The Passion of the Christ (2004), Mel Gibson, C+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Christ.Carrying.Cross.The.Passion

This is my first time seeing this since its release (when I watched a pirated copy I bought on the subway because I was all up in arms about not giving Gibson any money.) Well, tonight I watched the Blu-ray (which I still didn’t pay for) and, lemme tell ya, Caleb Deschanel really knows how to make with the dramatic lighting.

This movie is ultimately fascinating, just because of how undramatic it is, yet it made a billion dollars because, in 2004, if you didn’t see this movie it meant you didn’t support our troops. I’m being 100% serious.

With time, though, we can now watch it for a what it is: a stunningly shot pageantry of extremely boring scenes. There is no character development – hell, no characters, really. The movie plays like a “greatest hits” album, just ticking the boxes of famous references from the Bible. Veronica wipes Christ’s face? Check. Does this have any significance? Any weight? Especially to a non-believer or a novice to the New Testament. Absolutely not. Therefore, as a proselytizing Christian, Gibson fails.

Looks great, though. Helluva movie to watch on Halloween, what with all the bloodshed.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), Philip Kaufman, B

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, October 31st, 2010

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Mostly fun, but gets a little tedious.

Major points for (naturally) casting Spock and for having Jeff Goldblum in full-on crazy mode. Lots of great POV sequences, too. Kaufman and Michael Chapman know where to put the camera and many sequences have a fantastic look.

For the most part, a fun movie. Did I mention Spock was in it?
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The Social Network (2010), David Fincher, A-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, October 31st, 2010

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I can’t tell you if the movie has any deep meaning or not, but I can say it is really, really watchable.

The pre-title breakup sequence, in which Aaron Sorkin, Jesse Eisenberg and Rooney Mara are firing on all cylinders, may be the best individual scene I’ve seen in a movie all year.

I don’t, ultimately, know what this movie wants me to think of Zuckerberg, specifically with regard to his relationship with Eduardo. I mean – keeping him aboard may not have been the right decision. Maybe Facebook wouldn’t be what it is today if they’d stayed on the East Coast. I also think the movie missed some opportunities to discuss WHY Facebook is so important.

Anyway, I’m hardly an insider on these matters, nor do I care to be. This is just a good, juicy film, well played, well shot and with good, quotable lines. I like it a lot.

Winter’s Bone (2010), Debra Granik, B-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, October 31st, 2010

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Makes for compelling viewing simply because the setting is unique. The Goodwill pajamas and filled ashtrays paint a horrible picture of the Flyover, and that’s before the meth-cooking, gun-happy, squirrel-eaters start talking.

The story, however, isn’t all that compelling on its own.

Fair Game (2010), Doug Liman, B

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, October 31st, 2010

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You can read my review of Fair Game on UGO.

Or you could watch this dopey video.

Zero Hour, ENT 3

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Sunday, October 31st, 2010

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Action! Adventure! Shran!

The Xindi story ends with a bang, though not a bang that destroys the Earth.

One thing that makes no sense, though – why do T’Pol and Trip have to destroy the Sphere at exactly *that moment*? They can’t wait til after Archer tackles the Xindi weapon on Degra’s ship?

The answer is that there’s no time like the present and that they couldn’t travel as fast anyway, but, still, it seems a little like manipulative editing. That’s just me, though.

Great cliffhanger for Season 4. I have no idea what to expect. (More Shran?)

Countdown, ENT 3

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Sunday, October 31st, 2010

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And just when I was getting around to liking Major Hayes, he gets killed. And killed in a way that FINALLY answers what happens if you get phasered mid-transport.

Earth will be destroyed in 10 hours if we don’t think of something soon. . . .

The Council, ENT 3

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Sunday, October 31st, 2010

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The last few episodes of the third season of Enterprised are so well-serialized I can hardly differentiate them – even though I just watched this yesterday.

This is the one where Degra thinks he’s got the Reptillians on his side, but they kill him.

E2, ENT 3

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Sunday, October 31st, 2010

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Yes. In the middle of the showdown with the Xindi we get a Yesterday’s Enterprise-esque alternative timeline story.

If Archer’s Enterprise goes through Degra’s warp-tunnel, they’ll get stuck back in time. The descendants (making Enterprise a hands-sitting generation ship) are here to warn them. Then some new math appears.

Note: even over 100 years later, T’Pol will wear tight clothing.

