Never Coming to a Theater Near You: A Celebration of a Certain Kind of Movie

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It is in the nature of today's movie business that while Hollywood blockbusters invade every megaplex, smaller, quality films often don't get screen time. Fans of finer films have to count on catching up with them on video and DVD, but even the most hard-core devotees have trouble remembering what sounded good when a film was originally released. Never Coming to a Theater Near You will remedy that situation.

This selection of renowned film critic Kenneth Turan's absorbing and ...

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Never Coming to a Theater Near You: A Celebration of a Certain Kind of Movie

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Overview

It is in the nature of today's movie business that while Hollywood blockbusters invade every megaplex, smaller, quality films often don't get screen time. Fans of finer films have to count on catching up with them on video and DVD, but even the most hard-core devotees have trouble remembering what sounded good when a film was originally released. Never Coming to a Theater Near You will remedy that situation.

This selection of renowned film critic Kenneth Turan's absorbing and illuminating reviews, now revised and updated to factor in the tests of time, point viewers toward the films they can't quite remember, but should not miss.

Moviegoers know they can trust Turan's impeccable taste. His eclectic selection represents the kind of sophisticated, adult, and entertaining films intelligent viewers are hungry for. More importantly, Turan shows readers what makes these unusual films so great, revealing how talented filmmakers and actors have managed to create the wonderful highs we experience in front of the silver screen.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The title of this book, a collection of Turan's daily newspaper reviews from the Los Angeles Times, promises the unearthing of deeply obscure material or a truly revolutionary take on old favorites. Turan, who is also a contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, sets the book up more modestly in his introduction as a guide to unsung films now on DVD and video. He's a lovely reviewer, able to encapsulate a film's charms in a few phrases, and he has a particular knack for opening sentences, an important tool for any newspaper writer. But the section on English-language films contains reviews of movies like Election, Dead Man Walking and Muriel's Wedding-i.e., multiple Oscar nominees and winners, many that benefited from mass-market publicity campaigns. In essence, Turan's favorite flicks are already sung. His section on foreign films is far more useful, since many of them had very limited releases. Turan saves the best for last: nine longer essays he calls "Retrospectives." These pieces treat topics we don't hear much about: the great directors Max Ophuls and Frank Borzage, the delectable treats that came from "pre-code" Hollywood, and Yiddish film. And Turan's funny gloss on the familiar conventions of Chinese martial arts films shows how perceptive and winning he can be. Agent, David Halpern. (Oct.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
As a remedy for the lack of exposure for small, quality films, Turan, critic for the Los Angeles Times and National Public Radio's Morning Edition, offers this compilation of a decade's worth of reviews, a "guide for the perplexed viewer looking for something different." Divided into categories of English and foreign-language films, documentaries, classics, plus some career retrospectives, the reviews are brief and accessible but grounded in solid film history scholarship. The author tries to indicate what makes each film special and why the reader should seek it out on cable television, video, or DVD. Some of the films, e.g., Whale Rider, may already be familiar to the discerning filmgoer, and some readers might wish for a greater length and depth to the essays. Turan lacks the intensely personal voice of Pauline Kael, but his uncluttered prose is inviting, and the collection fills a niche as one of the better recent surveys of independent film. Recommended for public and academic film history collections. Stephen Rees, Levittown Regional Lib., PA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Los Angeles Times/NPR film critic Turan presents a book-length favorites list. Whip-smart and to the point, the author's cogent movie reviews are perfect for reading in the newspaper over your morning coffee, and he's even better on the radio. Unfortunately, these brief pieces don't work as well between hard covers. The premise of here is admirably simple: these are the films that have affected Turan the most, and for the best. The result is a joyously hopscotch catalogue of cinema, everything from John Sayles to John Frankhenheimer, highbrow to lowbrow (though not surprisingly, indie critical faves are overrepresented), but since the pieces are uniformly positive, a numb feeling soon sets in. And since the reviews are not long enough to really get into the meat of a film, Turan is forced to present his views rather plainly, with laudatory adjectives paraded one after another to the point of sounding like a press release ("Prepare to be astonished by 'Spirited Away' "). Blame it on the format, but that still doesn't make this a compelling read. Agent: David Halpern/Lucas, Alexander & Whitley
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781586483494
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs
  • Publication date: 10/30/2005
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 5.56 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.48 (d)

Meet the Author

Kenneth Turan has been film critic at the Los Angeles Times for more than ten years. He can also be heard every Friday morning as film critic for National Public Radio's "Morning Edition." The director of the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, he lives in Los Angeles.

