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Films Seen 4/14 – 6/1

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, June 1st, 2013


And, once again, I’ve gone far too long without updating this page. This latest update represents what I caught at the Tribeca & Cannes Film Festivals – and a few things here and there. You’ll see that I watched nothing older than 2006 in a full month-and-a-half, which I find embarrassing and distasteful. (Unless I am forgetting something, which is entirely plausible.)

Pain & Gain (2013), Michael Bay, B+
Cutie and the Boxer (2013), Zachery Heinzerling, A
The English Teacher (2013), Craig Zisk, D
In the House (2013), Francois Ozon, B+
Almost Christmas (2013), Phil Morrison, C
Paradise: Love (2013), Ulrich Seidl, A
Paradise: Faith (2013), Ulrich Seidl, B
Paradise: Hope (2013), Ulrich Seidl, B
Raw Herring (2013), Leonard Retel Helmrich and Hetty Naaijkens-Retel Helmrich, B
Farah Goes Bang (2013), Meera Menon, D
The Rocket (2013), Kim Mordaunt, B+
Trust Me (2013), Clark Gregg, B
Harmony Lessons (2013), Emir Baigazin, B+
Hide Your Smiling Faces (2013), Daniel Patrick Carbone, B+
Taboor (2013), Vahid Vakilifar, C-
Bluebird (2013), Lance Edmands, A-
Some Velvet Morning (2013), Neil Labute, A-
Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), J.J. Abrams, B
Something in the Air (2013), Olivier Assayas, B+
Post Tenbras Lux (2013), Carlos Reygadas, C+
Iron Man Three (2013), Shane Black, B+
Apollo 18 (2011), Gonzalo López-Gallego, C+
This Is Not A Film (2012), Jafar Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, C
The Island (2006), Pavel Lungin, B-
Gabi On The Roof In July (2010), Lawrence Michael Levine, C-
The Purge (2013), James DeMonaco, B-
The Great Gatsby (2013), Baz Luhrman, C-
Star Trek Into Darkness (2nd Viewing) (2013), J.J. Abrams, B
Fruitvale Station (2013), Ryan Coogler, B+
The Past (2013), Asghar Farhadi, A-
Inside Llewyn Davis (2013), Joel and Ethan Coen, A
Dance of Reality (2013), Alejandro Jodorowsky, B
The Congress (2013), Ari Folman, A-
Only God Forgives (2013), Nicholas Winding Refn, C-
All is Lost (2013), J.C. Chandor, A-
Blue is the Warmest Color (2013), Abdellatif Kechache, A
Nebraska (2013), Alexander Payne, B
Jeune et Jolie (2013), Francois Ozon, B
Only Lovers Left Alive (2013), Jim Jarmusch, A
Venus in Fur (2013), Roman Polanski, B
Bastards (2013), Clair Denis, B+
The Missing Image (2013), Rithy Panh, B+
Jodorowsky’s Dune (2013), Frank Pavich, B
Borgman (2013), Alex van Warmerdam, B+
The Immigrant (2013), James Gray, B+
Jimmy P: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian (2013), Arnaud Desplechin, C-
My Sweet Pepper Land (2013), Hiner Saleem, B+
Nothing Bad Can Happen (2013), Katrin Gebbe, B
The Great Beauty (2013), Paolo Sorrentino, B+
The Last Days on Mars (2013), Ruairi Robinson, C
Rock the Casbah (2013), Yair Horowitz, B
Michael Kohlhaas (2013), Arnaud des Pallieres, C-
Fill the Void (2013), Rama Burshtein, B-
Hannah Arendt (2013), Margarethe von Trotta, A-
After Earth (2013), M. Night Shyamalan, B

