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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

on January 11, 2007
I have long been a fan of McDonagh's snappily written and imformative column "Flick Chick" and this newest addition to her published work doesn't disappoint.

Book Lust is divided into cleverly titled sections that reflect the intelligence and humor that I've enjoyed in her reviews on the [...] site. The groupings of films are unusual and thought-provoking. My particular favorites are: Back to the Beach, Bad Santas, Everything is Beautiful at the Ballet, On the Road (a wonderful list of road movies I can GUARANTEE you've never seen listed together before), Science Fiction Double Feature, Subway Series, that 70s Picture Show, and the Zombie Stomp. And the occasional personal comments truly spoke to me (like watching King Kong on Thanksgiving-what was up with that?-and I'm dying to know what was the reaction she mentioned to the spider creature in John Carpenter's The Thing when the author first saw the film).

All in all this is a smart, funny and interesting book for anyone who truly enjoys movies. I am looking forward to purchasing More Movie Lust, or perhaps it should be entitled Movie Lust: The Sequel.
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on March 30, 2009
We have a group of friends that meet once a month for movie night. We rotate where we meet and the host provides the dinner and the movie. I hate to brag but the night at our house is always the best and this book is our secret weapon. Thanks to the insightful comments and exhausting list of movies. My wife and I are always able to find a little know gem or find a way to have a unique double feature night.
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on November 4, 2015
Great read for the shear number of great movies referenced.
Entertaining & informative.
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on July 24, 2010
I was looking forward to reading this book to help out what type of dvds to rent from Netflix. But it has been of little or no help in determining what flicks to select for my preferences. So I'm still inclined to go with Leonard Matlin's movie review book.
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on September 27, 2006
Sure, there are lots of books that list movies, some with capsule reviews like Leonard Maltin's popular annual paperback, "Movie Guide." Netflix is another source of information on a vast number of films available on DVD. Stanley Kaufmann, Pauline Kael, and Roger Ebert among others have knocked out guides to the cinema. But Maitland McDonagh is an original. She puts the fun into reading about movies. The pages of her "Movie Lust: Recommended Viewing for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason" come toward you in a breezy style that makes you want to read the book even if you're the one person in a thousand who has sworn off movie lust and decided on video celibacy. This is a volume for lovers of books as well as patrons of the cinema.

The organization of chapters is one of the book's strong points. Rather than simply discussing film by highlighting actors or directors alphabetically, McDonagh implicitly asks: what's your mood? How do you feel today? Are you in a bloody mood ready to take in a pic about a killer from Texas? (No, not the U.S. president.) Do you miss your boyfriend or girlfriend? More important, do you miss your dog? Do you want to impress your girlfriend with your knowledge of Shakespearean quotes? Does your funny-bone need a tickle? Then skip the prodigious index, which lists cast and crew and film titles alphabetically and head straight for the table of contents.

In the opening chapter, "All the World's a Stage," you see the author's recommendations for films about film and theater. Soon you'll be savoring the classics, noting how risque, or how dreadfully prudish, the picture shows were when an actor in bed had to keep at least one foot on the floor. Presumably nobody was in good enough shape or a practitioner of yoga to make whoopie modern-style, and frankly, the censors didn't give a damn.

Do you want to compare Daniel Craig with the other Bonds? McDonagh devotes a chapter to the series. McDonagh is betting on the blonde as "the shock to the system the franchise needs." (She's wrong about Timothy Dalton's getting a raw deal. He may have brought grit to the series, but I prefer a Bond who likes his drinks shaken not stirred-or is it the other way around-rather than the one who knocks off world-class villains with video-game accuracy and bravado.)

McDonagh is on the money, telling us why 95% of leading actors would rather be villains than saints: "The Prince of Darkness...always snares the best lines and brings out the actors." If you're in a down-and-dirty mood, and I don't mean that you're ready to play poker, you've got to read the chapter on "The Dirty on Porn." Can you resist renting "Demonlover" after reading that Olivier Assayas' "Demonlover" veers into the shadow world of extreme online [..], and twists itself into an icy knot of existential angst so tight it makes your head hurt?" (OK. If a headache is the price we must pay for porn, then bring it on.)

