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Leonard Maltin's Movie and Video Guide 2004 (Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide (Mass Market)) Mass Market Paperback – 28 Aug 2003
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With more than eighteen thousand capsule film reviews and three hundred new entries, this updated version of this classic movie and video guide offers readers a comprehensive reference to the world of film, including more than six thousand DVD titles, along with valuable information on performers,
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Halliwells was always my film bible - it stalled badly when it nosedived from its huge chunk of superb reference in 2008 (1396 pages, 24,000 movies) down to an 'easy read, concise' effort. It's not been published since.
It is a fool indeed who takes the word of just one individual; whether they be critic or friend when it comes to something as personal and subjective as film. I'm not particularly perturbed if one reviewer in one publication (or many) disagree with my own feelings or that of others as long as there is some rational reasoning behind it (which actually DOES include simply not liking it)
I do like a volume that I can pick up, make notes and marks in (& my own scores!). Some suggested Time Out's Guide but that seemed high on film buffery, geeky trivia and details I'd never need, but no opinions as to what a film was actually like.
So, to this edition of Mr Maltin's. Yes, I was intrigued as to what a Yank would think of our (Brit) films, old & new. Yes, a few surprises but generally he covers neatly in just one or two sentences what he thinks of and how good or bad a film is. As others have pointed out, he is not swayed by budget, how big a star is, CGI or anything purely media driven. I like his scoring system, too.
I wouldn't be able to use his guide solely; if I wanted to know who composed the film score, for example, but that's what great about the internet. Because that's a fact, not a seasoned and professional opinion.
I did feel that the guide was lacking in many world cinema releases, though. On the plus side, whilst listing 17,000 movies it is exactly half the size of the last Halliwells and weighing much less and less than half the price (when Halliwells was available).
There were a few pages (half a dozen?) that had faded/uneven print - by no means unreadable but a reminder that this is in essence a large, budget paperback. But it's the contents that matter and if I can't find a superior alternative or if Halliwells gets back into doing a 2012 volume, I'll quite gladly stick with Mr Maltin. Using his own scoring system, I'd give Maltin's Guide 3.5 stars out of 4.
Now I have nothing against Maltin's reviews, when he does one. But that 'when' is a major proviso. I have not been keeping statistics, but my impression is that for every 10 films shown on TV and on which I would like some information, about half are not in Maltin's book.
I finally got the urge to write when Film4 this morning was showing something called 'The Well'. It does not exist according to Maltin, but BBC 95 gave it a thorough and helpful review.
It could be that a huge number of films have different titles in US, so that the missing films are reviewed in Maltin, but not under the title used by UK TV. In which case, perhaps, my comments only apply to UK readers. Many such books give lists of alternative titles, not Maltin.
Until his death, now over a quarter of a century ago, Halliwell's Guide was perfect. But when I saw a post-Halliwell Halliwell I was apalled at the nonsense those who had taken over were writing in his name. To my mind Barry Norman's BBC book is head and shoulders above the rest, I really cannot recommend Maltin's book.
So I consider Maltin to be an invaluable aid to TV viewing and thank you Amazon for making his Movie Guide available to me year after year.
I looked at Halliwell to expensive and Time out poor layout .
Leonard Maltin was well laid out good value for money
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