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Redemption Ark

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Saturday, June 25th, 2011

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The third novel set in Alastair Reynolds’ Revelation Space Universe (and sequel to the original Revelation Space, with Chasm City more of a “side-quel,”) is my least favorite of the three. For about 250 of this 700 page brick, not a whole hell of a lot happens. I honestly think you could tear those pages out and nobody would have minded.

And, unlike the other two books (particularly the brilliant Chasm City, which I truly think is a masterpiece) there are not mindscrambling sci-fi/fantasy concept bombs being dropped every other page. By Reynolds’ standards, Redemption Ark is relatively straightforward.

Which is not to say it is not enjoyable. I love the world of the Conjoiners, the Demarchists, the Ultras, the Inhibitors and Pattern Jugglers. I love the lighthugger Nostalgia For Infinity and I love Alpha Level Sims, “Medichines” and unionized worker simians.

One of Reynolds’ greatest strengths is actually knowing a thing or two about science, so his interstellar travel is full of Relativistic puzzles that, for a layman like me, take a little bit of thought and/or Google research to follow. It is worth it. I still don’t really understand redshift, but I understand it slightly better now.

Nightwatching (2007), Peter Greenaway, B

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, June 25th, 2011

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I’m not going to be so gutsy as to say that I’ve understood all of Peter Greenaway’s films, but I’ve always respected them. Sometimes I even enjoyed them.

Nightwatching is one of the more (for lack of a better term) difficult ones. It is very stagey, even dabbles in being dull. But before it can lose you, it does something strange.

It tells the tale of Rembrandt while creating his Night Watch masterpiece, hinting that the painting is actually a coded message at a covered-up murder conspiracy. This is hardly a CSI episode, though, as much of the screentime is dedicated to Rembrandt’s love-life, lengthy dialogues with characters who may or may not be real and plenty of “tableaux.”

Here’s what I love about Greenaway. He can make nearly any sequence seem really important, and only when it’s done do you step back and think, “hey, what the heck is actually going on in this story?”

Bad Teacher (2011), Jake Kasdan, C

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, June 25th, 2011

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Funny, but forgettable.
Please read my review at UGO.com then catch bits of this on cable some day.

Cars 2 (2011), John Lasseter & Brad Lewis, C-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, June 25th, 2011

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Woe be to the parent that has to watch this multiple times with their kids. It is not very good (although definitely has a lot of “visual appeal,” as they say.)

Please read my review at UGO.com.

General Orders No. 9 (2011), Robert Persons, C

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

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It is not in my nature to trash talk a micro-budget art film with noble goals, so let’s just say that there are a few moments of striking imagery, but ultimately this didn’t really work for me – and leave it at that.

Green Lantern (2011), Martin Campbell, A-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

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Hoffman stands alone!
Read my review of Green Lantern review on UGO – and would it kill you to smile once in a while?

Grand Prix (1966), John Frankenheimer, C-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, June 12th, 2011

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First, yes, the racing scenes are incredible. The shooting, the audio, the cutting, the split-screen, all of the design in this film, in fact, is masterful, pure visual poetry. But everything that isn’t a racing scene is deplorable, soap opera garbage. Awful. So much so that this film as akin to a porno, where you wade through endless scenes of horrid acting and desultory boring plot to the point that you just can’t take it anymore and then, finally, more humping.

I detest this movie, but can not deny that there are 4 breathtaking scenes in here. Watch them and fast-forward through everything else.

3:10 To Yuma (2007), James Mangold, A-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, June 12th, 2011

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Hot damn, I love this movie & it only gets better.

When I first saw it, I thought the ending was a cop-out. I don’t think that any more. (I did notice some script cheats – like compression of time and location – that blaze past you when you first see it, but that’s fine.) The characters are great, the action scenes are incredible and it is just gorgeous. By far the best thing Mangold has ever done, and that might go for Christian Bale, too.

Superman: The Movie (1978), Richard Donner, B+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, June 12th, 2011

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There truly is some great, iconic stuff going on here. Reeve & Kidder are terrific and so much of the comedy, character scenes work. The third act, when Luthor’s plot gears-up, kinda fizzles, alas.

We’re All Doing Our Part

Jordan | No News Is Good News | Sunday, June 12th, 2011

This is merely a grain of sand in a grand Google beach, but from all I know about SEO, if I make sure the name Rick Santorum (or even just the word Santorum) is hyperlinked to its true meaning, I will be able to sleep better tonight.

One day America will be free of homophobia and these shenanigans won’t be necessary. Until then, fuck that guy.

The Sniper (1952), Edward Dmytryk, A-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, June 5th, 2011

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Really gripping and seedy film noir that is both ahead of its time in its frank violence, but also dated with its understanding of psychology. Highly recommended, and looks great, too.

Green Lantern: Emerald Knights (2011), Chris Berkeley, Lauren Montgomery, Jay Oliva, B+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, June 5th, 2011

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An epic wank-fest for GL fans taking “Tales From The Corps” and rendering them in bright, anime-style vignettes. Bonus points for two Alan Moore stories.
Read my full review on UGO.com.

Septien (2011), Michael Tully, B+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Friday, June 3rd, 2011

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A somewhat mesmerizing and finely observed tale of a group of outcasts living in a rural community and not-quite-connecting with one another. It is a funny movie, even if there are no jokes. I’m not quite sure I’m 100% on board with where it goes in the end, but I respect it for staking a bold claim. I missed this at Sundance, but it is playing at the IFC Center in the not-too-distant future & appearing on VOD, too. Definitely has that late night vibe you can only get from a smart, micro-budget films. Ann liked it, too.

Shakespeare Wallah (1965), James Ivory, A-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Friday, June 3rd, 2011

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Who knew Merchant & Ivory were ever young?

By which I mean they have vitality and zip as well as an incredible knack for tapping into nostalgia? My God, there are moments in the fantastic movie that are practically reminiscent of the French New Wave.

A group of British vagabond Shakespeare players roam India nearly 20 years after the end of the Raj and realize that their time is now up. Their daughter, born in India, is about to branch out on her own, but should she stay in India or go to Britain? Sounds heavy, and it is loaded with finely observed moments, but it is also a great deal of fun. Terrific picture.

Superman II: The Donner Cut (1980/2006), Richard Donner (and a little Richard Lester), C+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Friday, June 3rd, 2011

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I dunno. . .maybe I just love that dopey Paris sequence, but this pasted-together “for the fans” edit just feels a little off to me. Even though it is longer than the theatrical version, it somehow seems rushed. Or less epic. Or maybe I just miss the original music cues. I dunno.

Even though I dig seeing the new footage of Marlon Brando, I’m not sure I’m getting that much out of this. Maybe you have a different opinion.

A Clockwork Orange (1971), Stanley Kubrick, A

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Friday, June 3rd, 2011

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Watched this for the first time in a long time recently. It’s still great. And has a lot more moments of British camp than I remember. That’s a good thing.

Super 8 (2011), J.J. Abrams, B-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Friday, June 3rd, 2011

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It’s more like Super Not-Quite-Great.
Still, fun.
Read my full review at UGO.com, please.

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