The death of the film culture that flourished in the 1960s and ’70s and the concurrent decline of serious film criticism have been roundly lamented, but Rosenbaum—long known by cinematic cognoscenti as one of the most knowledgeable and perceptive voices writing on movies—maintains that the digital age is simply shifting film viewing from being a communal activity to a private one that’s actually more hospitable to niche tastes, and that as traditional venues for discussing cinema vanish, the activity is being revitalized online. That notion informs the most recent of the 50-plus pieces collected here, on subjects ranging from the highbrow (an astute comparison between Jacques Tati’s Playtime and Jia Zhengke’s The World, a pair of essays on Catalan experimental filmmaker Pete Portabella) to the less rarefied (Kim Novak’s midwestern roots, Marilyn Monroe’s deceptive shrewdness), all displaying Rosenbaum’s distinctive insight and erudition. Rosenbaum’s vision of a future in which cinema endures by extending the notion of the term to encompass pixels as well as nitrate, conforming to the experience of most contemporary viewers, offers hope for die-hard devotees of the beleaguered art form. --Gordon Flagg
"One of the finest film critics currently active." - Times (UK) "Among the best is Rosenbaum." - Booklist "This is a major new collection of essays from a preeminent American film critic.... Jonathan Rosenbaum's intellectual and political engagement, his insistence in going beyond the U.S.-centrism of most American critics, and his extraordinarily wide-ranging cinephilia represent near-heroic work.... This excellent collection, much like its author, crosses many boundaries with conviction." - Janet Bergstrom, University of California, Los Angeles"