Two Lovers (2009), James Gray, A

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

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American filmmakers don’t make this kind of movie in 2009.

A fantastic, unpredictable and wonderfully observed character study.

Any attempt at a synopsis would deaden the impact of what’s on screen. This movie isn’t about the plot points, it is about the behavior.

Gray’s style (I’ve long been a fan) cuts through miles of bullshit and zeroes in directly on how people think and act and what is of importance to real humans in real situations. I have high praise for this movie. One of the best of the year.

Funny People (2009), Judd Apatow, B-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

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Judd Apatow makes his Almost Famous. Well, more like he makes his All That Jazz. Well, frankly, not quite as good as either.

There are many, many funny moments in this movie (all hail Jason Shwartzman!) but, ultimately, it falls apart. Too long, too uneven, ending truly sucks.

But I laughed many times.

My “B-” is, frankly, a little on the kind side, but there’s so much good will up there on the screen I can’t in good conscience slam this movie.

It is the epitome of “not bad.”

District 9 (2009), Neill Blomkamp, A-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

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Better than a Halo movie ever could have been.

First half is interesting sociological sci-fi. Second half is truly fucking insane action.

People are going to lose their minds for this movie.

X-Men – Endangered Species

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

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I like a nice Myriad Universe tale.

Our story begins as Scarlet Witch proclaims an end to the Mutant Gene. Most mutants lose their powers – no new mutants are born.

Beast – ever the believer is science – searches everywhere in this or other Universes to find the cause. Of course, the “dark Beast” from the Age of Apocalypse joins him.

Best is when they enter the Santcum Santorum. Or make believe mountain ranges. Or make believe Eastern European countries.

Either way, this is pretty great stuff. Beast is one of the coolest X-Men and this is all him

The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), Woody Allen, A+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Monday, July 20th, 2009

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A perfect movie. I’ve probably seen it 25 times and I still catch new things here and there.

Mia Farrow’s performance is what really nails it. She chooses not to make her working class Cecilia the typical dummy with “ain’ts” and “gonna’s” but with poise and dignity. She’s got herself in a bad situation and knows it – that’s why she chooses Gil over Tom at the end. She’s not stupid enough to throw everything away on a dream (but, of course, she is dumb enough to fall for Gil’s ploy.)

This is one of the very few – maybe even the only – Woody Allen movie that makes me wonder about a sequel. Could Gil have gone back to New Jersey five years later? Maybe Raoul Walsh blacklists him and he is destitute his own damned self? Dear Lord, has anyone written Woody fan fic?

Tron: Ghost in the Machine

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Sunday, July 19th, 2009

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Look – a Tron comic could be awful and it would still be great, you know?

Ghost in the Machine isn’t awful. It isn’t good either. But it has Recognizers and I/O Towers and Alan One. How can you pass this up?

The six issues are actually sequel to the video game Tron 2.0 (which is summarized in the first issue) and has a big, fat dollop of The Matrix-esque heavy philosophy in it. The entire run closes with a quote from Descartes, if you can believe such a thing.

The art is awesome – well, scratch that. The art is unique (lots of digital-looking stuff) but since it is of the Tron world it instantly takes on awesome properties.

I can not tell a lie and say I was too engrossed in the story or characters – but it is TRON!

These comics are hard to find in the Real World. You’ll need the help of your computer to track them down. I am aware of the irony.

The TPB is here, or you could use that same site to get the 6 single issues (as I did.)

X-Men Age of Apocalypse – The Complete Epic Book 4

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Sunday, July 19th, 2009

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And now, thousands of panels and word bubbles later, the Age of Apocalypse is over.

The timeline is brought back into normal (kinda) and everything is status quo.

We had some good battles along the way and this book wisely closes with a lengthy denouement – enough to try and get you hooked on the next story arcs.

Thanks, but we’ll pass.

Big Fan (2009), Robert Siegel, B+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, July 19th, 2009

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Billy Wilder’s The Fortune Cookie if retold by Alexander Payne. In Staten Island.

It’s terrific.

Siegel (of “The Onion” and The Wrestler fame) has a solid directorial debut under his belt. It is a small movie, but very well done. He’s a talented MFer and I can’t wait to see what he does next.

9 (2009), Shane Acker, A-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, July 19th, 2009

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I really dig 9. It’s trippy, it’s unexpected, it’s fun. My review is on hold for a while – but for those of you going to San Diego Comic-Con, you should definitely see the panel. It’s being hosted by ME!

