Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Hoberman, senior film critic at the Village Voice, posits in the preface to this erudite study that the switch from photographic to digital technology, along with the events of 9/11 (particularly as a visual spectacle), have irrevocably altered modern cinema. In Part I, he explores the impact of CGI, using films like The Matrix and Avatar as case studies to explore "The New Realness," and goes on to diagnose the "anxiety" inherent in 21st-century films. Part II explicitly examines the effect of the President Bush years on the state of the art, exploring the politics of film studio schedules, and the guilt of post-9/11 filmmakers, an artistic malaise corroborated by Adorno's notion that "He who imagines disasters in some way desires them." Finally, in Part III, Hoberman (Bridge of Light) provides "Notes Toward a Syllabus," 21 brief essays on "quintessentially twenty-first century motion pictures," including David Lynch's Inland Empire, Joe Swanberg's LOL, Julia Loktev's Day Night Day Night, and Lars von Trier's Dogville. An invaluable resource for students of contemporary cinema, Hoberman's treatise will nevertheless prove an enjoyable read for dedicated movie fans and cultural critics. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Review by Library Journal Review
A former film critic for the Village Voice, Hoberman (The Dream Life: Movies, Media, and the Mythology of the Sixties) reprises many of his previously written articles in this collection. One of his theses is that the growing use of computer-generated imagery (CGI) in cinema has created a new cinema for a new century. Since its first sporadic use in the 1980s, CGI has led to the proliferation of special effects-laden films that might have been prohibitively expensive for the traditionally photographed movie. While Hoberman has not rewritten any of the essays, he has updated them with both copious footnotes and some new material, which is in boldface text. The discussion focuses on films produced during the George W. Bush presidency, and Hoberman organizes the book by each year of Bush's tenure. Most of the films Hoberman discusses at some length are foreign or art-house films, and are not well-known to most American audiences. They include Dogville, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, Inland Empire, Flight of the Red Balloon, and Hunger. VERDICT Whether or not readers agree with all of Hoberman's strongly voiced opinions, the book is crisply written and offers many interesting insights-it will afford knowledgeable general readers and film buffs much to savor.-Roy Liebman, Los Angeles P.L. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.