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on March 12, 2010
With Oscar season upon us, we thought it would be a good time to take a look at some of the movies you won't be hearing about on the telecast. Between all the Avatars and Clooneys of the world, there are a host of smaller movies (or box-office duds) that are well deserving of your time and attention.

Or so says film critic Leonard Maltin, who would probably be a good judge, as he probably sees about a dozen movies a week in his job as a journalist and TV personality. Maltin's latest book singles out films from the last 20 years that, unless you are an extreme movie aficionado, chances are that most of these selections never hit your radar.

FIlms like "The Door in the Floor" (Jeff Bridges, Kim Basinger, Mimi Rogers, Bijou Phillips) or "The Great Buck Howard" (Tom Hanks, John Malkovich, Griffin Dunne, etc.) may not have made a big splash at your local cinema, but they are among Maltin's picks as key flicks to go back and find. (Nearly every major actor is represented from Robert DeNiro to Meryl Streep to Leo DiCaprio and all the rest.)

The films are divided into roughly three categories; mainstream studio fare, foreign and independent films that often struggle for attention here and a few choice gems from the first half of cinematic history. Maltin rightly focuses most of his light on movies from the last 20 years. (As there are already many books that highlight pictures from the golden age of cinema.)

Of course, it's hard to tell just how great the book is without sampling a host of the films that Maltin singles out for a revisit, but next time you are at Blockbuster or on Netflix, keep this book handy and see if one of Maltin's picks might sound worthwhile even while it would pass your normal purview. Just be ready to fire up that old VHS machine in the garage, as many of these gems have never made the leap to DVD.
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VINE VOICEon July 17, 2010
I love reading books and watching movies, so when I find a good book about movies I'm like a pig in...well, you know. Lately I've gone through a number of Roger Ebert's cinematic tomes, in part to discover new flicks. So when I came across "Leonard Maltin's 151 Best Movies You've Never Seen," I immediately bought it on my Kindle. I'm glad I did, because Mr. Maltin validated some of my favorite films and satisfied my need for fresh ones.

Even the worst movie has its champions. Heck, I liked the original "Punisher," and sometimes my brother shakes his head in wonder at my viewing choices. It's cool to see that a major critic shares my madness, and I enjoyed reading about Mr. Maltin's guilty cinematic pleasures - especially when he validates some of mine (like "Bubba Ho-Tep" and "The Tao of Steve") or turns me on to new possibilities (such as "The Devil's Backbone" and "Two Lovers").

Although I enjoyed "151 Best Movies...", I kind of wish that Mr. Maltin had delved a little deeper into these gems (like Roger Ebert does in his books). Each flick rates a couple pages of spoiler-free description, which may bother some readers looking for more in-depth analysis. But his brevity is for our benefit, as Mr. Maltin wants to tantalize us with possibility and ensure that our sense of joyful discovery matches his own. Recommended for all cinephiles desperately searching for their latest fix.
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on February 11, 2013
I must say that when I saw the title of the book, "151 Best Movies You've Never Seen", I thought Leonard Maltin was being quite presumptuous and a bit cocky. Most people that buy books like this love films and have seen so many that they are looking for more ideas. Personally, I have seen almost a hundred of these films that I supposedly have never seen. I will excuse Mr. Maltin however because his suggestions are excellent and so far I have watched over a dozen of the film in the book and have been extremely entertained by them.

The format of the book is well done and the description and reviews of the films are very well written. They give the reader just enough information to allow one to know if the plot would be to our liking but not too much to ruin our viewing experience.

In the past I have always thought that Maltin is a little too "white bread" in his selections for great films but in this book he really steps outside the box and presents the reader with some incredible choices for films that may have been forgotten or not given enough critical acclaim when they were first released.

I have many of these types of film reference books and this one is definitely at the top of the list. My only suggestion would have been to increase the number to make it, "500 Best Movies You've Never Seen". I will also say that most of the film choices were contemporary, american independent films which, for me was a plus but, for others, who may be hoping for more diversity, it might be a bit of a disappointment. There were only a few foreign and classic film ideas in the book but otherwise it is worth purchasing especially if you enjoy independent films that for whatever reason(s) never made it to your local cinema or video rental store.
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on August 1, 2010
If it had that title, I might give it 4 stars. As it is, I gave it one. I was expecting a book that covered the last century of movies. I read the title and expected to hear about great movies from the 30s, 40s, and 50s that don't get airtime for whatever reason. And there are about 5 of these. Instead, about 90% of the movies in this book are from the last 15 years. Well, guess what, if I didn't want to see a movie in the last 15 years, there was probably a pretty good reason for it.

