A cheerful, functional reference work that will appeal to film and television fans.

A GUIDE TO STREAMING GREAT FILMS

Kanbar (The Tragedy of Moses, 2016, etc.), a film-industry consultant, offers a short guide to the ever expanding world of online streaming.

Streaming platforms have transformed the way that people watch movies, causing theater attendance to dip, ticket prices to rise, and Hollywood to generally panic, according to the author. The upside? It’s never been easier to watch movies from the comfort of one’s own home. For cinephiles who want to take advantage of the new abundance but don’t know where to start, Kanbar offers this slim book on all things streaming. He begins with a comprehensive breakdown of the necessary hardware—televisions, sound bars, media streamers, routers, and modems—complete with rundowns of options in each category and recommendations of the best products. The author also introduces the various streaming—aka video on demand—formats. These include transactional (specifically, rental) VOD, such as iTunes, Fandango Now, or Redbox On Demand; subscription services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, and HBO Now; and advertising-supported VOD, such as Crackle, Roku Channel, and, in part, Vudu. Kanbar makes special mention of services catering to specific genre tastes, providing lists of those that stream public-domain films, documentaries, classics, horror, noir, and Bollywood movies. There are helpful hints, including tech troubleshooting tips (“An Ethernet connector will often produce better results than a wireless connector”) and a glossary of streaming-specific terms: “HFR (high frame rate). Refers to a frame rate higher than the usual 24-frames-per-second rate, resulting in a smoother playback.” It’s all accompanied by numerous interstitial photographs from classic Hollywood movies. Kanbar’s guide is compact and practical, fitting a large amount of information into just over 100 pages. The prose often takes the form of lists or boilerplate descriptions, but it occasionally gets across the warmth of the author’s personality, as when he describes public-domain films: “Most were released prior to 1960 and some may even go back to the days before sound. But they are free, so what the heck!” There’s also a list of Kanbar’s personal streaming-series recommendations, including Netflix’s Ozark and HBO’s The Night Of. The book appears to be aimed at older readers, who may be just taking their first steps into the world of streaming, but there’s relevant information here for viewers at every experience level. In addition to explaining the basics of how streaming works, the author goes far beyond the obvious options of Netflix and Amazon Prime, alerting readers to boutique services, such as BritBox (which focuses on TV shows of the United Kingdom) or Uncle Earl’s Classic Television (for public-domain films). The book is specific to 2019, and some of the details regarding subscription rates and streaming technology will no doubt continue to change as time goes by; hopefully, the author will provide updated editions in the future. With so much available out there to watch, any bit of direction is welcome, and Kanbar is thankfully willing to be an enthusiastic tour guide.

A cheerful, functional reference work that will appeal to film and television fans.

Pub Date: Dec. 29, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-578-41933-6

Page Count: 108

Publisher: ELBAR Associates, LLC

Review Posted Online: April 21, 2019

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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