A great discussion of apocalyptic and catastrophic films, revealing their inherent criticism of Western capitalist ideology. Furious prose and angry theorizing makes this book a great read. I find Williams' readings and arguments wholly convincing, but do find his urge for us to be post-apocalyptic now before the catastrophe strikes to be slightly too utopian - but one may hope.
Bone is a great epic fantasy. What makes it work so well is Jeff Smith's superb balance between the intimate, personal stories of the characters and the grand scale of defeating evil. Because of this, we engage with the story lines and are pulled along into the grand story arc and feel the victories and defeats much more strongly than we otherwise would have.
The last book in Miéville's Bas-Lag trilogy, it is a worthy finale - even though the books are not connected. Miéville's images and metaphors are strong and almost hallucinatory in their power and the politics are as strong as ever.
An enjoyable non-sequel to Boneshaker, Dreadnought is a steampunk western with zombies rather than Indians. Nevertheless, the central plot device of the train journey ends up dragging at times but the finally is memorable and the denouement ties well into Boneshaker.
A historical view of spirit and ghost photography, Harvey's book contextualizes this practice in relation to religion, science and art, thereby pointing out several interesting aspects of spirit photography. The book's aim is descriptive and explanatory and achieves that purpose well, but could have benefited from being more analytical, such as the end reading of Dickens' ghosts in relation to spirit photography.
A continuation of his no less excellent The Architectural Uncanny, Vidler argues from the intersection of art and architecture. He traces how spatial understandings and conceptualizations have developed from the the 19th century till today, showing how space became 'ghosted' in much the same way Terry Castle showed how the human mind became ghosted. Proceeding from this powerful insight, Vidler discusses and analyzes how the human subject has changed in parallel with our understanding of space. Our anxieties over space has continually informed our understanding of our selves and vice versa.
Excellent study of the presence and meaning of voice in cinema. Chion develops many terms and concepts that are invaluable in the formal analysis of film, but goes beyond simply that, to discuss the significance and prominence of the human voice in general: "the presence of a human voice structures the sonic space around it."
A summary of his previous books on sound as well as an extension of them, this book is extremely insightful and captivating regarding not just the presence, but the meaning of sound in cinema. The word 'audio-vision' is simply meant to indicate that our perception of the cinematic image is constantly shaped, guided, contrasted and affected by sound in the cinema, just as sound is constantly affected by the image. Chion forcefully and elegantly argues that one cannot separate the two into distinct compartments, but need to deal with both simultaneously.
Well-researched and well-articulated work on haunted house films, neatly trying together not just different national cinemas (but mainly American), but also different cycles across the 20th and 21st centuries. Curtis analyzes many different films to reveal which cultural anxieties are activated and confronted in these films.
Fascinating work on the relationship between poetry and the house, especially in terms of the home. Home is concerned with familiarity and intimacy, but may also be confounding. Bachelard's main contention is that the house structures much of our consciousness and how we think about spaces and he finds this most clearly expressed in poetry, rather than any other cultural work. Definitely worth reading for anyone interested in our understanding of spaces.
Murakami weaves his amazing magic throughout the book, but the last third loses steam and becomes more convoluted than enchanting and fascinating. Yet, for the first two-thirds, the book is well worth the read.
Started out really strong and interesting, with some good characterization. Unfortunately, the second half fails and falls into banality and irrelevant sentimentalism. Simply stating that "life is worth living" doesn't really convince me....