Films Seen 12/17 – 12/31

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Tuesday, January 1st, 2013


The Guilt Trip (2012), Anne Fletcher, C
Parental Guidance (2012), Andy Fickman, F
Luv (2013), Sheldon Candis, C-
Quartet (2012), Dustin Hoffman, C-
Harry and Tonto (1974), Paul Mazursky, B+
Stand Up Guys (2012), Fisher Stevens, C
Easy Rider (2012), James Benning, No Grade
Face of Another (1966), Hiroshi Teshigahara, A-
Policeman (2011), Nadav Lapid, B+
The Cut-Off Man (2012), Idan Hubel, C-
Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013), John Luessenhop, C+
Numbered (2012), Dana Doron and Uriel Sinai, C+
How to Re-Establish a Vodka Empire (2012), Daniel Edelstyn, C
The Ballad of the Weeping Spring (2012), Beni Torati, B
Reconversao (2012), Thom Anderson, D
Cabaret-Berlin: The Wild Scene (2010), Fabienne Rousso-Lenoir, A-

Films Seen 11/23 – 12/16

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, December 16th, 2012


Thor (2011), Kenneth Branagh, B+
Zero Dark Thirty (2012), Kathryn Bigelow, A
Deadfall (2012), Stefan Ruzowitzky, D
Beware of Mr. Baker (2012), Jay Bulger, A-
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012), Peter Jackson, C+
Les Miserables (2012), Tom Hooper, B
Teen Wolf (1985), Rod Daniel, B+
Broadway Melody of 1940 (1940), Norman Taurog A-
The Gang’s All Here (1943), Busby Berekley, B-
Mama (2013), Andres Muschietti, B-
Libeled Lady (1936), Jack Conway, A-
Nightmare Alley (1947), Edmund Goulding, B+
White Heat (1949), Raoul Walsh, A-
Rollerball (1975), Norman Jewison, B+
Bullet to the Head (2013), Walter Hill, D
In Our Nature (2012), Brian Savelson, D
Arbitrage (2012), Nicholas Jarecki, C-
Django Unchaines (2012), Quentin Tarantino, B+
Stand Up Guys (2012), Fisher Stevens, C
The Syrian Bride (2004), Eran Riklin, B-
Ted (2012), Seth MacFarlane, B
Fateful Findings (2012), Neil Breen, A+

Films Seen 11/8 – 11/23

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Friday, November 23rd, 2012


Silver Linings Playbook (2012), David O. Russell, B-
Jaws (1975), Steven Spielberg, A
Mea Maxima Culpa (2012), Alex Gibney, B+
Rise of the Guardians (2012), Peter Ramsey, D
Lincoln (2012), Steven Spielberg, A
Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2012), David Gelb, C
The Haunting (1963), Robert Wise, A-
Some Came Running (1958), Vincent Minnelli, B+
Beyond the Black Rainbow (2012), Panos Cosmatos, A-
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977), George Lucas, A-
The Day of the Jackal (1973), Fred Zinnemann, A
Of Snails and Men (2012), Tudor Giurgiu, B
Three Days Til Christmas (2012), Radu Gabrea, B
Everybody in Our Family (2012), Radu Jude, A-
Best Intentions (2012), Adrian Sitaru, B+
This is 40 (2012), Judd Apatow, B+
Promised Land (2012), Gus Van Sant, B-
Killing Then Softly (2012), Andrew Dominik, A-
Not Fade Away (2012), David Chase, B+
Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012), Benh Zeitlin, A-
Argo (2012), Ben Affleck, B+

Films Seen 10/3 – 11/8

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Thursday, November 8th, 2012


I did a lot of traveling plus some non-review assignments, so not too many reviews (or films screened at home for kicks: books are fun, too!)

Moonrise Kingdom (2012), Wes Anderson, A
The Incredibles (2004), Brad Bird, B
The Hunger Games (2012), Gary Ross, B-
A Late Quartet (2012), Yaron Zilberman, B+
Anna Karenina (2012), Joe Wright, A-
Silent Hill Revelation 3D (2012), Michael J. Bassett, B-
Werewolf of London (1934), Stuart Walker, B
Ronin (1998), John Frankenheimer, B+
The Bay (2012), Barry Levinson, B
The Man With The Iron Fists (2012), RZA, B
1941 (1979), Steven Spielberg, B
The Invisible Men (2012), Yariv Mozer, A-
Ameer Got His Gun (2012), Naomi Levari, B+
Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005), George Lucas, B-
Skyfall (2012), Sam Mendes, B+

