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Youth Without Youth (2007), Francis Ford Coppola, A-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, August 29th, 2010


They’ll never, ever make a movie version of Gravity’s Rainbow, and that’s just fine, but there are moments in Youth Without Youth that definitely reminded me of vague memories I have of that book I read but didn’t understand.

…..And there were stretches where I didn’t understand Youth Without Youth, if not on a plot level than on a “what can this mean, man?” level.

Youth Without Youth, a history-skipping, genre-bouncing trip through Central Europe (and a little bit of the Dawn of Time) is nothing if not heavy, and certainly is beautiful. The cinematography, camera moves, set design and music will leave you thunderstruck right there on your couch – all the more easy for the unconventional and unpredictable screenplay to try and knock you out with its many head-fakes.

More than once I said, “wait, what? Really? That’s awesome!” I didn’t expect shots of Tim Roth center frame speaking into a microphone babbling in an invented language. Wait, what?

A Passage To India (1984), David Lean, A

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, August 29th, 2010


For some strange reason my parents took me to see this when I was ten years old. I can’t say I understood it all but it left an indelible mark on me.

Looking at it now (and I’ve seen it many times since) I can’t ignore there are some moments of overacting and trite dialogue – and maybe the Law & Order section at the end drags a bit – but if this isn’t exhibit A on how cinema can be magic, well, I just don’t know what is.

It’s a big movie, but a very intimate one as well. And sad. Emotionally, this is closer to Lean’s Brief Encounter than, say, Lawrence of Arabia.

Any time I’ve been in a foreign country and I’ve seen indigenous people working for Whitey I’ve thought of this film.

Mrs. Moore!!!

Any Which Way You Can (1980), Buddy Van Horn, C

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, August 29th, 2010


I used to think the most absurdly drawn-out fight scene was in They Live. I was wrong.

This movie is ten times more idiotic than Every Which Way But Loose, a film that, I truly feel, has cultural significance. This is just junk. But, at times, fun. Like when Ruth Gordon’s head appears on Bo Derek’s body. What’s not to like about that?

Every Which Way But Loose (1978), James Fargo, B+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, August 29th, 2010


Before anything: I know this movie is awful. I mean, it’s just stupid. It’s stupid. But, as a cultural artifact, it is altogether fascinating and, I think, important, in that it is a time capsule not only of blue collar living in in forgotten crannies of urban 1978, but it represents a now extinguished brand of product that really doesn’t exist for this particular demographic.

This is a movie for a blue collar audience that revels in its blue collar universe. It does not aspire, in any way, to a white collar existence. (What’s targeted at trailer parks today? Keeping Up With The Kardashians?)

EWWBL presents a world completely isolated from a white collar/blue state way of life. Biker gangs, beer-in-cans, underground bare-knuckle fighting circuits, lawns with car parts, country music – and everyone is in on it and that’s all it is. It’s practically sci-fi, or, at least, some sort of opposite to Sweet Sweetback’s Badasssss Song.

EWWBL takes advantage of this world of fantasy to support its paper-thin, almost stream-of-consciousness script. What is the relationship between Philo, Orville and Ma? Does Clyde actually understand Philo, like Chewie and Han? What exactly do all these people do for a living? How do they always go to the bar, but not pay for anything? How does the quasi-Nazi biker gang just “find them” when they are in Santa Fe and Denver? Same with the bumbling cops. Same with Philo and Sondra Locke – who looks a little bit like a strung-out Penthouse Pet and a little bit like Mom’s Apple Pie. Apparently, the state of Colorado has only one street, and everyone will eventually see one another on it.

Or maybe it does, and I just don’t know about it, because this isn’t my world?

By they way – the Orangutan is a frickin’ scream.

Enter the Void (2010), Gaspar Noe, A

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, August 29th, 2010


I’m still not ready to review Enter the Void, which, when it is all said and done, might be the only reasonable response when asked, “what’s the best movie of 2010?”

Then again, it is manipulative, pretentious nonsense.

Okay, this isn’t a review. It is just a warm-up. Fittingly, then, here are the opening credits.

Centurion (2010), Neil Marshall, B-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, August 29th, 2010

I’m really not fond of this model of releasing films on VOD then in theaters a month later.

I’m not averse to same-day releases, but this VOD-first thing just feels like cinematic premature ejaculation.

With that – I saw Centurion what feels like a lifetime ago. It came out in theaters this past friday. Here is my review on UGO.

Planet Hulk (2010), Sam Liu, C+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, August 29th, 2010


In an effort to get more Marvel into my diet, I watched the Blu-ray of Planet Hulk.

Sometimes, when my wife sees me watching something like this I’ll say, “Oh, I’m watching an animated film.” This time, I couldn’t fool her or myself. “I’m watching cartoons,” I said.

This wasn’t terrible, but it doesn’t aspire to much other than Hulk bashing people around a stadium. There’s an attempt at some sci-fi outer space mythos but it is just muddled in brawn. Maybe the books are better.

Blackest Night/Blackest Night: Green Lantern/Blackest Night: Green Lantern Corps/Blackest Night: Black Lantern Corps Vol 1/Blackest Night: Black Lantern Corps Vol 2/Blackest Night: Rise of the Black Lantern/Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Sunday, August 29th, 2010


Over the past week or so I have read the seven collected hardbound editions of DC Comics’ recent crossover event, Blackest Night. I’d read little bits here and there but I did what the creators would have wanted me to do and I’ve treated it as a comprehensive text.