Covenant, DS9 7

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Sunday, July 19th, 2009

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Gul Dukat is back. . . .as Jim Jones! And Empok Nor is French Guyana!

The Pah-wraith cult is picking up steam and you know who is the man in charge.

Great episode for Kira, who has been kinda secondary since her hookup w/ Odo.

Infinite Regress, VOY 5

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Sunday, July 19th, 2009

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Jeri Ryan had to act in this episode. Considering her outfit makes it impossible for most mortals to breathe, that is impressive.

Anyway, the “voices of the assimilated” haunt Seven of Nine and even Tuvok’s mind meld can’t save the day alone.

Rio Bravo (1959), Howard Hawks, C+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, July 12th, 2009

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I know it is a classic and I know I’m speaking sacrilege, but I didn’t like it.

It’s about 50 minutes too long, for starters, and ultimately rather silly. Feels like a TV show. Feels like a REALLLLY long episode of Barney Miller set in the old west.

John Wayne considered this his response to High Noon, which he hated, but I think is a brilliant work of art. Stick with that picture.

If you really must see Wayne in a movie with “Rio” in the title, try Rio Grande. That one is pretty good.

(Dean Martin as the drunk turned straight is pretty good, I’ll give you that. Everything else in this movie is a joke.)

X-Men Age of Apocalypse – The Complete Epic Book 3

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Sunday, July 12th, 2009

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The story rages on.

Gambit is zipping through outerspace looking for shards of metaverse crystal, Nightcrawler is battling cadaver-trading pirates, Jean Grey and Logan are fighting everyone and Sugar Man is quoting Monty Python. Plus Tony Stark and Carol Danvers and other fans service favorites pop up.

We’re a zillion pages in – let’s move on to Book 4!

Saturday Night Fever (1977), John Badham, A

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, July 12th, 2009

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It is a shame that this is still, to some, ghettoized as a “disco exploitation film” or, worse, as kitsch. Forget the music, the shoes, the hair, the dancing – it is a fabulous fucking coming-of-age tale, told with elegance and candor.

We all know that John Travolta is an enormous douche but he’s terrific here. The chick who played Stephanie, though, is what really took me for a loop this time. Her performance is shockingly good. Hers is such a unique character and there is a tremendous amount of nuance in the way she plays it. The accent doesn’t hurt either.

I respect any movie that treats topics of virginity or religion as serious subtexts – these are important issues to most people and they get steamrolled over by plot machinations in lesser films.

The Blu-ray transfer looks gorgeous and the music, yes, ain’t to shabby either. Fabulous stuff.

Florence of Arabia – Christopher Buckley

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Sunday, July 12th, 2009

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How do you write funny about one of the world’s unfunniest topics, the treatment of women in Arab countries? Somehow, Christopher Buckley finds away.

Taking the day’s headlines and adding only the slightest dash of exaggeration, we are witness to the atrocities of the oil and Prince rich desert nation of “Wasabia” and its very friend-to-the-infidel neighbor of “Matar.” A CIA-led (kinda) black operation to bring about change is led by a TV producer with an eye toward a Muslim version of the Lifetime Network.

If all good comedy comes from a place of pain, there’s more than enough of it here. Imagine the wit of Buckley’s Thank You For Smoking or Little Green Men, but driven from legitimate outrage. It’s a terrific book and the spy/thriller elements aren’t so bad either.

The Siege of AR-558

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Sunday, July 12th, 2009

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Another of the “war is hell” episodes, though this one is bleakest. Sisko almost dies, Nog loses a leg and Will Robinson makes Ezri cry.

Timeless, VOY 5

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Sunday, July 12th, 2009

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One of the more confusing and “hard SF” episodes of Voyager that actually a) makes sense and b) kicks ass.

Using Slipstream technology, Janeway and the gang try and zip back home. Chakotay and Harry are sort of tugging them along. But Harry effs up and Voyager crash lands on an ice planet and dies. But 15 years in the future, a guilt-ridden Harry uses Borg technology to “right” the timeline.

Cool stuff and actually well told with multiple timelines (and a Geordi LaForge cameo!)

Once More Unto the Breach, DS9 7

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Sunday, July 12th, 2009

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I love Klingon episodes, I love episodes that acknowledge characters/events from TOS and I love Ronald D. Moore episodes. In short, I love this episode.

Kor wants to die a warrior and Worf will help him, even if Martok stands in his way.

Raise a flagon of bloodwine to the Dahar Master and sing!

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