This is the kind of book that every film critic wants to write, and every film buff needs to have. Compiled with start-and-stop care over many years by David Thomson, the astoundingly prolific and smartly opinionated (what laypeople would call “idiosyncratic”) whose Biographical Dictionary of Film is another must-own, it’s little more than a massive and massively inviting introduction to a thousand films worth seeing. Starting with Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (described as “a kind of going-out-of-business sale at what was then Universal Studios”) and finishing up with Zabriskie Point (“It would have been so much more coherent if Antonioni had been free of script or actors”), the tome gives one plenty of reasons to keep the Netflix queue piled high with hundreds films you always meant to see, and excuses to avoid those you had been avoiding.
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