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350) The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), John Ford, B

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, November 30th, 2003

I can�t rationally explain my admiration for John Ford/John Wayne
westerns. In this one, he actually calls James Stewart “pilgrim.”
There�s a whole lotta doing the right thing in this one. And the eating
of steak.

349) 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Stanley Kubrick, A+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, November 30th, 2003

If presented in the proper setting it is an unequalled movie experience. Theres no other movie I know of that tackled these subjects. Part of the magic, yes, is being obscure. Every late night undergraduate argument about the meaning of this film is completely earned. I caught this tonight on TMCs “Essentials” series, and it is well placed on that shelf. There were a few years in my life when I dismissed this movie, but Im officially reversing myself. One basic example of how it “works” is this: I saw this very young on TV, too young to “get” in any concrete the discussion about Man and Nature and Machine and Transcendence and Blah Blah Blah, and still, although this is not a “scary movie,” the imagery and aural textures had me up, oddly terrified, for nights.

348) Amores Perros (2000), Alejandro Gonzlez Irritu, C-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, November 30th, 2003

What’s Spanish for “overhyped?” Or, frankly, “gross?” I’ve had it up to here with movies that are really numerous short films smooshed together with forced coincidences to make a feature. I say “feh” to that! Of the three short films here, one is good (the model with her dog trapped under the floorboards of the apartment), one is unoriginal but well-played (the contract killer with a past), and one, the kid with the fighting-dog who loves his sister-in-law, is just awful. Not one — not ONE — of any of the characters in the entire picture is sympathetic. And it’s an ugly picture. And two-and-one-half hours. Skip it. If you want to see Latin America in violent crises see “City of God” — it has a social conscious.

347) Va Savoir? (2000), Jacques Rivette, C

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, November 30th, 2003

An quirky-yet-somehow-boring bedroom melodrama that, in the last twenty minutes, decides to become a screwball comedy. I liked the last twenty minutes.

346) Rumble Fish (1983), Francis Ford Coppola, B

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, November 29th, 2003

“West Side Story” meets Vidal Sassoon. An orgasm of technique and style and archetypes and myth. Mesmerizing at times, but it sure felt longer than 94 minutes.

345) Pollock (2002), Ed Harris, C+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, November 29th, 2003

He’s a genius! He’s a drunk! He’s a bad driver!

344) Bloody Sunday (2002), Paul Greengrass, B+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Friday, November 28th, 2003

Depressing. Even if it doesn’t show any background, and suggests that every Irishman is a saint, it still makes me want to kick any Limey I see in his arse. Which, I’m sure, was the idea. The performances are terrific and the mock-doc style is a perfect choice, even if it felt, at times, like I was watching the History Channel. Which, again, I’m sure, was the idea. I will officially commit myself to seeing any movie James Nesbit is in; he was terrific, and watching him realize that non-violence doesn’t work was heartbreaking. [Sidebar: Denise says that, perhaps, Nesbitt's will not ultimately lose faith in non-violence. That's what makes his performance so fascinating.]

343) Elephant (2003), Gus Van Sant, A

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Wednesday, November 26th, 2003

“Elephant” is among the most riveting experiences I’ve had in a cinema this year. A whole new film grammar is created. Expectations are shot down. The Peckinpah ending is done without slo-mo, without music, without emotion. The De Palma sequence, showing one instant from multiple perspectives, is a moment devoid of drama, an imposed sprout of warmth and humanity without context in a cold, cement institution. New characters are created in the heat of the third act to subvert all of our movie notions, from surprise endings to changes-of-fate to simply the way things are supposed to go down depending on where they are placed in the frame — it’s like a horror movie where the cat doesn’t jump out at you. From a formal perspective, that’s the elephant in the living room — nothing quite feels right, yet it all looks so ordinary. The high school set is 360 degrees of boredom but the tone, one of hyper-realism, makes “Elephant” seem as if it is set on a faraway space station. “Elephant” is the movie an observant kid makes in his mind fifteen times a day during high school. Some critics condemn it for trivializing Columbine. This movie isnt about school shootings; I fully accept the notion that the killing spree at the end is symbolic. I dont fall for that kind of talk easy, but here it is earned. This is the movie Steven Soderbergh almost made with “Solaris,” its David Cronenbergs “Stereo” with less talking. Gus Van Sant has grown into one of the finest recorders of the mundane, in that his images are never boring. I absolutely loved it and after admiring his “Gerry” from earlier this year, he has become, mid-career, one of my favorite filmmakers.

