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Night Watch (2006), Timur Bekmanbetov, C+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Friday, April 29th, 2011


Here’s what I wrote about Night Watch when I first saw it in 2006 and gave it a “D.”

As if we needed more proof: cool special effects are fun to watch for a while, but if you don’t have an original or interesting story to tell, you have no movie. And even if the first half-hour is jaw-dropping, the remaining three half-hours simply hurt your ass. There is only one truly neato concept in “Night Watch,” but it hit me mid-way through that it is stolen from “Lord of the Rings” (how is entering “The Gloom” not the same as when Frodo puts on the Ring?) Some groovy shots, yeah — I certainly recommend this to anyone on drugs who wants to see cool images. And props must go out to whomever decided that the English subtitles should move around the screen, fade in and out, turn red, change size, etc. (I think using subtitles as a quasi-diagetic graphic element is basically without precedent.) But I won’t be lining up for the sequels.

Watching it again last night, I was a little more accepting of the baffling plot (maybe because I knew what to expect, but probably because I peeked at Wikipedia for a “what the hell is happening?” break) and still wowed by the look. This picture was made for under five million bucks, if you can believe that.

Something I both condemn and congratulate this movie for: I have no idea who is good and who is bad. I automatically assume that “the light” is good and “the dark” is bad, but who the hell knows.

Night Watch feels like walking in the middle of a movie, or an ongoing fantasy series, three different times. There’s no beginning, certainly no end, and no way to follow the plot. But, still. . .looks great.

The Guard (2011), John Michael McDonagh, A-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Friday, April 29th, 2011


Terrific spin on the typical buddy cop movie. A terrific flick that’ll just exaggerate whatever you already feel about Ireland.

Read my review, if you wouldn’t mind, over at UGO.

Justice Society of America: Black Adam and Isis

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Friday, April 29th, 2011


What’s annoying about the (relatively) recent relaunch of the JSA is what’s annoying about all ongoing superhero comics.

It always seems to be really building, building, building to something, but it never quite gets there.

In this collection there’s an interesting tangent concerning the Batson family and the reemergence of Black Adam, but once that slugs itself out it is simply dropped. The continuing A-story lumbers on – a self-referential bit of business, mostly about just who should be allowed in this new JSA.

Still, there is an indescribable charm in seeing young Stargirl complain about her braces as Grandfatherly Jay Garrick gives her a mock-punch in the arm. And Alan Scott in a paper birthday party hat.

I read this stuff just before I fade off to sleep in my bed, once my wife is already in the Land of Nod and can’t judge me.

The Bleeding House (2011), Philip Gellat, B

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Monday, April 25th, 2011


A solid first film for a comic creator turned filmmaker. Some of the performances’ll take you out of the picture, but there’s some decent atmosphere and genuine creep factor.

The Crusades: The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Lands

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Monday, April 25th, 2011


I’d been schlepping through this 700 page whopper for months.
Some of it is a rip-roaring page-turner, some of it is as dull as a long march through the desert.

The parts that are ceaselessly fascinating are the political machinations, the way the Crusades were sold to commoners and Kings alike, and how the Pontiff was able to mobilize thousands of people to travel across the globe on an impossible mission.

Less interesting are the very detailed battle descriptions. Still, author Thomas Asbridge keeps it focused on the personalities and the cultural aspects of “taking the cross.” I wish I read this before I went to Israel – I’d be pretty stoked to see the city of Akko again now that I know some of the shit that went down there.

Beyond The Black Rainbow (2011), Panos Cosmatos, B+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Monday, April 25th, 2011


A must-see for fans of trippy sci-fi.
Something of a revelation.
Please read my review over at

Rabies (2011), Navot Papushado and Aharon Keshales, C-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Monday, April 25th, 2011


Not good.

The Trip (2011), Michael Winterbottom, C+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Monday, April 25th, 2011


I thought for sure I’d love this. I didn’t. I was amused, but only somewhat.

Read a more in-depth review at UGO.

Pom Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (2011), Morgan Spurlock, B

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Monday, April 25th, 2011


Entertaining. You can read my review at UGO and/or watch this video.

The Rocketeer (1991), Joe Johnston, C

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Monday, April 25th, 2011


Cool poster, bad movie.
Watched this thinking about Joe Johnston and Captain America. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie of his that did anything for me. We shall see.

Scream 4 (2011), Wes Craven, B

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, April 16th, 2011

Much like my full review over at


Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, April 16th, 2011


Godard, Warhol, Hal Hartley have a baby and she grows up to be a secular Muslim conceptual artist living in New York’s Chinatown.

I’m 100% in awe of this movie – and its ability to have the style of a 1960s underground film, the energy of an early 1990s indie and the dry political saavy of right now. This is my favorite New York City movie is a decade.

Not every scene is perfect (it was shot for, what, twenty dollars?) but its deadpan humor and 16mm film stock make it very dear to me. Without question on my top 10 list this year. (Some feat, considering its assumed-of-the-audience anti-Israeli politics.)

I may put in the extra effort and get a review up for this on UGO.

Cars (2005), John Lasseter and Joe Ranft, B

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, April 16th, 2011

Cute. I like Mater.

The Secrets (2007), Avi Nesher, B-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, April 16th, 2011


This is an example of an almost good movie.
Feels like a book. . .or a play. . .hell, there’s just something about it that just feels *off*. The character arcs are so very predictable, and yet the specificity of it (orthodox Jews “allowed” one year of religious study before marriage in Safed) is nothing but fascinating.
It is shot on location and has lots of legit-seeming Kabbalah ramblings. I recommend it more as an ethnographic experience than a movie. So, so close to being good. Shame, really.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010), Michael Apted, C

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, April 16th, 2011


One or two cool effects shots. The rest is so fucking boring. Nearly a disaster.

Asinine Press Release of the day 4/14

Jordan | Tales Of Hoffman | Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Martha Stewart tells Cindi Leive that she wants to get engaged on today’s The Martha Stewart Show

On today’s edition of THE MARTHA STEWART SHOW (Hallmark Channel, 10 AM ET/9 AM C – same day encore airing, 2 PM ET/next day airing, 1 PM ET), Glamour editor-in-chief, Cindi Leive, joined Martha in the kitchen to prepare the legendary recipe credited for 72 documented engagements, Roasted Engagement Chicken, which has also served as the inspiration behind Cindi’s new cookbook, 100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know, Engagement Chicken and 99 Other Fabulous Dishes to Get You Everything You Want in Life. Martha revealed her ulterior motive to making this savory meal that has been served by many woman hoping their beaus will pop the question when she said “I want to get engaged, I want to make this chicken!”

Full soundbites are provided below and attached is a photo of Martha and Cindi from today’s show. Credit: David Steele/The Martha Stewart Show. If I can be of any additional assistance, please be in touch. Additional photos are available upon request.


Executive Assistant to [Redacted]




Dialogue of the Day 4/14

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Thursday, April 14th, 2011

A: So, how did you two meet?

B: Oh, well, I know this sounds so old fashioned, but we met in a chat room.

Your Highness (2011), David Gordon Green, B+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Good and stupid. Like rolling a joint in graph paper.
Read my full review at

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