Jordan M. Smith

Jordan M. Smith
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
Based in Buffalo, NY, Jordan M. Smith is a film critic and curator of Cultivate Cinema Circle. His written work often centers around documentary cinema and has appeared at Nonfics, Stranger Than Fiction, Senses of Cinema, Influence Film Club and IONcinema.

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
3.5/5 100% Nightmares in Red, White and Blue (2009) Equal parts entertainment and education, Monument's doc should be in every film history and horror buff's library. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2020
4.5/5 94% Dark Days (2000) Dark Days is an unimaginable story, skillfully documented by a passionate film making novice, and wonderfully scored by the high-profile DJ Shadow. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2020
2.5/5 75% American Grindhouse (2010) American Grindhouse has a host full of key players to fill out the story, but at only 82 minutes, the film doesn't have time to dawdle on each interesting individual. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2020
3/5 88% If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front (2011) The film is edited together well, telling two different stories in parallel, though this duel story line does cause a few hiccups in pacing as the transition is made back and forth. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2020
3/5 72% The Future (2011) The Future doesn't escape its shortcomings, but it is a surreal success non-the-less. July remains an indie icon, fearlessly pursuing her own visions. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2020
3/5 58% Velvet Goldmine (1998) Though it is thoroughly engaging and appropriately hallucinatory, the film's Orson Welles inspired story structure and fluctuating tonality is irritatingly cumbersome. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2020
4/5 96% Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2011) Cave of Forgotten Dreams is a sublime time machine crafted by one of the living legends. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2020
75% Blackthorn (2011) It is an enjoyable western set within a non-traditional location that helps breathe new life into a genre that's long been on life support. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2020
64% General Orders No. 9 (2011) General Orders No. 9 isn't made to give clear cut answers to the many visual and lyrical questions it poses, but it surely stirs the mental pot, leaving that signature southern oakiness lingering in the air long after the final frame. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2020
96% The War Room (1993) Without an imposed narrative, the story of the campaign unfolds with suspense inducing antagonists, and a natural, highly rewarding arc. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2020
88% Bobby Fischer Against The World (2011) Bobby Fischer Against The World dazzlingly puts the pieces of Fischer's drama infused life into motion with an objective, and intimate handle on the chess master's history. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2020
4/5 97% Project Nim (2011) Sleek editing and a wealth of archival footage unveil a sad, and thought-provoking tale of humans overstepping their reach in the name of science without regard to the well being of other living creatures. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2020
4/5 100% Hell and Back Again (2011) Hell And Back Again will leave you with a tense chest, and a new sense of appreciation for the freedoms we have here in the U.S. and the soldiers that allow us to have them, despite your feelings on the war. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2020
95% Marley (2012) While not the most inventive or efficient bio-doc, Macdonald's feature serves as the most complete visual record of Marley's legacy, and for that alone it deserves a view or two. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2020
67% The Tempest (1980) With all of the unclear interweaving narratives, Jarman's outlandish stylistic choices and little to no background delineation, the story becomes a whacked out pastiche in quite a hurry. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2020
98% Jaws (1975) Jaws remains a classic not just for how it changed the film industry, but because it is an exquisitely made monster movie that tapped into universal human fears and did so with iconic style. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2020
100% La Haine (1996) Starkly funny, politically poignant, and extremely honest in its social portrayal, it endures as one of the greatest films of the 90s. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2020
71% The Nine Muses (2011) It could have been a much more powerful and concise production. As is, it feels like a convoluted run-on that refuses to move the conversation forward. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2020
66% God Bless America (2012) For many of us, this garbage is getting old, and with God Bless America, Goldthwait has allowed us a cathartic outpouring of violence that offers a brief stopgap for our current sensory oppression. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2020
91% And Everything Is Going Fine (2010) Letting Gray tell his own story seems a little loosy goosy, but [Soderbergh] strikes a beautiful balance of raucous hilarity and heartfelt reflection that make for quite a raw, honest revelation of a troubled, but brilliant performer. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2020
94% Dirty Pretty Things (2003) A suspenseful, often funny, completely disturbing thriller, Dirty Pretty Things is a gripping film right out of the gate. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2020
89% The Turin Horse (2012) Béla Tarr's supposed career finale is a supreme metaphysical meditation on death and human cruelty that lulls us into a state of despondent surrender with simplistic repetition and a truly vexing soundtrack. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2020
2.5/5 50% Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam (2009) With a bit of crafty editing, this could have been a much more arresting mid-length doc, rather than a rag-tag full length that doesn't manage to pin down its subject. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2020
4.5/5 100% Nostalgia for the Light (2011) Nostalgia For The Light is a gorgeously contemplative masterpiece by a supreme filmmaker who's questions leave us with a sense of wonder and our own new mysteries to ponder. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2020
3/5 81% Staub (Dust) (2007) It feels natural and well crafted, but not revelatory. It's a film that's extreme focus and patient story telling bring about clarity on the unobserved everyday. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2020
