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Film Criticism

See Also: Film > Criticism, Theory & History and Television > Criticism, Theory & History

Ghosts in the Machine: The Dark Heart of Pop Cinema
by Michael Atkinson
Argues that "movies cannot help but display the subconscious impulses of their society." Movies, the modern equivalent of folktales, give the audience welcome opportunities to take their suppressed anger, fears and anxieties out for "a wee stretch of the legs." We the audience are the ghosts that haunt the movie machine. (1999). Softcover. $24.95.

Shakespeare the Movie:
Popularizing the Plays on Film, TV, and Video

Edited by Lynda E. Boose & Richard Burt
Addressing the interplay between the discourses of Shakespeare criticism. film studies, performance studies and cultural studies, the essays in this volume open up a range of questions about spectatorship, originals and adaptations, and the appropriations of popular culture. (1997). Softcover. $37.99.

Alien Identities: Exploring Differences in Film and Fiction
Edited by Deborah Cartmell, I.Q. Hunter, Heidi Kaye & Imelda Whelehan
Considers the alien in the context of race, sex, nationality, ethnic minorities, epidemic diseases and the Third World and assesses what such images reveal about our humanity. A wide range of texts are discussed, from historical narratives to gothic horror and from science fact to science fiction. (1999). Softcover. $25.95.

The Cinematic City
Edited by David B. Clarke
Offers a wealth of insights into the cityscape, screenscape and the interconnections between the two. Illustrated throughout with movie stills, a diverse selection of films, genres, cities and historical periods are examined by leading names in the field. (1997). Softcover. $37.99.

A Short Guide to Writing About Film, Third Edition
by Timothy Corrigan
a comprehensive text for instructors who are committed to teaching writing in their film courses. It is designed to show students not only how to think about film, but also how to organize that thinking into well-formulated and focused essays. The new edition includes a shot-by-shot analysis of a sequence from Potemkin, suggestions on using the Internet, sample student writing, and added material on style. Softcover. (1998). $26.95.

Slaves on Screen: Film and Historical Vision
by Natalie Zemon Davis
The author assesses historical films that portray resistance to slavery, such as Kubrick's Spartacus, Spielberg's Amistad, and Demme's Beloved, examining the importance of family continuity in their representations. (2000). Softcover. $17.95.

Disaster and Memory:
Celebrity Culture and the Crises of Hollywood Cinema

by Wheeler Winston Dixon
Using the media's coverage of the death of Princess Diana as a departure point, the author draws on the effects of new technologies, the role of the "star" system, the nature of public surveillance, and the development of media conglomerates to explain why Hollywood has become so repetitive. (1999). Softcover. $26.95.

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Cinema Futures: Cain, Abel or Cable?
The Screen Arts in the Digital Age

Edited by Thomas Elsaesser & Kay Hoffmann
In the late 1960s, the cinema was pronounced dead, killed by television. Some thirty years later, the popularity of cinema suggests a reversal of roles. Examining the complex dynamics of convergence and divergence among the audio-visual media, the authors are realistic in their estimate of the future of cinema's aesthetic identity. (1998). Softcover. $39.95.

Screen Violence
Edited by Karl French
Contributions include Martin Amis on Michael Medved and "Chucky"; John Waters on "Why I love violence"; John Grisham on suing Oliver Stone; Oliver Stone on his defence; Camille Paglia on sexual violence; and Pauline Kael on Clint and his Magnum etc. (1996). Softcover. $19.95.

Understanding Movies, Canadian Edition
by Louis Giannetti & Jim Leach
Intended for use in Canada in introductory film course that, while dealing with the basic issues of film language and film criticism, include sections on Canadian cinema and pay some attention to the Canadian context. The overall goal of the textbook is not to teach students to change their viewing habits, but to make them more aware of the reasons why people respond to movies as they do. (1998). Softcover. $70.95.

Reel to Real: Race, Sex and Class at the Movies
by bell hooks
The author talks back to films she has watched as a way to engage the pedagogy of cinema -- how film teaches its audience. She comes to film not as a film critic but as a cultural critic, fascinated by the issues movies raise in their depiction of race, sex and class. The book brings together her classic essays on Paris is Burning and She's Gotta Have It, and her new work on Girl 6, Pulp Fiction and Waiting to Exhale. (1996). Softcover. $29.99.