"Every dog has his day"(Man's Best Friend, p. 139) and "Even presidents want to be rock gods" (So You Wanna Be a Rock `n' Roll Star", p. 180). I'd add another: every moviegoer would like to have Maitland McDonagh's background and the skill to put across her knowledge in such an unpretentious, jaunty style.
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VINE VOICEon March 24, 2016
Does the world need another movie review book? It does if it's this good. The reviews are brief - pithy and never less than interesting. The author's knowledge is encyclopedic and her love and respect for the art form and all those involved in it is patent. Highly recommended for any and all movie buffs
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on December 24, 2006
Some people who feel they already know a lot about movies may automatically turn up their noses at a book of "Recommended Viewing for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason," but they should do a double take where MOVIE LUST is concerned. This is a very smart, very savvy book, written without pretension or a narrow focus -- and I say that as someone who knows a lot about movies. It covers everyone from Jean Vigo to Ron Jeremy, and always with the same intelligence. Maitland McDonagh's way with words serves to stimulate the appetite to finally track down long postponed classics, to blaze new trails of viewing, and to revisit old favorites. If your DVD collection is even half the size of mine, you probably have trouble deciding what to pull off the shelf for an evening's viewing. If that sounds like a problem you've had before, I recommend spending ten minutes or so browsing through MOVIE LUST before tackling your monolithic wall of viewing options. It's so much fun to peruse, in fact, you might find yourself spending the night reading instead. I give this book 5 stars because I feel it fulfills its purpose admirably.
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on September 19, 2006
This book of short-short chapters, recommending movies in about a hundred quirky categories, is about the most useful DVD guide I've come across. And my god, what a fun read. I saw a review that summed it up perfectly: "Movie Lust is a book as much for lovers of language as for film hipsters; most every paragraph is like a carefully-crafted bon-bon that can be quickly sucked down to a rich bon mot...."

The rollercoaster rapture of Maitland McDonagh's language is mesmerizing, even when she's writing about big ol' action movies or giant-gorilla films. I don't know how many people today know M.F.K. Fisher, who was the great, lyrical dean of food writers, but McDonagh is like a cross between that and Dorothy Parker. Even her introduction is great. This is going to be a perfect gift book.
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on December 21, 2006
Bottom Line: If you only have room for one book about films,

this should be it!!

Amazingly, in just 246 pages (plus an all-inclusive 42-page index) McDonagh covers ALL the things you ever EVER wanted to know about movies but (not wanting to appear stupid) were too afraid to ask.

Besides, even though her knowledge is extraordinary and almost encyclopedic, it's a totally fascinating, fun read.

I'd prided myself on my extensive cinematic knowledge--thought I knew everything (well, almost) until I picked up the book. Boy was I wrong. Happily, she makes the learning process not only painless, but a total pleasure. Her thoroughly witty, elegant, pithy prose kept me continually absorbed.

Her chapters--all surprisingly short--are surprisingly comprehensive,

and cover just about every genre, from dog movies and foreign films, to movies about Shakespeare, horror, sex, love and name it, it's there.

For example, on remakes: Same Movie Twice (2 ½ pages), explores, for better or worse, misguided attempts to replicate past hits (i.e. The Vanishing, Psycho, Exorcist sequels ); The Shape of Things (2 pages) on actors gaining or losing weight to better play a role, as did De Niro or Renee Zellweger putting on 60 and 20 lbs. respectively for "Raging Bull" and "Bridget Jones's Diary"; On The Road, a concise 4 ½ page overview of some of the best road movies, from The Grapes of Wrath, Wizard of Oz to Y tu mama tambien, The Straight Story and Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. (f/y/I, I cited only a few chapters; there are over 100.)

For so many reasons, "Movie Lust" is so very worth the detour. What makes her book so significant--and valuable, is her incredible knowledge of films worth seeing...or not, and better still, why.

So arm yourself with a pad & pencil to write down what DVDs to order next at NetFlix. Only one caveat: her choices should keep you busy till the next millennium.
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on December 22, 2006
McDonagh assembles a fun collection of succinct, celluloid-savvy chapters covering an impressive range of cinematic subgenres, from silents made in the sound era ("Hush!") to killer Clauses ("Bad Santas"), along with insightful filmmaker sketches (e.g., John Frankenheimer, Abel Ferrara). With a style at once erudite and breezy, McDonagh's book supplies fun for hardcore cinephiles and useful recommendations for casual viewers.
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