Al Hoff

Essential Pittsburgh
4:01 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

The Summer Movie Season, What to go See and What to Stream

Grab your blanket or lawn chair and get ready for free outdoor cinema season.
Credit Cinema in the Park / Citiparks

The official start of summer might still be a few weeks away, but the summer movie season is already under way. In late May and early June, major studios bring their biggest movies of the year to theaters and drive-ins across the nation, hoping for a blockbuster. 

Pittsburgh City Paper movie critic Al Hoff dropped by to talk about the must-see movies, and which movies are better left to be watched on Netflix. 

The biggest film of the summer, at least thus far, is Godzilla. Hoff said she enjoyed the monster but thought the characters could use more work.

“I think they rounded up some really great actors and I think they didn’t give them anything to do other than stand around and react to explosions and buildings falling. Number one, there was three great actresses in that film that had absolutely nothing to do. Two of them you weren’t even sure what their role was, and then the third was just the imperiled mom, which is a waste of anyone that can act. It was a little baffling to me but obviously the focus of the film is Godzilla and the other monsters,” said Hoff.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
4:01 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

Old School Media & Modern Muckraking on Film

Citizen Kane starts off the September Sunday series for Pittsburgh Filmmakers. The theme: Typewriter Ribbons & Newsreels
Credit RKO/Turner Entertainment / Wikipedia

Sunday, September 1st kicks off a month long media focused film series sponsored by Pittsburgh Filmmakers and PublicSource.  Pittsburgh City Paper’s Film Critic, Al Hoff says the series brings classic investigative journalism back into the spotlight with films that demonstrate, “news gathering, how media works and how media is a cultural force across decades.”

The series begins with Citizen Kane, a film that is often considered the greatest movie of all time, followed by His Girl Friday starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell, Ace in the Hole with Kirk Douglas, Medium Cool directed by Haskell Wexler.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
3:49 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

Sci-Fi Marathons, Indie Films and Classic Flicks Coming in the Next Week

Credit Pop City Media

Pittsburgh theaters offer a wide range of films in a number of unique theaters. Dormont’s Hollywood Theater houses niche film festivals, indie movie one-night previews and classic flicks while other theaters around the city will show big screen blockbusters and new documentaries. Pittsburgh City Paper film critic Al Hoff helps parse out the good from the bad.

Read more
Essential Pittsburgh
4:51 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

Fruitvale Station and Typical Conjurings

Bringing the good and the bad news from the film reel, City Paper Film Critic Al Hoff presents her opinions on several upcoming movies and documentaries coming to a theater near you.

With a release date that could not be more timely, Fruitvale Station documents the final days of Oscar Grant, an African American man from San Francisco who was shot and killed by police while unarmed at a subway station. The film comes after the controversial George Zimmerman verdict  in which many believe race played a crucial role.

Read more