Even the movies that are the "best" aren't even that great; I've seen a few of them and can comment. The Tao of Steve - a good movie, a cute movie, but not great. In the Shadow of the Moon - I am a diehard space fanatic, and even I found this movie snoozeworthy. Yeah, there was plenty of footage I'd never seen, and interviews I'd never heard, but after seeing it, there was a good reason. Yawn. Connie and Carla - good for a lazy afternoon when nothing else is on, but not something you should reach out for.

Even Maltin admits these movies aren't the "best." His review of Idiocracy exemplifies this: "The film wanders, repeats itself, and loses momentum." And this is the best? Please. Maltin, you're a hack who just tried to cash in. Don't waste your time with this book. Thumbs down.
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on April 20, 2013
Leonard Maltin is no Roger Ebert, he's not even a Richard Roper or or Gene Siskel or anyone with a legitimate sense of pointed criticism. He dishes out some of the most flattering reviews to some of the rankest movies, and it kind of makes him lose all credibility. Sorry Leonard Maltin, but "American Dreamz" is not one of the best movie's I've never seen.

PS 90% of the films in this book were released after 2000. It's just not a good anthology of under-appreciated cinema.
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on May 28, 2016
This review is for the Kindle version of this book. It is a 5 star review for a $1.99 Kindle book. The price jumps around - too bad it can't be more accessible by keeping it under $5.

I saw this book at a used thrift store and I was immediately very impressed with the concept. So I quickly opened up Amazon on my phone and chose the Kindle version of this book was $1.99 at the time. (Less than the used book copy.)

I buy used VHS and DVD films, so this Kindle book has already been helpful in deciding on movies I would otherwise pass up. I don't go to movies, and I don't have any movie channels on my basic cable, so this book is just what I feel I needed... for 151 movies, anyway. The reviews are detailed, but short enough to read while shopping.

* I use the Kindle App on my smartphones so this book is always with me.

* The table of contents is in alphabetical order. With Kindle, the links take one right to the review.

* The list of actors which starts each review is more comprehensive than on the DVD or VHS product box.

* It is wise to remember that these are all positive reviews! They review a very wide genre & stylistic range of buried movies.

The reviews in this book by Maltin stick to the subject and are both interesting and accurate. He will point out when a story is character-driven and why to watch, while excusing the same film for the director's story-telling decisions such as a flash-forward & flashback style in one example. But he makes the reader aware to prepare them. In each review I have read in this book Maltin is giving a great review, well written, interesting, and concise. As a book, I am up to the flicks beginning with the letter K, but I have referred to it while shopping used movies as well.

Leonard Maltin is probably overexposed on TV, whenever there is a Disney history he will pop up, however this book is right on the money in every review. Well done, Leonard. There have been so many movies in the glut of the last 15-30 years. They stiffed in theaters but are far better than the rest of the pack.

Read the free Kindle sample to decide if it's worth your time. Use the Kindle smartphone Apps to keep the reference handy.
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on June 21, 2016
Wish I hadn't bought it. Leonard is better than this. I guess if you are looking for an oddball movie, this might be the place to look...but the reason they are oddball is because maybe they aren't the 151 best movies you've never seen for a reason. Average. maybe you will find a gem in here...but I didn't.
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on January 28, 2012
I was surprised after some of the negative reviews of this book, to see in the 151 movies, some really good movies that I have seen: The Animal Factory, Baadasssss!, Criminal, Diamond Men, Dick, 15 minutes, Going In Style, The Hard Word, Hidalgo, Island In The Sky, The Lookout, The Maltese Falcon, The Matador, Owning Mahony, Seven Men From Now, and The Steel Helmet, to name some. I have seen a few of the others and did not like them as much. I own some of the others, but have not yet watched them. These are, for the most part, Independent films, that rely on story, good acting, not necessarily an expected ending, i.e. not typical Hollywood movies (which is a good thing in my view.) I suggest that those men that saw a few of the 151 movies, and did not like them, start with my list above. I don't think my listed movies would necessarily appeal to women, particularly if their preference is romantic comedies. This book is designed to give you some exposure to films that slipped under the radar. I cannot wait to check out the listed films I have not seen!
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on December 6, 2012
I got this for my brother for Christmas since he is a movie buff. Definitely made up of a lot of movies I've never heard of, but a few that I have (which is the point I guess). I think he will love it! Should keep him busy for a while. I like how it gives you the list of actors and a synopsis of each movie. Well planned out.
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on April 8, 2013
I am always on the lookout for quirky movies, and, as usual, Leonard Maltin comes through in spades! Having already seen already seen a couple of the films he discusses, I am looking forward to seeking out and watching all of them!
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