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The Machinist (2004), Brad Anderson, B+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, August 30th, 2009

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There is a lot to like in The Machinist – I was particularly taken with the attention to (ahem) mis-en-scene – lots to chew on and lots to keep you guessing and hooked into its somewhat ridiculous story. Christian Bale is great, as is the always wonderful Michael Ironside. Really well shot, nice Bernard Herrmann-esque score. A real humdinger of a flick.

Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War Vol 1 & Vol 2

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Sunday, August 30th, 2009

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There’s nothing like a Multiverse in danger.

The four Earth-based Green Lanterns (in conjunction with a pair of emoting rogue Guardians) take an amended Book of Oa and defend us all against a fascist band of fearmongerers. Sinestro, along with a giant yellow space war-city, Cyborg-Superman, Superman Prime and others face down the Green Lantern Corps (who have a giant sentient planet ready to do battle against a yellow sentient city.) But can they face down the personification of Fear in the sharp-toothed, quasi-lizardlike Parallax?

The comics of the Green Lantern Corps are some NERD ASS SHIT.

You need to run fast and loose with multiverses, anti-matter Universes, sectors, quadrants, sentient bacteria, crazy-ass looking aliens. . . .and some of the pages are so chock full of space-ray SF that the art is one blur of green & yellow headache.

The storytelling is amateurish, but fundamentally, this is all pretty freakin’ awesome.

Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004), Quentin Tarantino, C+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Thursday, August 27th, 2009

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Here’s a dirty secret – I never saw Kill Bill Vol. 2 before. I was so unimpressed by Vol. 1 at the time I just skipped this.

But my enjoyment of Inglourious Basterds got my interest back up.

My problem is this: this movie (and its predecessor) aren’t movies – they are just samples of other movies. Not a prob for something short, like Death Proof, which I enjoyed, but at four hours, it is insane. This is Tarantino at his absolute nadir.

The Thing (1981), John Carpenter, A

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Thursday, August 27th, 2009

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One of the sharpest (and grossest!) people-stuck-in-a-place-with-a-monster movies ever made.

Dialogue, characters and pacing are just about perfect.

I’ve never seen this on DVD before – only on crappy VHS. It is truly marvelous.

Swamp Thing: Dark Genesis

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

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Oh Swamp Thing, you are so misunderstood!

This collection, featuring the original Swamp Thing 8-page story and the first 10 issues, offers a nice origin story, some good whacked-out pseudo-science action, a run-in with Batman and lots of moss-covered mucking about. Plus the Un-Men.

If I were a betting man, I’d guess that Hoffman is about to do a deep dive on Swamp Thing.

Batman: City of Crime

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

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I’ve read many Batman collections and this – a collection of David Lapham’s Detective Comics run from the late 1990s – is the best non-Frank Miller one I’ve put my mitts on.

It’s a pretty thick tome, and while it manages to include some greats of the rogue’s gallery, it sticks pretty close to its unique vision. Gotham itself is the enemy – and its description of corruption in the very makeup of the geography is just plain awesome.

Highly recommended.

Batman: Gotham by Gaslight (and Master of the Future)

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

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This is one of the more beloved Batman books – but let me tell you something: it is lame.

The premise – a Gilded Age Gotham – is awesome, but just because the Mayor is drawn to look like Teddy Roosevelt it doesn’t mean the story is good. The story is boring. I read this three days ago and have already forgotten it.

Werewolves on the Moon: Versus Vampires

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

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For those of you who like crazy sci-fi & action comics, but also like a little bit of tongue-in-cheek humor, this is the comic for you. The complete run is 3 issues and, alas, the 1st one is the best, but it is still worth reading. The title kinda says it all. If this were a Saturday Morning cartoon show I’d set my alarm early each weekend.

Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest – Mark Millar & Bryan Hitch

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Monday, August 17th, 2009

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Myriad Universes abound, but the quick witted Millar manages to keep everything moving and breezy. As one of the few people on the planet who like the FF films, this seems pretty sympatico tonally. The second half of this collection gets a tad mired in Marvel Universe crossovers, but not too bad considering the need to sell more product. Fun stuff.

