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Burn! (1969), Gillo Pontecorvo, A-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, March 29th, 2009

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Like Peckinpah’s Major Dundee, this one is way ahead of its time.

Marlon Brando is an agent provocateur sent to a fictional Caribbean island to rile up the slave population and overthrow the current Portuguese puppet regime and help put up a new, independent puppet regime that is more open to trade with the British. When the rebels go a little too far, Brando must go back (on behalf of a “sugar concern” backed by the Crown) and get shit in line. It is a fascinating performance because there’s never an instant you doubt he’ll stray from his mission, even though he knows precisely what this course of action will lead to. I have a hunch this film was a major influence in how Soderbergh mapped out Che.

It’s amazing to think that so much of the cruelty that’s happened in this hemisphere derives from a desire to sweeten tea.

Punisher: War Zone (2008), Lexi Alexander, D

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, March 29th, 2009

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Eegads. People warned me this movie was bad, but I didn’t think it would be quite this bad.

If it were ultraviolent and giddy and fun, then maybe. But it is just ultraviolent and idiotic. Exploding faces and dinnerware through trachea get shock points, sure, but neon churches just look like a Madonna video.

So much talent gone to waste! Dominic West is a great actor, I know it, but his performance here is just absurd. I watched 5 minutes of the behind the scenes and saw the makeup guys and the effects guys and it all made me so sad.

Thumbs way friggin down.

Prey, VOY 4

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Sunday, March 29th, 2009

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Those friggin Hirogen are back. And they are mid-hunt of (quiver) Species 8472!!

Now one of those buggers in on Deck 11, making everything all Aliens (and forcing Seven of Nine to get into one of those First Contact space suits meaning we can’t ogle her be-spandexed arse the whole time!)

Turns out ol 8472 just wants go home, but Seven of Nine disobeys direct orders and condemns it to death back on the Hirogen ship. Aw, smack! Janeway does not like this.

One Little Ship, DS9 6

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Sunday, March 29th, 2009

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Ha! Trek goes Fantastic Voyage.

The Jem’Hadar take over the Defiant whilst crazy miniaturization proceedings are going on. So O’Brein, Dax and Bashir have to save the day any tiny way they can!!

This episode is so fucking cool. And could also work as a decent entry for a noob.

Far Beyond the Stars, DS9 6

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Sunday, March 29th, 2009

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Trek salutes the Golden Age of Sci-Fi (which plenty of in-jokes to go round) in this “old timey” flashback kinda episode which doesn’t do much to move the overarching story arc forward, but acts as a nice “why we are here” type thing. Avery Brooks practically swallows whole tables and couches of scenery, but it still comes together nicely.

Hunters, VOY 4

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Sunday, March 29th, 2009

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Remember that communications array from Message in a Bottle? Turns out the owners aren’t all that cool. They won’t even allow the crew of Voyager time to download all the letters back from the Alpha Quadrant. Jerks.

Anyway, Janeway received a ‘Dear Jane’ letter, meaning she now has no excuse not to schtupp Chakotay.

Who Mourns for Morn?, DS9 6

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Sunday, March 29th, 2009

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Deep cut character Morn (who never speaks on camera) dies, leaving Quark his benefactor. Who knew he lived such an interesting life as four different assassins hunt down Quark for hidden treasure. Fun and funny stuff.

Message In A Bottle, VOY 4

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Sunday, March 29th, 2009

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Two ranting queens on the bridge!!

A complex array of alien listening posts can get a message to the Alpha Quadrant if they move fast! Zip, the Doctor hops aboard a traveling deep space Federation ship that – uh oh! – was just taken over by Romulans. Only the Doctor and the *new* EMH (played by Andy Dick!!) can save the day.

Good comedy and decent action. Well done, Doctors.

The Surrogates: Flesh and Bone

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Sunday, March 29th, 2009

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I was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy of the forthcoming Surrogates prequel from Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele. While the police procedural aspect may not have the same forward momentum as the first book, the development of the “world of Surrogates” (which is the cooler part, anyway) come across in spades.

When the book comes out in July, it will have this quote:

“If The Surrogates dipped its toe into the tipping point of techno-social change, Flesh and Bone deftly splashes about in the pool.” — UGO.com

Dr. Strange: The Oath – Brian K. Vaughan

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Thursday, March 26th, 2009

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I’ve read a number of Dr. Strange collection and I’ve always thought the same thing: really terrific, “trippy” art and some cool ideas, but, ultimately, a shitty story. Brian K. Vaughan (the truly gifted writer behind Ex Machina and Y: The Last Man, among other things) is here to solve that problem.

