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Minding Movies: Observations on the Art, Craft, and Business of Filmmaking [Kindle Edition]

David Bordwell , Kristin Thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson are two of America’s preeminent film scholars. You would be hard pressed to find a serious student of the cinema who hasn’t spent at least a few hours huddled with their seminal introduction to the field—Film Art, now in its ninth edition—or a cable television junkie unaware that the Independent Film Channel sagely christened them the “Critics of the Naughts.” Since launching their blog Observations on Film Art in 2006, the two have added web virtuosos to their growing list of accolades, pitching unconventional long-form pieces engaged with film artistry that have helped to redefine cinematic storytelling for a new age and audience.

Minding Movies presents a selection from over three hundred essays on genre movies, art films, animation, and the business of Hollywood that have graced Bordwell and Thompson’s blog. Informal pieces, conversational in tone but grounded in three decades of authoritative research, the essays gathered here range from in-depth analyses of individual films such as Slumdog Millionaire and Inglourious Basterds to adjustments of Hollywood media claims and forays into cinematic humor. For Bordwell and Thompson, the most fruitful place to begin is how movies are made, how they work, and how they work on us. Written for film lovers, these essays—on topics ranging from Borat to blockbusters and back again—will delight current fans and gain new enthusiasts.

Serious but not solemn, vibrantly informative without condescension, and above all illuminating reading, Minding Movies offers ideas sure to set film lovers thinking—and keep them returning to the silver screen.

Product Description


"Academic programs continue to churn out professors who continue to assign books by Bordwell and Thompson that open eyes, ears, and minds, and sometimes rock worlds." -New York Times "The husband-wife team of film critics and scholars teach at the University of Wisconsin, publish books, maintain an indispensable and routinely astonishing blog, and lecture regularly at film festivals around the world.... Between their books and their blog, Bordwell and Thompson publish more original, engrossing, often startling work in a year than most critics manage in a lifetime." -Independent Film Channel"

About the Author

David Bordwell is the Jacques Ledoux Professor of Film Studies Emeritus, and Kristin Thompson is an honorary fellow in the Department of Communication, both at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Together, they are the authors of Film Art: An Introduction and Film History: An Introduction, in addition to several books written individually. Their blog, Observations on Film Art, can be found at

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3493 KB
  • Print Length: 312 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press (15 Mar. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00511MRFY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #675,180 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars My Opinion 23 Jun. 2011
Having read only a few of the articles so far, I think that this book would be useful for a Film Studies student, as the range of themes is quite varied and the authors are well known for producing excellent film studt books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very readable 17 Jun. 2011
By Belish
Once again a very readable and easily understood book from Bordwell and Thomson. A series of essays/blogs that cover practically every aspect of film. Thought provoking and stimulating.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant blend of cinematic topics 11 May 2011
By Shawn McKenna - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have been a fan of David Bordwell's writing since reading his excellent book on Hong Kong movies Planet Hong Kong (2003) several years ago. I have also been following his and his wife Kristin Thompson's blog the last few years as well. I have found his writing style on movies a sagacious mix of academic interpretation, technical and mainstream appreciation. He has a love of cinema that covers such a vast array of areas that he promotes the sublime as well as the ridiculous. But it is his mixture of professor fastidiousness and fan-boy playfulness that makes his essays educational and fun.

Minding Movies is a collection of essays from both Bordwell and Thompson that were originally written for their blog and chosen for this book because "they reflect the blog's range and some recurring concerns." For those who have read the entries, there is not much new here aside from a preface. But for those fans of the pro-tactile form it is a good summation of the blog with all the pluses of random finger access. The book is organized into six parts: The Business, Writing About Movies, Film As Art, Storytelling And Style, Films, and Into The Future with several essays under each section.

The Business part has six essays which discuss, of course, the business side of the movie industry. This is an area of great interest to popular periodicals but often gets waylaid by academia. My favorite section is next with the four essays in Writing About Movies. I think budding film reviewers and critics will get the most out of these essays. One of my favorite statements is when he gave the formula for critical writing: "ideas + information + opinion + good or great writing." I quite agree when he states "...the problem may be that film criticism, in both print and the net, is currently short on information and ideas." I would have liked to see more than three essays in the third section Film As Art, but if you are not satisfied with that you can always get their book Film Art: An Introduction which is in it's 9th edition.

In the second-half of the book we start off with Storytelling And Style a very strong section with eight essays. Screenwriters will find these most valuable to read. I find Kristen's discussion of the four-part structure as opposed to the overused (especially by lazy writers) "three-act structure" most agreeable. How many times have you read about "the third act" no matter how long the film is and how it is structured? The Films section uses Cloverfield, A History of Violence, Eastern Promises, Shirin, Babel, Slumdog Millionaire ("Slumdogged by the Past" is one of his most famous blogs partially because of his favorable stance on the film and it is one of my favorite entries), Ratatouille, and Inglourious Basterds to not only go over those films but to branch out into a plethora of topics. And rounding out the book is Into The Future with three essays that looks at possible upcoming changes on our viewing habits, media technology and how no matter what changes some things stay the same.

A theme that runs throughout the book is the debunking of common myths that are perpetrated by journalists of cinema such as "We can best understand cinema by seeing it as a reflection of society" and "New movie-image killing the movies." An approach used in such essays here as "World Rejects Hollywood Blockbusters?", "Crix Nix Variety Tics", "Movies Still Matter" and "The Celestial Multiplex" takes a published piece proclaiming a phony platitude and pummels it. I am often amazed on how much false information is spread about cinema from writers, sometimes it is disingenuous, but for the most part I feel it is lack of knowledge and laziness (I have been guilty of this several times by quoting a critic with some factoid only to find out that it is false).

I heartily recommend this book to cinephiles. There is much to glean from the clear and concise writing even if you do not always agree with their viewpoints. But their enthusiasm and knowledge for the vast subject should compensate for any disagreements (like if you like The Dark Knight, dislike either Slumdog Millionaire or Inglourious Basterds or disagree with the anti-copyright statements in "Take My Film, Please"). You will also be a smarter moviegoer for reading this. But still check their blog.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On What's Happening to Movies Today 7 April 2012
By James W. Cortada - Published on
This book is a selection of some of the blogs the authors write roughly twice a week. The truth is, the blog has now become a massive and one of the best sources of insights on both the history and current evolution of movies, audiences, and its industry. This book is like an apetizer--delicious, well presented, and hints of all the other stuff they have written about. This is a really good read and is very well informed. Definitely a Five Star performance.
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars 16 Nov. 2014
By Xicalicious - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bought it for class and it came as expected.
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