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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Movies that matter
Excellent book that gives you hundreds of movies that really do matter, of course this is not an exhaustive work and there will be films that you think should be in there that are not and vice versa there will be movies in there that you will disagree with their inclusion, but on the whole it is a book that hits the target and is very well written and presented. A must...
Published on 7 Feb 2009 by Amazon Customer

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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Halliwell's, but not as we know it.
Regular Halliwell's readers beware, the famous film guide has been pared to the bone. As the introduction states, the ever increasing size and weight of previous editions and the rise of the internet as an alternative for film reviews has led to radical changes, with the number of reviews in this edition only numbering approx 2,800 compared to over 24,000 in last...
Published on 16 Oct 2008 by D. J. Stewart


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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Halliwell's, but not as we know it., 16 Oct 2008
By 
D. J. Stewart - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Halliwell's The Movies that Matter (Paperback)
Regular Halliwell's readers beware, the famous film guide has been pared to the bone. As the introduction states, the ever increasing size and weight of previous editions and the rise of the internet as an alternative for film reviews has led to radical changes, with the number of reviews in this edition only numbering approx 2,800 compared to over 24,000 in last year's.
So what has been kept? 350 of the past year's new releases, 2,000 from the last 20 years, and 500 notable films from pre-1988. Several films have been given new reviews, and although the format remains relatively unchanged, the drastic reduction has allowed for much bigger print size, making the book (with only half as many pages as last year and much lighter) easier on the eyes.
There have been a couple of editions, a top 10 films by genre list at the back and 10 well written essays on various film topics are scattered throughout the book, but whether this will make up for the deletion of almost 90% of film reviews is doubtful.
Halliwell's is still an essential purchase for any film buff, but it can no longer claim to be "the only film guide that matters." The drastic cuts made leave the Time Out Film Guide as probably the most comprehensive film guide currently on the market. Alternatively, movie connoisseurs may wish to purchase (or hang on to) last year's Halliwell's, it seems it may be the last of its kind.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars from the best to the worst, 27 Jan 2010
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This review is from: Halliwell's The Movies that Matter (Paperback)
Halliwell's (until recent editions) used to be the undisputed authoratitive, comprehensive and definitive guide to the movies. But unfortunately, under the new editorial regime, these attributes have successively been compromised at the expense of brevity. This latest edition has been scaled down to the point where it has effectively become useless. For example, many of the older 4 star films which remain historically significant have now been ommitted - a fundamental oversight that undermines the publisher's claims for the guide's greatness. There is, for instance, no longer any room for films of the stature of, amongst others, 'Being There', 'The Tin Drum' and 'The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith'. This latest edition is a travesty.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sadly this is no longer the important film guide for film enthusiasts!, 27 Oct 2008
By 
Paul Bradley "Paul Bradley" (Greenwich, London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Halliwell's The Movies that Matter (Paperback)
'Halliwell's Film Guide' had been regarded as the bible of all film guides. It's author, Leslie Halliwell, was a very conservative film critic but he was often consistent with his criticism but his rather savage reviews of many modern films exposed his viewpoint as rather myopic. Leslie Halliwell would not have given any time to pretentious arthouse film makers like David Gretten has done in this shortened and slickly presented version. Gone are many of the films from yesteryear from what was the Golden Age of Cinema and a welcome has been given to the works of contemporary indie film makers such as Michael Haneke and Paul Thomas Anderson. The book has become less of a valuable guide and more of a collection of anecdotes from a Daily Telegraph arts critic whose entries can be a tad confusing, for example,'Ben-Hur' is referred to as a film classic but the movie ratings are rather low. 'From Russia With Love', possibly the best of the Bond films, receives only two stars now while the overrated arthouse flick 'The Piano Teacher' receives three stars (it originally had received none). For customers who argue that we should move on from the Halliwell style of reviewing should ask themselves then why his name is used in the title of the book? One point is certain that this edition is no longer the important film guide for genuine film enthusiasts.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A book that no longer matters, 20 Oct 2009
This review is from: Halliwell's The Movies that Matter (Paperback)
Oh dear. This is awful to anyone who favoured Halliwell's in its original and updated form. It is hard to see that this pared down version could satisfy anyone but the most casual and undemanding user. It no longer allows the reader to ask the question - should I see this film? - since most are not covered. For the same reason, you can't look up a film you've seen or wish to recall. Halliwell's was THE home reference guide, even after John Walker took it over (albeit with increasingly tiny writing).

