Film Book round up
Former stand-up comedian Robert Sellers hops across the pond to detail wild and fast times of Hollywood’s original bad boys with Bad Boy Drive (Preface) ●●●. Following on from his previous opus Hellraisers: The Life and Inebriated Times of Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O’Toole and Oliver Reed, Sellers turns his attention to Marlon Brando, Dennis Hopper (pictured), Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson. It’s hard not to get swept up by Sellers lust for these tales of nihilism and bad behaviour. His easy and gutsy writing style helps create an entertaining if sometimes scurrilous portrait of an industry out of control and off its head.
Liverpool based filmmaker and writer Alex Cox’s typically idiosyncratic 1,000 Ways to Die (Kamera) ●●●● offers up a director's dissection of the spaghetti western. Chaptered by year (from the late 1960s to late 70s) and sub sectioned by evaluations of individual films, this is a work of passion underpinned by minute attention to detail and allusion to other films in and outwith the spaghetti canon.
Colin Odell and Michelle Le Blanc's Studio Ghibli (Kamera) ●●● is the first proper English language book evaluation of the magical animated films of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata (Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, etc). Though slender and slightly too narrow in scope (it would have been nice to learn more about the traditions under which these filmmakers trained), this is a valuable beginner’s guide to their complex and beautiful world.
Ian Halpin’s Hollywood Undercover (Mainstream) ●●● is an irreverent sneak behind the scenes in Tinseltown with the author blagging his way in and out of all kinds of situations. In this age of Borat and Bruno this is never quite as palm sweat inducing as it should be but is diverting enough.
Fans of crusading black film actor Sidney Poitier may also enjoy his book Life Beyond Measure (Pocket Books) ●●●. Subtitled 'Letters to My Great Granddaughter', in it Poitier remembers a life well lived in reflective and elegant prose. Poitier is actually a fine raconteur whose company is worth savouring.