Reviews for Moments That Made the Movies


Booklist Reviews 2013 October #1
Our memories of movies tend to be dreamlike impressions. Often they involve "the look, the pace, the movement, the texture, the context," a scene, or an image of a film. Film critic Thomson (The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, 2003) presents us with his selection of idiosyncratic moments, chronologically arranged, that are guaranteed to pique our interest and prompt us to revisit films or add others to our movie queue. Thomson, sensitive to film's innate eroticism, begins in 1887 with Eadweard Muybridge's One Woman Standing, Another Sitting and Crossing Legs, less film than experiment, featuring the titular women in the nude, before moving on to more contemporary films, such as Sunrise, Pandora's Box, and the famous lovemaking scene in Don't Look Now. Moments with Jack Nicholson are featured five times, with four films by Hitchcock, three by Antonioni, and two starring Meg Ryan (really). Thomson is authoritative, yet personal, and includes anecdotes, little-known facts, juicy gossip, and a number of surprise selections (see Ryan, above), especially from the past 20 years. Accompanied by wonderfully evocative stills, this eminently browsable book is certain to delight film lovers. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

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Library Journal Reviews 2014 January #1

Film critic Thomson (The New Republic; The Biographical Dictionary of Film; Showman: The Life of David O. Selznick) has taken more than 70 films and captured the exact scene (with text and illustrations) that he felt made the movie. The examples are listed in chronological order, from 1887 to a still photo taken in 2011. They encompass such classics as Gone with the Wind, Casablanca, Sunset Boulevard, A Star Is Born, Psycho, The Godfather, Chinatown, Taxi Driver, The Right Stuff, and When Harry Met Sally. There are also interesting choices such as M, Tokyo Story, Blow-Up, The Conformist, The Shining, Heat, and Zodiac. It is fascinating to read why such moments as the airplane scene in North by Northwest, the initiation of Michael Corleone into the family business in The Godfather, the noir mood of the pool scene in Sunset Boulevard, the café scene in Bonnie and Clyde, and the Robert De Niro/Al Pacino meet up in Heat--and many others--are important in the history of film. VERDICT Highly recommended for readers who enjoy motion picture history, cinematography, and movie plots and themes.--Sally Bryant, Pepperdine Univ. Lib., Malibu, CA

[Page 115]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 November #1

When we think about the movies we love or even the ones we hate, specific moments come to mind. Whether we recall a scene or an image or certain dialogue, these moments define the film in our recollection. Prolific film-critic Thomson's (The Big Screen: The Story of the Movies) new art-sized book examines these "sensational" moments from more than 70 films in this film-lover's treasure. Organized chronologically Thomson begins in the year 1887 Eadweard Muybridge's Animal Location and spans all the way to 2008 with the Coen brothers' Burn After Reading. The selection largely encompasses American classics--Preston Sturges's The Lady Eve, Billy Wilder's Sunset Blvd--and a smattering of foreign films directed by the likes of Kenji Mizoguchi, Jean-Luc Godard, and Michelangelo Antonioni. He'll occasionally include less known films such as Danny De Vito's Hoffa or Jane Campion's No False Glamour. The "knock-out" set-pieces often lean towards the violent or erotically charged, but all include multiple images, sometimes full-page spreads. Thomson warns in his introduction that readers shouldn't interpret the chosen moments as "the ‘best' moments" or his "personal favorites," though recent history definitely gets downplayed: 1959, for example, gets three entries, while there are none from 1996 to 2000. The book's effect is undeniable, as the reader feels determined to hit the nearest theater. Agent: Steve Wasserman, Kneerim & Williams. (Oct.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

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Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews

When we think about the movies we love or even the ones we hate, specific moments come to mind. Whether we recall a scene or an image or certain dialogue, these moments define the film in our recollection. Prolific film-critic Thomson's (The Big Screen: The Story of the Movies) new art-sized book examines these "sensational" moments from more than 70 films in this film-lover's treasure. Organized chronologically Thomson begins in the year 1887 Eadweard Muybridge's Animal Location and spans all the way to 2008 with the Coen brothers' Burn After Reading. The selection largely encompasses American classics--Preston Sturges's The Lady Eve, Billy Wilder's Sunset Blvd--and a smattering of foreign films directed by the likes of Kenji Mizoguchi, Jean-Luc Godard, and Michelangelo Antonioni. He'll occasionally include less known films such as Danny De Vito's Hoffa or Jane Campion's No False Glamour. The "knock-out" set-pieces often lean towards the violent or erotically charged, but all include multiple images, sometimes full-page spreads. Thomson warns in his introduction that readers shouldn't interpret the chosen moments as "the ‘best' moments" or his "personal favorites," though recent history definitely gets downplayed: 1959, for example, gets three entries, while there are none from 1996 to 2000. The book's effect is undeniable, as the reader feels determined to hit the nearest theater. Agent: Steve Wasserman, Kneerim & Williams. (Oct.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

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