Halliwell wrote his brief entries with such colour and economy that they instantly told you so much about the film, whatever his or your own prejudices. Fortunately, these entries have not been rewritten for those that appear, but many thousands of entries have gone.

I'll have to keep my last version, or buy the Radio Times Film Guide - which seems to come closest to being the new guide of choice. There is still a market for these guides, despite the internet, but the new "Halliwell's" doesn't fit. What a shame.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Halliwell's - only some of The Movies That Matter, 20 Dec 2008
By 
L. E. May "Lester May" (Camden Town, London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Halliwell's The Movies that Matter (Paperback)
Halliwell's certainly was the only film guide that mattered, covering some 24,000 films and offering a star system that listed (in the 2008 edition) 298 four-star and 863 three-star films; the combined list of films became, over the years, the core of my target list of films to see and it has served me very well.

I don't want to repeat the comments of other reviewers, many of which I share. This new book is more manageable and easier to read, for sure, but it is a shadow of its forbears and not, as it stands, "The Movies That Matter". It does list many great films and, of course, each editor will have his own style, so readers will always find reason to disagree.

I would like to see the next edition carry the full reviews of all the films that were listed in past editions as three-star and four-star films: it was wrong to delete so many of them. It was these lists that alerted me to many gems of cinema I might otherwise have missed. Then this book might be "The Movies That Matter (including some dross)". In fact, I'd rather see the dross (the one and no-star films) removed - one might then use this guide as a quality threshold: if a film is not listed, it's probably not a "movie that matters".

The removal of foreign-language titles is a big mistake and is the sort of dumbing down to be deplored. Some readers may be surprised to find that "The Four Hundred Blows" is in French, with sub-titles! Other alternative titles are also not listed and this will present problems when searching further for the movie, e.g. one needs to know that the film "Ivansxtc" is sometimes known as "Ivans XTC".

The order of listing films needs better editing. Some films that start with the definite article are listed under T; most, happily, are listed as if the definite article was not present. Other mistakes I've found, and I have fed back by Email to the editorial director.

For someone new to film, this guide still provides a good starting point for films worth seeing. Those interested in knowing more about films from the 1920s, 30s, 40s and 50s, should try to obtain a copy of a past edition of Halliwell's, listing some 23,000 or 24,000 films. I guess my saying this is a sad report on the new volume; rather than passing on the old copy to others, the last 'proper' edition must sit on my bookshelf for ever!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Some of the movies that matter and some that don't!, 8 Jan 2010
This review is from: Halliwell's The Movies that Matter (Paperback)
An American bias, but even some of my favourites, Vanishing Point, Two Lane Blacktop aren't there and rubbish like The Bucket List is?

How can An American Werewolf in London, The Italian Job and The Titfield Thunderbolt be missing and The Sex Lives of Potato Men included? Bizarre!