Films Seen 9/18 – 10/2

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012


Pitch Perfect (2012), Jason Moore, B
Trouble With the Curve (2012), Robert Lorenz, C-
Frankenweenie (2012), Tim Burton, B-
The Final Member (2012), Jonah Bekhor and Zach Math, A-
Here Comes The Devil (2012), Adrian Garcia Bogliano, B+
Sinister (2012), Scott Derrickson, B-
The ABCs of Death (2012), Various, B+
Cold Steel (2012), David Wu, C-
Graceland (2012), Ron Morales, A-
Holy Motors (2012), Leos Carax, A
Lee’s Adventure (2012), Li Yang and Guo Fan, A
The Shining Forwards and Backwards (1980/2011), Stanley Kubrick & God, Far Out
The American Scream (2012), Michael Stephenson, B+
Tao Chi 0 (2012), Stephen Fung, C-
2 Rabbits (2012), Afonso Poyart, C
My Amityville Horror (2012), Eric Walter, C+
Miami Connection (1987), Y.K. Kim and Woo-soong Park, “A”
Dredd (2012), Pete Travis, B+
Sightseers (2012), Ben Wheatley, A-
Hail (2012), Amiel Courtin-Wilson, A-
New Kids Nitro (2012), Stefen Haars and Flip Van der Kuil, B
Red Dawn (2012), Dan Bradley, D-
Time of Favor (2000), Joseph Cedar, C+
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), Peter Hunt, B+
From Russia With Love (1964), Terence Young, A-
The Loneliest Planet (2012), Julia Loktev, B
Deceptive Practice (2012), Molly Bernstein and Alan Edelsten, C+
Die Hard (1988), John McTiernan, B
Room 237 (2012), Rodney Ascher, A

Films Seen 8/31 – 9/17

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Monday, September 17th, 2012


Paris Je T’aime (2006), Various Directors, C
2 Days in Paris (2007), Julie Delpy, B
Chicken With Plums (2012), Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud, A-
Hotel Transylvania (2012), Genndy Tarakovsky, B
The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012), Stephen Chbosky, B+
Sightseers (2012), Ben Wheatley, A-
Aftershock (2012), Nicolas Lopez, B
Smashed (2012), James Ponsoldt, A-
The Sessions (2012), Ben Lewin, A-
Antiviral (2012), Brandon Cronenberg, B+
Rust and Bone (2012), Jacques Audiard, B
Greetings from Tim Buckley (2012), Daniel Algrant, C
Frances Ha (2012), Noah Baumbach, A
Bad 25 (2012), Spike Lee, A-
Looper (2012), Rian Johnson, A-
On The Road (2012), Walter Salles, B+
Much Ado About Nothing (2012), Joss Whedon, B
To The Wonder (2012), Terrence Malick, B-
Spring Breakers (2012), Harmony Korine, B-
Byzantium (2012), Neil Jordan C+
Cloud Atlas (2012), Tom Tywker, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski, C+
Passion (2012), Brian De Palma, C
End of Watch (2012), David Ayer, C
Imogene (2012), Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, D+
Kon-Tiki (2012), Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg, B+
The Attacke (2012), Ziad Doueiri, B+
No (2012), Pablo Larrain, A-
The Act of Killing (2012), Joshua Oppenheimer, A-
The Gatekeepers (2012), Dror Moreh, B+
Berberian Sound Studio (2012), Peter Strickland, B-
The Suicide Shot (2012), Patrice Leconte, C-
All That You Possess (2012), Bernard Emond, B+
Inescapable (2012), Ruba Nadda, C-
Hannah Arendt (2012), Margarethe Von Trotta, C-
Midnight in Paris (2011), Woody Allen, A

Films Seen 8/21 – 8/31

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Friday, August 31st, 2012


Ornette: Made in America (1985), Shirley Clarke, A
Premium Rush (2012), David Koepp, B
The Tall Man (2012), Pascal Laugier, D
Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Jonathan Frakes, A+++
The Ambassador (2012), Mads Brugger, B
Coma (2012), Some Hack, D
The Possession (2012), Ole Bornedal, B-
Lawless (2012), John Hillcoat, B
Samsara (2012), Ron Fricke, A-
This Gun For Hire (1942), Frank Tuttle, B-

Films Seen 8/2 – 8/21

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Tuesday, August 21st, 2012


Event Horizon (1997), Paul W.S. Anderson, A-
Side by Side (2012), Christopher Kenneally, C-
Goats (2012), Christopher Neill, C-
The Bourne Legacy (2012), Tony Gilroy, C
Cosmopolis (2012), David Cronenberg, A-
Why Stop Now? (2012), Phil Dorling and Ron Nyswaner, D
Compliance (2012), Craig Zobel, A-
The Odd Life of Timothy Green (2012), Peter Hedges, C-
Au Hasard Balthasar (1966), Robert Bresson, A-

