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Pariah Review

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, December 31st, 2011


You’ll forgive me if my reaction to Dee Rees’ film Pariah is more emotional than critical. Ya see, it really hits me close. No, not because I’m an African-American or a lesbianor had parents who would not accept me, but because my coming of age coincided with the boom years of the American independent film scene of the early 1990s. Pariah is, at least to me, greatly reminiscent of that era and its films.

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Margaret Review

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, December 31st, 2011


The movie is Margaret, the six-years-on-the-shelf post-9/11 drama, and it is the type of thing you rarely see. It has a solid cast, a dramatic setting and a powerhouse opening. All the tracks are laid for a big emotional movie with recognizable beats and teary-eyes speechifying. But something kinda magical happens. It is as if writer/director Kenneth Lonergan stood up, said “No!” and demanded that the chaos and heartache that challenges us in real life must challenge us as audience members, too. As such, the story chugs along following its own internal logic, chasing tangents and getting hyper-focused on vignettes that seem, at least on the surface, to be completely unrelated to anything.

[Continue reading at Badass Digest.]

A Separation Review

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, December 31st, 2011


There’s the famous quote from Shakespeare – “the first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” It’s from one of his plays that was never made into a movie, so I can’t tell you which one. I can tell you, though, it was meant as a vision of utopia. Having seen Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation I can report that a justice system that dispenses of the sleazoids in slick suits still has plenty of problems.

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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy Review

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, December 31st, 2011


Tomas Alfredson’s adaptation of John Le Carré’s celebrated Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy flat-out fails in its efforts to grab ya in a breathless, page-turning spy thriller way. It achieves, however, something far more interesting – a striking look at what British intelligence really (okay, probably) was like in the early 1970s.

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Comics Read – Week of 12/21

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Saturday, December 31st, 2011


New to JH.c!
I waste $ on comics, the least I can do is keep track of what I felt. This’ll be a week-by-week.

VENOM #11 – A

Films Watched 12/21 – 12/30

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, December 31st, 2011


The Front (1976), Martin Ritt, B+
The Matrix (1999), The Wachowskis, A-
The Matrix Reloaded (2003), The Wachowskis, C-
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring – Extended Edition (2001/2002), Peter Jackson, A
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers – Extended Edition (2002/2003), Peter Jackson, A-
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King – Extended Edition (2003/2004), Peter Jackson, A-
Margaret (2001), Kenneth Longergan, A-

Indignation, Philip Roth

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Wednesday, December 21st, 2011


Roth’s books (and I’ve read almost all of them) take on a mantra-like quality with their repetition. All of ‘em, even the high concept ones like Operation: Shylock or The Plot Against America, are basically the same stories over and over.

This time, the main character is a little more of a pompous prick than usual. And it doesn’t work out well for him.

This li’l novella is wonderfully funny and has some of the best recollections of mid-century sexual deviance that I’ve ever read. He does it so effortlessly. There’s an insight on every page. Another masterpiece from a man who has delivered many of them.

The Sirens of Titan, Kurt Vonnegut

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Wednesday, December 21st, 2011


To say that I loved this book just doesn’t cut it. I actually found it so hard to put down that I MADE myself put it down so it could last longer. It is hilarious, it is insightful and it feels like it is sent to us from another planet.

Somewhere along the way I decided that Vonnegut wasn’t worth any more of my time. I don’t know where I got this idea. I’ve read many of his books, but not all of them. This is ending now.

Films Watched 12/13 – 12/21

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

(not a lot this week.)

