Librarians blog about the books we love right now.
Sunday, February 17, 2013
It's prime time for cinema aficionados - with the SAG and Golden Globes so recently behind us and the Academy Awards fast approaching on February 24th. Print pales before the gloss of the big screen but if you have time to read between pictures, you'll want to pore over two recently acquired additions to the library collection on film - The Rough Guide To 21st Century Cinema by Adam Smith and The Big Screen The Story Of The Movies by David Thompson.
In The Rough Guide To 21st Century Cinema, Adam Smith, a British Senior writer at Empire Magazine reviews 101 key films released from 2000-2011. He defines "key" as films that were "innovative" or "marked a turning point in film development". Lushly illustrated, each film is given 2-3 pages covering a plot summary and sidebars devoted to actors or directors, and spiced with Smith's insightful commentary. Throughout the book, Smith intersperses some interesting lists such as True Stories: Ten of the best documentaries and Breaking The Celluloid Ceiling: Ten women directors who scored hits in the millennium. Rounding out the volume are short insightful articles such as "Virtual Unreality: how performance capture is changing the way movies are made" and "Cruel Intentions: the new cinema of suffering".
The Big Screen: The Story of The Movies is film authority David Thomson's sweeping love letter to the movies. At more than 500 pages, Thomas offers a series of essays beginning with the works of 1860's photographer Eadweard Muybridge to yesterday's colorful montage on U-Tube, from the huge screen in an Art Deco movie palace to a tiny screen on today's telephone. It's all here - juicy cinematic lore and legend, the fascinating backstories of actors, directors, films (American and international) and a provocative exploration of the culture of films told by a man whose passion for film is palpable. Thomson takes a thoughtful stab at the Big Question - do movies reflect culture or serve culture by providing the perfect escape? In any case, you'll want to read this slowly - lingering over enticing descriptions of films you might have missed or want to see again through Thomson's eyes. Be ready to prepare a long list.