(*homocinematically inclined)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Off the Shelf: Holiday Gift Guide 2011

With the holidays fast approaching, here are some new books that would make great gifts for all the cinematically inclined on your list... or yourself!

For the sci-fi fan: Filled with enough facts and figures on the creation of one of the most popular science fiction movies of all time to weigh down the Nostromo, Alien Vault: The Definitive Story of the Making of the Film(Ian Nathan, Voyageur Press) is a must have for all Alien aficiandos. The weighty tome features director Ridley Scott’s own annotated storyboards, Polaroids and script pages; the elegant but disturbing concept artwork of H.R. Giger; costume designs by Moebius; and ten meticulously reproduced artifacts, enclosed in vellum envelopes, for readers to remove and examine more closely.

For the Twi-hard: Blood-suckers on screen are all the rage of late, so it's not surprising that a fourth edition of Alain Silver and James Ursini's The Vampire Film(Limelight Editions) was unearthed earlier this year. Now subtitled "From Nosferatu to True Blood", this newly updated and expanded volume contains an enclycopedic listing of vampire movies and television programs and is chock-full of full color (mostly red) photos. The book is structured thematically, incorporating vampire films of all eras into chapters on vampire lore, male and female vampires, Dracula, and more.

For the aspiring screenwriter: If you think Hollywood films can be formulaic, screenwriter and film fanatic Todd Klick proves it in his new book Something Startling Happens: The 120 Story Beats Every Writer Needs to Know(Michael Wiese Productions). A "how to" guide on how to write the next great screenplay, Klick does a minute-by-minute breakdown of classic and contemporary films to reveal the story telling technique that drives great movies, from Star Wars to Tootsie to The Six Sense to The Godfather. "Good movies do the exact same thing, across the board, in succession, during each and every minute. Doesn't matter if it's minute 1 or minute 101. Even if one movie ends at minute 85 and the next ends at 120, they still abide by this strict, minute-by-minute blueprint," says Klick.

For the classics connoisseur: Chronicling the 50 newest titles added to the National Film Registry in the past two years, Daniel Eagan's Americas Film Legacy: 2009-2010(Continuum Books) shines the spotlight on such favorites as Dog Day Afternoon, Grey Gardens, The Muppet Movie and Pillow Talk, as well as such lesser-known gems as Lonesome, Precious Images and Quasi at the Quackadero.

And speaking of the NFR, their 2012 Movie Poster Wall Calendar(Universe Publishing) is also available. Next year's edition includes poster art for such classics as It's a Wonderful Life, The Invisible ManThe Maltese Falcon, North by Northwest, Singin' in the Rain and The Wizard of Oz.

Click on the links above to order these books from