Rejoice and Shout (2010), Don McGlynn, C+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, May 29th, 2011

Rejoice_and_Shout_1

Great music, but this is, by and large, a very top level look at the history of Gospel music. And disarmingly proselytizing. I half-expected to get hit-up for a donation at the end.

But did I mention the music is great? Cause it is. And *some* of the talking head footage is informative.

Satantango (1994), Bela Tarr, B-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, May 29th, 2011

satantango-2-400

I am snob. I can be as pedantic and didactic as the most frustrating cineaste you can find on the Internet. But I’m also a reality check and I’ll tell it like it is: there are a lot of neat things happening Satantango, but those that call it a next step in cinema are fooling themselves.

I’m glad I saw the 7 hr and 15 minute movie. But I think Tarr’s done better work. And there are better films about post-Communist countries/communities tearing themselves apart. And better films of drunken Eastern Europeans acting nuts. And better movies about people watching things, or parallel action POV sequences (none top Gus Van Sant’s Elephant.)

I’ve just given you a golden opportunity to say, “but where’s the movie that does ALL of this!!?” And of course, the answer is Satantango, which is why I rate this slow-as-molasses endurance run as high as a B-.

Okay, send the flames my way. Would you rather I just lied and repeated the word “masterpiece” like everyone else?

(Lastly, I’ve seen 3 other Tarr films and, by and large, love the filmmaker who inevitably comes up when discussing him, Andrei Tarkovsky.)

A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001), Steven Spielberg, B

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

superteddybp8

I haven’t seen this movie since the theaters and, alas, I’m not 100% sure it holds up.

I remember defending this movie quite a bit back in the day – but on second viewing I see there are a lot of problems. The script is uneven, maybe even meandering. There actually isn’t that much “excitement” during the Act II Odyssey and, frankly, I don’t think that much of the world-building makes a whole heckuva lot of sense.

What’s to like? The core questions at the heart of the film, of course, and the special effects. 10 years later and most of the robot shots still look impressive.

Lastly, I will always salute this film for having enormous balls. It states “robot wants love” and just goes with it. It is a forceful and straightforward narrative – kid won’t give up. For 2000 years in the ocean, he won’t give up. Gotta respect that.

X-Men: First Class (2011), Matthew Vaughan, A-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

x-men-first-class-james-mcavoy-photo_t614

The prequel nobody asked for is such a blast. And Magneto is terrific. Read my full review at UGO.com.

The Lineup (1958), Don Siegel, A-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

the-lineup-original
This is one helluva picture.

What begins as a routine policier shifts dramatically about half-way through. Breaking with traditional screenplay structure, we abandon the detectives that’ve been trying to uncover a dope smuggling operation that accidentally killed a beat cop, and wind up tagging along with the smugglers for the second half of the movie. Who you are supposed to root for is entirely between you and your God.

Very much recommended.

The Hangover Part II (2011), Todd Phillips, D

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

The Hangover Part II

I did not care for this movie. At all.
Please read my full review at UGO, if, for no other reason, a precautionary measure.

Blue Valentine (2010), Derek Cianfrance, C+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

Blue_Valentine

Good performances, well shot and I really liked the music. But. . . .I dunno. . . .for a movie marketed as exposing the truth about how love can fade, it all feels very phony.

I don’t buy the characters at ALL and I don’t really understand why there’s the shift between then and now. “I can’t take this anymore!” she keeps shouting. Take what, exactly? Ultimately, I just didn’t care. I have my own issues to deal with.

Dark Portals: The Chronicles of Vidocq (2001), Pitof, B-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

vidocq01

I gotta say, I kinda like this strange movie. If Peter Greenaway and Tommy Wiseau collaborated on a steampunk remake of Eyes Wide Shut on video with a fat Gerard Depardieu doing action stunts, it’d feel something like this.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005), Shane Black, B+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

kisskissbang

Very entertaining, even if it kinda doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense. Hey, neither does The Big Sleep.

It’s a shame Michelle Monaghan hasn’t been given more interesting roles. She’s really quite funny in this.

Forbidden World (1982), Allan Holzman, B-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

forbidden-world

Better than Dead Space but not as good as Star Crash, this Corman-produced Sci-Fi horror flick (and rip-off of Alien) is the yang to Galaxy of Terror’s yin and, by and large, succeeds in being gross, cool to look at and short.

Crazy editing, synthesizers and jumpsuits await.

The Man Who Would Be King (1975), John Huston, A

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Friday, May 20th, 2011

the-man-who-would-be-king-movie-poster-1975-1020195886

Now THAT’S a movie!

