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On The Air

Jordan | No News Is Good News | Wednesday, March 31st, 2004

Air America is here.

The View From The Bassinet

Jordan | The Jake Files | Tuesday, March 30th, 2004

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Ann says, “Goo goo.”

Jake’s Party

Jordan | The Jake Files | Tuesday, March 30th, 2004

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Tyler Mound, Jake’s 2nd Cousin, flipped at Jake’s 1st birthday party.

A Hell of a Caucasian

Jordan | Out & About | Tuesday, March 30th, 2004

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Jordan, Ann & Kim enjoy a tasty White Russian in anticipation of a late-night screening of The Big Lebowski.

Talk To Her (2002), Pedro Almodovar, B

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Monday, March 29th, 2004

I’ll once more paraphrase my favorite professor of TV, Media and Culture from Columbia University: I admire the technique, but it just doesn’t hit me on a gut level. I’ll continue to see Almodovar’s films, admire them from afar, and not quite get them. Fantastic score, though.

Jake Is One

Jordan | The Jake Files | Monday, March 29th, 2004

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Jake with Grampa Al Vetrini on his first birthday. Check this space later for (many) more photos of Jake’s birthday party.

Victim (1961), Basil Dearden, B-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Monday, March 29th, 2004

This socially conscious procedural film is fun to watch, but not quite for the reasons it intended. “Victim” was made when homosexuality was illegal in the UK (this was the first movie in which the word “homosexual” was uttered in the English language) and it dared to tackle the issue of the rampant blackmail epidemic terrorizing gays in high places. Dirk Bogarde (natch) is the gay barrister who stands up for his rights to bend over! The blackmail and detective angles are a bore, but the social elements are fascinating. Certainly liberal in its approach, the film sides with the gays, but the codes of the time are kinda funny. ‘Cause they’re not just gay, they’re British! So, basically, everyone in the film either acts outlandish like Dr. Smith from “Lost in Space” or fumphering and uptight Major from “Fawlty Towers.” This aspect gives this “C” movie the “B-” grade.

Talky Tiki!

Jordan | Out & About | Monday, March 29th, 2004

From the Margaret Mead Hall of Pacific Cultures at the American Museum of Natural History. Many more AMNH pics to come.

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Karl in Kombat

Jordan | No News Is Good News | Monday, March 29th, 2004

Some mornings you actually wake up to good news. “At one point, Rove rushed to a window, pointed a finger and yelled something inaudible. . . “

The Ladykillers (2004), Coen Bros., A-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Monday, March 29th, 2004

Only a handfull of laugh-out-loud moments, but big, big smiles from beginning to end. Really well done and fun. My favorite aspect: how Joel and Ethan have completely out done themselves with G. H. Dorr, Phd (“that’s a lot of letters!”) and his absurd use of language. Since their first film they have dabbled in silly syntax, perhaps reaching a zenith with George Clooney’s character in “O Brother.” This film raises the bar exponentially. So much so that Irma Hall, playing the elderly black woman, is heard remarking, “enough with the double talk!”

Is That It? Is That It?

Jordan | No News Is Good News | Saturday, March 27th, 2004

Geeks, start your engines. The planets are out tonight.
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B.B.D.

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Saturday, March 27th, 2004

Just because Bruce Dickinson isn’t on it doesn’t mean it doesn’t kick ass. Here’s this week’s Maiden cover.
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Robot Monster (1953), Phil Tucker, “A”

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, March 27th, 2004

I rented this because, in a documentary I saw recently, a guy acted surprised when he learned Ed Wood didn’t direct it. It has most of the hallmarks of Wood — maybe a few fewer large blocks of dialogue spewed back and forth — but certainly this movie competes with Wood in the categories of acting, production value and logic. The main conceit, if I have this right, is that a fat man in a gorilla suit and diving helmet with TV antenna glued to the top can kill everyone except for the small family that happens to live down the block from its cave. Can’t go into why just now, but maybe it has something to do with the fact that the patriarch of this family can’t pronounce the bad guy’s name correctly. There are far too many delightful, baffling moments to list here — from the futuristic “space platform” clearly being held up by a human hand, to the soliloquy of the Ro-Man who asks, “To be like the hu-man! To laugh! Feel! Want! Why are these things not in the plan?” Suffice it to say that this movie was spoofed in Season One of Mystery Science Theater 3000. “Robot Monster” is a real treat and I am indebted to the schmo who mistakenly mentioned it in that other film I saw. Oh! Elmer Bernstein does the score. I kid you not.

