Beyond Popcorn: A Critic's Guide to Looking at Film

6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0910055703
ISBN-10: 091005570X
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Spokane-based critic and teacher Glatzer targets uninitiated but curious moviegoers who want to assess films intelligently and place them in context. He discusses film acting and camera placement; the jobs of cinematographer, editor, art director, composer, casting director, grip, and assistant director; foreign films; and truly great directors (a debatable selection, naturally). In addition, there are thumbnail sketches of 143 must-see movies, and the ubiquitous director "Alan Smithee" is defined. Glatzer is best when analyzing Buster Keaton's comedy and identifying stories unworthy of their supposed significance. And his "Ten Minute Movie Maven" epilog could stand on its own as a magazine article. On the negative side, seasoned moviegoers will take issue with Glatzer's views that the only leading ladies who aren't "drop-dead gorgeous" are Renee Zellweger and Minnie Driver, that Arnold Schwarzenegger never played a heroic role until Terminator 2 (ignoring Conan, Predator, Total Recall, and Kindergarten Cop), and that director Robert Wise (The Set-Up, The Day the Earth Stood Still, I Want To Live!, West Side Story) is a "hack." All the same, his opinionated book is recommended for public libraries. Kim Holston, American Inst. for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters, Malvern, PA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

ROBERT GLATZER is a film critic and screenwriter in Spokane, Washington, where he hosts the weekly NPR show "Movies 101." A former film director in New York and Hollywood, his films have won awards at festivals around the world. He has taught film at New York's School of Visual Arts and at Eastern Washington University.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Eastern Washington University (May 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 091005570X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0910055703
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,065,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Bakari Chavanu on October 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
I've been doing a lot of reading about film in the last year and I have to say that Glatzer's guide was not as helpful as the other books I've read. When I compare Glatzer's guide to Jim Piper's guide, "Get the Picture?: The Movie Lover's Guide to Watching to Films," I fnd that while Glatzer may be a good movie critic, he, unlike Piper, is not a very good teacher of the subject.
Much of Glatzer reads like moive review of films instead of a guide for reading films critically. His first few chapters provide some basic insight on the differences between movies and theatre productions and the role of the camera in flims, but the rest of book is not as helpful as it could be.
The chapter on laughter in film, for example, is not useful. He tries to explain humor by focusing on the work of Buster Keaton, but many of us contemporary film goers might not find Keaton all that funny. The same goes for his chapters on musicals, foriegn films, and movie credits--each of them are not very helpful for understanding contemporary films.
Perhaps it's his last chapters that save this book. Glatzer provides a list of "must see films" and a list of guide questions you should ask yourself about a movie. I wish Glatzer had used those questions to develop his guide.
Finally, I was also disappointed that neither Glatzer or Piper provide a multicultural examination of films. There are so many films by directors of color that don't get examined in either of the guides. The contributions of Spike Lee, Wayne Wang, Charles Burnett, John Singleton, Melvin Van Peeples, Julie Dash, and Camille Billops (documentary film maker), should have been include in their guide.
I guess if you're coming from more of classical film tradition, Glatzer guide might be helpful, but if you're looking for guide to more contemporary, as well as classic and foreign films, check out Piper's book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book was just what I needed. I love to watch movies, and I know what I like, but I never really knew why I liked them. It is the perfect book for someone like me who has never studied film but would like to know more.
It covers how movies are made, the roles of all the folks involved, and what separates good writing, directing, or acting from the bad.
Also his "all time best" lists, agree or disagree, are fun to discuss.
Finally, it is written in a fun, fast-paced style.
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Format: Paperback
Robert Glatzer is both a Film Critic and also a Film Director. He has the perspective of making films, teaching film making, and teaching classes on understanding films. He has been a movie critic on NPR's KPBX FM 91.1 Spokane, WA for many years, and has a huge appreciative audience. His website [...] is one of the most popular and referenced film sites.

Reading his book is like completing a course in Film Appreciation. From the concept of what is a film and what makes one great, down to the details of camera angles and what all the closing credits mean, through film awards, Beyond Popcorn explains and educates the reader on the Film industry. He teaches and gives us examples of what we can learn from the classics, and he pulls no punches on his choices of some of the best and worst films. Finally he gives us a wonderful list of all the films you have to see before you die.

Having read his book, you can truly understand and appreciate the greatest films and the art of film making, and you can much better determine what is the traditional formulaic pap that Hollywood dishes out, and what is truly remarkable.

Frank Delaney
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