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The Magic Hour Film At Fin De Siecle by J. Hoberman

The Magic Hour Film At Fin De Siecle

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The Magic Hour Film At Fin De Siecle by J. Hoberman

A new anthology from one of America's foremost critics of movies and culture


This book is the film-security x-ray device we really need: it sees through everything. Witty, caustic, passionate and wise, Hoberman treats movies as the bizarre cross-cultural phenomenon they have become in a book of critical essays that somehow manages to be a suspenseful page-turner. Film criticism at this level is deliciously close to philosophy. --David Cronenberg J. Hoberman is one of the best film critics working regularly in America today. His reviews and essays have many striking qualities that help account for its cogency, insight, and authority. He is exceptionally knowledgeable about film history and very deft at bringing it to bear on the films under discussion. His writing is terse, aphoristic, and unpredictable--pure gold. Whether we agree with him or not, he is a pleasure to read. --Morris Dickstein, CUNY Graduate Center, and author of Gates of Eden, and Leopards in the Temple Archivist, excavator and wicked wit, J. Hoberman holds a lead place at the forefront of contemporary American film criticism. In The Magic Hour: Film at Fin de Siecle, he effortlessly transcends the banality of so much of our contemporary film culture and identifies essential truths about how we watch and why. Even when the movies are lousy Hoberman is inimitable. --Manohla Dargis, movie critic, Los Angeles Times Hoberman's collection assesses the cinematic output of the 1990s, a period he characterizes as being bracketed by the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the World Trade Center towers. That sociopolitical approach is telling, because Hoberman casts his critical gaze beyond the world of film; besides weekly movie reviews, he publishes on politics and culture in the Village Voice, where most of these essays first appeared. The mostly brief reviews of individual films gain substance from being thematically grouped, especially those in a section juxtaposing movies on politics, such as The American President and The Contender, and the presidencies of the first Bush and Clinton: here Hoberman's political and cinematic agendas coalesce perfectly. Elsewhere, there are straightforward write-ups of films ranging from Spielberg's '90s product to masterworks from Iran, Russia, and Hong Kong; ultimately, these pieces prove to be the most satisfying. For while Hoberman's political commentary is lively and provocative, as such it is not so rare a commodity as his rigorous and thoughtfully insightful film criticism. --Gordon Flagg, Booklist Although it mostly covers films and personalities from the era between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the destruction of the Twin Towers, this collection of previously published essays and articles references numerous earlier motion pictures as well. The always readable Hoberman, film critic of the Village Voice, wittily discusses--and often skewers--a range of better- and lesser-known films, from Vertigo and Kiss Me Deadly to Schindler's List and Mulholland Drive. Of equal interest are his thoughts on the 1990s political scene, especially Bob Dole, George Bush Sr., and Bill Clinton, whom he dubs the Show Biz President. He also writes insightfully on the cultural history of the final years of the 20th century, the future of the cinema, and the ongoing role of the film critic. Completing this interesting melange are Hoberman's often quirky choices for the ten best films of each year between 1991 and 2000. Recommended for larger libraries and cinema collections. --Library Journal

About the Author

J. HOBERMAN is Film Critic at The Village Voice.

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Book Info

Publication date

21st January 2003


J. Hoberman

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Temple University Press,U.S.


264 pages


Film theory & criticism
Popular culture



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