4.5/5 100% How To Die In Oregon (2011) How To Die In Oregon is a powerful work that wrestles with the conflict that lies embedded within the Death With Dignity Act, and in doing so it explores the importance of family, and the impossibility of life's never ending challenges. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2020
80% Melancholia (2011) The film is, without a doubt, one of 2011's few undeniable masterpieces. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2020
99% A Separation (2011) Rarely are family dramas as thematically or structurally complex as A Separation. Pair that with the fact that it is very well acted and intelligently photographed, and you have an extraordinary film. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 17, 2020
75% Fear and Desire (1953) An uncharacteristically bland exposé of war behind enemy lines with a mix of arty pretensions that were undercut by technical shortcomings and generally hammy performances. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 17, 2020
91% The Day He Arrives (2012) For many this will be quite frustrating, but for those that it clicks for, much wealth can be wrought. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 17, 2020
74% Existenz (1999) Though the rigidly wonky lead performances detract from the overall impact of eXistenZ, the feature remains a fun sci-fi romp into the inquisition of reality that hinges on signature Cronenberg style. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2020
84% Manufactured Landscapes (2007) An enchanted layering of grotesque visual perfection, environmental concern, and the questioning of an artist's moral duties, not only in a political sense, but of one's authorship in documentation turned art turned different art form. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2020
71% Liberal Arts (2012) Fervently free of cynicism, Radnor's latest feature transcends its quirks with a smartly wound college excursion that looks to the past and finds nostalgia, possibilities and a new outlook on life. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2020
89% Compliance (2012) Rife with the downfalls of human subservience, Compliance is a luminous, pulsating Milgram experiment come to life, and you won't be able to turn your gaze from the results. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2020
90% Keep the Lights On (2012) Keep the Lights On stands as a heart-wrenching arch, oozing with amiable authenticity in slices of life too often shied away from on screen. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2020
95% Pina (2011) The film is an immensely rewatchable work of physical wonders, lensed with perfectly matched visual flair. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2020
92% Holy Motors (2012) The film is a stylistic snake, wriggling from one cinematic mode to the next through a loose cannon series of utterly unpredictable sequences which all feature the auteur's brilliant, amorphous stand-in, Denis Lavant. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2020
45% Waiting For Lightning (2012) May not be of interest to everyone, but Way's classic rags-to-riches tale of prevailing will is a heartwarming story anyone should be able to get behind. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2020
82% De rouille et d'os (Rust and Bone) (2012) Rust and Bone possess a unique vivacity and hopefulness that just can't be shaken off. Despite Stéphanie's general lack of character, Cotillard lifts her to levels of emotional brilliance. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2020
73% Killing Them Softly (2012) A bit heavy on the politics and a little shallow in its character development, Killing Them Softly is still a profoundly watchable crime film. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2020
97% The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943) The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp remains a monumental feature, ripe with still relevant themes and classic Technicolor beauty. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2020
97% Monsieur Verdoux (1947) Henri Verdoux showcased Chaplin's crisp, flamboyant diction by playing against type. Never before had he played a deceitfully murderous man, slyly articulate and devilishly selfish in his conquest for corpses. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2020
92% The Central Park Five (2012) As we see our societal systems breaking down at the most basic levels, The Central Park Five elegantly marks a point in U.S. history we hope to avoid repeating. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2020
83% Tchoupitoulas (2012) Pieced together in ever-transitioning aural layers that mix performances, street ambiance and the spoken dreams of the youngest of the boys, Tchoupitoulas becomes a hallucinatory adventure that revels in the unspoiled experiences of youth. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2020
81% Only The Young (2012) Manages to encapsulate and circumvent all the clichés of teenage romance, the rebellion of punk rock, the influence of religious youth groups, and the results of drug abuse to produce a vision both heartwarming and heartbreaking. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2020
100% Shoah (1985) Words can not do justice to the elegance, the importance, nor the tragedy that Lanzmann's nine hour opus encompasses. Though an overwhelming undertaking, Shoah is absolutely essential viewing. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 12, 2020
82% Herman's House (2013) While this visual discussion is a fascinating catch all for the footage found within the film, it feels a bit like Bhalla's many potential parables couldn't be funneled into a solid, fulfilling arc. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 12, 2020
86% Two Years at Sea (2012) Give meaning to the meaningless and celebrate the novelty of it all. For Williams, Rivers, and their trusting DIY collaboration in Two Years At Sea, nature is the best place for this to occur, and it does so with unyielding, introspective beauty. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 12, 2020
47% To The Wonder (2013) This a film that lives in the fine details and that means its got loads of rewatchability. Though it's by no means one of Malick's best, it certainly stands head and shoulders above most of the shlock in the multiplexes. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 12, 2020
86% From Up On Poppy Hill (2013) Though From Up On Poppy Hill lacks the magic or pure emotion of some of Ghibli's finest work, Goro's sophomore feature still stands as a testament to why hand drawn animation should never perish in the face of digital wizardry. - IONCINEMA.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 12, 2020