John Huston, holdout from Hollywood’s Golden Age, had a great run at the end of his career. He segued well into the darker pictures of the 70s, but still had capital E entertainment on his mind.

There are few other pictures (The Right Stuff comes to mind) that so well balances genuine adventure with subversive irreverence. The result is a curious form of patriotism. (Even though I’m not British. But still.)

There’s mountains of political subtext in this movie, but it is also a damned good yarn. And Michael Caine pwns.

Midnight in Paris (2011), Woody Allen, A-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Friday, May 20th, 2011

Midnight in Paris Movie Poster

Woody’s best in 14 years (Deconstructing Harry.)
Just when ya thought he didn’t have anything left in him, he let’s rip with this.
It is funny, it is smart, it is wonderfully romantic and it looks gorgeous. Without question one of the best and most enjoyable films you’ll see this year.

Day Watch (2006), Timur Bekmanbetov, W

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

daywatch

This is a banner day in the life of JordanHoffman.com and, maybe, in the life of Jordan Hoffman.

You’ll notice I gave this movie the grade of “W.” “W” stands for Walked Away!

For my entire life I’ve been pretty steadfast about sticking it out through the end of a movie. Even if I absolutely can’t stand it, I let it run its course. Perhaps I don’t give it my full attention, but the disc still spins if I am at home and I never leave a theater early (there have been two exceptions I’ll talk about later.)

Even if I am reading a book I’m hating, I’ll stay to the end. Ask my wife. It’s just the way I am wired. (This is why I don’t like to start reading new comics or watch new TV shows – because I then have to watch/read ALL of it.)

Now I say: no more! I’m not going to be on this planet forever and, dammit, my time is valuable.

If I give something a fair shake, but it just isn’t doing it for me, I’ll toss it.

Obviously, this does not apply to something I am reviewing for work. If I’m getting paid to review it, I’ll stay through to the bitter end. But if it is a 5 year old sequel to an “urban fantasy film” that I only kinda liked to begin with that I’m watching for kicks – and I am feeling tortured by its inscrutable plot – it is a “W.”

I do feel a little bad for Day Watch. God knows I’ve forced myself to sit through far, far worse movies that this. It’s just that the time for the “W” has come, and it happened on this film’s (ahem) watch. But I made it to the 55 minute mark, realized I a) had no idea what was going on, b) couldn’t find a way to care and c) had over 90 minutes to go I turned a new page for my personal development.

Walked Away!

…..now…..as for the movies I’ve walked out of. Visconti’s The Leopard and Joseph May’s Asphalt. Not because they weren’t good movies, but because I went into those theaters (the Film Forum and Anthology Film Archives, respectively) when I was absolutely exhausted and was snoring, loudly, by the second reel. Trust me, I did the right thing by leaving.

Mesrine (2010), Jean-Francois Richet, B+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

MesrineCassel

This two-part film is extremely watchable, with hardly a dull patch in over 4 hours. Great entertainment, though I must admit it is a little pointless.

It is *so* plot driven that, even at that running time, you hardly get inside anyone’s head. So, it is mostly about a guy doing stuff. But when that stuff is robbing banks and breaking out of prisons, it is, like I say, really fun to watch.

Also: a bearded Vincent Cassell is the spitting image of “E Street Shuffle” era Bruce Springsteen!

Tree of Life (2011), Terrence Malick, A-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Gustave Klimt - Tree of life

I saw Tree of Life and I reviewed it at UGO.com. Read what I have to say, but it’s not really about words (man.) Go see it when you can. Because you are already living it.

Tron Legacy (2010), Joseph Kosinski, C+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, May 15th, 2011

tron-legacy-rinzler-korean-movie-poster

I’m almost at the point where I’m starting to love Tron Legacy for being so bad.

And yet – there are PARTS of it that are so good!

So confusing!!

Anyway, I’ll always associate Tron Legacy with Matt Patches – and since Matt Patches usually makes me smile, so does this movie. I’ve a hunch I’ll watch a few more times before I am through, even though it basically sucks. I’m a complicated man.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011), Rob Marshall, B-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, May 15th, 2011

pirates-of-the-caribbean-on-stranger-tides-first-look

This is an enjoyable, but deeply flawed movie. Catch in on Blu-ray. But, first, read my full review at UGO.com.

Or dig this more upbeat video.

Priest (2011), Scott Stewart, A-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, May 15th, 2011

paul-bettany-priest1

I really enjoyed this silly, Papal film.
Please read my review at UGO.com. (Or else be damned!!)

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