New Riders of the Purple Sage – Friday June 13, 1975 – Armadillo World Headquarters, Austin, Texas (Live)

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Friday, December 21st, 2007

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Available in stores and on iTunes.

So effing sweet.

Thank You For Smoking (2006), Jason Reitman, C

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Friday, December 21st, 2007

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Surprisingly flat. It just lays there dead on the screen. And it is too bad because the source material is funny. (I haven’t read the book, but you can just tell.) The only one doing anything worthwhile is Rob Lowe. Feh. Disappointing. A couple o’ laughs, though, sure. But after recently seeing quality satire with Charlie Wilson’s War that ain’t enough.

D-War: Dragon Wars (2007), Shim Hyung-Rae, C+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Thursday, December 20th, 2007

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Sometimes a godawful script just makes the movie better. Completely incomprehensible and appropriate in length, D-War is a great movie to watch when you don’t feel like paying too much attention. I did notice this, though, there technically aren’t any dragons in this movie until, literally, the last two minutes.

He Did It, So You Don’t Have To

Jordan | E-motions | Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

Pretty stinkin’ cool. (Though would it kill him to smile?)

Charlie Wilson’s War (2007), Mike Nichols, A-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

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What the film lacks in visual flair it more than makes up for with the sharpest script (dare I say it?) of the year. Funny, smart and featuring what might just be Philip Seymour Hoffman’s best monologue yet. The ending can use some fine tuning and I’m not quite sure what they were going for with those battle montages, but this is as close to a Network as you are likely to see in a theater for a while. A strong recommendation.

Captive Pursuit, DS9 1

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

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The wormhole works two ways! From the Gamma Quadrant comes Tosk – truly of an alien species. His whole existence is to be chased and, eventually, killed. Oy, what to do with the Prime Directive now? O’Brien makes friends with this fishface and Sisko makes a call that is far more Kirk than Picard.

Ship In A Bottle, TNG 6

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

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This is a little embarrassing, because I’ve gone on record saying I don’t like holodeck stories. And I especially don’t like them when Sherlock Holmes is involved. And I’m not crazy about Reg Barclay either. And yet – this episode has it all – and it doesn’t quite suck. There’s enough cool wheels-within-wheels going on here to keep it all interesting. I did have to throw my arms at the end with the more ridiculous than usual deus ex machina – or in this case – deus ex BOXina. A magic yellow cube to keep everyone happy. Surprising Picard, what with his dedication to “Truth! Scientific Truth! or Personal Truth!” would allow a psych-out like this. . .but by this point in the show it was really time to wrap things up.

Sparks Fly on E Street

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Sunday, December 16th, 2007

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I know the Boss put out a new album and I’m sure it is terrific – but I’m still stuck doing the E Street Shuffle.

The Giant Claw (1957), Fred F. Sears, B-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, December 15th, 2007

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It is no surprise that the same year that saw Sputnik saw this tale of terror from the skies. For no reason at all a mutant bird (protected by “anti-matter”) is eating American planes. When no planes fly, it eats American tranes. When no trains move, it perches on the Empire State Building. King Kong was content to just hang out there, the Giant Claw mashes it to pieces. Bastard. Eventually, our hero, Jake Rockchin, defeats the Giant Claw with American Science! Lots of cawwing along the way, especially when Mrs. Ladyscience shoots up some Giant Claw eggs. If you aren’t amused by a movie like this, there is something deeply wrong with you.

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Full review at BadMovies.org

Babel, DS9 1

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Saturday, December 15th, 2007

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I knew those replicators would get you! I never bought ‘em. I can somehow allow a machine that would zap out food – but glasses and plates, too? Why not replicate phasers? Dilithium, for that matter?

Anyway, we get to see the real junky DS9 as promised, here. Falling apart – much more Millenium Falcon than Enterprise. An old Bajoran sabotage from the days of the Cardassian occupation bites the Federation in the ass – presenting a virus that makes everyone aphasiac. Pretty good stuff, even if the end wraps it up too quickly.

A Man Alone, DS9 1

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Saturday, December 15th, 2007

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A simple whodunnit, but we’re still getting our footing in this new world. So Odo has to regenrate in a bucket every 18 hours? Awesome! The political factioning between the newly liberated Bajorans and still lingering Cardassians is, indeed, pretty fascinating – and very realistic. I like that DS9 has holo-massage parlors. And the wink to the Alderaan System is nice, too.

Past Prologue, DS9 1

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Saturday, December 15th, 2007

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So the cool thing about DS9 is that many of the characters don’t really like each other. And that, except for Dr. Bashir, no one really wants to be there. I like this. Some argue this conflicts with the TOS/TNG philosophy of the future – but we’ve only seen the future from the Enterprise’s point-of-view. The best and the brightest at the pinnacle of scientific exploration. TOS/TNG is the honors class, DS9 is the sweathogs.

