Do the Movies Have a Future? by David Denby

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Synopsis

In the second decade of the twenty-first century, the movies, once America’s primary popular art form, have become an endangered species. Do the Movies Have a Future? is a rousing and witty call to arms. In these sharp and engaging essays and reviews, New Yorker movie critic David Denby weighs in on “conglomerate aesthetics,” as embodied in the frenzied, weightless action spectacles that dominate the world’s attention, and “platform agnosticism,” the notion that movies can be watched on smaller and smaller screens: laptops, tablets, even phones. At the same time, Denby reaffirms that movies are our national theater, and in this exhilarating book he celebrates such central big movies as Avatar and The Social Network as well as small but resonant triumphs like There Will Be Blood and The Tree of Life.

Denby joyously celebrates what remains of the shared culture in romantic comedy, high school movies, and chick flicks; he assesses the expressive triumphs and failures of auteurs Quentin Tarantino, the Coen brothers, Pedro Almodóvar, and David Fincher. Refusing nostalgia, he mines the past for strength, examining the changing nature of stardom and the careers of Joan Crawford, Otto Preminger, and Victor Fleming, and the continuing self-invention of Clint Eastwood. And he recreates the excitement of reading two critics who embodied the film culture of their times, James Agee and Pauline Kael.

Wry, passionate, and incisive, Do the Movies Have a Future? is both a feast of good writing and a challenge to fight back. It is an essential guide for movie lovers looking for ammunition and hope.
 

About David Denby

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David Denby is a longtime film critic for "The New Yorker"; prior to that he was film critic for "New York" Magazine. He lives in New York City.
 
Published October 2, 2012 by Simon & Schuster. 368 pages
Genres: History, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Do the Movies Have a Future?

Kirkus Reviews

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Read full review > "A must for movie lovers and more proof that Denby's gifts are better displayed in a full-length text than in a short review."

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Kirkus Reviews

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Among Denby’s particular strengths are an impressive ability to understand and convey the way directors employ spatial relations to make artistic points and a concern for the moral and social implications of film—the belief that “the nation’s soul was on trial in its movies” that he ascribes to t...

Jul 15 2012 | Read Full Review of Do the Movies Have a Future?

Publishers Weekly

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New Yorker film critic Denby’s fascinating collection of essays on the business, the art, and the sacred rituals of movie making and movie watching explores what part film plays in our collective consciousness particularly in this new digital age.

Sep 10 2012 | Read Full Review of Do the Movies Have a Future?

USA Today

But brief salutes to the low-budget relationship-oriented genre known as mumblecore and the surprisingly satisfying yet digitally driven Rise of the Planet of the Apes feel insubstantial.The author does have timeliness on his side, given the just-ended weeks-long slowdown in ticket sales coupled ...

Oct 02 2012 | Read Full Review of Do the Movies Have a Future?

Bookmarks Magazine

At the same time, Denby reaffirms that movies are our national theater, and in this exhilarating book he celebrates such central big movies as Avatar and The Social Network as well as small but resonant triumphs like There Will Be Blood and The Tree of Life.

Oct 15 2012 | Read Full Review of Do the Movies Have a Future?

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