Al Hoff

Al Hoff
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
No Score Yet Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement (2009) [An] inspirational documentary about ordinary people quietly leading extraordinary lives. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted May 18, 2020
91% Transsiberian (2008) Unfortunately, it all builds to a last reel that is truly off the rails - a strenuous bit of action-flick silliness seriously at odds with the more low-key, psychological thriller that precedes it. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted May 5, 2020
19% Cats (2019) The film is an unholy melange of humans making cat moves - like head-nuzzling - and "cats" doing human things. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 23, 2019
46% Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016) As a film, it's still amusing, though likely to resonate better with Team Austen than Team Undead. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 28, 2019
69% Dead Snow (Død snø) (2009) Despite its dusty origins, Dead Snow feels fresh and fun. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 28, 2019
87% Frankenweenie (2012) A fascination with things that are dead (or not-quite-dead-yet); a gushing homage for classic horror films; and a gallery of amusing grotesques. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 21, 2019
74% The Dead (2011) A serious, almost contemplative zombie film, with no jokes and snarky homage. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 21, 2019
89% Rammbock: Berlin Undead (2011) Kren is working with a small budget, but the compact set serves the story's claustrophobia well and he doesn't waste money on shock-value gore effects. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 14, 2019
89% ParaNorman (2012) The film's pleasures are in its spooky visuals, amusingly created characters and its indulgence in the cartoonishly macabre. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 14, 2019
64% Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead (2006) Like an extra-value meal, Poultrygeist offers plenty of what Troma fans want... - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 7, 2019
90% Isle of Dogs (2018) An animated movie about talking dogs set in a not-so-real place gives a filmmaker plenty of leeway to craft a story not beholden to the same old rules, so it's a disappointment to see the female characters get typical short shrift. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 11, 2018
72% Ready Player One (2018) If a film could collapse in on itself, due to its slavish devotion to a specific subset of 1980s entertainment, Ready Player One would be that black hole. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 29, 2018
96% Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story (2017) Alexandra Dean's documentary will fill you in on Lamarr's remarkable, if troubled, life. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2018
100% The Departure (2017) The film, like its main subject, is a quiet exercise in empathy that's likely to leave audiences more hopeful than defeated, if only by a hair. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2018
98% BPM (Beats Per Minute) (120 battements par minute) (2017) A powerful document of a heartbreaking, yet hopeful, period. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2018
96% For Ahkeem (2017) Throughout the movie, there is one constant: Daje's smile. You can't help but want to keep rooting for her. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2018
76% Spoor (Pokot) (2017) This movie's natural beauty, drama and mysterious characters are engaging. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2018
95% The Death of Stalin (2018) What better material to employ so many fine comic actors, masters all of the anxious flutter, the pained smirk and the deftly parried bon mot? You don't need to know a lot about mid-century Soviet politics to thoroughly enjoy this film - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2018
42% A Wrinkle in Time (2018) It never quite hangs together right, stumbling through scenes that mash-up after-school special with the fantastical. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2018
91% Love, Simon (2018) It's an engaging enough film that even a person long out of high school like myself found it amusing. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2018
24% 7 Days in Entebbe (2018) The "action" -- most of it waiting around -- unfolds over seven days, and ultimately, 7 Days doesn't deliver much more than the TV movies of the 1970s. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2018
50% Submission (2018) There's an archness to the film that keeps this from devolving into Lifetime melodrama, and a few twists that keep it erring on the side of intentionally provocative rather than hectoring. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 7, 2018
94% A Fantastic Woman (Una mujer fantástica) (2018) Some of those advocacy aspects may play a bit broadly with contemporary American arthouse audiences more familiar with trans-rights issues, but this is a Chilean film first. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 7, 2018
85% Game Night (2018) Game Night offers a well-trod set-up, but the crack cast make this silly comedy work. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 28, 2018
82% The Party (2018) It's a tidy 70 minutes, and for extra artiness, it's handsomely shot in black and white. If you like these sorts of dramatic exercises, you could do worse than watching this talented crew sling barbs at each other. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 28, 2018
65% Marie Curie: The Courage of Knowledge (2017) It is the sort of film that manages to incorporate languid baths and a duel (!) with obtuse conversations with Einstein and an overt feminist message. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 28, 2018