Celluloid Indians: Native Americans and Film
by Jacquelyn Kilpatrick
An overview of Native American representation in film over the past century. Beginning with the beginning of the movies industry, the author traces changes in the cinematic depictions of Native peoples and identifies cultural and historical reasons for those changes. Kilpatrick places appropriate emphasis on the impact Native American screenwriters and filmmakers have had on the industry. Softcover. (1999). $31.95.

Living Room Lectures: The Fifties Family in Film and Television
by Nina C. Leibman
The 1950s television family has achieved near mythological status as a model of what real families "ought" to be. Yet feature films of the period often portrayed families in trouble, with parents and children in conflict over appropriate values and behaviours. Leibman compares the two mediums, and finds surprising commonalities in their representations. (1995). Softcover. $28.50.

The Road to Romance and Ruin: Teen Films and Youth Culture
by Jon Lewis
Looks at teen films as a rare medium able to represent the otherwise chaotic and conflicting experience of youth. Lewis focuses on six major issues: Alienation, Deviance and Delinquency, Sex and Gender, the Politics of Consumption, Rebellion, and Regression into Nostalgia. Despite the many differences within the genre, the author sees all teen films as focused on a single social concern: the breakdown of traditional forms of authority -- school, church, family. (1992). Softcover. $24.95.

How to Read a Film: Movies, Media, Multimedia, Third Edition
by James Monaco
Looking at film from many vantage points, this book explores the medium as both art and craft, sensibility and science, tradition and technology. After examining film's close relation to such other narrative media as the novel, painting, photography, television, and even music, Monaco discusses those elements necessary to understand how films convey meaning, and how we can best discern all that a film is attempting to communicate. A new chapter on multimedia brings media criticism into the 21st century with a through discussion of topics like virtual reality, cyberspace, and the proximity of both to film. Softcover. (2000). $43.95.

Popular Music on Screen:
From the Hollywood Musical to Music Video

by John Mundy
Through detailed examination of films, television programs and popular music, together with analysis of the economic, technological and cultural determinants which have an impact upon their production and consumption, the book argues that popular music has been increasingly influenced by its visual economy. (1999). Softcover. $28.95.

More Than Night: Film Noir in its Contexts
by James Naremore
The author discusses film noir as a term in criticism; as an expression of artistic modernism; as a symptom of Hollywood censorship and politics in the 1940s; as a marketing strategy; as an evolving style; as a cinema about races and nationalities; and as an idea that circulates throughout all the information technologies. (1998). Softcover. $31.95.

Fatal Attractions:
Rescripting Romance in Contemporary Literature in Film

Edited by Lynne Pearce & Gina Wisker
Considers the fate of romance in the wake of postmodernism and postcolonialism and offers clear evidence of romance as a "category under stress". Viewing romance in the context of queer theory and AIDS, and challenging many popular psychoanalytic concepts such as "abjection", this collection makes a significant contribution to feminist and gay/lesbian discussion on the politics of romantic love. (1998). Softcover. $32.95.

Recreational Terror:
Women and the Pleasures of Horror Film Viewing

by Isabel Cristina Pineda
The author challenges the conventional wisdom that violent horror films can only degrade women and incite violence, and instead contends that the contemporary horror film speaks to the cultural need to express rage and terror in the midst of social upheaval. Her range of topics include slasher films, race horror, and the cultural politics of the postmodern horror film. (1997). Softcover. $23.95.

Identifying Hollywood's Audiences: Cultural Identity and the Movies
Edited by Melvun Stokes & Richard Maltby
Examines the methods the American motion picture industry has used to identify and understand its audiences from the 1920s to the 1990s; the ways in which this understanding has shaped production, and the responses made by audiences to particular varieties of film-going experience. The book also examines how such groups as adolescent males and female horror movie fans use film-viewing to display and establish their cultural competence and subcultural identities. (1999). Softcover. $44.95.

Film as Social Practice, Third Edition
by Graeme Turner
A classic student textbook that explores the feature film as entertainment, as narrative, and as a cultural event. Turner discusses the major theoretical issues surrounding the history of film production and film studies, using them to examine the cultural function of film and its place in our popular culture. Softcover. (1999). $28.99.

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