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Table of Contents

Introduction xiii
1 English Language Films
Introduction 2
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert 3
Bhaji on the Beach 5
Birthday Girl 7
Bloody Sunday 9
Bottle Rocket 12
The Commitments 14
Croupier 17
Dead Man Walking 19
Deconstructing Harry 21
The Deep End 24
Devil in a Blue Dress 27
Dirty Pretty Things 29
Election 31
Flirting with Disaster 33
Fly Away Home 35
Groundhog Day 37
Heavenly Creatures 39
High Fidelity 41
Hilary and Jackie 43
The Iron Giant 46
Jesus' Son 48
Land and Freedom 50
Last Orders 52
Last Resort 54
Lawless Heart 56
Laws of Gravity 58
Living in Oblivion 60
Love and Death on Long Island 62
Lovely & Amazing 64
Love Serenade 66
The Madness of King George 68
Manny & Lo 71
Muriel's Wedding 73
My Son the Fanatic 75
Naked 77
Next Stop Wonderland 80
Out of Sight 82
Persuasion 85
Pipe Dream 87
Pollock 88
Proof 91
The Quiet American 92
Ratcatcher 95
Richard III 97
Ronin 100
Safe 102
Searching for Bobby Fischer 104
The Secret of Roan Inish 107
Secrets & Lies 109
Sexy Beast 111
The Snapper 113
A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries 115
State and Main 117
The Station Agent 120
Strictly Ballroom 122
Sweet Sixteen 124
Thirty Two Short Films about Glenn Gould 126
This Boy's Life 129
To Die For 131
12 Monkeys 134
Ulee's Gold 136
Unstrung Heroes 138
Vanya on 42nd Street 140
Wag the Dog 142
Waiting for Guffman 145
Waking Ned Devine 147
The Waterdance 149
Whale Rider 151
Wonder Boys 153
You Can Count on Me 156
Zoolander 159
2 Foreign Language Films
Introduction 162
After Life 163
Aimee & Jaguar 166
Un Air de Famille 168
Autumn Tale 170
The Blue Kite 172
Celebration 174
The Circle 176
Un Coeur en Hiver 178
Cronos 180
Cure 182
The Dinner Game 184
Divided We Fall 186
The Dreamlife of Angels 188
Dry Cleaning 190
Eat Drink Man Woman 192
The Fast Runner 194
How I Killed My Father 197
Intacto 199
In the Mood for Love 201
Italian for Beginners 203
Lamerica 205
Leolo 207
Lumumba 210
Ma Vie en Rose 212
Monsoon Wedding 214
Nowhere in Africa 216
Prisoner of the Mountains 218
La Promesse 220
Read My Lips 222
Red 224
Russian Ark 227
A Self-Made Hero 230
A Single Girl 232
Spirited Away 234
The Terrorist 237
Time of Favor 239
Time Out 241
Tito and Me 243
Together 245
The Town Is Quiet 247
The Vertical Ray of the Sun 249
Y Tu Mama Tambien 251
Yi Yi 254
3 Documentaries
Introduction 258
Black Harvest 260
Blind Spot: Hitler's Secretary 264
Bus 174 266
The Cockettes 268
Crumb 271
Dark Days 273
The Decline of Western Civilization, Part III 275
East Side Story 277
Fast, Cheap & Out of Control 280
Freedom on My Mind 282
Genghis Blues 284
Licensed to Kill 286
Lost in La Mancha 288
One Day in September 290
Rivers and Tides 292
The Saltmen of Tibet 294
Speaking in Strings 296
Spellbound 298
Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey 300
When We Were Kings 302
4 Classics
Introduction 306
Beauty and the Beast 307
Das Boot 308
Decalogue 311
Eyes Without a Face 314
Once upon a Time in America 317
Peeping Tom 319
Pepe Le Moko 321
A Streetcar Named Desire 323
The Third Man 328
Touch of Evil 331
Vertigo 334
The Wild Bunch 339
5 Retrospectives
Introduction 344
Jacques Becker and Robert Bresson 345
Frank Borzage 347
Anthony Mann 352
Jean-Pierre Melville 357
Max Ophuls 360
Edgar G. Ulmer 363
Chinese Martial Arts Films 366
Pre-Code Hollywood 370
Yiddish Film 376
Indexes
Countries 381
Films 384
Names 388
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