The 12-Hour Film Expert: Everything You Need To Know About Movies

Rowman & Littlefield. Jun. 2024. 248p. ISBN 9781538173428. $34. FILM
Noah Charney (The 12-Hour Art Expert) and his film seminar developer/facilitator father, James (Madness at the Movies), team up to help readers watch films thoughtfully, encouraging a focus on the industry’s history and path-breaking productions rather than treating films as passive entertainment. They select movies from the U.S. and abroad and across a variety of genres. Each of the book’s 12 chapters is designed to be an hour’s worth of reading. Categories include the invention of film, silent movies, classics, Westerns, film noir, comedies, musicals, suspense, horror, action, sci-fi/fantasy, and international auteur-centered art films. That means it leaves out films about war, documentaries, and movies with animation components, but there’s a “Movie Playlist” of additional titles at the end. Readers will learn about establishing shots, montages, sight gags, fade-outs, and frontal positioning. Highlight of the book are its insights. For example, silent films are only mum regarding human voices, not music and sound effects; comedies denote happy endings rather than humor; and to maintain an audience’s interest, heroes require some imperfections and villains some virtues.
VERDICT This gateway book will deepen readers’ appreciation of milestone movies. A variety of readers, not just film fans, will want to peruse this engaging title.
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