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Written by David Kilmer

August 10, 2017 at 3:50 pm

Posted in Books

BUY THIS BOOK! THE CINEMA OF WONG KAR WAI

Cinema of Wong Kar Wai (Large)

I’m not going to spoil this book by posting any of its many, splendid pictures or attempting to describe what you’ll find inside.

All I should need to say is this:

If you’re a film fan, you need this book. You need THE CINEMA OF WONG KAR WAI by Wong Kar Wai and John Powers. Just buy it!

However, for those who need a bit more, I’ll say this:

Cinephiles often dream of a book by their favorite filmmakers in which the filmmakers do not shy away from any subject. In this dream book, the filmmakers talk freely, about the meaning of their films, how they did certain tricks, and even their personal lives.

THE CINEMA OF WONG KAR WAI is that book.

In it Wong talks personal, he talks meaning, he talks shop. Wong himself says he has not previously been willing to talk about most of the things in this book. Why the change? If you take the journey with Wong and John Powers from cover to cover, something I recommend, you will come to an end where Wong explains why he decided to open up and you will be moved.

To say more will spoil the book. Even to flip through the pages will spoil it. So save up your pennies (it ain’t cheap), buy it, tear off the cellophane, open the book to page one, and start your journey with Wong Kar Wai and John Powers. You won’t be disappointed.

9/10 stars (At least one star off for numerous typos. I counted four typos in Young Orson by Peter McGilligan (yes, I’m one of those people), but four was enough to drive me nuts. I don’t know if there’s even a word to describe what all the typos in the Wong book did to me.)

FYI: I paid for my copy. It was NOT a free review copy.

EXTRA: When a book is as expensive as the Wong Kar Wai book, why not treat it nice? First, if it has a dust jacket, Brodart it, that is, put a plastic cover on the dj. Second, to avoid bending, or even cracking, the book’s spine, do this:

HowToOpenABook2

Finally, I recommend putting the book in a plastic bag. Books hate dust, but plastic will keep them safe.

Maybe you think plastic bags are a bit much. Maybe you think it’s all a bit much. But do you really want your beautiful copy of The Cinema of Wong Kar Wai to end up like this?

MildewBook2

If you say, “Yes!,” please don’t try to borrow my copy. I won’t answer the door when you knock and I’ll hide in the dark until you go away.

 

Written by David Kilmer

May 20, 2016 at 2:41 pm

Patrick Brion’s Le Cinéma Fantastique

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LE CINÉMA FANTASTIQUE by Patrick Brion, Martinière (Editions de La), 1996.  Condition: Good.

The subtitle translates as “the great American classics from The Lost World to 2001: A Space Odyssey.” This is a French book, but with lots of very nice, large images, some examples of which are below. It covers the classics of Hollywood cinema from the genre the French call the fantastique, which includes horror and science fiction. Currently, the cheapest price you will find on the net is US$134, as offered by a dealer in Germany.

UPDATE: Sold.

LE CINÉMA FANTASTIQUE by Patrick Brion, front cover
LE CINÉMA FANTASTIQUE by Patrick Brion, back cover
LE CINÉMA FANTASTIQUE by Patrick Brion, from entry on The Day the Earth Stood Still
LE CINÉMA FANTASTIQUE by Patrick Brion, from entry on The Portrait of Dorian Gray
LE CINÉMA FANTASTIQUE by Patrick Brion, from entry on Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde

This book is not in mint condition. During shipment from the original seller, the book was slightly damaged around the corners and the binding is slightly cracked at one point as seen in these pictures:

LE CINÉMA FANTASTIQUE by Patrick Brion, cover damage
LE CINÉMA FANTASTIQUE by Patrick Brion, cover damage
LE CINÉMA FANTASTIQUE by Patrick Brion, binding slightly cracked on this page

Written by David Kilmer

January 26, 2012 at 1:17 pm

What Does It Mean to Say a Film Is Good?

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THOUGHTS ON JUDGMENT

1. Is culture merely an attempt to keep us from thinking about our death? That’s the thesis of The Denial of Death, the book that Woody Allen is a big fan of in Manhattan. Here’s Wikipedia’s summary of the book’s hypothesis: “The basic premise of The Denial of Death is that human civilization is ultimately an elaborate, symbolic defense mechanism against the knowledge of our mortality, which in turn acts as the emotional and intellectual response to our basic survival mechanism.” Think about it. Aren’t most pop stories, whether told in film, video games, TV, music, about a hero’s fight to survive and overcome forces that want the hero dead? The hero almost always triumphs over death. If there is a death in the story, we only know it because we ourselves have survived to hear it. We survive, they don’t. Stories rarely leave us dwelling on the question of our mortality, wondering what it’s all about. Death in pop stories is usually something that happens to other people.