Loads of good stuff omitted- which I can understand as there isn't room for everything, but equally I can't quite work out why some utter dross gets a mention. Any list of this nature will be subjective but some entries demonstrate poor taste!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pretentious and Biased, 24 July 2009
This review is from: Halliwell's The Movies that Matter (Paperback)
When i bought this, i was hoping for an accurate guide to which films are worth watching, and which to avoid. Sadly, what i found was a dated and biased mess. I consider myself able to apriciate any movie, i understand how a movie compares to others of it's age, and others of it's genre. Unfortunately, this has a bias against modern movies, and in favour of drama drama. I can tell a good drama from a bad one, a good action movie from a bad one and a good horror from a bad one, and each should be considered in their own terms. As far as this book is concenred, if it isnt a drama, still review it as one, giving it a mediocre review if it is old, and a bad one if it is modern. The occasional exeptions tend to be based on popularity, another weakness of this book. Overall, stick with critics of their own genre and don't waste your time with this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Desecration of a classic, 24 Sep 2011
By 
C. A. Thomas "Lover of the Damned" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Halliwell's The Movies that Matter (Paperback)
This book was the death of the Halliwell's Film Guide Franchise. It is pompous, sketchy, and omits films which deserve attention and demand reappraisal. The only comparison I can make is that if you wander around the centre of a city you will see its impressive highlights, but if you wander down the side streets you may find something quirky and unusual. This book strips out the quirky and unusual and bombards you with ill informed
bombast. Absolute rubbish for anyone seriously interested in exploring the history of film and irritating in the extreme.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The jury is out, 3 Nov 2008
By 
Charles "mrfreedom" (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Halliwell's The Movies that Matter (Paperback)
Well, Halliwell's is back in a much different form. This is a film guide that was once upon a time the only one and for a time the best, if a bit Blimpy. Then creator Leslie Halliwell died and John Walker took over, misunderstood the star system and gave all sorts of arty drivel stupidly high marks. This is the first proper guide under Telegraph film critic David Gritten and it's a mixed bag.
Positive things first: it looks good, is well written (Gritten has cleared up a few of the inconsistencies from previous editions), easy to handle and, on balance, better than its immediate predecessors.
In comparison to previous editions there are very few reviews here - probably ensuring good charity shop sales for old editions. The criteria for choosing what what's in here is a trifle curious though, and might dissuade people from buying what is only `a bit' of a film guide. So we get two Lord of the Rings films, not three. The Spider-Man films? Number one and three, and strangely not number two. Star Wars? Four of the six. Curiouser and curiouser.
The four-star rated films have been revised, and it's two cheers for Gritten. Out go all sorts of barely watchable rubbish like Fassbinder's movies, Wings of Desire, Ivan's Childhood and others. But he brings in several eccentric new four starrers - The Long Day Closes, The Assassination of Jesse James, Gun Crazy, Michael Clayton, anyone? Grease?!
Talking of star ratings, there's still the chance to pick out your favourite silly ratings. For me: DePalma's horrible Scarface, a film that makes the planet a slightly worse place by its very presence, three stars; the dreadful Adam Sandler comedy Click, two stars; Allen's minor Broadway Danny Rose, three stars. But there aren't quite as many bad calls as before.
He also seems to be determined to slate recent Oscar winners like Crash, Chicago and Million Dollar Baby, and defiantly cuts his predecessor's ratings down. It reminds you that this book is merely the views of ONE man, one newspaper critic - and hardly an all-wise oracle on which to rely.
Maybe this new guide is a brave try, maybe it's another chapter in the decline of Halliwell's. Will it please those who buy it? We shall see.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This Book is an Insult to Leslie Halliwell, 21 Oct 2009
By 
Daniel Oconnor (BAYSIDE, NEW YORK United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Halliwell's The Movies that Matter (Paperback)
I thought this book would be something like the Halliwell's 1000, 3000 or so of the most important films in history or at least the ones the authors felt that should be viewed by film buffs. No it is the new edition of their review guide but now dropped from over 20000 reviews to 3000. 1 tenth the reviews are from last year and all but 500 are from the last 20 years. Seems the films are hard to view except maybe at a revival theater. Isn't there something called DVD out there. Besides the films are too old and as for Mr. Halliwell's opinions from the older versions well he's like inconsequential now. Star Wars and Harry Potter pictures (all big hits) are not considered necessary but laughable junk and bombs like Showgirls and Striptease are more important in the long run. I don't write reviews (only one on the American site) but I am so boiled up over this book. And the authors are concerned that everyone researches everything on the internet that in the future there will be no more books, only older people have the audacity still to refer to books. What will the publishers do, it's such a predicament. The book doesn't even rate 1 star it's only good as a doorstop.
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Halliwell's The Movies that Matter by David Gritten (Paperback - 20 Oct 2008)
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