The plots are still a little clunky & Avery Brooks’ acting is still atrocious, but I can tell this is going to get better. The yarn about terrorists trying to persuade Major Kira to come back to the dark side is good enough – but the ending makes no sense at all.

Emissary, DS9 1

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

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When I said that the Star Trek Project would review Trek in the order it appeared to the world I meant it. To that end, we will now witness a back & forth between the end of The Next Generation and the begining of Deep Space Nine.

DS9 is the Trek iteration I have the least familiarity with. So all this will be new to me. Except, of course, this episode. I remember watching it way back when and thinking “Eegads!”

I’m still thinking “Eegads!” Much like the double-episode that introduced TNG, this tries to do too much. Introduce the characters, introduce the world, introduce the worlhole and also have some spooky stuff happen (Bajoran orbs?) I remember when DS9 was just a rumor and it was being pitched as a dirty, edgy spot deep in the far reaches of space. Awesome, right? But the design is so bland. Just looks like another ship – not even a cool one! (Damned Cardassian architecture.) The bridge, as it were (ops, they call it) feels more like a mall security than where cool shit happens.

But I know this is early stuff. It will get better. It has to – I’ve got 7 seasons ahead of me.

The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), Paul Greengrass, B

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Monday, December 10th, 2007

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I like watching a character who can kick everyone’s ass AND figure out how to get wireless access in a foreign country. Dude’s in a dank apartment in Tangier and he’s uploading government files – just the other week I was in a posh L.A. hotel and I couldn’t figure out how to read my Yahoo mail. Much has been said about the male wish fulfillment of the Bourne films – that one day we may discover a latent warrior within us. Me, I just lust for this fantasy world where all these cell phone-to-cell phone calls sound so clear, people can “get to Waterloo Station in 30 minutes” without getting bogged down in traffic, and saying “71st street” without the East or West descriptive still gets the address across.

I know. Shut up and enjoy, right? Fine. You wanna see Matt Damon smash cars and use his passport? You wanna see government agents shouting things like “level 4 security!” and “Code Blue!”? You wanna see what train stations look like in nineteen different cities? Then grab this film. It’s just as good as the other two (it’s all one long movie to me) although an implication that Bourne’s kickassability may be due to a “special process” is a bit disappointing in a midichlorians kinda way. But, frankly, I can’t recall if that wasn’t already revealed in the second film.

Dial Klondike 5…

Jordan | E-motions | Sunday, December 9th, 2007

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I’m always going on and on about the fabulous desserts you can get here in Astoria. But sometimes a for-the-masses treat equals perfection. If you’ve never had a Neapolitan Klondike Bar, you are missing out.

A History of Violence (2005), David Cronenberg, A

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, December 9th, 2007

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Better the second time. I didn’t realize how great Maria Bello was the first time around, nor did I consciously register how subversive Howard Shore’s score is. My sole criticism of this film when I saw it in the theater was that it was a little “straight” for David Cronenberg. I take that back. This is genius; at 90 minutes, a perfect film.

Eros (2004), Wong Kar-Wai, Steve Soderbergh, Michelangelo Antonioni, C

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, December 9th, 2007

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Were I a younger man, I might struggle to find some meaning in this film. Now, either don’t have the time or I have a keener eye for bullshit.

Wong Kar-Wai’s segment is so boring it made me want to bang my head against the floor. This is the Wong Kar-Wai of 2046, not of Happy Together or Fallen Angels or Chunking Express. That Wong Kar-Wai seems to have disappeared. Shame. I can’t even tell you what this movie was about, except that it involved dressmaking and handjobs.

Soderbergh’s short is very funny. Alan Arkin and Robert Downey Jr. as a shrink and his subject. What could be bad? There’s a Hudsucker Proxy-esque twist, but I can’t tell you what it all means. Looks beautiful, though. Peter Andrews and Mary Ann Bernard are an excellent DP/Editor team.

Antonioni’s segment is so pretentious that I must admit, I kinda liked it. A couple spout horrible dialogue at each other and walk around nice landscape and beaches. Then they have lunch at a nice beach-y restaurant like my mother would take me to. Then an actress I’ve never heard of, Luisa Ranieri, a voluptuous brunette, appears out of nowhere to run around in Astoria-esque tight clothes, masturbate and fornicate. Thank God for the intenet – you can see pictures of the whole thing right here. Then there is some dancing. It is so absurdly “foreign film” it is almost brilliant. Almost.

Idiocracy (2006), Mike Judge, B-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, December 9th, 2007

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There are some laughs. I expected more. Enjoyable, though.

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