As geeks, we are accustomed to often being the smartest people in the room. That’s not so much a brag as it is the fact that the things we care about, we care about intensely. So we usually know a lot about them. However, there are times when a topic comes up that may elude you, just a bit.
Enter DK’s excellent series, Big Ideas Simply Explained. The collection, soon to total a dozen books, looks at everything from sociology to Shakespeare and either provide easy-to-read foundations on subjects you’re fuzzy on to fast, fun to read refreshers for those you’ve just lost touch with.
The latest book in the best-selling series is The Movie Book and it’s an excellent example of what these books have to offer. Packed in the 350 fact-rich pages is a soup-to-nuts synopsis of what the book’s four authors have deemed the 100 greatest movies of our times.
The list isn’t backfilled with recent cinematic efforts. Rather, the book also serves as a class in film history, breaking the 100 films into six different broad categories (visionaries, black & white, angels and monsters) that encompass the entire timeline of moving pictures.
These themes will carry you from era to era of film, examining the work and choices of great directors — Méliees to Welles to De Sica to Kubrick — and ending up with the likes of Tarantino, Miyazaki, Chan-wook and del Toro.
Each film is analyzed, providing all the standard information like writer, director, and stars, but also tacking on other films that influenced the entry and those that came later and were clearly influenced by that movie. There are photos and memorable quotes on these pages, as well as memorabilia from the films. Infographics tie together important themes or relationships and each movie’s entry presents a brief synopsis, as well as some recommendations for other, related movies to watch.
Any list that aspires to list the best of anything ends up with a lot of runners-up and The Movie Book honestly presents more than a dozen pages of movies that didn’t make the list. Like the other books in the series, The Movie Book is a great refresher for films you haven’t seen in a while and an even better resource for populating your watchlist with shows you may have missed.
Disclosure: GeekDad was sent a copy of this book for review purposes.