Films Seen 7/10 – 8/2

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Friday, August 3rd, 2012


Dredd (2012), Pete Travis, B
The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Christopher Nolan, B+
Sinister (2012), Scott Derrickson, B-
Killer Joe (2012), William Friedkin, B+
Mean Girls (2004), Mark Waters, B
Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985), Paul Schrader, B+
The Booth (2005), Yoshihiro Nakamura, B
The Well-Digger’s Daughter (2012), Daniel Auteuil, A-
Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai (2012), Takashi Miike, C-
Klovn (2012), Mikkel Norgaard, A-
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), Michael Powell and Emeric Pressberger, A-
Paranorman (2012), Chris Butler and Sam Fell, A-
Chicken With Plums (2012), Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi, A-
The Awakening (2012), Nick Murphy, C-
The Campaign (2012), Jay Roach, B+
360 (2012), Fernando Meirelles, D
Total Recall (2012), Len Wiseman, C-
Kippur (2000), Amos Gitai, B
Baraka (1992), Ron Fricke, B+

The Star Dwellers

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Tuesday, July 10th, 2012


I read this book in (basically) two sittings at the beach a few weekends ago. It was very entertaining. Somewhere crammed in its basic story of “accepting other life forms, man” is a wonderful diatribe about all that’s wrong with the education system today. Today being 1961. Recommended.

Films Seen 6/9 – 7/9

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Tuesday, July 10th, 2012


It’s been a month since I’ve updated on films I’ve seen. I haven’t seen a lot. Not by my standards. Maybe that’ll change soon, but probably not. I’m trying to read more. Of course, I haven’t read much either, unless email counts. Anyway, here’s what went down. Links go to published reviews.

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), Marc Webb, C+
Take This Waltz (2012), Sarah Polley, B-
Ace Attorney (2012), Takashi Miike, D
Monsters Club (2012), Toshaki Toyada, B+
Nameless Gangster (2012), Yun Jong-bin, A-
Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale (2012), Te Sheng-Wei, B
You Are The Apple of My Eye (2012), Giddens Ko, C+
Savages (2012), Oliver Stone, B-
People Like Us (2012), Alex Kurtzman, B-
Magic Mike (2012), Steven Soderbergh, B+
Ted (2012), Seth MacFarlane, B+
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012), Timur Bekmanbetov, D-
To Rome With Love (2012), Woody Allen, B
That’s My Boy (2012), Sean Anders, B-
Alps (2012), Yorgos Lanthimos, B-
Kumare (2012), Vikram Gandhi, C-
Unforgivable (2012), Andre Techine, B+
Gayby (2012), Jonathan Lisecki, B+
Thomas Jefferson (1997), Ken Burns, B
Microcosmos (1996), Claude Nuridsany and Marie PĂ©rennou, A
The King (1995), James Marsh, C-

My 10 Favorite Jazz Recordings From 1958 – 1962

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

If I was forced to only listen to jazz music from 1958 through 1962 for the rest of my life I wouldn’t be happy, but I wouldn’t consider it a death sentence.

I love jazz of all eras (indeed, my favorite single recording is of Lester Young and the Kansas City Six’s version of “I Got Rhythm”) but for whatever reason the music of these four years really speaks to me. The hazy, speed-of-light bebop of Parker and Gillespie was mellowing out, and we weren’t yet faced with the tribulations of “free jazz.” It’s a really sweet spot.

Here are my 10 favorites. Are they the BEST? I don’t fuckin’ know. They’re my 10 favorite.

10 – The Dave Brubeck Quartet – Countdown from the album “Countdown: Time in Outer Space” (1962)
I’m sure some part of me likes this because it is dedicated to John Glenn. I love the big tympani-ish drums and once things kick in it has a fantastic stride.

9 – Lee Morgan – Mogie from the album “Here’s Lee Morgan” (1960)
It’d be a few years until Lee would really start to kick ass as the flag-bearer for shake-shakin’ hard bop. But you can hear it start to come into play here. This track has swagger, but a little bit of an unexpected dissonance in the harmonies. Plus Lee’s really blowing here.

8 – Cannonball Adderly – Somethin’ Else from the album “Somethin’ Else” (1958)
It’s a little amusing that one of the foundational albums of the “Miles Davis sound” is technically not a Miles Davis album. But he delivers a great performance here on one of the greatest albums ever. I may as well mention here that I didn’t include anything from “Kind of Blue” on this list. Yeah, it’s great, but I rarely listen to it anymore. This is my list.

