The negative reviews of Robert Stan's 'Film Theory: An Introduction' are right to say that the book is predominantly theoretical, in that it provides a survey of theory on film.
So, if you want something more concerned with film technique (camera shots, sound, production), then perhaps look elsewhere.
However, this book does provide a comprehensive, extensive account of Film theory, surveying the biggest movements in European philosophy, and providing some examples along the way - though, as I said, it is less about applying these theories (though they should, no doubt, stimulate some sort of response in you - "Ah, that's an interesting way of considering Citizen Kane!" etc.) than considering these developments themselves, which is very interesting itself. Then again, it depends on what you are looking for.
Stan covers, amongst others, the Russian Formalists, Auteurism, Structuralism and Poststructuralism, Psychoanalysis, Feminism, Queer Theory, Cultural studies, Phenomenology, Intertextuality, Postcolonial theory, Postmodernism, the theories of Gilles Deleuze, and new developments in digital cinema.
It is very comprehensive, the chapters are around 10-12 pages long, written clearly (he defines terms, considers other interpretations, considers their impact and their links between each other).
This is an excellent intro to a complex subject. I liked its layout, general approach and practicality. We use it in combination with Kochberg's Intro to Documentary Film ... the link works and will again next year.
During the last 20 years or so film theory has been revolutionized by cognitive theory which has attempted to apply what is actually known of our cognitive processes - rather than what previous theorists had plucked out of thin air - to the study of film.
This has resulted in a hysterical and reactionary backlash from the anti-cognitivists as illustrated by Stam's accusation here that cognitive theorists profess a "touching faith in reason (after Auschwitz) and science(after Hiroshima)."
Yes, right: the expectation that film theory should recognise what is actually KNOWN about the brain is JUST THE SAME as cheerleading the Holocaust and the atomic bombings of Japan.
It's a despicable slander on the cognitive movement but exactly what you'd expect from a dying discipline.
So called theorists blubber about completely useless theories that interest only academics. That is why these people have ended into universities. They cannot shoot a film, can only talk about them, because they are useless in general... AVOID THIS BOOK AT ALL COST!!!