The Meg (2018)

I probably don’t need to, but I feel a little sorry for Steve Alten. Here he spends, what, two decades trying to get his giant-prehistoric-shark novel Meg made into a movie, comes close a few times, and then it finally happens, and it turns out to be The Meg, a film that dilutes the novel's … Continue reading The Meg (2018)

The Making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, J.W. Rinzler (Del Rey)

For Star Wars fans looking for a way to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the release of The Empire Strikes Back, this book will seem heaven sent. Rinzler follows up his magnificent The Making of Star Wars (2007) with this in-depth account of the production of the second act in George Lucas’ original three-act epic. The author distills information … Continue reading The Making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, J.W. Rinzler (Del Rey)

Winnipeg Free Press column, March 3, 2018

  If you’re a fan of the 1942 film Casablanca — and, really, how could you not be? — then you will absolutely want to read Noah Isenberg’s splendid We’ll Always Have Casablanca (Norton, 336 pages, $24). The author traces the film’s history from its origin as an unsold play about the threat of German anti-Semitism, through its production … Continue reading Winnipeg Free Press column, March 3, 2018

Jigsaw, written by Josh Stolberg and Peter Goldfinger, directed by the Spierig Brothers

Between 2004 and 2010 there were seven films in the Saw series. Like most film series, there was a sort of diminishing-returns thing going on: the movies grew increasingly complex – they played some really cool games with chronology – but the scripts and performances grew increasingly thin. The series wrapped up (or so we … Continue reading Jigsaw, written by Josh Stolberg and Peter Goldfinger, directed by the Spierig Brothers

Inside The Wicker Man: How Not to Make a Cult Classic, Allan Brown (Birlinn)

This updating of the hard-to-find 2000 edition of this volume will be a must-read for fans of The Wicker Man, the 1973 British thriller that has achieved cult status. Brown, a Scottish newspaper writer who is also clearly an ardent fan of the movie, chronicles its production—it was filmed entirely on location in Scotland, in frequently … Continue reading Inside The Wicker Man: How Not to Make a Cult Classic, Allan Brown (Birlinn)

A Thousand Cuts: The Bizarre Underground World of Collectors and Dealers Who Saved the Movies, Dennis Bartok, Dennis and Jeff Joseph (University of Mississippi)

Did you know that, if it weren’t for a film historian’s inability to procure a copy of a classic Cary Grant movie, we might never have had to endure the execrable 1973 musical version of Lost Horizon? If you didn’t know that, this book will be a real eye-opener, but even if you did, you’ll probably … Continue reading A Thousand Cuts: The Bizarre Underground World of Collectors and Dealers Who Saved the Movies, Dennis Bartok, Dennis and Jeff Joseph (University of Mississippi)

Infamous Players: A Tale of Movies, the Mob (and Sex), Peter Bart (Weinstein Books)

  In 1967, Bart, a newspaper reporter covering the Hollywood beat, joined the struggling Paramount Pictures as the right-hand man to the studio’s new chief of production, the as-yet-untested Robert Evans. For the next eight years, as Hollywood underwent some seismic shifts (moviemaking itself was in the midst of massive stylistic and thematic changes), Bart … Continue reading Infamous Players: A Tale of Movies, the Mob (and Sex), Peter Bart (Weinstein Books)