Talking Pictures: How to Watch Movies by Ann Hornaday (13 Jun 2017)
Whether we are trying to impress a date after an art-house film screening or discussing Oscar nominations with friends, we all need ways to watch and talk about movies. But with so much variety between an Alfred Hitchcock thriller and a Nora Ephron romantic comedy, how can everyday viewers determine what makes a good movie?
In Talking Pictures, veteran film critic Ann Hornaday walks us through the production of a typical moviefrom writing the script and casting to the final sound editand explains how to evaluate each piece of the process. How do we know if a film is well-written, above and beyond snappy dialogue? What constitutes a great screen performance? What goes into praiseworthy cinematography, editing, and sound design? And what does a director really do? Full of engaging anecdotes and interviews with actors and filmmakers, Talking Pictures will help us see movies in a whole new lightnot just as fans, but as film critics in our own right.
Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood’s Creative Artists Agency Paperback – 29 Jun 2017
A New York Times bestseller
An astonishing—and astonishingly entertaining—history of Hollywood’s transformation over the past five decades as seen through the agency at the heart of it all, from the #1 bestselling co-author of Live from New York and Those Guys Have All the Fun.
The movies you watch, the TV shows you adore, the concerts and sporting events you attend—behind the curtain of nearly all of these is an immensely powerful and secretive corporation known as Creative Artists Agency. Started in 1975, when five bright and brash employees of a creaky William Morris office left to open their own, strikingly innovative talent agency, CAA would come to revolutionize the entertainment industry, and over the next several decades its tentacles would spread aggressively throughout the worlds of movies, television, music, advertising, and investment banking.
Powerhouse is the fascinating, no-holds-barred saga of that ascent. Drawing on unprecedented and exclusive access to the men and women who built and battled with CAA, as well as financial information never before made public, author James Andrew Miller spins a tale of boundless ambition, ruthless egomania, ceaseless empire building, greed, and personal betrayal. It is also a story of prophetic brilliance, magnificent artistry, singular genius, entrepreneurial courage, strategic daring, foxhole brotherhood, and how one firm utterly transformed the entertainment business.
Here are the real Star Wars—complete with a Death Star—told through the voices of those who were there. Packed with scores of stars from movies, television, music, and sports, as well as a tremendously compelling cast of agents, studio executives, network chiefs, league commissioners, private equity partners, tech CEOs, and media tycoons, Powerhouse is itself a Hollywood blockbuster of the most spectacular sort.
I Lost It at the Video Store Paperback – 11 Jul 2017
Selected by Kirkus Reviews as one of the best indie books of 2015.
“This is a book that was waiting to happen, and fortunately it was Tom Roston who wrote it. After we lost it at the movies, a later era of cinephiles lost it at the video store, and this is their story in their wordsnostalgic, vivid, and important, because video germinated a new generation of great filmmakers.”
– Peter Biskind, author of Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance, and the Rise of Independent Film
In I Lost it at the Video Store, Tom Roston interviews the filmmakersincluding John Sayles, Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith, Darren Aronofsky, David O. Russell and Allison Anderswho came of age during the reign of video rentals, and constructs a living, personal narrative of an era of cinema history which, though now gone, continues to shape film culture today. This expanded edition includes an introduction by acclaimed filmmaker Richard Linklater (Boyhood) and a new appendix of conversations between Roston and various actors, directors, producers, and programmers (including Tim Blake Nelson, Paul Dano, Angela Robinson and more) about the past and future of film distribution and culture.
Tom Roston is a journalist whose work appears in The New York Times, The Guardian, Spin, The Los Angeles Times and The Hollywood Reporter, among other publications. A former senior editor at Premiere magazine, he also writes a weekly blog about documentaries for PBS award-winning POV website. He lives in Brooklyn.
Lights, Camera, Game Over!: How Video Game Movies Get Made Paperback – 28 Jul 2017
Since 1993, Hollywood has been rendering popular video games on the silver screen, mainly to critical derision and box office failure. While a few have succeeded, many have been hailed as the “worst movie ever” and left gamers asking: how did that get made? Super Mario fans expecting plumbers jumping on Goombas got an inter-dimensional battle between humans and evolved dinosaurs. Players expecting to see Ryu, Ken, and the rest of the World Warriors compete in the Street Fighter Tournament instead got a live-action GI Joe movie. This in-depth and entertaining work recounts the production histories of many of these movies, revealing the sometimes inspired and convoluted path Hollywood took to turn pixels into living flesh, with insights from more than 40 industry insiders, including film directors Paul W. S. Anderson (Resident Evil), Simon West (Tomb Raider), and Steven de Souza (Street Fighter).
Opening Wednesday at a Theater or Drive-In Near You: The Shadow Cinema of the American ’70s Hardcover – 24 Aug 2017
“Movie criticism’s Dostoyevsky . . . Taylor reveals a national identity forged from the innocence we claim to have lost but never had in the first place.” –Steve Erickson, author of Zeroville
When we think of ’70s cinema, we think of classics like The Godfather, Taxi Driver, and The Wild Bunch . . . but the riches found in the overlooked B movies of the time, rolled out wherever they might find an audience, unexpectedly tell an eye-opening story about post-Watergate, post-Vietnam America. Revisiting the films that don’t make the Academy Award montages, Charles Taylor finds a treasury many of us have forgotten, movies that in fact “unlock the secrets of the times.”
Celebrated film critic Taylor pays homage to the trucker vigilantes, meat magnate pimps, blaxploitation “angel avengers,” and taciturn factory workers of grungy, unartful B films such as Prime Cut, Foxy Brown, and Eyes of Laura Mars. He creates a compelling argument for what matters in moviemaking and brings a pivotal American era vividly to life in all its gritty, melancholy complexity.