Book Review: ‘Opening Wednesday at a Theater or Drive-In Near You: The Shadow Cinema of the American ’70s’ by Charles Taylor

What I love about books like this, is that it doesn’t matter how far I’ve gone down the rabbit hole of film history, I always learn about something new that I’ve never seen or heard of. This solid book about ’70s non-mainstream cinema provided me with a lot of cool motion pictures worth checking out.

Additionally, this was well written and not a single page was wasted.

Charles Taylor has a real passion for this stuff and it shows. He delves deep into all the movies he chose to talk about and gives the story behind their creation a lot of depth and context.

The end result is that he sells these pictures to you and makes you want to see them. That is, assuming you’re into these types of films but if you’ve gone out and bought this book, why wouldn’t you be?

Point being, Taylor really did his homework and he accomplished what he set out to do with this book, which is to get those reading it to have a passion for checking out these movies.

This was a really cool read and I’m glad that I checked it out. I kind of hope there is a second volume, at some point, as there are so many worthwhile films from this era that need a broader spotlight and should be on other film lovers’ radar.

Rating: 8/10
Pairs well with: any of Joe Bob Briggs’ books about movies, as well as Celluloid Mavericks and Sleazoid Express.

Book Review: ‘Ebert’s Essentials: 27 Movies From the Dark Side’ by Roger Ebert

It’s been awhile since I’ve read anything by Roger Ebert but growing up in the ’80s, he was my favorite critic, right alongside Gene Siskel, who co-hosted Siskel & Ebert with him.

I recently bought an Amazon Fire Tablet, so while I was perusing the books they have on movies, I came across this title, which is Ebert discussing 27 of his favorite noir pictures, whether they be classic film-noir, more modern neo-noir or other pictures that were strongly influenced by the noir style.

Ultimately, this was a heck of a fun read. I love Ebert’s way with words and how he is able to describe a film, as well as the ins and outs of its development and overall execution.

Ebert loved movies and its incredibly apparent when reading books like this, which focuses on a specific style of film and its cultural impact on the film medium as a whole. But his passion really comes through and he’s a fabulous guide.

With this book, he goes through each of the 27 films featured with a fine tooth comb. He also presented me with several I didn’t know about or hadn’t seen, especially in regards to his foreign film selections that fit the noir template.

Film-noiristas should really dig this book, as should fans of Roger Ebert.

Rating: 7.5/10
Pairs well with: any of Roger Ebert’s other books, especially his Essentials series.

Documentary Review: The Madness of Max (2015)

Release Date: August 1st, 2015
Directed by: Gary McFeat, Tim Ridge
Written by: Gary McFeat, Tim Ridge
Music by: Gary McFeat
Cast: George Miller, Mel Gibson, Steve Bisley, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Joanne Samuel

Macau Light Company, 157 Minutes

Review:

Being a big fan of Mad Max, I’ve wanted to see this documentary for awhile. While it has a lot of information and stories, it’s way too long for the subject matter, moves pretty slow and is actually a bit boring.

For something that’s over two and a half hours, this could have had some stuff in it about the sequels but those aren’t really mentioned, as this focuses solely on the first film and its creation. It’s an interesting story, for sure, but this documentary’s pacing and length sucked my interest right out of the room.

This thing is more than an hour longer than the movie its talking about, which is kind of mad, pun intended.

I like the insight from George Miller, as well as the cast but all this is, is 157 minutes of talking heads cut together into sections about certain subjects in regards to the film’s production.

A lot of this felt like interviews that could have been whittled down and better edited. A lot of people rehash the same things, again and again, and a lot of the details don’t need to be presented multiple times. But maybe the filmmakers wanted to give everyone an equal amount of time. But in doing that, it makes the flow and quality of this picture suffer.

Rating: 6/10
Pairs well with: other “making of” movie documentaries.

Vids I Dig 033: Razörfist: Rageaholic Cinema: ‘Cobra’

From The Rageaholic/Razörfist’s YouTube description: The very first episode (and it shows) of The Rageaholic, finally ‘remastered’, as much as was possible, from the original audio and video files. We’ve come a long way… now you know just HOW far!

The movie review that started it all: COBRA!