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2009 Stories by J. Hoberman

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  • Year in Film: Three Critics' Top Three

    published December 24, 2009

    Looking back on a decade dominated by the movie franchise — Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Star Wars and... More >>

  • Year in Film: Three Critics, One List, Ten Best

    published December 24, 2009

    1. The Hurt Locker: The decade's strongest Iraq movie is also the year's finest action flick, not to mention... More >>

  • Money Isn't Everything

    published December 17, 2009

    The money is on the screen in Avatar, James Cameron's mega-3-D, mondo-CGI, more-than-a-quarter-billion-dollar baby, and, like the... More >>

  • Agnès from O to 80

    published December 17, 2009

    The cinema, social theorist and sometime filmmaker Edgar Morin argued, is the model for our "mental commerce" with the world. Even awake and in... More >>

  • Standing O

    published December 10, 2009

    The most significant American artist before Andy Warhol to take "the media" as his medium, Orson Welles lives on not only in posthumously restored... More >>

  • Maniac Cop

    published December 10, 2009

    The joke's on someone in Werner Herzog's awkwardly titled Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. Possibly Abel Ferrara who,... More >>

  • Merry Pranksters

    published December 3, 2009

    The anti-globalist performance guys who call themselves The Yes Men are masters of forging corporate rhetoric and media protocols. The most recent... More >>

  • Middle-of-the-Road

    published November 26, 2009

    The Road, Cormac McCarthy's Pulitzer Prize-winning, Oprah-endorsed postapocalyptic survivalist prose poem — in which a father and his... More >>

  • Got Your Goat

    published November 5, 2009

    Historical cataclysm produces conspiratorial thinking: Germany's loss in World War I, the JFK assassination and 9/11 are all naturally understood... More >>

  • Let the Mild Rumpus Start!

    published October 15, 2009

    Directed by Spike Jonze from a 400-word children's picture book first published in 1963, Where the Wild Things Are may be the... More >>

  • The Bee's Knees

    published October 8, 2009

    Though no one's idea of an action film, Andrew Bujalski's Beeswax feels less charmingly aimless than its radically slight precursors... More >>

  • Tone Poem

    published September 24, 2009

    Set in the bucolic suburbs of early-19th-century London, as fresh and dewy as a newly mowed lawn, Jane Campion's Bright Star... More >>

  • Second Life

    published September 24, 2009

    Jia Zhangke is one of the world's preeminent filmmakers, an essentially contemplative director whose considerable talent is further amplified by... More >>

  • Quentin's Final Solution!

    published August 20, 2009

    Energetic, inventive, swaggering fun, Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds is a consummate Hollywood entertainment — rich... More >>

  • Family Business

    published August 13, 2009

    As Tetro, Francis Ford Coppola's baroque genealogical melodrama, reaches its appropriately hysterical denouement, Vincent Gallo... More >>

  • Man to Man

    published July 30, 2009

    Lynn Shelton's Humpday, a sexual sitcom, opens with a pair of breeders in bed. A youngish married couple, Ben (mumblecordeon Mark... More >>

  • What It Feels Like for a Girl

    published July 16, 2009

    Any movie featuring children under ten is a movie wherein documentary bids to trump fiction and behavior can eclipse acting. The 1934 New Deal... More >>

  • Totally Gay for You

    published July 9, 2009

    "Heterosexuals can't understand camp because everything they do is camp," opined an associate of the old Playhouse of the Ridiculous, a New... More >>

  • Enthusiasm, Curbed

    published July 2, 2009

    Character is destiny — at least for Woody Allen's Whatever Works. Allen's exercise in Woody Allen nostalgia opens with a... More >>

  • The Man, The Myth

    published May 21, 2009

    Jim Jarmusch's anonymous antihero hitman (French-Ivorian actor Isaach De Bankolé), identified in the credits of The Limits of... More >>

  • Dans la famille

    published May 21, 2009

    Throughout his career, festival favorite Olivier Assayas has alternated between meta-pop, sometimes lurid, neo-new wave genre flicks and their... More >>

  • Soderbergh's True Character

    published May 21, 2009

    Steven Soderbergh has no particular stylistic signature, and one of the most uneven oeuvres imaginable. But he does have interests. The essence of... More >>

  • Rudo y Cursi: Beautiful Losers

    published May 14, 2009

    Not quite The Further Adventures of Cain & Abel, the second coming of Beavis & Butt-Head, King Kong vs. Godzilla Redux or... More >>

  • State of Play

    published April 16, 2009

    Kevin Macdonald's Washington thriller is a bellows designed to puff up the most beaten-down reporter's chest. Compressed from the highly regarded... More >>

  • RegularFellas In Gomorrah

    published March 12, 2009

    Martin Scorsese may be presenting Matteo Garrone's Gomorrah, but this corrosive, slapdash, grimly exciting exposé... More >>

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