The Forgotten, ENT 3

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Sunday, October 31st, 2010

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The ship continues to lick its wounds as Archer begin making in roads with Degra and the some of the factions on the Xindi Council. At heart, though, this is a Tucker episode, as he deals with the loss of a member of his crew and reflects on his Xindi-killed sister.

Damage, ENT 3

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Sunday, October 31st, 2010

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Slam! The NX-01 is in shambles.

Degra slips Archer back home via one of the Aquatic ships, but not before T’Pol admits to Phlox she’s been mainlining Trellium and a Trans-Dimensional Shpere Builder led schism begins within the Xindi Council.

Azati Prime, ENT 3

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Sunday, October 31st, 2010

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The Xindi storyline is reaching full steam. Archer is ready to sacrifice himself (he’s gonna be doing a lot of that) but Daniels zips him off the future (the Enterprise J??) to beg him to make peace with the Xindi thru Degra. Then the fighting starts.

Four Lions (2010), Chris Morris, A-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

four-lions

Five complete morons keystone kop their way toward terrorism and their 72 virgins.

Read the rest of my review and watch a video at UGO.com.

Monsters (2010), Gareth Edwards, C

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

monster

Monsters, Gareth Edwards’ independently made road/horror/politico/sci-fi film, gets all the points in the world for trying, but it ultimately comes up way short.

Read the rest of my review at UGO.com.

Lolita (1962), Stanley Kubrick, A

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, October 24th, 2010

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I’ve seen this movie before – more than once, even – but for some reason this time it really clicked for me as a hilarious comedy. James Mason’s swallowed lines are one scream after another, and each character is in a race to be the most deplorable – even the young sexually abused titular girl.

According to Wikipedia, Kubrick regretted having to keep the sex out due to censors (indeed, there isn’t a frame of the film as lusty as the poster), but I think keeping it as is keeps it perfectly light, agreeable, hysterical. I’ve never seen the trashy Adrian Lyne/Jeremy Irons version that is supposedly truer to the book (that I haven’t read), but I have a hunch I wouldn’t like it.

Rendezvous With Rama

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Sunday, October 24th, 2010

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This is one of the best books I’ve ever read and I am absolutely willing to agree that, basically, nothing happens in it.

A weird thing shows up, some guys go look at it, they don’t really know what it is and then it goes away.

I’ve always been drawn to books about exploration, and what Arthur C. Clarke does here is treat Captain Norton and the Endeavor’s look at the giant thingamabob as if was a story about Captain Cook on a Pacific Island.

What’s so great is that once Clarke nails down in his mind the few things that make Rama different from what we’ve got on Earth he presents it so incredibly realistically. This is what is meant by the phrase “Hard SF.” Luckily, Clarke is a dynamic writer, so descriptions of how centrifugal force would effect weather patterns can read like an incredible thriller.

The three quasi sequels are being ordered from Amazon soon.

Philip Roth: The Facts

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Sunday, October 24th, 2010

facts

I’ve read 23 of Philip Roth’s 29 books (31 if you count two books about writing) and this is the first one I can plainly say stinks.

Well – stinks is a rough word. Let’s say it doesn’t do anything to impress. It has a few great moments of elegant writing, but this is marred by what can only be true, ghastly windows into Roth’s extreme egotism and intense misogyny. In the context of a novel, these can be put to good use (usually, for the sake of comedy) but here, in what is meant to be choice pieces of autobiography, they simply make the author look like an ass.

Also – if you haven’t read many of Roth’s other books, you’ll miss the fun of seeing which “actual” events (maybe) were then twisted into scenes from his work. Of course, the key books for this include Letting Go, When She Was Good and My Life As A Man – all of which I’ve read – but hardly are his greatest hits of Portnoy’s Complaint, The Ghost Writer, American Pastoral or The Plot Against America.

An added insult is an extended epilogue written by “Nathan Zuckerman” trashing the book – as if we didn’t feel we’d wasted our time enough.

I don’t regret reading this – I zipped through it in half a plane ride – but I don’t recommend it, especially considering how everything else with Roth’s name on it is well worth picking up.

The Flash: Rebirth

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Sunday, October 24th, 2010

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Considering how much I loved what Geoff Johns did with Green Lantern and that I dug Blackest Night – and that I am currently enjoying the Flash: Brightest Day run, I figured I’d love a backtrack to the recent Flash: Rebirth arc. Not so much.

This is bad, messy comics writing. It’s all hero worship and baffling mumbo-jumbo. It *looks* cool, but the story is a crisis. Sorry – can’t win ‘em all.

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