For 944 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 38% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 59% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 5.1 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

J. Hoberman's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 65
Highest review score: 100 Before Sunset
Lowest review score: 0 A Hole in My Heart
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 74 out of 944
944 movie reviews
    • 38 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Certainly Sandler's most ambitious work. It's not just a bid for respectability but a genuine allegory.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Has the grace to send the audience out with a piece of Waters-written rap.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Enigmatic from the get-go, The Fall of Otrar builds to a series of spectacular battle scenes, but the mood is never less than sardonic.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Hopefully ambitious yet hopelessly lightweight.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    A pleasant time-passer.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Infectious city symphony.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    As consistently funny as it is smartly tooled.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    The movie's bold visual and psychological patterns, as well as its heavy immersion in the natural world, imbue Malli's journey with a folktale quality.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Dern and Macy give doughty performances in schematic roles, but glasses or no, these have to be two of the least Semitic-looking actors in American movies.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    The movie is not unintelligent but it is insipid
    • 78 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Single-minded, sometimes harrowing.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    An unusually rich music doc.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Flawed but engrossing thriller. Highly atmospheric, it gets its charge by dramatizing religious millennialism in a region that is the world epicenter of irrationality.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    A movie more to be prescribed than recommended.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    About halfway through I began to imagine it as it might have been directed by Douglas Sirk as a vehicle for Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    A jaggedly impressionistic reverie.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    A tense and engrossing political thriller.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Elaborate exercise in frustration.
    • 78 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Morris, who more or less invented the ironic documentary, seems to struggle here for an appropriate tone even as he allows Leuchter more than enough rope to hang himself.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    A humorously death-haunted psychodrama.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    In its compassionate absurdism and underlying dark humor, the movie seeks to reestablish contact with the Czech new wave.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Fond, funny documentary.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    The art direction is impeccable, but this is a pop-up book that I was impatient to slam.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    A movie as laconic as its hero, Ghost Dog is nonetheless diminished by its most un-Zen-like attachment to this underlying sentimentality.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Like any self-respecting Ferrara film, 'R Xmas has its intimations of hellfire, yet it's a weirdly benign Christmas fable -- something like "Miracle on 134th Street."
    • 77 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    One leaves with barely a clue as to how this group was able to orchestrate a successful string of terror bombings.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Historical forces and famous ghosts jostle past each other in this evocation of mid-1930s New York like harried commuters at Grand Central Station.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Filled with bird sounds, Vertical Ray is almost surreal in its paradise imagery -- the movie is a sultry, harmoniously expressionistic riot of pale greens and deep yellows.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Visually more coherent than "American Beauty," but despite the burnished mahogany of Conrad Hall's cinematography, Mendes still doesn't quite know how to fill a frame. Like the Hanks character, he's a slow study: The action is stilted and the tabloid energy embalmed.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    In its post-Vietnam cynicism, Buffalo Soldiers feels almost avant-garde.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    A first-person doc assembled largely from footage taken in the course of the five features they made, being madmen together.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Although a marked improvement over Algrant's nightmarishly whimsical debut, "Naked in New York," People I Know is perfumed less by the sweet smell of success than the musty aroma of the Miramax vault.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    A documentary to make the stones weep -- as shameful as it is scary.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Consistently wacky and sometimes nearly surreal.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Betty sustains her character, the movie fails to maintain its own.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    An enjoyably glib and refreshingly terse exercise in big beat and constant motion.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    There's a palpable avoidance of risk as this new mythology is wheeled gingerly into the marketplace and carefully positioned to zap your pre-sold brain...Solid but uninspired, Harry lacks brio. It's respectable and a bit dull.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    I'd have welcomed more archival footage (Pennebaker did, after all, document Otis Redding's epochal performance at the Monterey Pop Festival), but that would be asking for another movie.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    This is Oliver Stone country, but Broomfield's self-effacing affect is more Woody Allen,
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    The digital animation is far more evident here than in "The Phantom Menace."
    • 80 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Miscast, misguided, and often nonsensical, Minority Report is nevertheless the most entertaining, least pretentious genre movie Steven Spielberg has made in the decade since "Jurassic Park."
