Month: March 2008

Rome, Season 2, B+

After the crushing conclusion of Season 1, Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo find themselves in a bit of a role reversal. Pullo finds himself as the soft-spoken “consiglierie” and Vorenus is the hot-headed badass. Octavian is all grown up and everyone is still schtupping everyone else. I think there are more schtups per episode in Rome than there is in any other show on TV. Anyway, political machinations, tortures, curses, reversals-of-fortunes, you name it. This is quality soap-opera with just a dash of history to make it seem respectable. The final two episodes are really nuts, too. Rome is a base and vulgar dirty pleasure. I really hope they bring it back for another season or a feature film. Of note – Ann is really crazy for Rome. I don’t know if it is the sets and costumes that does it or just being enveloped in a whole world like this. She hasn’t seen any of the recent long-form TV shows from beginning to end – not The Sopranos or Battlestar Galactica. Actually, that’s not true – she was one of the ten people who watched John From Cincinatti. Anyway, now that Rome is up I wonder if I should sic her on I,...

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Juno (2007), Jason Reitman, B+

Pretty solid. Beginning had me worried, but once Jennifer Garner & Jason Bateman’s characters entered the rest just cruised along. I think I liked this just a hair more than Ann did – she gave this a “B.” I wonder if Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz has the same troubled relationship with Ellen Page as I do with Jack Black. But that’s a longer...

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Star Trek: Year Four

It was a five year mission. We only saw three. This is Year Four – that is the conceit of this new comics series (and also James Cawley’s New Voyages, but that’s another story.) We begin with a tidy reference to Turnabout Intruder. The colors pop and the characters are true; the trade paperback edition has six chapters plus an introduction. Each chapter is its own short (short) episode. Some are better than others, but all really nail that TOS feeling. (Also, Arex and M’Ress show up, which is hardcore.) Stories include a “Dr. Moreau”-type tale, a planet in internal debate after new dilithium wealth, and a society obsessed with reality TV that want to make Kirk & co stars. I blasted through this 150 page collection in 1 day’s back & forth subway...

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Vernon Reid – Masque

One album I’ve been listening to quite a bit lately is the most recent work by Vernon Reid. Remember Vernon Reid? “Glamour Boys?” Yeah, yeah. Well, he’s been doing edgy, avant-garde stuff for years. I saw him do a solo gig called “My Science Project” at the Knitting Factory maybe 10 years back that blew my mind. Anyway, the new one, “Masque,” is a rock-jazz instrumental mindscrambler that is funky, tuneful, fun and, at times, beautiful. One of the highlights is a slow-as-a-dirge cover of Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence” with feedback and turntables. Quite...

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There Will Be Blood (2007), Paul Thomas Anderson, A-

Ah, yes, there’s more than just making a funny voice and talking about milkshakes and abandoning your boy – there’s a movie here! And a fantastic movie, too. Despite its length, this is not an epic – it is the story about one man who, at first, you aren’t sure if he’s an asshole or not, and then you discover that he is. Along the way is a fascinating snapshot at a unique moment in American industry. Some people, I won’t say who, have absolutely lost their mind over this movie. I can’t jump on that bandwagon totally. I don’t think that there’s actually any great hidden meaning in this film and I don’t quite understand its appeal for repeated, near-religious viewings. Much like Daniel Plainview’s flat accent, I think this movie is about what it is about. And, frankly, that’s enough. The performances and the setting and the look are, as Plainview would say, fine. My mother found Johnny Greenwood’s score “distracting” by the...

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Jordan Hoffman is a New York-based writer and film critic working for The Guardian, Vanity Fair, Thrillist, Times of Israel, NY Daily News and elsewhere.

He is the host of ENGAGE: The Official Star Trek Podcast, a member of the New York Film Critics Circle and challenges you to a game of backgammon.

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