Films Seen 3/9 – 4/14

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, April 14th, 2013


The Legend of the Lone Ranger (1981), William A. Fraker, D
The Plot Against Harry (1969/1989), Michael Roemer, A+
Fallen Angel (1945), Otto Preminger, B+
No Place on Earth (2012), Janet Tobias, B
Jurassic Park (1993), Steven Spielberg, A
Eden (2013), Megan Griffiths, B+
Close Up (1990), Abbas Kiarostami, B+
The Traveler (1974), Abbas Kiarostami, A-
The Croods (2013), Chris Sanders, B
Blancanieves (2013), Pablo Berger, A-
Olympus Has Fallen (2013), Antoine Fuqua, B-
GI Joe: Retaliation (2013), Jon Chu, C
The Company You Keep (2013), Robert Redford, B-
Simon Killer (2013), Antonio Campos, B+
Stories We Tell (2013), Sarah Polley, B
The Host (2013), Andrew Niccol, C+
Disconnect (2013), Henry Alex Rubin, D+
Legend (1985), Ridley Scott, B-
The Angels’ Share (2013), Ken Loach, C-
The Greatest Movie Ever Rolled (2012), Ryan Polito, C
Her Master’s Voice (2012), Nina Conti, B-
Road Comics: Big Work on Small Stages (2013), Hillary Demmon and Robert Clift, D
The Brotherhood of the Traveling Rants (2013), Bryan Gaynor, D-
Women Aren’t Funny (2013), Bonnie McFarlane and Rich Vos, F
Upstream Color (2013), Shane Carruth, A
Zero Charisma (2013), Katie Graham and Andrew Matthews, A-
Awful Nice (2013), Todd Sklar, C
The World is Funny (2012), Shemi Zarhin, B
Scary Movie 5 (2013), David Zucker, C
Wake in Fright (1971), Ted Kotcheff, A-
Masters of the Universe (1987), Gary Goddard, B+
The Manor (2013), Shawney Cohen, B+
The Brass Teapot (2013), Ramaa Mosely, B-

Films Seen 2/9 – 3/8

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Friday, March 8th, 2013


Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Irvin Kershner, A-
Yossi and Jagger (2002), Eytan Fox, C
Robot Jox (1989), Stuart Gordon, B-
Outside Satan (2011), Bruno Dumont, C+
Admission (2013), Paul Weitz, B+
I Declare War (2013), Jason Lapeyre and Robert Wilson, B+
Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, Richard Marquand, A-
Shrek Forever After (2010), Mike Mitchell, B-
Red Flag (2013), Alex Karpovsky, C+
Rubberneck (2013), Alex Karpovsky, B
Almost in Love (2013), Sam Neave, C
The Place Beyond the Pines (2013), Derek Cianfrance, A
Safe Haven (2013), Lasse Halstrom, D
Beautiful Creatures (2013), Richard LaGravanese, B
Like Someone in Love (2013), Abbas Kiarostami, B+
Kai Po Che! (2013), Abhishek Kapoor, C
21 & Over (2013), Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, B-
War Witch (2013), Kim Nguyen, B+
Stoker (2013), Park Chan-Wook, A-
Snitch (2013), Ric Roman Waugh, B-
Deranged (2012), Park Jung Woo, B
Philip Roth Unmasked (2013), Livia Manera and William Karel, C-
The Invisible Man (1933), James Whale, A
The Island of Lost Souls (1933), Erle C. Kenton, B
K-11 (2013), Jules Stewart, D
Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance (2002), Park Chan Wook, B+
Jack The Giant Slayer (2013), Bryan Singer, C+
Oz: The Great And Powerful (2013), Sam Raimi, B
Dead Man Down (2013), Niels Arden Oplev, D
Beyond the Hills (2013), Christian Mungiu, A


Jordan | No News Is Good News | Thursday, March 7th, 2013

chirp chirp.

I’m gonna add something here soon. At least a list of the many, many films I’ve watched since I last updated. Just haven’t had the time. And when I have had the time, the last thing I want to do is write.

Films Seen 1/1 – 2/8

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal,No News Is Good News | Friday, February 8th, 2013


Okay, here’s the deal.

I just don’t have the time to link to all the movies I reviewed in the past 5 weeks. Sorry. All of my reviews are either at ScreenCrush, or Badass Digest.

Each of those links goes to an author page where you can, in the words of James Franco, look at my shit. Almost all of these films are reviewed at those 3 outlets. I’ll try to update this blog more regularly so putting in outbound links isn’t such a chore. Either that or get an intern.

Here’s what’s been going down.