The Two Greatest Words in English: Open Bar

Jordan | Out & About | Friday, March 26th, 2004

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Ben and Susannah.

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Jordan and Ben.

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Jordan and Susannah.

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Anne Heche. I think.

The Passion of the Christ (2004), Mel “My Father Never Lied To Me” Gibson, D-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Friday, March 26th, 2004

I expected gore. I expected a movie with a lack of subtlety. I expected anti-semitism. There was one thing I wasn’t anticipating. This movie is BORING. The first 45 minutes are confusing and desultory — then FINALLY there is some violence. To answer a few key questions: I didn’t see this in the theater. I got it bootlegged on the subway for $5 on DVD. The quality of the transfer isn’t great, but it is not any worse than a previously viewed VHS. Anyway, the thing that sucks most about this boring, plot-less movie is that it is totally for insiders. As other critics have pointed out (and the two funniest and best reviews I’ve read have been by two of my heroes, Katha Pollitt and Kerry Douglas Dye) the proverbial aliens from Mars would have no clue as to what is going on in this film. The only backstory, the only thing in the film to make you care about the dude getting beat up and all the women wailing, is a flashback of him making a table. So all of my future screenplays will have table-making scenes in them, in the hopes of grossing a few extra hundred million. But as someone who has seen a lot of Jesus films, I was able to follow most of it. Whenever I wondered “who the hell is that guy?” he would get offstage and I wouldn’t worry about it anymore. Anyway, the real epiphany I had watching TPOTC was this: This isn’t a “real” movie. It’s a special interest title for enthusiasts. Like those skateboarding tapes shot on grainy stock or a Yes concert from the 80s with cheesy video graphics. If you live for skating — or for the harmonies of Jon Anderson and Chris Squire — you’ll dig those movies no matter what. If you are really keen on Jesus, you’ll dig TPOTC. I like a good legit Jesus flick: “King of Kings,” while it dabbles a bit in kitsch, is a great production; “Barabbas” is a fantastic picture; “Jesus Christ Superstar” kicks much ass. Gibson’s heavy-handed, inarticulate and lumbering movie has none of the integrity of those other films. Two other points. If Gibson is so keen on verisimilitude (although with the exception of J.C.’s feet getting nailed, I didn’t find the gore THAT bad) why are all the characters white? Only Simon of Syrene looks like he could live in Judea. Also, anyone who says this film isn’t anti-Semetic is an idiot. That’s not a reason to dislike the film, though. The shoeshine scene between Fred Astaire and the “Shoeshine Boy” in “The Bandwagon” is abhorrantly racist, yet it’s still a great film.

Those Children Left Behind

Jordan | No News Is Good News | Thursday, March 25th, 2004

A Boston fundraiser for W. will close down a school for a day.

Saturn 3 (1980), Stanley Donen, C-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Thursday, March 25th, 2004

Two words: Train wreck. How could Stanley Donen, who started his career as a choreographer, stage some of the lamest and confusing chase and fight sequences I’ve ever seen? How could anyone have thought it was a good idea to see the aged Kirk Douglas’ bare ass? How funny is it to see Harvey Keitel’s voice dubbed by the dude who played the angry dad in “Amadeus?” How much did Martin Amis (!) get paid to pen this awful screenplay? At 88 minutes, it’s a train wreck I almost-sorta recommend for people who like to watch big stars in make bad movies. Also, Farrah Fawcett can’t act for shit. In this, she’s like the Goldie Hawn “dumb blonde” from Laugh-In, but without the irony. With today’s wonders of cosmetic surgery, she ain’t even that good looking. To say something nice, though, the helmets they wear are cool.

King Of All Liberals?

Jordan | No News Is Good News | Thursday, March 25th, 2004

Not quite, but Howard Stern has been socking it to Bush consistantly of late. And like Richard Clarke, Stern is a hawk. Common Dreams has a report. I tuned in myself yesterday and today and was delighted and surprised.

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