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When Movies Mattered: Reviews from a Transformative Decade Paperback – April 15, 2011
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"Dave Kehr belongs in the pantheon of film critics who have been associated in one way or another with the city of Chicago—in fact, he's one of the best writers on film the country as a whole has ever produced. This collection of his work for the Chicago Reader constitutes an important act of cultural recovery, which provides insights into a crucial period of transition in the film industry. Not only a critic but also a public intellectual, Kehr teaches us about film style, calls attention to pictures that have received too little attention, and makes us care more about an art form. When Movies Mattered is a great pleasure."
"This collection of criticism and lore deserves a place on every self-respecting cineaste's bookshelf."—Powells.com
"This is a cause for celebration, although the resulting party would drive other critics to drink out of jealousy rather than selflessness. [Kehr's] prose is patient and lucid, laying bare stylistic and thematic mechanisms with the graceful invisible style of one of his favored Hollywood auteurs."
(MovieMorlocks.com (the official blog for TCM)) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Dave Kehr moved to the Chicago Tribune after leaving the Chicago Reader in 1986, and he was its principal film critic until late 1992, when he moved to New York. His work has appeared regularly in Film Comment,and he is a member of the National Society of Film Critics. He blogs at www.davekehr.com.
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Top Customer Reviews
Kehr's writing and analysis are excellent, especially his consideration of how the accountants took over Hollywood and made commercial success the bottom line at the expense of artistic integrity. This has extended beyond the studios to every aspect of the business, including reviews and reviewers; the rise of the internet has only exacerbated the problem. The range of films he writes about is also impressive, covering everything from art house favourites (though he clearly doesn't like Bergman!) to more mainstream/cult figures such as John Carpenter.
I do have some criticisms. There's not a single mention of 'Apocalypse Now', in my opinion the best film made during the years he's writing about and profoundly relevant to the post-Vietnam period the book covers. He also asserts that Blake Edwards's '10' is superior to Woody Allen's 'Manhattan'. His reasoning is considered - but it failed to completely convince me.
That aside, this is a worthy addition to the library of anyone interested in cinema during its most important and transformative decade.
The magic is that he does this without pontificating. Which makes for reviews that are as easy to digest as they are fresh and informative. Dave Kehr, noted for his independence, manages to spark a kind of curiosity that plays better after all these years than, say, the quirkiness of Pauline Kael, who was reviewing for the New Yorker at the time the reviews in this collection were written.
Do these old reviews still matter? Surprisingly little is stale in these pages even after all this time, as long as you care about what makes for a good film and what detracts from one. If you're ever tempted to sign up for a film class, see if Dave Kehr's teaching one. And if not, we at least have this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I do not care for snooty critics or criticism, so I did not care for Dave Kehr's reviews or this collection. Read morePublished on March 3, 2013 by wildbill
Mr. Kehr is a perceptive critic. I always be grateful for his very first article, on Jean Renoir. But with some films I think he sees too much, and uses excessively his imagination... Read morePublished on February 22, 2013 by Cliente de Amazon