2. One of the most common things we say about a work of art is something like this: “Boy, is that good,” or conversely, “I can’t believe how bad it is.” Does anyone really know what “good” or “bad” in this context really means? Excellent! Awesome! First-rate! Superlative! etc. What the hell do any of these words really mean?  We all know, right? We use them all the time. No one ever asks us, “Good? What does that mean?” Or, if someone did ask, unpleasant thoughts about the person would start swirling about in our heads. Or are we just pretending that we know what they mean? Perhaps this is why we also hear this so often: “I can’t believe you thought that X was good! Your taste is terrible!” Obviously, what Person X’s “good”  is not necessarily Person Y’s “good.”

3. Therefore, my proposition is this: Let’s define “good” to mean a work of art, that is, a film, a book, a song, that keeps us from thinking about our death. So, when I say, “That film was excellent,” what I really mean is that while watching it the thought of my mortality did not cross my mind once. Now, no one will need to pretend that the word “good” means the same to everyone because it really will mean the same to everyone. Four stars? Thumbs up? Gotcha! I know exactly what you mean!

4. Of course, there are some who will differentiate between entertainment, which they will agree aims to deny death, and art, which they say falls under a different set of rules. However, there are far more people who do not make this distinction, and boxoffice results, for example, reflect this group’s evenhanded approach to movies. It would appear that my proposal has, in fact, already been adopted by the majority.

Written by David Kilmer

November 29, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Counterpoint Records & Books in Beginners

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Counterpoint Records & Books in Beginners

Since I have not seen Beginners (directed by Mike Mills, it tied with The Tree of Life for Best Feature at the Gotham Independent Film Awards this year), I did not know that it was filmed in Los Angeles. In fact, somehow I had formed the crazy idea that it was set in England. (Apparently, the reviews I had seen failed to mention its setting.) So I was a bit surprised by the photo above which shows Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor being very happy loading up with books at Counterpoint Records & Books in Los Feliz, part of Los Angeles.

The photo shows the back wall of the store, and my favorite section, where the film books reside, is just starting to sneak in on the right.

It’s no surprise that the Beginners crew used it in their film because Counterpoint’s an essential stop if you like browsing bookstores with character. Just like its name suggests, you’ll mostly find second-hand books and vinyl records, but there are also some DVD’s and CD’s lying around. Prices, for the most part, are very reasonable, but parking, can be a pain in the ass. Even though the problem of parking is legendary in Los Angeles, it’s especially true for this store. (I say this knowing that someone invariably will say they have no problems whatsoever parking in the area.)

Counterpoint Records & Books, 5911 Franklin Ave.

Written by David Kilmer

November 29, 2011 at 10:29 am

Stanley Kubrick Exhibit Coming to Los Angeles

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The current issue of Cinema Retro (Vol. 7: Issue #21) includes some news of interest to fans of Stanley Kubrick. At the end of the article by Raymond Benson about A Clockwork Orange, which begins on page 12, there are these news tidbits:

1. Jan Harlan (brother-in-law and assistant to Kubrick): “I am currently working with the publishers Taschen on further projects.” He provides no further information.

2. The Stanley Kubrick exhibition, which was a big success at the Cinémathèque Française in Paris earlier this year, will come to Los Angeles–its first appearance in the U.S.–in 2012. More information about the Paris exhibit can be found here and here, and you can view a short video of it here. Further research reveals that the exhibit is going to be at LACMA next Fall, but an official announcement from the museum apparently has yet to be made. Apparently, the Tim Burton exhibit at MOMA was the museum’s most popular exhibit ever. I doubt  the Kubrick exhibit will challenge Burton’s popularity, but I do expect that it will be more interesting. In any case, hopefully these exhibits are a sign of things to come, that is, more film related exhibitions at  our museums. Film is, after all, the seventh art.

3. Harlan was also asked about the the newly discovered footage that Kubrick cut from 2001 shortly after its premiere. He said that he had not yet seen it. Is it too much of a pipedream to hope that this footage finds its way into the LACMA exhibit?

UPDATE: 3/22/12

The exhibit opens October 28, 2012.

Written by David Kilmer

November 11, 2011 at 11:20 am

The Cartoon Collector’s Companion

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My book, The Animated Film Collector’s Companion, was published in 1997. However, its followup, the completely revised, new and improved version which I wanted to call The Cartoon Collector’s Companion, although ready for publication in 1999, was never published.

Now you can view the complete book here. And it’s free!

You may be wondering: What the devil is The Cartoon Collector’s Companion? It’s a self help guide for the animation collector. It will help you find the cartoon you have spent years searching for because you did not know that it was included in an oddly named compilation. Most of the book’s listings are for companies based in the United States, but there are plenty of listings for cartoons released outside of the US. It’s obviously not up-to-date, but it’s still useful, especially for tracking down shorts that were released on VHS or LD, but never on DVD or Blu-Ray. (It’s unfortunate that there are so many films that fall into this category and will probably continue to fall into this category long after streaming has made DVD obsolete.) Also, don’t forget that even when a short can be easily found on YouTube,  you may want a better looking copy. This is the book that will help you find one.

Does the book include DVDs? Yes and no. While there are listings of  DVD titles from the earliest DVD years, you will find mostly information about VHS tapes and laserdiscs. There are also some additional features, but you will have to check the book out to find out what they are.

Written by David Kilmer

October 3, 2011 at 12:00 am