7 – John Coltrane – Cousin Mary from the album “Giant Steps” (1960)
Coulda picked anything from this album, really, but I love this one because it has such a strong confidence to it. It’s strange, because I consider McCoy Tyner so crucial to Coltrane’s sound, yet this is the album he’s not on.

6 – Wes Montgomery – Billie’s Bounce from the album “Fingerpickin’” (1958)
Hell yes. A classic Parker jam done big – almost west coast style – but zooming. Sorry the quality of this recording kinda stinks. You still get the idea.

5 – Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers Moanin’ from the album “Moanin’” (1958)
I almost went with “Dat Dere” which has a bit more of a “detective jazz” feel, but then I listened to “Moanin’” again and heard those two snaps of the drum after the opening phrase. The Jazz Messengers were absolutely in their stride from ’58 to ’62 and while this might be their biggest hit, they rarely recorded anything that wasn’t terrific. And listen to Lee Morgan on this one!

4 – Bud Powell – John’s Abbey from the album “Time Waits: The Amazing Bud Powell Vol. 4″ (1958)
Bud Powell died for our sins. Those grunts and murmurs are the painful sounds of psychosis – demons that, unfortunately, couldn’t be killed by playing music alone. If you’ve never heard this track before it may take more than one listen to realize just how intricate the playing is. It’s a great melody endlessly teased by a man who has a serious claim on the title “best jazz pianist ever.”

EXTRA POINT: Now listen to this, the heart-stopping Speed of Light version

3 – Charles Mingus – Better Get Hit in Your Soul from the album “Mingus Ah Um” (1959)
3 – Charles Mingus – Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting from the album Roots & Blues (1959)

These are two very similar pieces. The first may be a more complex piece of writing and performance, but the second is just balls-out madness.

2 – Miles Davis – Milestones from the album “Milestones” (1958)
It’s the coolest thing you’ll ever hear.

1 -Erroll Garner – Where or When from the album “Concert By The Sea”
I’m ending this one with a total cheat. “Concert By The Sea” came out in 1955, but this video, from God knows where, is from ’62. It’s the same arrangement as on the album, and it is one of the most transcendent pieces of performance you are ever going to see. It’s the old Rogers & Hart show tune expanded into a cosmic display of pure joy. Erroll Garner, an imp who couldn’t read music, was a showman with inhuman capabilities who somehow makes this shit look easy.

Films Seen 5/25 – 6/9

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, June 9th, 2012

Prometheus (2012), Ridley Scott, B-
Fish Story (2009), Yoshihiro Nakamura, A
Snow White and the Huntsman (2012), Rupert Sanders, C+
Lola Versus (2012), Daryl Wein, D
Save The Tiger (1973), John G. Avildsen, A-

Comics Worth Reading

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Friday, May 25th, 2012


Stuff I’m absolutely loving:
The Manhattan Projects
Animal Man
John Byrne’s Trio
Amazing Spider-Man
Action Comics
Birds of Prey
Blue Beetle

Stuff that’s so-so:
Swamp Thing
Captain Atom
Justice League/Shazam
All-Star Western

Garbage I’m reading but can’t stop because I have problems:
All four of the Green Lantern books. They really suck right now.
Star Trek Ongoing
Northlanders (Thank God that’s done!)

Films Seen 5/13 – 5/25

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Friday, May 25th, 2012


Elena (2012), Andrei Zvyagintsev, B+
Distant (2002), Nuri Bilge Ceylan, B
Moonrise Kingdom (2012), Wes Anderson, A
The Chernobyl Diaries (2012), Bradley Parker, C-
Dark Horse (2012), Todd Solondz, B-
5 Broken Cameras (2012), Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi, A
Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974), Jacques Rivette, C
The Intouchables (2012), Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, D

Recent Articles

Jordan | Tales Of Hoffman | Friday, May 25th, 2012


There was a time when I linked everything I wrote from this blog. That time is long gone. But here’s some stuff I did recently you may want to check out.

My interview with Jurgen Fauth about his fantastic book KINO is over at Badass Digest.

The 10 Most Awesome Faster-Than-Light Systems of Travel in Science Fiction (or whatever the hell I called this thing) is over at Popular Mechanics.

My salute to the finale of Star Trek: Voyager is at

My list of best pets on Star Trek is over at

A list of fun, dopey movie gadgets is at

A behind-the-scenes look at how film festivals give awards is at

The best “New Hollywood” movies you probably haven’t seen is over at

The Humbling – Philip Roth

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Friday, May 25th, 2012


What happens when a man loses his mojo? He moves upstate.

A crafty, well-told short book that doesn’t get filthy at all until the last third.

Star Trek: Vanguard: What Judgments Come

Jordan | The Star Trek Project | Friday, May 25th, 2012


This is essential reading because it finally explains Nimbus III.

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