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Books that celebrate movies suffer from a built-in insecurity complex. They don't move, for one thing. They merely refer to movement. Come, gaze upon manifold magic moments of cinema! Their glossy pages proclaim, but a whisper in the background insistently asks, What are you doing here? The multiplex is that way.
None of which has stopped anyone from buying books that suggest the best films to rent, that spill off-the-set dirt, that sternly deconstruct the feminist underpinnings of postwar monster flicks, or that simply mix a lot of pretty photos with a little text and exist primarily for the placement beneath them of coffee tables. We welcome them all because they're fun, and because sometimes a hardbound overview can draw connections between those two-hour waking dreams, each one as different from the others as a cat from a battleship.
Movies of the 90s covers everything from ''All About My Mother'' to ''You've Got Mail'' but ends up offering much more cohesive insights, if only because editor Jürgen Müller and his writers have focused on a specific slice in time and then laid out key films of the decadeâ??commercial and artisticâ??in year-by-year fashion. This supports the introduction, which, in its droll, stiltedly translated auf-deutsch fashion, correctly identifies sped-up pacing, ironic quotation, and nonlinear narrative as the hallmarks of '90s cinema (with ''Pulp Fiction'' thereby the Rosetta stone of the entire decade). You see those qualities develop and take root as the pages turn and the films pass byâ??when you're not sucked in by the photos.
TASCHEN GOES TO HOLLYWOOD, HONG KONG, CINÃ?CITTÃ?, BABELSBERG & BOLLYWOOD TO DEFINE A TRANSITIONAL DECADE IN FILM MOVIES OF THE 90s opens with comments on the phenomenal technical leaps taken by moviemakers in the 90s, and the innovative way this new technology was applied to every aspect of the cinematic art. It also explores filmmakerâ??s allusions to earlier classic films; the use and effect of video on filmmaking, and the trend toward deconstruction of the traditional linear narrative.
The meat of the book is devoted to an in-depth look at nearly 150 films, American, European and Asian, broken down year by year. First the facts: date, country, running time, genre, director, film credits, cast, and Academy and film festival awards. Then, a summary of the film, facts about the making of the film, comments on the budget and box office, quotes from the film and from critical reviews, and most importantly, numerous photos and film stills from each movie, with annotated captions. Liberally featured throughout are boxed items of interest: technical film terms, notes about the directorâ??s influences, film-set gossip, and other irresistible trivia. The book closes with easy-to-use indexes of Academy Awards for each year, films by title, names, production companies and a glossary of film terms.
What sets MOVIES OF THE 90s apart from other traditional film guides is its liberal use of visual material from the films. It adds immeasurably to the readerâ??s recall and appreciation of each film featured and makes it a fun read as well as a highly informative one. MOVIES OF THE 90s is a must for the film loverâ??s bookshelf.
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