342) A Decade Under The Influence (2002), Richard LaGravanese and Ted Demme, C+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Tuesday, November 25th, 2003

A so-so documentary about a topic thats important to me. I found the footage and some of the interviews fun, but I dont see this as really explaining 70s cinema to someone looking at this stuff for the first time. But, man, Julie Christie is still hot. She must have a fantastic plastic surgeon.

341) The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Peter Jackson, A-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Monday, November 24th, 2003

Okay, so Im a geek and I like this movie. The Ents are awesome and men on horses swinging steel turns me on, kill me. There are some drawbacks to this film a little. For one, it does seem drawn about a bit, and the digital creatures, while some of the best digital creatures yet created, do sometimes look like a colorform slapped on top of a film image. My other complaint is that the movie is a giant tangent. I felt like Milhous wondering when Itchy and Scratchy were going to get to the fireworks factory; shouldnt we all be watching Frodo get to Mount Doom? The fight for Rohan is so secondary if Frodo fails in his mission, what does any of this matter? And, dude, what the hell is up with the Rohan King? He is the worst leader ever. Viggo Mortenson and his crew wake him up from his evil spell and he hardly thanks them, just whines about fighting to save his people and gives the team a bunch of sass. Whats Mortenson and the Dwarf and the Elfs motivation to stay there and fight? Rohan isnt their country. The King is a dick and it has nothing to do with their principle voyage what they formed the Fellowship for? Do these people all have short attention spans? But this is all quibbling. I like this movie and look forward to part three.

Pray for Me

Jordan | E-motions | Monday, November 24th, 2003

I have a job interview in 13 hours. I’d kill to work at this company. Maybe I should go out and sacrifice someone?

Yum!

Jordan | Out & About | Monday, November 24th, 2003

Koliba’s Czech and Slovak restaurant remains my favorite in the Ditmars area. The Staropramen is poured tall, the music isn’t too loud, the waitresses all have the same blonde-and-silent look, and it’s only 3 minutes away on foot.

Ann had the kick-ass goulash (can’t go wrong) and I had some kind of smoked pork and cabbage. We both had dumplings and shared an appitizer of cold, pickeled knockwurst.

We had no dessert as we could barely move.

This was instead of seeing the documentary and discussion about Maya Deren at BAM. At least we kept it Mittel European.

340) Cry Funny Happy (2003), Sam Neave, B-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Monday, November 24th, 2003

Seven annoying New Yorkers throw a party and yell at each other in their best Casavettes voices. Not really original or insightful, but some really wild performances. Of note is Michael Traynor and Amy (daughter of Robert) Redford as two of the least likable characters Ive ever seen in movie history. The great Darrill Rosen of “Ultrachrist!” fame is wonderfully funny in a role that would be played by Stanley Tucci in the Hollywood version.

339) The Core (2003), John Amiel, B-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, November 23rd, 2003

The first half is wonderful fun. Then it slips into traditional sucky action movie mode. Stanley Tucci is very funny.

Hail, Snoozer!

Jordan | E-motions | Sunday, November 23rd, 2003

I was unable to stay awake during Quo Vadis. It will not count toward the 365. Which led me to realize that there still is a chief benefit in DVD over cable. . .the almighty pause button, which can be hit for 5 minutes as you take a quick doze.

You Can’t See It ‘Til It’s Finished

Jordan | Out & About | Saturday, November 22nd, 2003

33_223_grande.jpg

See David Byrne’s photography and digital art here.

338) Youre A Big Boy Now (1966), Francis Ford Coppola, B

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, November 22nd, 2003

I love 60s location footage of New York City. This is a goofy, well-meaning film about a lovable dorky young man and his amorous foibles. Imagine a less-heavy version of De Palmas “Greetings” or James Tobacks “Fingers.” Or a less funny version of Milos Formans “Taking Off.” Theres a really cute dog in this. And a role Celia Montomery would have played much better. Cat Stevens is to “Harold and Maude” as John Sebastian is to this film. . .which is mostly a good thing.

337) Red River (1948), Howard Hawks, B

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, November 22nd, 2003

Heres a good movie that really needs to be remade. Production realities of the day keep the story from really coming through, the whole man v. nature aspect of the cattle trail. Someone like Peter Weir ought to take a crack at it. Good stuff, though, even if the ending is completely asinine. To a politically active animal rights person, this movie must seem like a Holocaust film. “Good beef for hungry people. Beef to keep em strong and make em grow.”

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