5 New Film Books

talking-pictures
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.

pwoerhouse
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
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
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.jpg
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.

BONUS POST: Five new memoirs to look out for

[Most of the links below redirect you to South Dublin Libraries’ online catalogue so you can reserve a copy online]

famous nathan
Famous Nathan: A Family Saga of Coney Island, The American Dream and the Search for the Perfect Hot Dog by Lloyd Handwerker and Gil Reavill (21 Jun 2016)
Beginning with just five feet of counter space on Coney Island in 1916, Nathan’s Famous – based on the basic principles of quality ingredients, hard work and a price everyone could afford -soon stretched across the globe, launching the hotdog as an American food staple and Nathan Handwerker to national fame. But the story behind the dog is even tastier…

Fleeing Eastern Europe as the shadow of WWI looms large with nothing but twenty dollars in his socks, Nathan arrives in New York with the insatiable desire to make a better life, and within two years he sets up a shop of his own, hawking frankfurters for five cents at the sleepy little beach retreat of Coney Island. As New York booms, pushing trains and patrons to the shore, so too do Nathan’s humble hotdogs. Within ten years he has the whole corner, and a brand as recognizable as Coca-Cola and Cracker Jack. Nathan’s is famous.

But with success comes difficulties, and as Nathan’s two sons vie to inherit the family dynasty a story of Biblical proportions plays out, mirroring the corporatization of the American food industry.

Written by Nathan’s own grandson, and at once a portrait of a man, a family and the changing face of a nation through a century of promise and progress, Famous Nathan is a dog’s tale that snaps and satisfies with every page.

stanley kubrick
Stanley Kubrick and Me: Thirty Years at his Side by Emilio D’Alessandro and Fillppo Ulivier (23 Jun 2016)
This intimate portrait by his former personal assistant and confidante reveals the man behind the legendary filmmaker–for the first time. Stanley Kubrick, the director of a string of timeless movies from Lolita and Dr. Strangelove to A Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Full Metal Jacket, and others, has always been depicted by the media as the Howard Hughes of filmmakers, a weird artist obsessed with his work and privacy to the point of madness. But who was he really? Emilio D’Alessandro lets us see. A former Formula Ford driver who was a minicab chauffeur in London during the Swinging Sixties, he took a job driving a giant phallus through the city that became his introduction to the director. Honest, reliable, and ready to take on any task, Emilio found his way into Kubrick’s neurotic, obsessive heart. He became his personal assistant, his right-hand man and confidant, working for him from A Clockwork Orange until Kubrick’s death in 1999. Emilio was the silent guy in the room when the script for The Shining was discussed. He still has the coat Jack Nicholson used in the movie. He was an extra on the set of Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick’s last movie. He knew all the actors and producers Kubrick worked with; he observed firsthand Kubrick’s working methods down to the smallest detail. Making no claim of expertise in cinematography but with plenty of anecdotes, he offers a completely fresh perspective on the artist and a warm, affecting portrait of a generous, kind, caring man who was a perfectionist in work and life.

playing scard
Playing Scared: My Journey Through Stage Fright by Sara Solovitch (30 Jun 2016)
Stage fright is one of the human psyche’s deepest fears. Over half of British adults name public speaking as their greatest anxiety. Laurence Olivier learned to adapt to it, as have actors Salma Hayek and Hugh Grant. Musicians such as Paul McCartney and Adele have battled it and learned to cope.

Playing Scared is Sara Solovitch’s journey into the myriad causes of stage fright and the ways we can overcome it. Using her own experience as inspiration, Sara has written a thoughtful and insightful cultural history of performance anxiety and a tribute to pursuing personal growth at any age.

dark night
Dark Night: A True Batman Story by Paul Dini and Eduardo Risso (30 Jun 2016)
The Caped Crusader has been the all-abiding icon of justice and authority for generations. But in this surprising original graphic novel, we see Batman in a new light — as the savior who helps a discouraged man recover from a brutal attack that left him unable to face the world. In the 1990s, legendary writer Paul Dini had a flourishing career writing the hugely popular Batman: The Animated Series and Tiny Toon Adventures. Walking home one evening, he was jumped and viciously beaten within an inch of his life. His recovery process was arduous, hampered by the imagined antics of the villains he was writing for television including the Joker, Harley Quinn and the Penguin. But despite how bleak his circumstances were, or perhaps because of it, Dini also always imagined the Batman at his side, chivvying him along during his darkest moments. DARK NIGHT: A TRUE BATMAN STORY is the harrowing and eloquent autobiographical tale of Dini’s courageous struggle to overcome a truly desperate situation. It is a Batman story like none other and one that will truly resonate with fans. Art by the incredible and talented Eduardo Risso (100 BULLETS, TRANSMETROPOLITAN).