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Disney's big-screen expansion of their hit TV show is nirvana for the pubescent crowd.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    The spectacle of pretty people floating languidly across the screen notwithstanding, Laurel Canyon is short on conviction and long on contrivance. McDormand, however, has a ball.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    The performances are broad; the comedy is mainly slapstick. The politics are nationalist and vaguely left-wing.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Cost well over $100 million, and the money is up there for the gawking. Illuminated by the orange flames of hell, the vast New York City set looks great. The least engaging aspect of the movie is its script -- which passed through the hands of three separate writers and perhaps even producer Harvey Weinstein.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    A movie of many stupid pet tricks and one basic joke: As in the original, Elle's intelligence is consistently -- if understandably -- underestimated.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Where Judgment Day exhibited the profligate sprawl of a military operation, the leaner, less grandiose Rise of the Machines has the feel of a single Hummer careening through an earthquake in downtown Burbank.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Funny for about half an hour, Pleasantville thereafter becomes an increasingly lugubrious, ultimately exasperating mix of technological wonder and ideological idiocy.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Single-dad sitcom is not Sir Ridley's forte but, anachronistically evoking the ring-a-ding-ding ambience of "Auto Focus" and "Catch Me If You Can," his mise-en-scène is as impeccable as Roy's pad.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Fun and smart, but undeniably thin, the first installment of Tarantino's action epic is a fanboy fever dream. The clichés are out in maximum force, tempting any critic fool enough to go one-on-one with the master. (The prize: a Ph.D. in Tarantinology.)
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Like a Hollywood fairy tale, Lola is always threatening to turn into a musical. Its edge as a film comes from the fact that it never quite does.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    A film of considerable ambition and period piquance.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    This is an exercise in civility -- a tasteful "Boy's Life" adventure with plenty of boys aboard to express their appreciation.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    A big fat war movie and a tender love story. Indeed, Cold Mountain is something of an uneasy struggle between the two modes.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Totally convincing in a physically demanding role, Collette carries the movie on her shoulders -- and that weight is what it's all about.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    In a sense, Millennium Mambo is a mildly prurient portrait of Shu moving, drinking, smoking, and changing clothes -- it's analogous to one of Andy Warhol's Edie Sedgwick films, but without the existential drama. Who really cares what costume this poor girl will wear to all tomorrow's parties?
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Slight but sardonic, Norwegian director Bent Hamer's deadpan Kitchen Stories makes a taciturn comedy of nothingness out of color-coordinated '50s coziness and Scandinavian social planning.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Overlong and a bit tiresome but it's actually about something.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    After a most promising beginning, Velvet Goldmine's progress grows increasingly labored, stumbling around the structural roadblocks Haynes has erected in its path.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Deb Ellis and Denis Mueller's fond portrait, less documentary than infomercial, is unrelentingly and in the end self-defeatingly positive--albeit effective in showcasing Zinn's charismatic personality.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Late in the day, Code 46 bursts its chemical chains to become a convincingly irrational love story.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Waters's far-from-phallocratic sexual democracy is not so much hilarious as goofy and more rousing than arousing.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    A ridiculous soft-core kung-fu porn film about a ridiculous hard-core one, Orgazmo is the kind of movie that improves according to the lateness of the hour.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Enjoyable if light, until it becomes apparent that Breillat is not simply waxing narcissistic but fashioning a simultaneous critique, explication, and demystification of the lengthy, near-single-take defloration that is Fat Girl's centerpiece.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Certainly a testament to Fuller's tenacity, but recent raves notwithstanding, it's no masterpiece...The Big Red One isn't even Fuller's greatest war film. Of those, I'd rank it fourth -- but that's not half bad.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    A grimly suggestive and unexpectedly tender bedroom farce, Billy Wilder's Kiss Me, Stupid is a true film maudit.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Grass's relentless hard sell ultimately grows wearisome. Although only 80 minutes, it ends, and not a moment too soon, with a pot legalization rally that might well be reproduced outside the theater.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    A creepily effective button-pusher that owes a bit to the original "Cape Fear" both in Sam Raimi's ruthless direction and Keanu Reeves's unexpectedly robust performance as the most violent redneck peckerwood in a steamy Georgia town.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Certainly not as incredulous or mocking as it might have been. If anything, the mood is apprehensive. But it's depressing that--Carter aside--the filmmakers failed to find even one liberal believer.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Neither comedy nor tragedy, the movie is closest to genteel soap opera.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    A modernist travelogue, at once impressionistic and precise.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    With very few strong characters and a great many middle shots, Pulse sometimes plods--it's the price of Kurosawa's restraint and his indifference to structure.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    The sort of movie that believes coolness is next to godliness, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang trades heavily and successfully on Downey's unflappable likability.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Entertaining if cornball, lacking the cold-eyed nastiness of something like Mike Nichols's "Closer," The Dying Gaul is tricked out with strident montage sequences and tremulous Steve Reich music. It's already drowning in an icky sea of language when Lucas makes a stretch for Greek tragedy and sends the whole Malibu playhouse abruptly crashing down.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    The Syrian Bride has no particular visual style, but it exudes affection, for its characters and their culture as well as the unprepossessing beauty of the scrubby terrain that holds them in thrall. Like all wedding films, it's essentially a comedy, albeit a sad one.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    For King Kong is an accountant's movie at heart. Given the excessive length and bombastic F/X, there's too much action and precious little poetry.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Malick's long, moody, diaphanous account of love and loss in 17th-century Jamestown--shot, more or less, on location--rarely achieves the symphonic grandeur it seeks. As an epic, it's monumentally slight.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Despite its cheesy blood and thunder and ludicrous "Sunshine Makers" metaphysics, this is the funniest apocalypse I've seen since George Romero's "Land of the Dead."