Prodigal Daughter, DS9 7

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Monday, August 17th, 2009

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I like Ezri Dax, but even she can’t save this “Murder, She Wrote”-esque disaster of an episode.

It’s Only A Paper Moon, DS9 7

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Monday, August 17th, 2009

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Nog camps out with Vic Fontaine as he deals with his war wound. Kinda straightforward.

Death Proof (2007), Quentin Tarantino, B-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Thursday, August 13th, 2009

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Once in a while, a movie I really should have seen slips by. I think it was because I didn’t want to sit through this AND Planet Terror and I’d already seen the fake trailers online.

Anyway, I finally saw Death Proof. Since I’d already had it explained to me the yak yak yak wasn’t surprising.

Uh, I guess I liked it. I mean, it is just so odd. . . you have to respect it. And New Zealand Zoe is fantastic. But, I dunno. . . I don’t think I’ll be watching it again any time soon.

Army of Shadow (1969), Jean-Pierre Melville, A-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Thursday, August 13th, 2009

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A tremendous piece of work detailing the nitty gritty of the French Resistance. A bold, dark movie with a meandering plot, but each scene dripping with drama. A heavy influence on Inglourious Basterds, believe it or not, with many drawn out sequences leading to shocking conclusions.

Halloween II (1981), Rick Rosenthal, C+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Thursday, August 13th, 2009

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Certainly not good, but not totally a waste either.

There are a few moments in Halloween II that really rip off the original. That’s a good thing. Nothing can live up to the awesome suspense of the first one, but there are a few camera tricks in here that come close.

Storywise, completely retarded.

Adventureland (2009), Greg Mottola, A-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, August 9th, 2009

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Adventureland is not just sweet, tender and funny, it is a welcome respite from the LCD (alleged) comedies like, say, The Hangover that think gross-outs and vulgar sex jokes are all you need to be funny.

Adventureland is as horny as the next teen flick, but is handled in a clever and mature manner.

I swear it isn’t just because I worked at an amusement park that I loved this film.

Star Trek: Vanguard: Harbinger

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear,The Star Trek Project | Sunday, August 9th, 2009

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Okay, here’s the way I really feel.

I know I often recommend some Star Trek Expanded Universe comics and novels – but I know I am just recommending them to other die hard Trek fanatics. I recommend David Mack’s inaugural entry into the Vanguard novels not only to Trek fans but to lovers of all SF, indeed, to anyone who enjoys a fast-paced yarn.

Vanguard seems to be created for guys just like me. People who love DS9 for its characters and lengthy arcs, but also love the world of the TOS era.

Harbinger introduces you to Starbase 47 – aka Vanguard – when the NCC-1701 docks there. Then we meet a wonderful cast of characters.

Plenty of other sites have summaries and character breakdowns – I’ll only add that David Mack introduces the new characters & setting as if it were the first film in a series. I hope the other novels in the series keep up this level of fun.

Green Lantern: First Flight (2009), Lauren Montgomery, B

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, August 9th, 2009

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The opening is retarded and the movie doesn’t even bother giving you characters you care about (unlike the much more “real movie” Wonder Woman that came out earlier this year), but Green Lantern: First Flight has some of the craziest, holy-shit sci fi action you’ll see all year.

Lots of awesome aliens, creatures, flashing lights, space ships, teleportation cones, zaps, zings and zoops of all kind.

I don’t normally say things quite as bluntly as this, but here goes: get high then watch this DVD.

Star Trek: Mission’s End

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Sunday, August 9th, 2009

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After Year Four – and after TAS – there had to’ve been a final adventure before the fadeout before TMP. This is that story.

Wisely beginning post-Cage and pre-WNMHGB and then flashing forward, Mission’s End is a gold mine of Fan Service. It also really feels like a great TOS episode.

You have a bug planet, a machine-god, Spock v. Bones conflict, Prime Directive troubles and a hottie blonde scientist with the hots for Kirk.

The final scene, though, with Spock off to Vulcan for Kolinar, Bones retiring for private life and Kirk accepting the Admiralty brings a tear to this Trek lunatic’s eye.

Great stuff. Tremendous stuff.

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