thisisnotmybeautiful
This Is Not My Beautiful Life: A Memoir by Victoria Fedden (1 Jul 2016)
ONE OF “PUBLISHERS WEEKLY”‘S TEN MOST ANTICIPATED MEMOIRS OF THE SEASON IF YOU THINK IT SUCKS TO LIVE WITH YOUR PARENTS WHEN YOU RE THIRTY-SIX AND NINE MONTHS PREGNANT, JUST WAIT TILL THE DEA COMES KNOCKING (WITH THE IRS IN TOW): WELCOME TO VICTORIA FEDDEN S LIFE.When a squad of federal agents burst through her parents front door, Victoria Fedden felt ill-prepared to meet them: She was weeks away from her due date and her T-shirt wasn t long enough to hide her maternity undies. As for the question of how to raise a child when you ve just discovered that your mother and stepfather have allegedly masterminded a pump-and-dump scheme? She was pretty sure that wasn t covered in “What “”to Expect When You re Expectin”g and she really hoped that Bradford Cohen, the noted criminal defense attorney who famously waived his exemption on “The Apprentice,” would prove them innocent.”This Is Not My Beautiful Life” is the story of how Victoria lost her parents to prison and nearly lost her mind. No one ever said motherhood would be easy, but as she struggles to change diapers, install car seats, and find the right drop-off line at pre-school no easy task, when each one is named for a stage in the lifecycle of a f*cking butterfly she s also forced to ask herself whether a jump-suit might actually complement her mom s platinum-blonde extensions and fend off the cast of shady, stranger-than-fiction characters (like the recovering addict who scored a reality show when he started an escort service for women) who populated her parents world.A real-life “Arrested Development” that could only unfold in southern Florida, “This Is Not My Beautiful Life” is a hilariously funny and unexpectedly moving memoir of a just-functional family you ll never forget.”

Brilliant Book Titles #7

An occasional series of blog posts whenever something takes my fancy.

I love the seemingly innocuous title (that is far from it!).

#brilliantbooktitles

full service

You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Blurb:
Scotty Bowers, a dashing young ex-Marine exuding sex appeal, arrived in Hollywood in 1946 and quickly caught the attention of many of the town’s stars. Working out of a gas station on Hollywood Boulevard, Bowers soon became the go-to guy for anyone looking for a bespoke sexual partner; no matter how outlandish the tastes, Scotty could find someone for everyone…

In his thirty years ‘tricking’ and arranging tricks for LA’s rich and famous, Bowers went to bed with thousands of people and engineered sexual liaisons of all flavours for countless more.

Full Service is the ultimate guilty pleasure, revealing for the first time the shadow lives of the people who created popular culture, told by the man who was so central to fulfilling their desires.

Brilliant Book Titles #3

An occasional series of blog posts whenever something takes my fancy.
I spotted this book on the library shelves today!
#brilliantbooktitles

bambi

You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Blurb:
In BAMBI VS. GODZILLA, David Mamet, the award-winning playwright and screenwriter, gives us an exhilaratingly subversive inside look at Hollywood from the perspective of a film-maker who has always played the game his own way. Who really reads scripts at the film studios? How is a screenplay like a personals ad? Whose opinion matters when revising a screenplay? Why are there so many producers listed in movie credits? And what the hell do those producers do, anyway? Refreshingly unafraid to offend, Mamet provides hilarious, surprising and bracingly forthright answers to these and other questions about virtually every aspect of film-making, from concept to script to screen. Demigods and sacred cows of the movie business — beware! But for the rest of us, Mamet speaking truth to Hollywood makes for searingly enjoyable reading, and will sit alongside classics like ADVENTURES IN THE SCREEN TRADE as essential primers on the movie business.