Shocker (1989), Wes Craven, C

Young Adult (2011), Jason Reitman, B-

Deadwood, Season 3, A

Butt Numb a Thon 2012

Jordan | Tales Of Hoffman | Tuesday, December 13th, 2011


What is Butt Numb a Thon?
Read my report on

Films Watched 12/2 – 12/13

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Scrooge (1970), Ronald Neame, B-

The Iron Lady (2011), Phyllida Lloyd, C+

We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011), Lynn Ramsay, A-

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011), David Fincher, B

A Dangerous Method (2011), David Cronenberg, B+

Carnage (2011), Roman Polanski, B+

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

Hugo (2011), Martin Scorsese, B+

A Trip To The Moon (1902), George Melies, N/A

Just Imagine (1930), David Butler, B+

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011), Thomas Alfredson, A

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011), Guy Ritchie, C+

The Beast With Five Fingers (1946), Robert Florey, B

The Adventures of Tintin (2011), Steven Spielberg, A-

Porco Rosso (1992), Hayao Miyazaki, N/A (I kinda slept through it)

The Cabin in the Woods (2012), Drew Goddard, A-

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012), Neveldine/Taylor, D

The Grey (2012), Joe Carnahan, A

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011), Brad Bird, B+

10 Best Movies of 2011

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Tuesday, December 13th, 2011


Okay, folks, let’s get this out before I change my mind again.

First, if this were a top 20, these would be the additional ten in some kind of order:
A Separation, Attack the Block, Black Death, Contagion, The Descendants, The Guard, Midnight in Paris, Our Idiot Brother, Redline, The Tree of Life. I love each of those movies and, at one point during the crafting of this top 10 list, they each had a spot on it.

But, alas, there can be only one. Or, there can be only ten. And these are the ten.

10 – Rubber

One of the most overused words in English is “surreal,” but Rubber’s deadpan True West surrealism tickles me on a very basic level. It’s like the best bits of every Hal Hartley movie exaggerated by 100 and put into one movie.

9 – X-Men: First Class

I watched this again the other day to make sure. Yeah, it’s really quite good – certainly the best Marvel movie ever.

8 – United Red Army

This Japanese film from 2008 finally got its New York theatrical run this year. This look at 60s/70s leftist groups puts you through the ringer, taking political fanaticism to its strange, inevitable conclusion.

7 – Take Shelter

One of the best descents into madness I’ve ever seen.

6 – Rango


5 – We Need To Talk About Kevin

It’s not just Tilda Swinton’s performance but Lynn Ramsay’s. This is total cinema, and more playful than her previous work. Is it wrong that I found some of this movie funny.

4 – Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Next time I curse a money-grubbing reboot I’ll think of this sharp and highly entertaining movie.

3 – Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

If I think about this too much I might make this my number one. It is not only gorgeous to look at, but so rich in subtext that watching and trying to understand it makes you truly empathize with the lead character. Good the first time, brilliant the second and I’m itching for a third.

2 – Meek’s Cutoff

The landscape of Herzog, the interpersonal dynamics of Polanski.

1 – Of Gods and Men

My Catholic fetish and Francophilia are powerless against this gorgeous film. It’s not just the best of 2011, it’s on my list of best movies of all time.

One Trek Mind #3: 10 Least-Likely Trek Guest Shots

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Friday, December 2nd, 2011


One thing I love about being the biggest Star Trek fan among my friends and co-workers is late night texts. Sometimes it’ll just be random badass Worfquotes, but frequently I receive shocked casting discoveries: “What the heck is So-and-so doing on the Enterprise?!?”

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Shame Review

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Friday, December 2nd, 2011


“He’s on the way up at a good job, he’s got an uncluttered Manhattan apartment, his handsome face and physique look chiseled from marble and he’s got what can safely be described as a sequoia in his trunks.”

Read more about SHAME at

Films Watched 11/27 – 12/2

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Friday, December 2nd, 2011

OSS 177: Cairo, Nest of Spies (2006), Michel Hazanavicius, B

Pariah (2011), Dee Rees, B+

War Horse (2011), Steven Spielberg, C+

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (2011), Steven Spielberg, A-

A Soul Haunted by Painting (1995), Shuqin Huang, B

Rubber (2011), Quentin Dupieux, A

Surviving Life (2011), Jan Svankmajer, B

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