The Movie Book (2016) – Danny Leigh, Louis Baxter, John Farndon, Kieran Grant and Damon Wise

I always love to take a look at movie books and see what films made the lists contained within. Then I’ll spend an inordinate amount of time ruminating why others were left out. They also tend to add a pile of movies to my viewing queue, and as I’m coming up on the end of my time with the Sci-Fi Chronicles, DK Canada’s The Movie Book was a welcome arrival to my book shelf.

The book encapsulates cinema from its creation to 2016. There are tons titles I’ve seen, just as many that I haven’t, and it’s going to be fun exploring them.

The book is filled with film quotes, timelines, glossy pictures, and an in-depth explanation of the main films discussed (and there are plenty of them).  Themes are explored as well as the way they were crafted, and the creative forces behind them. The book eschews pretension, and explains everything in a common sense kind of way. Whether your passion for cinema is new, or if it has something you have long fostered, I think that there is something in this book for everyone.

The highlighted titles are put in historical context, letting you know what came before and after, while the timelines explore the decades illustrating how films influenced one another, or showing how cinema and storytelling differed globally. I think this was my favourite part of the book, watching how all the pieces fit together.

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So often it’s simply easy to judge a movie on what it is, but this book helps you keep it in line with the time that it was first released, to understand why it is and was important, and how it reflects the era it arose from.

As I worked my way through the pages, I delighted each time a title I wasn’t familiar with or one I loved popped up. I would then devour the information about them, whether I knew it or not, smiling at the recall of memory the film quotes gave me. I loved the actor and director profiles and highlights of their work (which will lead to even more film viewing), the small reviews, and the thoughts of the creative forces behind them.

Solid and informative, the book shares its love of film contagiously, bringing some of the best of world cinema to their pages. I will say the book lacked any real horror films, though there are a few Japanese films mentioned, but none of the North American classics (Jaws is not a horror film, it has always been an adventure film to me). Of course, for that I couldn’t help but recommend DK Canada’s Monsters in the Movies by John Landis.

Like every DK book I’ve read, this book is beautiful, and is as informative as it is fun. It simply revels in its subject matter. This is the perfect book for the neophyte cinephile, or the jaded film critic. Filled with titles you know and love, and some that you’ve never seen, this book is bound to help create discussions about all of them.

Grab the book, pick a movie, and enjoy.

The Movie Book is available now from DK Canada.

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