39% Nostalgia (2018) Nostalgia, penned by Alex Ross Perry, repeatedly spelled out each of its themes: It's a bit insulting for viewers, all of whom can likely process such a universal topic as grief and loss, and it drags down the narrative. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 28, 2018
88% Annihilation (2018) It's heady sci-fi horror, with plenty of analogies to ponder, and some truly gorgeous imagery. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 28, 2018
45% Red Sparrow (2018) It was like catching a laughably bad movie from the late 1980s on cable, and just sitting through it. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 28, 2018
74% Crash (2004) For every scene loaded for narrative impact -- a car-jacking or a narrowly escaped death -- Haggis crafts workaday moments that function just as effectively. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 28, 2018
91% Birdman (2014) Birdman is never less than entertaining - brash, funny, fast-paced and a welcome return to the A-list for Keaton. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 28, 2018
97% Spotlight (2015) The downbeat material is matched by a quiet celebration that the dogged pursuit of the truth can and should matter, and that journalists, given resources, can provide this necessary check on power. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 28, 2018
98% Moonlight (2016) Moonlight is a beautifully layered film filled with so much emotional content and lyricism. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 28, 2018
94% The King's Speech (2010) Tom Hooper's film is a handsomely made, well-acted story that, for the most part, wins hearts by transforming a potentially mega-watt historical story into a low-key dramedy and mismatched buddy movie. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 27, 2018
90% The Departed (2006) Though the story is a corker of a premise, with detours into the perils of ambition and duplicity, you can't hope to become emotionally invested in these reputedly troubled souls. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 27, 2018
80% Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool (2017) It's really Bening and Bell who sell this; Bening is especially good, calibrating Grahame's magnetic presence with her crippling vulnerability. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 21, 2018
96% Black Panther (2018) Normally I'm inclined to not see comic-book movies in the first place, but this is one I'd like to see a second time. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 21, 2018
26% Suicide Squad (2016) Truly, it's hard to care that much about these bad people, or the lightning-belching cloud of debris swirling above Midway, or whether Jared Leto's Joker is disturbing or distracting. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 16, 2018
11% Fifty Shades Freed (2018) At this point, the only reason to tune in is to see what completely idiotic outside force now threatens our two lovebirds. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 14, 2018
96% Tangerine (2015) At its heart - and Tangerine has plenty of heart - it's about how the friendship of two women endures through a lot of money and man trouble. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2018
13% Winchester (2018) If only the Spierig brothers had made a thoughtful drama, inspired by a real-life eccentric, rather than a dull thriller, barely propelled by jump-out scares and creaky hallways. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2018
95% Gravity (2013) It's horrifying (and gorgeous), and you'll be thankful you're planted securely in your theater seat. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 1, 2018
95% 12 Years a Slave (2013) 12 Years is beautifully filmed, with a keen eye toward the conflation of beauty and horror. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 1, 2018
98% Félicité (2017) The film's elements ultimately come together to form a portrait of Félicité, as well as of life in this struggling city. It feels like a cliché to have to note the resilience, cooperation and ingenuity that keep both Félicité and her environment together - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2018
78% Kangaroo (2018) Like The Cove or Blackfish, Kangaroo is a muckraking work that advocates a clear position for better management and treatment of Australia's kangaroos. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2018
42% Den of Thieves (2018) Bulked-up men firing automatic weapons at each other will always appeal to some viewers, but Den's running time of two hours and 20 minutes is way too long. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 24, 2018
53% Freak Show (2018) Most of this coming-of-age film, directed by Trudie Styler, is played for gentle laughs, though there are the expected after-school-special messages about being kind, and being true to yourself, and so on. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 24, 2018
75% Mom and Dad (2018) If you're open to it - and OK with a lot of violence - it's an amusing, nasty satire... - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 24, 2018
100% The 19th Annual Animation Show of Shows (2017) This curated 90-minute program of 16 animated short films from around the world offers some laughs, some gorgeous visuals and a fair amount of reflection on troubled times and assorted anxieties. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2018
94% Call Me by Your Name (2018) There is an air of the impossibly dreamy about the slowly unfolding events - and how the camera adores each man - but beneath its sublime scenery and beautiful people are the recognizable truths of too-real relationships. - Pittsburgh City Paper EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2018