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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The State of the Art
David Denby probably ranks as my favorite critic writing about movies these days, so I guess I shouldn't be too surprised that this book reads like a perfect reflection of my own thoughts on the past 15 or so years of American cinema. Denby isn't the breeziest or snarkiest of film critics. He's better: he's a thoughtful one, clearly passionate about the idea that movies...
Published on October 9, 2012 by The Bibliophile

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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars intelligent and well written, but disagree with most of his points
I got this from the library and expected something else (an actual book about the future of film.) Instead I found a collection of essays from the new yorker magazine film critic. Anyway, having not heard of the author, and realizing after reading a good bit of the book that I hadn't read the author info nor seen the author's picture, I decided to try and guess his age...
Published on November 10, 2012 by philadelphia sports fan


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The State of the Art, October 9, 2012
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This review is from: Do the Movies Have a Future? (Hardcover)
David Denby probably ranks as my favorite critic writing about movies these days, so I guess I shouldn't be too surprised that this book reads like a perfect reflection of my own thoughts on the past 15 or so years of American cinema. Denby isn't the breeziest or snarkiest of film critics. He's better: he's a thoughtful one, clearly passionate about the idea that movies actually matter, in people's lives and in our culture. Denby deftly explicates why film after film either works or doesn't, charting out the evolution of American cinema in recent years as the art form has been hollowed out by business interests and advances in filmmaking technology on a level unprecedented in the medium's history. In some ways it's a call-to-arms kind of book, and it gracefully manages to be both cautionary and celebratory. I hope its observations don't go completely unheeded, because if they do, we'll all be the poorer for it. Thanks for writing this book, Mr. Denby.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Splendidly Written and Both Quite Entertaining and Informative, January 24, 2013
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I have already highly recommended this book to several friends who are movie enthusiasts. I must admit that my inital reaction was more than a bit over the top enthusiastic, based upon the book's introduction, because the author quickly presented a great summary of the current state of the industry, the technology, and the audience, as well as the decades of growth (really regression) leading up to the present. And of course, what the author
accomplished, from my perspective, was to encapsulate both the "facts" and the spirit of what has happened, and what IS happening to the movies - a point of view just absolutely parallel to my own, but stated so knowledgeably and elequantly!

At this point, according to my Kindle statistic, I am 67% of the way through the book. And now, I feel there are times that the author goes on too long about certain stars or directors (most of the book is drawn from prior appearances in the New Yorker Magazine, where what appears by anyone is typically overwritten and just toooooooo long!), typically when my viewpoint diverges from his, which it often does. I admit to being appalled by his vaunted view of some who I have held in contempt for some time. But even here when I disagree the most, he has maintained my attention and interest. And for the most part, I must say that I am in agreement with him, and also certainly enlightened.

Of all the texts on movies which I have read in the last five years, this one is at the top of my list and recommendation!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Goes beyond reviews, January 7, 2013
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This review is from: Do the Movies Have a Future? (Hardcover)
Denby is a wonderful writer of film but he does something more here. The opening essay provides some great perspective on the current need for good film criticism beyond mere reviews. Two ideas are introduced; film is either too complex these days for thumbs up/thumbs down reviewing or secondly, too commercially compromised by corporate marketing formulas and genre writing. Writers need to encourage a broader perspective for a renewed and vital film culture. I think that's what the book does well.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars intelligent and well written, but disagree with most of his points, November 10, 2012
This review is from: Do the Movies Have a Future? (Hardcover)
I got this from the library and expected something else (an actual book about the future of film.) Instead I found a collection of essays from the new yorker magazine film critic. Anyway, having not heard of the author, and realizing after reading a good bit of the book that I hadn't read the author info nor seen the author's picture, I decided to try and guess his age and race based on what I had read and was pretty dead on; older white guy. the reason i came to this conclusion so easily was because many of the pieces have a "kids today" hectoring tone. For instance, the piece about "format agnosticism" laments the fact that kids today watch movies on their phones. The horror! What he ignores or refuses to acknowledge, is that kids today will watch movies they enjoy again and again, like listening to a favorite song. And that in most cases the choice is between movie on phone or no movie. Personally, I'd prefer to watch a movie while sitting in the dentist's waiting room than not.

And some of his examples when talking about why movies sucked circa 2000 were a bit ridiculous. Specifically when he was comparing Michael Bay's Pearl Harbor to The Godfather.

As I said, it's all well written and intelligent, I just disagree with the arguments.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting reading for movie lovers, but ..., October 21, 2012
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This review is from: Do the Movies Have a Future? (Hardcover)
As a subscriber to The New Yorker magazine I feel somewhat ripped off,
since the great majority of the articles in this book have
previously appeared in that magazine and, being a fan of Denby,
I have read them all. All of the articles in the book were
written in the 1999-2011 timeframe, some with revisions that
have not altered the original intent.

The book has been well organized into seven broad categories
such as "Trends," "Directors," "Stars." If you love movies
and have not read the articles before, then this book sould
be worth your time (in fact I enjoyed rereading a number of
the pieces). Denby has a clear writing style that is easily
accessible to the average reader.

The book does address the question posed in its title.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars it suffers from being a long string of columns knitted together, January 21, 2013
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It was tedious to read but filled with innumerable nuggets fascinating to know. Denby is a tower of information and great stylist. The transitions between chapters resemble a very bumpy road. This was not a compendium of the films of the past decade in the way Pauline Kael's, "I Lost it at the Movies" chronicled many decades of movies.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Critic's eye view of the future, March 24, 2013
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This review is from: Do the Movies Have a Future? (Hardcover)
Mr. Denby is rooted firmly in the past. Capsules detailing the evolution of the movie money machine, its stars and their life in the contract era, the present day mindless march to the sensational are interesting. The work begs the real question of: where is all of this going.

The movie universe is essentiently two different worlds. That which revolves around the production seems to be robust if not single minded. Mr. Denby moans over the lack of quality in deference to the sensational. We seem to be exhausting the limits of the computer generated imagination.

That which concerns the presentation is the big question. Where and how does one access the medium. The newer generation of the palace (now mega-city) is in decline. The emerging forum is the smartphone, tablet, internet television - the digital download. There is still a place for the huge visual sensation which is imax with its mind numbing ever blasting sound. There are, however many many ways we can now access. Which one, if any will evolve to dominate is the real question.

Bring back 1930 and everyone will be happy.
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2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An old man pines the past, November 30, 2012
This review is from: Do the Movies Have a Future? (Hardcover)
This whole book can be summed up very simply, "Things were better in the old days!" Denby wrote a book (really just a collection of his New Yorker reviews) that has one main theme: movies are on an inexorable downward spiral, along with a secondary theme bitching about the loss of critics.

He's right, to a point. Original movies not based on a pre-sold properties have trouble in the marketplace. This isn't because of the loss of critics, but because movies are just another form of entertainment in this vast attention-based ecosystem we are living in.

And movies aren't an art form; they are a business run by giant corporations who only care about their bottom-line. And corporations don't really like art, because it is too unreliable. That's why pre-sold franchises are so popular with Hollywood studios (x production budget + y publicity&advertising = z profit.) Due to the democratization of video production, this business model may change in the very-near future.

He has some interesting insights in the Judd Apatow slacker-striver genre, but Denby's grating nostalgia was too much for me.
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Do the Movies Have a Future?
Do the Movies Have a Future? by David Denby (Hardcover - October 2, 2012)
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