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Both frustrating and fascinating, Yuen's documentary is something of a stray footnote. It requires not only the context of the yang ban xi but the perspective of other movies on the subject of entertainment and utopia.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    As its title jokingly implies, this is a more grown-up version of Aniston's long- running TV vehicle--complete with the star herself as eternal ingenue.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Neither a debacle nor a bore, The Departed works but only up to a point, and never emotionally--even if the director does contrive to supply his version of a happy ending.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    A graceful, charming, and sometimes witty confection -- at least for its first hour.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Martin Rejtman's 1999 "Silvia Prieto" fashioned a deadpan farce from the aimless circulation of objects and identities around its unsmiling title character. The Magic Gloves, the Argentine writer-director's 2003 follow-up, is a similarly absurdist smart-com featuring another depressed protag navigating a yuppie Buenos Aires milieu.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    An enjoyably overwrought meditation on the consequences of celebrity and the vicissitudes of fandom, Backstage stars Le Besco as the schoolgirl acolyte of Emmanuelle Seigner's pop diva, a singer-songwriter and high priestess of cheese.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    This first feature is shot "first person" and is first and foremost a concept -- at least as interesting to think about as to actually watch.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Austere, underlit, uncompromisingly lackadaisical at three hours, and anachronistic in a half dozen ways.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Carnahan does have an oddball sense of comic timing; what his picture lacks in hilarity it recuperates with a well-developed, albeit mumbling, sense of the absurd.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    For a disposable entertainment, Shockproof has an intensity that sticks to the mind--yours, mine, or Richard Hamilton's.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Acerbic, moody, and provocatively slight, it's a movie of apparent non sequiturs and privileged moments. [21 Oct 1997]
    • Village Voice
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Syndromes and a Century, which was commissioned by the New Crowned Hope festival to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth, is a movie of long serene takes and gentle absurdities.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Girl 6, the goofy phone-sex comedy that he directed from Suzan-Lori Parks's script, may be incoherent, but it's never boring. Juggling a dozen or more subplots and letting them drop wherever they fall, the movie gives the impression of having been invented as Lee went along. [26 Mar 1996]
    • Village Voice
    • 54 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Short, sweet, and hardly ever cloying, The Treatment is largely dependent for its success on the quality of its performances--most surprisingly, Eigeman's.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Satisfying as it is to at last have Nixon as a Disney character, Hopkins's overheated, self-consciously self-conscious performance doesn't get the overall nuttiness of Nixon's unctuous rage, his iron-butt single-mindedness. [26 Dec 1995]
    • Village Voice
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Murray's performance is successfully skewed, but in the De Niro oeuvre, Mad Dog is one more doughy characterization flecked with raisins. [16 Mar 1993]
    • Village Voice
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    Although not as radically defamiliarizing as Jim Jarmusch's avant-western "Dead Man," Jesse James has the feel of an attic ransacked for abandoned knickknacks.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    A well-wrought indie written and directed by Goran Dukic, has to be the kewpie doll of current zombie flicks: Its walking dead are a bunch of attractive slackers whose wounds are largely internal. They've got attitude.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    The most authentic thing about Redacted is the rage with which it was made.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    This is a serious movie and, gliding around the center of power, a stylish one. But, like its protagonist, The Walker is unable to close the deal.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    However authentically chaotic, Chicago 10 is insufficiently frenzied.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 60 J. Hoberman
    The result is contrived, but compelling--as is the movie's high-powered humanism.

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