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Halliwell's Film Guide 2008 Paperback – 8 Oct 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1408 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Entertainment; 23rd edition edition (8 Oct. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007260806
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007260805
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 6.6 x 26.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 199,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'I just wish I could be as concise, accurate, well balanced and full of love for the movies as Halliwell’s manages to be year after year.' Simon Bates, Classic FM, Christmas 2005

‘At the end of the day, Halliwell’s is top of the pile.’ Film Review

‘The King Kong of movie reference works.’ Mail on Sunday

‘The indispensable reference guide for the avid moviegoer’s bookshelf.’ Empire

‘Often imitated, never bettered.’ Guardian

About the Author

David Gritten, new to this 2008 edition, has been writing about and reviewing films for the Daily Telegraph for 15 years, having interviewed the likes of Scorsese, Spielberg, Streep, Almodovar, Clooney and Hanks. He is currently chairman of the London Film Critics' Circle.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mr. B. Tabberer on 8 Dec. 2007
Format: Paperback
As a massive fan of the Halliwell's Film, Video and DVD Guide series, when I saw the slap-dash black sticker bearing David Gritten's name hastily stuck over former editor John Walker's name, I opened it with a certain sense of trepidation. Upon reading the introduction I was somewhat nonplused to see Babel and The Last King of Scotland cited as movies of the year, two films that I had found somewhat disappointing; yet pleasantly suprised to see Children Of Men and The Departed get a mention. As I turned to the back pages to see the three and four star films listed alphabetically my bemusement grew. Seeing The Good Shepherd amongst the three star films was the biggest shock, as this was a film that, although interesting and well shot, was in dire need of better editing and more suitable casting. Other suprise recipients of the three star award include Meet the Robinsons and The Host, perfectly good films on their own terms, but of great historical significance? I think not. While some films were rightly lauded: The Lives of Others is deservedly awarded the sole four star rating, and Pan's Labyrinth, Little Miss Sunshine and Volver all get the three stars that they merit; some of the most remarkable films of the year get sadly overlooked: Apocalypto, 28 Weeks Later and Zodiac share only two stars amonsts them. Further to this, Gritten has failed to honour stand-out performances by representing the actors name in italics.
Yet despite these criticisms, I feel that Gritten has managed to retain in some measure the essence of what makes Halliwell's a superior film guide. The list of noteworthy movies of the year is characteristically short, the intoduction is interesting and relevant and the reviews, although not always as pithy, are informative and well written.
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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful By JC1981 on 12 Oct. 2007
Format: Paperback
Hey guys,

Just wondering why John Walker has been taken off duties for this edition of Halliwell's? I found his reviews as good as could be expected while certainly not as glib and dry as the legendary Mr. Halliwell. It was time for the editions to start recommending 4 star films again. Leslie Halliwell had gone over 20 years without giving maximum marks which was wonderfully stubborn of him but it harmfully dated the guidebook. Walker's reviews were more modern but still gloriously hard to please. My only complaint was that the editing was dreadful in the last few editions.

I've had a good flick through the new guide. It's impossible bad for a fan of the series. The new editor has forgotten to reward good performance or technical brilliance with italics as had been done before. He has also rated the mainstream films without any surprises. I think all the Oscar picture nominees get 3 stars. Meet the Robinsons, a very standard animation, gets the glorified 3 stars...?!? And the reviews are 10 times as long as previous reviews. I loved the sharp, cutting wit of the short critiques. If I want detailed reviews, I'll go onto the guardian's site.

Very disappointed. I'll have to search elsewhere for my next guidebook.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By N. Madle on 29 April 2008
Format: Paperback
As someone who has been buying and devouring Halliwell's since the first edition back in 1977, I find it disappointing to see Walker requesting that his name is removed from the credits - almost as disappointing as the disdain with which the publishers increasingly treat this once great movie bible. The two elements that set Halliwell's apart from the rest are the star rating system and the use of italics to denote outstanding performance. In the latest edition, the former is ill-used and the latter is dispensed with altogether.

Yes, Leslie Halliwell was a reactionary old grump who hated pretty much everything post 1969, but that was part of his charm, bless 'im. History has shown that he unfairly undervalued much of the 70s/80s output and John Walker's revisions were pretty welcome after Halliwell's untimely death. As an example, it was Walker who converted the superb 'Southern Comfort' from 0-star to 4-star rating, thus restoring some sanity. Like Halliwell, Walker's reviews were sharp and pithy and, other than the aforementioned sensible revisions, he tried to keep the spirit of Halliwell alive. The new reviewer is far more verbose and some of his decisions are questionable but I guess that's his prerogative.

Unfortunately, the biggest problem is that recent editions have tinkered with the format feverishly and taken away much of what made this guide something to be eagerly anticipated each year. The silly introduction of coloured film titles, the unhelpful addition of character names after each actor's name and the italicisation of the review section to distinguish it from the plot paragraph are all gimmicks too far. None have added any real value - quite the opposite.

But, above all, italicisation to reward outstanding performances by actors or creators is something that defines Halliwell's. With the 2008 edition, it appears even that sacred cow can be put out to pasture.

After thirty years, it could be time to find a new guide.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Mad about Movies on 1 Nov. 2007
Format: Paperback
What has happened to the entries, for the films that were released in 2006/07? In this current edition of the book, the new "reviews" no longer possess the italics (meant to mean an indication of merit in acting or technical aspects). It was this unique feature which helped set it aside from other film guides, and thus, helping to steer one, into looking out for something extra special, when viewing a film. Without this feature, the book lacks a certain something, and sadly, Halliwell's Film Guide, now looks just as bland as all the other guides, out there.
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