The Hebrew Hammer from the New York Observer (5/27/02)
Film Festivals Screenings:
Sundance Film Festival - January 23, 2003
Toronto Jewish Film Festival - May 8, 2003
Cannes Film Festival - May 15, 2003
Seattle International Film Festival - June 6,
Fantastisk Filmfestival Lund - September 27, 2003
Hong Kong Jewish Film Fetival - November 22, 2003
Vancouver Jewish Film Festival - May 8, 2004
Buenos Aires Int'l Festival of Independent Cinema
- April 13, 2005 (Argentina)
Warsaw Int'l Jewish Film Festival - May 23, 2005
"A good natured Judaic spin on the 70's Blaxploitation genre, the
Hammer owes much to Mel Brooks and to the Naked Gun,
Airplane!, Austin Powers tradition of broad
The Boston Globe:
"This whimsical, wacked-out ethnic comedy is hysterical -- if
you're comfortable with rabid political incorrectness, that is. It's a
relentless satire of Jewish stereotypes, made with great affection and
Mel Brooksian irreverence by first-time writer-director Jonathan
Kesselman. Built around the adventures of a superhero who wears a
yarmulke and describes himself as "the meanest Hebe this side of Tel
Aviv," the movie gets a four-Oy rating."
The Capital Times:
"...an instant classic...reminds me of Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles and
Young Frankenstein...infinitely quotable..."
Salt Lake Tribune:
"An actual funny comedy...everyone in the theater was laughing.".
"...profane, shockingly un-PC and often laugh-out-loud hilarious, this
is the sort of parody that the folks who made the Airplane and
Naked Gun movies used to make -- funny."
Rachel Markus, Filmfestivals.com:
"...an original and laugh-out-loud comedy that has created a new type of
action-hero and certainly qualifies as the first 'Jewploitation'
film...one need not be Jewish to find this outrageous film uniquely
funny...[Kesselman] has scripted and reified a comedic action film which
has several layers of humor to be discovered at every turn...Andy Dick (Reality
Bites, The Cable Guy) is deliciously devilish as the evil Damian
Claus; the versatile Mario Van Peebles (New Jack City, Ali) makes
a stylish ally to Hammer as leader of the KLF; and Peter Coyote (E.T,
Erin Brockovich) projects subtle comedic genius as the leader of the
JJL, irresistibly funny as he sports a Star of David patch over one eye
(ala Moshe Dyan) and screams commands while never being too far from a
bagel and cream cheese."
Chris Barsanti, Filmcritic.com:
"In its individual set pieces, the film can be quite effective, even
discovering a hitherto-unknown gleam of Mel Brooksian-slapstick talent
in Peter Coyote, who plays Esther’s father, the eyepatch-wearing,
eternally noshing head of the J.J.L."
"Peter Coyote’s manager kept calling to have Peter come in to audition. I
thought he was a great actor but I never saw him play funny. He flew in
on his dime and said to me 'My real name is actually Peter Cohen.'"
Did you know?
It's available on DVD and video.
The film was shot on 33 New York City locations in
22 days in the spring of 2002.
It was shown on Comedy Central before it was
released in theatres.
Kesselman's idol, Mel Brooks, was originally the
choice for Chief Bloomenbergansteinthal but Brooks no longer takes
Coyote Web Site ]