one way to come close to mak­ing ludi­crous amounts of money this sum­mer with nary a three­quel in sight: go back to the draw­ing board and start up great new fran­chises. Iron Man is the first taste we have of this new sea­son of grass-roots hero­ism, and it is a scorcher of a first look. Read on…