James Lewis Hoberman (born March 14, 1949), also known as J. Hoberman, is an American film critic. He began at The Village Voice during the 1970s, became a full-time staff writer in 1983, and was the senior film critic from 1988 to 2012. He is also the author of several books.
Hoberman completed his B.A. at Binghamton University and his M.F.A. at Columbia University. At Binghamton, prominent experimental filmmaker Ken Jacobs both instructed and influenced him.
After completing his MFA Hoberman worked for The Village Voice as third-stringer under Andrew Sarris. There, he specialized in examining experimental film. Indeed, his first published film review appeared in 1977 for David Lynch's seminal debut film Eraserhead. From 2009 until January 4, 2012, Hoberman was the senior film editor at the Village Voice. He contributes regularly to Film Comment, The New York Times, and The Virginia Quarterly Review.
In the mid-1970s Hoberman contributed text articles to the underground comix anthology Arcade, edited by Art Spiegelman and Bill Griffith.
In addition to his academic and professional career, Hoberman is the author of several important books on cinema, including a collaboration with fellow film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum, entitled Midnight Movies, published in 1983.
In the 2002 Sight & Sound film poll, Hoberman indicated that Flaming Creatures is his choice for best film ever made. Other films included in his top five, listed by ranking, are The Girl from Chicago, Man with a Movie Camera, Pather Panchali, and La Règle du jeu.
In 2008, at the San Francisco International Film Festival, Hoberman was honored with the prestigious Mel Novikoff Award: an annual award "bestowed on an individual or institution whose work has enhanced the filmgoing public’s knowledge and appreciation of world cinema."
Since 1990, Hoberman has taught cinema history at Cooper Union. Additionally, he has lectured on film at Harvard University and continues to lecture at New York University. He was also an active leader at The Village Voice staff union.
Hoberman appears in the 2009 documentary film For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism, recalling his first movie memory, going with his mother to see Cecil B. DeMille’s The Greatest Show On Earth (1952), and how he was mesmerized by a scene in that film depicting a train crash.
In January 2012, the Village Voice laid off Hoberman as part of their cost-cutting measures. Hoberman responded: "I have no regrets and whatever sadness I feel is outweighed by a sense of gratitude. Thirty-three years is a long time to be able to do something that you love to do, to champion things you want to champion, and to even get paid for it."
Following his tenure at the Village Voice, Hoberman has contributed articles to other publications, including The Guardian and The New York Review of Books.
- Film After Film: (Or, What Became of 21st Century Cinema?). Verso, Brooklyn, New York, 2012.
- An Army of Phantoms: American Movies and the Making of the Cold War. The New Press, New York, 2011.
- The Magic Hour: Film at Fin de Siècle. Temple University Press, Philadelphia, 2003.
- The Dream Life: Movies, Media, and the Mythology of the Sixties. The New Press, New York, 2003.
- On Jack Smith's Flaming Creatures:(and Other Secret-flix of Cinemaroc). Granary Books/Hips Road, 2001.
- The Red Atlantis: Communist Culture in the Absence of Communism. Temple University Press, Philadelphia, 1999.
- 42nd Street. BFI Publishing, London, 1993.
- Bridge of Light: Yiddish Film Between Two Worlds. New York: The Museum of Modern Art/Schocken Books, 1992.
- Vulgar Modernism: Writing on Film and Other Media. Temple University Press, Philadelphia, 1991.
- Dennis Hopper: From Method to Madness. Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 1988.
- Home Made Movies: Twenty Years of American 8Mm & Super-8 Films. Anthology Film Archives, New York, 1981.
- Midnight Movies (with Jonathan Rosenbaum)