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Leonard Maltin's Movie and Video Guide 2003

Leonard Maltin's 2003 Movie and Video Guide
by Leonard Maltin (Editor)

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Like a movie-land version of our ever-expanding universe, this massive home reference continues its inexorable growth. The latest edition adds 300 recent video, DVD and laserdisc releases to its nearly 19,000 entries on mostly American films. Film critic and historian Maltin presides over a stable of reviewers whose often tart capsule reviews are dedicated to holding the line against ratings inflation in the 21st century, "a time of creative bankruptcy in Hollywood." Beleaguered parents will find helpful warnings about sexual content and violence, and can turn to a list of "100+ Recommended Family Films" to settle video-rental disputes. Entries for multi-film video anthologies, together with filmographies of famous actors and a list of specialty video mail-order companies, will assist those looking to put together their own private film festivals. Movie buffs may occasionally raise their eyebrows at Maltin's assessments (Boys Don't Cry and Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves both get two and a half stars) but his methodology-judging a movie against what it could have been and what it wanted to be-is ultimately an extremely sound one.
-from website

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Roger Ebert Movie Yearbook 2003

Roger Ebert's Movie Yearbook 2003
by Roger Ebert (Author)

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Roger Ebert's movie reviews are extremely popular, and there are valid reasons for this. Ebert writes entertainingly, his movie assessments are generally spot-on, and he's able to explain, concretely and descriptively, the strengths and flaws of the movies he reviews. That said, there are all sorts of reasons to want Ebert's Movie Yearbook 1999. For one, it provides the same kind of wonderful reference service his Video Companion volumes did, only more so, including every review penned (or more likely, keyboarded) by Ebert in 1997 and 1998, about 500 in all, instead of the 150 reviews selected for each Video Companion. The good, the bad, and the indifferent, they're all there, with blockbusters and little-known independents, art films and documentaries, foreign films and Hollywood extravaganzas. It doesn't include a review for every film made since cinematography began, but, for each movie selected, there's a full-length review instead of the mini-reviews seen in more inclusive anthologies. In addition, there's an appendix listing every movie review that ever appeared in an Ebert Video Companion (nearly 2,000 titles in all), with the star rating he assigned at the time, so while you don't get to read the reviews, you do get his valuable conclusions. The Yearbook also includes a summary of the best films of 1997, interviews with a number of movie hot shots (from Jim Carrey and Spike Lee to Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino), essays on David Brinkley, Frank Sinatra, Spielberg at 50, and the Titanic, as well as notes from film festivals in Toronto, Telluride, and Cannes. All this plus a comprehensive, cross-referenced index make the Movie Yearbook a superb cinema resource. Ebert fans already know the pleasures of Ebert's prose, but newcomers to Ebert's style will easily understand why he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his movie critiques.
-from website

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American Film Institute Desk Reference

American Film Institute Desk Reference: The Complete Guide to Everything You Need to Know about the Movies
by Melinda Corey (Editor), George Ochoa, Clint Eastwood (Introduction), Dorling Kindersley Publishing

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Presented by the American Film Institute, the nation's preeminent organization dedicated to advancing and preserving the art of the moving image, the American Film Institute Desk Reference is the most comprehensive reference book on filmmaking ever published. Providing detailed information on the world of film, its history and its personalities, this single volume is loaded with enough facts and trivia to satisfy any movie buff. Highlighting filmmakers and costume designers, financiers and actors, this complete guide is packed with more than 500 photographs and illustrations, a year by year chronology of film, and many special annotated lists, including the AFI's celebrated list of the 100 Best Films of the Past 100 Years.
-from website

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Halliwell 2003 Guide

Halliwell's Film and Video Guide 2003
by Leslie Halliwell (Author)

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For over 20 years, film enthusiasts, trivia buffs, and ordinary movie watchers alike have consulted the pages of Halliwell's Film & Video Guide for the most comprehensive information available on their favorite films -- from the classics of the silver screen to the latest blockbusters. Each of the books over 23,000 entries include information on the film's cast members; writers, directors and producers; a plot synopsis and critical evaluations; videocassette, DVD, and laser disc availibility; quotes from contemporary reviews; and more. Halliwell's also features easy-to-interpret icons denoting film suitable for family viewing, winners of Academy Awards and nominations, sountrack availability, computer-colorized versions, and video format compatibility. Additionally, reader's will find lists of four-star and three-star films arranged by title and by year of release, and a list of all the Oscar winners for best picture and director, best actor and actress, best supporting actor and actress, and best original screen play and adapted screenplay.
-from website

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New Biographical Dictionary of Film

The New Biographical Dictionary of Film
by David Thomson

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When this book was first published in 1975, it ignited arguments among many film buffs who disagreed with London-born critic Thomson's strongly opinionated summations. This latest upgrade which includes 300 new entries promises to do the same. Thomson retitled it, he says, "because so much is fresh and different." Now that the reference includes talents who've shot to fame during the past decade or so, including Renee Zellweger ("great range") and Ben Affleck ("boring, complacent and criminally lucky to have got away with everything so far"), it is truly massive, running the gamut from Abbott and Costello, who achieve the "lyrical, hysterical and mythic," to Ghost World's Terry Zwigoff, "a rare, individual voice". A critical minimalist, Thomson often nails the essence of a personality or career in less than a dozen words, such as Johnny Weissmuller: "No subsequent Tarzan ever matched him the loincloth was retired." He deftly distills entire movies down to single sentences, with Internet-like linkages. Since his Haley Joel Osment profile sneaks in a critique of Spielberg's A.I. ("Osment was uncannily good as the robot/puppet coming to life, but ultimately betrayed by the inability of his director to keep control of the very ambitious material"), the hypnotized reader feels compelled to seek his lengthier comments on Spielberg: "Schindler's List is the most moving film I have ever seen." After the publication of a 1994 edition, the Internet Movie Database became one of the book's major competitors, linking nearly a half million performers with over 260,000 titles, but one still turns to Thomson for witty writing and potent, razor-sharp insights. With an immense passion for pictures, he plunges past the IMDb into the very soul of film. Agent, Laura Morris. (Oct. 11) Forecast: Older readers will want to replace their earlier edition with this one, while an author tour, radio giveaways and advertising in the New York Times Book Review and Film Comment will attract a new generation.
-from website

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