Loaded with solid humor (some of it winking at the very problem I mention with Dr. Strange comics) there is an actual story here that is interesting and action that is followable, not just far out looking swirls. It even flashes back to an origin tale, so if you were ever going to pick up a Dr. Strange book for an entry, I suggest this one.

The Haunting in Connecticut (2009), Peter Cornwell, D

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Thursday, March 26th, 2009

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Really effing terrible.

I’ll have a full review up on UGO tomorrow that, I hope, will be filled with bon mots and wry observations. For now I’m too tired to say anything other than POS.

Morrissey at Carnegie Hall

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Thursday, March 26th, 2009

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Morrissey kept taking his shirt off. And the audience kept yelling when he was trying to talk. We were seated waaaaaaay up top and the amplification made everything sound mushy. If I sound like I’m complaining, I suppose I am, but I (basically) enjoyed myself. I give it a B- or a B. A strange European man bought be a cognac for some reason. Odd night.

Tokyo Day Trip Live

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

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I can’t stop listening to this CD.

If you buy one Pat Metheny EP from 2004 this year, make this the one.

Great review at AllAboutJazz.

Fast & Furious (2009), Justin Lin, C

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

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This might actually be the best Fast & Furious in the series. Faint praise, I know. Full review loaded with quips and insight on UGO soon.

Control (2007), Anton Corbijn, B-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

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It’s funny. As I was watching this, I wasn’t really liking it. But now, 24 hours later, I realize that I’ve been thinking about it nonstop. So whatever is going on, it’s happening beneath the surface.

Up top, it is just another biopic. And, frankly, one we don’t need, considering there was ample Joy Division in the altogether terrific 24 Hour Party People. And is Joy Division really deserving of two biopics? I’ll answer that: No. And I like them. And still no. They did not change the world. They put out a few depressing songs and the dude danced funny. If he never hung himself (SPOILERS!) they would have faded into obscurity. I mean – will we be seeing a biopic on The Cure someday? They put out far more work and had a larger fanbase….

I digress, excuse me. It’s biopics. They so piss me off. But what the movie has going for it is that you can pretend that Joy Division never existed. I mean – if my mom watched this movie, she might believe this was entirely fictional, you know? And if that is the case, then it is just a movie about a guy. A slow moving, depressing story about a guy who is reserved and finally kills himself. Uh…..wow. Kinda pointless.

That’s how I felt watching the movie. But, like I say, it stuck with me. The look is stellar, the performances are good. “It creates a world” some might say.

So I give the movie higher-than-expected marks for something I couldn’t stand.

The Road Warrior (1981), George Miller, B+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

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After watching the first three Fast and Furious movies I felt I needed to cleanse my palate with a “car movie” that really knew what it was doing.

Shockingly, I have not seen The Road Warrior in probably close to 20 years. Does it still hold up?

Unlike other movies from my youth that I thought were fantastic only to discover they are actually shite, The Road Warrior mostly holds up. But there are more seams than I remember. And some dull patches. In my memory, it was nonstop action. That is not quite the case. But the final chase is remarkable and I applaud the minimal dialogue. Today’s movies can learn a thing or too about shutting up and letting the pictures speak.

Scott Pilgrim: Books 1-5

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

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After hearing people kvell about Bryan Lee O’Malley’s books for so long (and since the movie version is currently being shot) I borrowed all five the existing books and read them in basically one sitting. At my kitchen table with a pot of coffee and a Pat Metheny CD on repeat.

Probably not the best way to do it (it does get a tad repetitive after a while) but, holy smokes, I can totally see why people are so in love with these books.

Scott Pilgrim made me both yearn for my early 20s and thank the stars I’m past them simultaneously. Fun, touching stuff, but also very clever. And wonderfully visual. Here’s hoping the movie is one fifth as cool.

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006), Justin Lin, F

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

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I don’t pull out the F-bomb all that often, but, you know what? I don’t watch movies as bad as Tokyo Drift that much. Its only saving grace is that, at times, the dialogue is bad enough to be funny. “We used to come up to these mountains and … drift….”

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