An enjoyably deep dive into the interaction between cinema and psyche.

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HOW TO WATCH A MOVIE

Celebrated movie critic and film studies teacher Thomson (Moments that Made the Movies, 2013, etc.) implores viewers to scrutinize themselves as closely as what’s playing on the silver screen—or YouTube.

Whether reclining in a darkened movie theater or on your couch at home, there’s a lot more happening on our collective screens than the fantastic images might suggest—and it appears as if the author has considered them all, including the screens themselves. Readers will need to possess a storehouse of cinematic knowledge that stretches all the way back to D.W. Griffith and Fritz Lang to fully appreciate the rich and robust dissertation Thomson undertakes with ease. Those lacking that price of admission should probably slip out and at least prime themselves on Citizen Kane, Personaand Psycho to try and catch up. But once they do, they’ll see that Thomson not only closely mines those legendary films, but also the likes of Pretty WomanHeatand The Godfather as well. The author’s encyclopedic knowledge of cinema history makes for some truly fascinating associations—often in the space of a single poetic phrase. Reams have already been written about Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will (1935), but how many other authors or critics could careen so effortlessly between that infamous work of Nazi propaganda and a Gatorade commercial featuring Yankees great Derek Jeter? Or the heretofore-unknown relationship between Persona and recent DirectTV spots starring actor Rob Lowe? In probing these uncanny parallels, along with other cinematic information, including story, editing, and sound, Thomson assuredly seeks to expose the magician’s many secrets—but only so we can all access a better appreciation of the wonder of film. “If you really want to watch a film,” he writes, “you must be ready to recognize your own life slipping away.”

An enjoyably deep dive into the interaction between cinema and psyche.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-101-87539-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2015

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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