Star Wars: Omninus: Boba Fett

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

boba-fett

500 (mostly) great pages of badass bounty hunter comics.

Here’s what I discovered – when I read Star Wars comics, I hear Wilhelm Screams in my head.

As this is a massive collection, there are different writers and artists on display. Some are better than others. When it’s cookin’, though, it’s great.

My favorite story is called Underworld: The Yavin Vassilika, which has competing Hutts sending all the great Bounty Hunters, such as IG-88, Dengar, Zuckuss and Lando & Han, on a wild goose chase. The drawings are really groovy and the fan service is through the roof.

I tore through his hefty tome on an airplane and now I’m hungry for more.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010), Edgar Wright, A

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

scott-pilgrim-trailer-11

Pretty damned revelatory.
I’m gonna do something I don’t normally do, which is reprint my entire review which ran on UGO.
**

“Oh, to be young and feel love’s sting.” – Albus Dumbledore.

There is a reason why Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Edgar Wright’s wildly innovative film adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s collection of graphic novels, is, in the parlance of its characters, an epic win. Beneath the dazzling special effects, catchy music, layers of sound design and more sight gags you can shake a +2 against girls hammer at, beat the hearts of confused young people in love.

SPvTW tells the story of a slackerish kid in Toronto who likes video games, plays bass in a mediocre band, hasn’t had a mature emotional relationship and, importantly, doesn’t know that yet. The telling of his life is treated like a game (with effects-heavy fight sequences dropped in like songs in a musical) and Pilgrim moves from level to level, reaching the ultimate boss fight in an attempt to win the girl of his (literal) dreams.

The film drifts in and out of realism with ease. What begins with established cinematic tricks, such as voice over and on-screen text, soon escalates into an orgy of visual gimmickry. Truthfully, I’ve never seen a movie with quite this much post-production fourth wall picture and sound tinkering. Ang Lee’s Hulk exploited its comic book origins with unique transitions – Scott Pilgrim vs. The World spazzes out with ADD-defying levels of pacing.

This is in no way a knock against Wright’s film. It is actually something of a triumph. There’s not one moment in the entire movie that isn’t shot or edited from a “never quite seen that before” perspective. Scenes smash together with split-screens, sound effects and thoughts are graphologized, lighting, even sets, change to express emotion – seriously, when Brian De Palma sees this movie he’s either going to get very inspired or slit his wrists.

It is not, however, sparkle for sparkle’s sake. It is an extension of who these kids are: the gamers, the texters, the generation who express complete thoughts in 140 characters. You’ll hear cell phone alerts throughout the film, but it won’t be from obnoxious audience members. It is part of a soundscape that’s stitched into the fabric of Pilgrim and his friends’ lives.

Michael Cera, the titular hero, is perfectly cast, silencing any concerns that he can only do “his thing” in every role. Cera and director Wright wisely tweak the character to play to Cera’s strengths, bringing added dimensions of comedy that did not exist in the original book. I think it is the best work Cera has ever done.

There are enough easter eggs in Scott Pilgrim for its own wiki. I’m just happy I caught the audio cue to Flash Gordon and Cera paraphrasing my favorite Chico Marx joke. Still, this is all secondary to the overwhelming adorableness of Pilgrim and his friends.

Each cast member knocks it out of the park. While Mary Elizabeth Winstead is the obvious winner with her dyed hair and penetrating eyes, I must give special praise to Keiran Culkan as Scott’s gay roomate Wallace Wells and Ellen Wong as Scott’s girlfriend/stalker Knives Chau. They are astoundingly good, delivering fresh line readings and the camera just loves ‘em.

Not everything from O’Malley’s books made it in – there’s same sex kissing, but not between girls – but that’s fine. Truthfully, I find the books to be a tad overrated – despite an overheard line from one of Jason Schwartzman’s partygoing douchebags, which claims the comic is always better than the movie. Edgar Wright has used O’Malley’s source material to give us something that rare thing – a new style of film. And that is truly an epic win.

Salt (2010), Philip Noyce, B-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

angelina-jolie-salt
Salt is completely idiotic, yet, for some reason, I kinda liked it.
Read my full review at UGO.

The Ultimates, Vol 2: Homeland Security

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Monday, July 19th, 2010

Ultimates Homeland Security panel Bryan Hitch

This may be a first for me when commenting about a Marvel book – but this is absolutely fucking fantastic. This and Vol 1 (Super-Human) of The Ultimates is, with some minor tweaking, all they need for creating a fantastic Avengers movie.