Crystal Fairy (2013), Sebastian Silva, A-
May in the Summer (2013), Cherien Dabis, C+
Moo Man (2013), Andy Heathcote, C-
Mud (2013), Jeff Nichols, B
Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer (2013), Mike Lerner and Maksim Posdorovkin, C
Don Jon’s Addiction (2013), Joseph Gordon-Levitt, B+
Computer Chess (2013), Andrew Bujalski, B+
Kill Your Darlings (2013), John Krokidas, A-
The Lifeguard (2013), Liz Garcia, D
S-VHS (2013), Multiple Directors, B
Aint Them Bodies Saints (2013), David Lowery, B+
The East (2013), Zal Batmanglij, B
Escape From Tomorrow (2013), Randy Moore, A
Before Midnight (2013), Rick Linklater, A
Blue Caprice (2013), Alexandre Moors, B+
The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman (2013), Frederik Bond, F
Prince Avalanche (2013), David Gordon Green, A
Upstream Color (2013), Shane Carruth, A-
Ass Backwards (2013), Chris Nelson, C
Magic Magic (2013), Sebastian Silva, A-
The Square (2013), Jehane Noujaim, A-
In a Worlds (2013), Lake Bell, C
The Spectacular (2013), James Ponsoldt, A-
Eolomea (1972), Hermann Zschoche, B
Koch (2013), Neil Barsky, B+
Side Effects (2013), Steven Soderbergh, A-
Caesar Must Die (2013), Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, A-
Warm Bodies (2013), Jonathan Levine, B
Broken City (2013), Allen Hughes, B-
A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan (2013), Roman Coppola, B-
Identity Thief (2013), Seth Gordon, D-
And Everything Is Going Fine (2010), Steven Soderbergh, B+
Like Someone In Love (2013), Abbas Kiarostami, B+

Published Work December 2012

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal,No News Is Good News | Tuesday, January 1st, 2013



Oh, my poor blog. Once a vibrant place, now a ghost town. Yes, I still jot down the titles and letter grades of movies I see, but that’s about it (and only once or twice a month.)

In 2013 I’m going to try and get some more activity going on in here. Of course, I don’t get paid for anything I write here, and I do make a living by placing articles elsewhere on the web, so spending TOO much time on this blog is counterproductive at best and a sign of forthcoming destitution at worse.

So, for starters, I’m going to make sure that I link to all my published work that you can find strewn about the Internet. The fact that I don’t really do that already is a bit of a failure on my part.

Here, then, are stories I placed during the month of December. I hope to do a similar round up once a week. We’ll see.

Top 20 Movies of 2012
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Review
Promised Land Review
Les Miserables Review
The Guilt Trip Review
Parental Guidance Review
The Hobbit: 6 Things We Learned After Chatting With the Cast


Quartet Review
Django Unchained Review
This is 40 Review
Stand Up Guys Review
In Our Nature Review
Report from Butt Numb-a-Thon


10 Most Anticipated Movies of 2013
Deadfall Review
Beware of Mr. Baker Review

David Cronenberg Talks ‘Cosmopolis,’ High Frame Rates, And ‘Bullshit’ Oscars
Matthew McConaughey Ready To ‘Put Those Leathers On Again’ For Awards Season And ‘Magic Mike 2′
WATCH: Trailer For ‘Upstream Color,’ From ‘Primer’ Writer-Director Shane Carruth
‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2′ First Look: Dane DeHaan Is Your New Harry Osborn
Lawbreakers, Unite: After NYFCC Awards, Is Matthew McConaughey An Oscar Contender?

One Trek Mind #52: TNG Season Two Theatrical Event
One Trek Mind #53: Spitballing The Trailer
One Trek Mind #54: Memories Of Ezri
One Trek Mind #55: No Trouble With Tribbles

21 Geek Movies That Hollywood Should Make Next

Kvelling and Kvetching with Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen


Most ‘Lord of the Rings’-y Moments in ‘The Hobbit’
A Fanboy Guide: How to Prepare For ‘The Hobbit’
How We’re Spending Our Christmas Break on Planet Fanboy
Planet Fanboy’s Best Moments of 2012

Critical Reassessment: ‘Heaven’s Gate’ And 11 More Films That Have Been Reconsidered Over Time

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 Pérennou, 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.

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