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New & Notable Books on Film

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New & Notable Books on Film

new books on film

2023 was not only a great year for film, it was also a great year for books on film. Here are some of the most noteworthy recent books about film and filmmakers that you can check out using your Livingston Library card.

(Descriptions provided by the publishers)

oscar wars

Oscar Wars: A History of Hollywood in Gold, Sweat and Tears by Michael Schulman

Michael Schulman chronicles the remarkablesprawling history of the Academy Awards and the personal dramas–some iconic, others never-before-revealed–that have played out on the stage and off camera. Unlike other books on the subject, each chapter takes a deep dive into a particular year, conflict, or even category that tells a larger story of cultural change, from Louis B. Mayer to MoonlightSchulman examines how the red carpet runs through contested turf, and the victors aren’t always as clear as the names drawn from envelopes. Caught in the crossfire are people: their thwarted ambitions, their artistic epiphanies, their messy collaborations, their dreams fulfilled or dashed.

Every Man for Himself and God Against All: A Memoir by Werner Herzog

Legendary filmmaker and celebrated author Werner Herzog tells in his inimitable voice the story of his epic artistic career in a long-awaited memoir that is as inventive and daring as anything he has done before. Herzog made his first film in 1961 at age 19, and the wildly productive working life that followed-spanning the seven continents and encompassing both documentary and fiction-was an adventure as grand and otherworldly as any depicted in his many classic films, from early features Aguirre and Nosferatu, to Fitzcarraldo and later documentaries such as Grizzly Man and Cave of Forgotten Dreams. This book is at once a firsthand personal record of one of the great and self-invented lives of our time, and a singular literary masterpiece that will enthrall fans old and new alike. In a hypnotic swirl of memory, Herzog untangles and relives his most important experiences and inspirations, telling the full story of his life for the first and only time.

The Golden Screen: The Movies That Made Asian America by Jeff Yang

Written by NYT bestselling author Jeff Yang, The Golden Screen is a first-of-its-kind history and celebration of Asian Americans on the big screen. Covering more than 130 films, spanning more than 100 years–from Cecil B. DeMille’s 1915 film The Cheat to Wayne Wang’s The Joy Luck Club to the Danielses’ Everything Everywhere All at Once in 2022–this groundbreaking book explores how these iconic films have shaped how America sees Asians and how Asian Americans see themselves.

The Last Action Heroes: The Triumphs, Flops, and Feuds of Hollywood’s Kings of Carnage by Nick De Semlyen

In this wildly entertaining account of the golden age of the action movie, Nick de Semlyen charts Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s carnage-packed journey from enmity to friendship against the backdrop of Reagan’s America and the Cold War. He also reveals fascinating untold stories of the colorful characters who ascended in their wake: high-kickers Chuck Norris and Jackie Chan, glowering tough guys Dolph Lundgren and Steven Seagal, and quipping troublemakers Jean-Claude Van Damme and Bruce Willis.

Opposable Thumbs: How Siskel & Ebert Changed Movies Forever by Matt Singer

Once upon a time, if you wanted to know if a movie was worth seeing, you didn’t check out Rotten Tomatoes or IMDB. You asked whether Siskel & Ebert had given it “two thumbs up.” On a cold Saturday afternoon in 1975, two men (who had known each other for eight years before they’d ever exchanged a word) met for lunch in a Chicago pub. Gene Siskel was the film critic for the Chicago Tribune . Roger Ebert had recently won the Pulitzer Prize—the first ever awarded to a film critic—for his work at the Chicago Sun-Times. To say they despised each other was an understatement. When they reluctantly agreed to collaborate on a new movie review show with PBS, there was at least as much sparring off-camera as on. No decision—from which films to cover to who would read the lead review to how to pronounce foreign titles—was made without conflict, but their often-antagonistic partnership (which later transformed into genuine friendship) made for great television. In the years that followed, their signature “Two thumbs up!” would become the most trusted critical brand in Hollywood. In Opposable Thumbs , award-winning editor and film critic Matt Singer eavesdrops on their iconic balcony set, detailing their rise from making a few hundred dollars a week on local Chicago PBS to securing multimillion-dollar contracts for a syndicated series.

art of ruth e carter

The Art of Ruth E. Carter: Costuming Black History and Afrofuture from “Do the Right Thing” to “Black Panther” by Ruth E. Carter

Ruth E. Carter is a living legend of costume design. For three decades, she has shaped the story of the Black experience on screen–from the ’80s streetwear of Do the Right Thing to the royal regalia of Coming 2 America. Her work on Marvel’s Black Panther and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever not only brought Afrofuturism to the mainstream, but also made her the first Black winner of an Oscar in costume design and the first Black woman to win two Academy Awards in any category. In 2021, she became the second-ever costume designer to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In this definitive book, Carter shares her origins–recalling a trip to the sporting goods store with Spike Lee to outfit the School Daze cast and a transformative moment stepping inside history on the set of Steven Spielberg’s Amistad. She recounts anecdotes from dressing the greats: Eddie Murphy, Samuel L. Jackson, Angela Bassett, Halle Berry, Chadwick Boseman, and many more. She describes the passion for history that inspired her period pieces–from Malcolm X to What’s Love Got to Do With It–and her journey into Afrofuturism.

MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios by Joanna Robinson

The unauthorized, behind-the-scenes story of the stunning rise—and suddenly uncertain reign—of the most transformative cultural phenomenon of our time: the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel Entertainment was a moribund toymaker not even twenty years ago. Today, Marvel Studios is the dominant player both in Hollywood and in global pop culture. How did an upstart studio conquer the world? In MCU, beloved culture writers Joanna Robinson, Dave Gonzales, and Gavin Edwards draw on more than a hundred interviews with actors, producers, directors, and writers to present the definitive chronicle of Marvel Studios and its sole, ongoing production, the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

David Lynch: A Retrospective by Ian Nathan

From his experimental shorts of the 1960s to feature films like EraserheadThe Elephant ManBlue Velvet and Mulholland Drive — not forgetting the award-winning TV series Twin Peaks — David Lynch, pop culture icon, cult figure, film industry outsider and master filmmaker, has pushed the boundaries of cinematic storytelling. He is a true artist in a realm of pretenders — an American great — who can take his place alongside Jackson Pollack, Andy Warhol or Steven Spielberg. This is a portrait of an enchanting presence: eminently reasonable yet driven, boyishly shy yet a towering force on set, an interviewee of rare clarity who never gives the game away. Lynch is quirky, there is no doubt about that, but it takes an ironclad determination to get any film made, let alone films so uniquely his own.

The Path to Paradise: A Francis Ford Coppola Story by Sam Wasson

Francis Ford Coppola is one of the great American dreamers, and his most magnificent dream is American Zoetrope, the production company he founded in San Francisco years before his gargantuan success, when he was only thirty. Through Zoetrope’s experimental, communal utopia, Coppola attempted to reimagine the entire pursuit of moviemaking. Now, more than fifty years later, despite myriad setbacks, the visionary filmmaker’s dream persists, most notably in the production of his decades in the making film and the culmination of his utopian ideals, Megalopolis. Granted total and unprecedented access to Coppola’s archives, conducting hundreds of interviews with the artist and those who have worked closely with him, Sam Wasson weaves together an extraordinary portrait.

The Fatal Alliance: A Century of War On Film by David Thomson

In this moral conundrum that ponders how much moviegoers enjoy depictions of violence on a grand scale, an acclaimed film critic turns his attention to war movies, exploring how war and cinema in the 20th century became inextricably linked, transforming civilian experience of war-and history itself-for millions around the globe.

Joe, Adult Services & Acquisitions

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