5. J. Hoberman
Publications: The Village Voice, Film Comment, The New York Times, The Virginia Quarterly Review, ArtInfo (website)
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Simply put, there's no greater living film essayist than James Lewis Hoberman, better known as J. Hoberman. Starting at The Village Voice in the '70s, the New York City native owned the paper's film reviews section with his beautifully composed, scholarly critiques until he was wrongly removed from his post in 2012.
The thing about Hoberman's reviews, though, is that they don't read like reviews; they're more like heavily researched narratives that relate the movie in question to larger, all-encompassing themes that touch upon society, cinema, and politics.
For incredibly informative and vibrantly penned time capsules, pick up any one of Hoberman's many books. Our recommendations: the cult community manifesto Midnight Movies (co-written with Jonathan Rosenbaum) and his most recent release, Film After Film, a compilation of Hoberman's post-9/11 writings that makes for a dynamic companion to Denby's Do the Movies Have a Future?