Further, instead of blogging the individual book, as I normally do, I’m gonna’ do what’s easier for me and, again, what they would probably want and stir it all up in my mind and conceive of it as just one thing, despite multiple writers and artists all adding their own flavor into the stew.

So what do I think?

I like comics with big, bold colors, and the very nature of this story (the emotional spectrum at the engine of creation/existence as made manifest by Roy G Biv) is one giant excuse to have page after page of vibrant color explode out of every panel.

I also like when obscure, particularly square Golden Age characters show up, and, therefore, I’m a fan of Geoff Johns who loves nothing more than a solid deep cut. For God’s sake, the original Mr. Terrific shows up as a zombie – you don’t get more square than him! Seriously, everyone you’ve ever cared about in the DCU past or present gets a moment on stage here.

As an avowed Green Lantern fan (and, even more so, a Green Lantern Corps fan) I found myself more interested in the main stream of this story. Maybe, just maybe, tying EVERYTHING in the DCU wasn’t exactly for me. But for a snoozer chapter here (like, say, The Question or Jonah Hex) there is something really bizarre that takes some risks – Superboy Prime assaulting the offices of 1700 Broadway, I’m looking at you.

Nothing tops the Corps, though, and hats off to Blackest Night being a Green Lantern-driven story. Because Green Lantern is awesome. Green Lantern/Green Lantern Corps is the greatest thing happening in comics right now, and much of what has been making it cool is all the weird-ass shit leading up to Blackest Night. The Blue Lanterns are here to stay, as is Larfleeze and a rage-napalm-spitting Atrocitus.

Okay, my wife may’ve thought I was nuts wasting an entire beautiful Sunday plowing through these weighty tomes, but she’s enough of an Indigo Lantern at heart to allow me the indulgence. (Now if only I can convince her to dress like a Star Sapphire – reowr!)

The Justice Society of America, Vol. 1

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Saturday, August 21st, 2010


The 1970s reboot of the JSA, introducing Power Girl and doing its best to make sense of Earth-One and Earth-Two.

These are the last embers of the Silver Age whiz bam pow comics – with some wonderfully dated narrative prose from Paul Levitz. It’s stupid, it’s fun. Wildcat is my favorite.

The Odyssey File: Arthur C. Clarke and Peter Hyams

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Saturday, August 21st, 2010


The email correspondence between author and filmmaker (in Sri Lanka and Los Angeles, respectively) is interesting in that I find all behind-the-scenes material on filmmaking interesting. What makes this book such a treasure is Clarke nerding the hell out about the miracle of the then very much embryonic internet.

To send and receive email in 1983 was a very difficult process – and Clarke’s extremely detailed descriptions are a wonderful capsule. That he recognizes how swiftly the method of communication will be adopted and altered is just as striking.

Hyams meant well with 2010. I should watch it again.

Planet of the Apes (2001), Tim Burton, D

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, August 21st, 2010


Oy vey iz mir.

What’s worse, making a bad movie or making a bad movie and trying to graft it onto a successful franchise?

The moments of “fan service” are repugnant (and numerous) and yet there are whole other elements of the mythos that are just ignored.

Then there’s the fact that this movie is horribly paced, boring, meandering, pointless and features a dreadful lead performance.

The costumes look great, though.

Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973), J. Lee Thompson, C-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, August 21st, 2010


The series goes out with a long. . .slow. . . .bang.

Are there wild inconsistencies in canonical logic, or can time alter and morph, such that a mere grandfather paradox is hardly worth a discussion? I dunno . . .all I know is that Paul Williams and John Huston wear Orangutan makeup.

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972), J. Lee Thompson, B-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, August 21st, 2010


This is, perhaps, the most important of the five APES films – the one you can write the most essays about – but it isn’t that great of a movie. It has some major dry patches, and some really dark moments as well.

It may be sacrilege to say this, but the end battle goes on for far too long.

Escape From The Planet of the Apes (1971), Don Taylor, B

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, August 21st, 2010


The most ridiculous of all the Apes movie – and in some ways the most fun.

Cornelius and Zira come to the 1970s, become celebrities – then eventually get machine gunned down on a boat.

Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970), Ted Post, C+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, August 21st, 2010

Worship the Bomb

I respect the complete nuttiness of this movie but, man, it is a bit of a mess.

Still, Heston does blow up the Earth at the end. That’s fun.

Planet of the Apes (1968), Franklin J. Schaffner, A-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, August 21st, 2010


One of the few science fiction film my mother will give the time of day, POTA is generally accepted as an important benchmark of 60s unrest and the discussion of civil rights. And that’s all great, but it is also a good movie.

Perhaps most interesting is just how much of a dick Charlton Heston is. We identify with him because we’re human – but he’s definitely not the good guy here.

Batman Returns (1992), Tim Burton, A-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, August 21st, 2010


I gotta be clear about my position on this movie. It isn’t a good Batman movie – but it is a good Tim Burton movie.

Christopher Walken and Danny De Vito are fantastic – absolutely fantastic – and the sets, at least in 2010, have a spectacularly flimsiness to them.

It’s hard to watch a Batman film post-Nolan, but it is hard to dislike this picture.

Tales of Earthsea (2010), Goro Miyazaki, C-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, August 21st, 2010

Goro? More like BORE-o!

Read my full review of this cure for insomnia at UGO.

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