If the Thor that comes out in theaters is *this* Thor, we’re in for some real fun.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009), David Yates, C+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Monday, July 19th, 2010

hp6

Way, way, way too serious. Not fun – and not *British*! Other than the butterbeer, all the charm is bleached from this film and we spend the whole time drowning in mythos with Tom Riddle hiding his soul and people looking at each other’s memories. And I have no idea what that whole business with Dumbledore drinking a the potion out of that shell in the cave was all about.

And after 5 movies of Snape seeming like a bad guy but actually being good – turns out he was actually bad this whole time? And it doesn’t even get sprung on us – we learn it at the beginning? Like it was an off-season decision or something?

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), David Yates, B

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, July 18th, 2010

hp5

Ooooooh, that Dolores Umbridge is a fantastic villain. Yet I can smell that the series is about to start buckling under the weight of its own mythos.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Mike Newell, B+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, July 18th, 2010

HP4

Maybe with all this “Dark Lord has returned” stuff and “Chosen One” it would have made sense to keep Harry out of the Triwizard Cup, but it is pretty damned fun.

Some plot holes though, worse than the complete poppycock that are the rules of Quiddich, can’t be ignored. I mean, if they spend the whole time saying that trying to win the Triwizard Cup is dangerous and you can get killed – why are they so shocked and scandalized when someone actually gets killed?

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), Alfonso Cuaron, A-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, July 18th, 2010

hp3

Light years better than the first two, with visual polish, sleek long takes, fun time-travel concepts and some actual acting from those three dopey kids. The first HP movie I can honestly say I liked.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), Chris Columbus, C

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, July 18th, 2010

hp2

A thousand hours long and, this time, threatening to be genuinely annoying.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001), Chris Columbus, B-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, July 18th, 2010

hp1

Charming in its Britishness and in its world-building. As a story (especially a screenplay) it rambles on forever with no clear focus or drive. A bit annoying at times, too. But cute.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (2010), Jon Turtletaub, C

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, July 18th, 2010

the-sorcerers-apprentice-high-res-1

Astoundingly unremarkable. Read my review at UGO.

Batman: Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Sunday, July 18th, 2010

arkhamasylum1

Truly beautiful, disturbing imagery and one of the best uses of comics as a true artform. Light on story, heavy on tone – wonderful abstract painted panels that threaten to rise to the level of genuine, impressionistic art.

(The stuff about Harvey Dent gateway drugging from a coin to a deck of cards to the IChing is cool, too.)

Justice League of America: The Lightning Saga

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Sunday, July 18th, 2010

300px-JLA_v.2_8A

Does a Justice Society of America/Justice League of America crossover need to bring in the Legion of Superheroes? That’s just wayyyy too many capes and masks to keep track of.

All the charm of the JSA’s first (recent) book is overwhelmed by the massive, plodding plot.

Inception (2010), Christopher Nolan, A

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Thursday, July 8th, 2010

inception-top

Everyone telling you not to know anything about this movie going into it is absolutely right.

If you simply must know, you can read my review at UGO.

Dial M For Murder (1954), Alfred Hitchcock, A-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Thursday, July 8th, 2010

dial-m-for-murder-cover

It’s somewhat amazing how something all set in one room can still grip you if the story is good.

It’s a clean film – and so, so British. Fun!

Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Star Lost

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Thursday, July 8th, 2010

The_Star_Lost

Worf, Wesley, a comatose Riker and a bunch of others (Lt. Selar!) are on a shuttle mission and get zapped to somewhere far, far away.

How long is it right for Picard to hold out hope?

How will the members of the shuttle crew get back?

Seems like an average episode of TNG, but the drawn out nature of this book allows for some real depth, as well as some expansive heavy nerdass shit when a giant floating city of disabled ships with all your favorite species (including Gorn!) are discovered.

The tradepaperback I have includes an opening essay by Ronald D. Moore that is touching and sweet.

The Ultimates: Super-Human

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Thursday, July 8th, 2010

the_ultimates_vol_1_super_human_2

A lively good start to a new iteration of the Marvel team-up. Mark Millar has a good ear, even if he likes to date himself (too much Freddie Prinze Jr.) though the characterization of Hank Pym, Bruce Banner and an out-of-time Steve Rogers are pretty damned cool. Good to know Thor is using his hammer to destroy corporate America, too.

Green Lantern: Rage of the Red Lanterns

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Thursday, July 8th, 2010

red-lantern-1

Lots of new crazy developments on Oa!

Hal Jordan and John Stewart meet new Lanterns both Red and Blue as the GLC prepare for the execution of Sinestro. Yet, for some reason, Sinestro seems excited by all this.

A very colorful book.

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