New Books on Movies and TV for June

We have received a wide variety of new books on movies and TV programmes, including beautifully designed visual guidebooks for Rogue One, The Jungle Book and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Must-read titles are the biography of much-missed actress Carrie Fisher, as well as a history of Wellington’s iconic theatre BATS by Ken Duncum and Rebecca Rodden.

Syndetics book coverBats plays / Ken Duncum & Rebecca Rodden.
“Six seminal plays from Ken Duncum and Rebecca Rodden, whose playwriting partnership powered the vibrant theatre scene round Wellington’s BATS Theatre in the 1980s and 90s. Boldly inventive, darkly comic and ceaselessly imaginative, the plays collected here present a chilling one-woman vision of alienation (Polythene Pam); the comic and tragic impossibility of human connection (Truelove); an irresponsible punk couple horrified to find they’ve become parents to the Messiah (Flybaby); conjoined twins plunged into an off-kilter world of rampant advertising, animal terrorism and a perfume made from monkey semen (cult-classic JISM); a real-life 20th-century martyr tested to his limits in the afterlife by a vengeful gang of defrocked saints (The Temptations of St Max); and the not-so-quiet desperation of a fearful hoarder fighting to survive the night hours (Panic!). Supporting the plays are introductions and selected images from the writers and other BATS practitioners which vividly recapture a crucial time and place in New Zealand’s theatre history.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe princess diarist / Carrie Fisher.
“With these excerpts from her handwritten notebooks, The Princess Diarist is Fisher’s intimate and revealing recollection of what happened on one of the most famous film sets of all time–and what developed behind the scenes. Fisher also ponders the joys and insanity of celebrity, and the absurdity of a life spawned by Hollywood royalty, only to be surpassed by her own outer-space royalty. Laugh-out-loud hilarious and endlessly quotable, The Princess Diarist brims with the candor and introspection of a diary while offering shrewd insight into the type of stardom that few will ever experience.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe art of Rogue One, a Star Wars story / written by Josh Kushins ; forewords by Doug Chiang, Neil Lamont, and Gareth Edwards.
“This book is a visual chronicle of the Lucasfilm art department’s creation of new worlds, unforgettable characters, and newly imagined droids, vehicles, and weapons for the first movie in the Star Wars Story series — Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. In the same format and style as Abrams’ The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the book gives readers unprecedented access to hundreds of concept paintings, sketches, storyboards, matte paintings, and character, costume, and vehicle designs.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe art of The jungle book / written by Ellen Wolff ; foreword by Jon Favreau.
“Beautifully designed and packed with behind-the-scenes details, The Art of The Jungle Book provides an in-depth look at Disney’s latest film. In this finely crafted book, dazzling concept art, behind-the-scenes photography, CG designs, and more come together to highlight the visual spectacle of the film. Delving into the film’s interpretation of iconic Jungle Book elements, from beloved characters such as Baloo and Bagheera to the jungle itself, the book features full-color images and gorgeous double-page spreads to illustrate the magic behind the art of the film.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFantastic beasts and where to find them : the art of the film / Dermot Power ; foreword by Stuart Craig.
The Art of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, edited by Dermot Power, concept artist on the film, takes you on a magical journey through a design process every bit as wonderful as that encountered by Newt Scamander in the wizarding world. Bursting with hundreds of production paintings, concept sketches, storyboards, blueprints and matte paintings, and filled with unique insights about the filmmaking journey from Stuart Craig and the artists themselves, this superb book – officially licensed by Warner Bros. Consumer Products – presents a visual feast for readers, and will welcome fans of Harry Potter films into the world of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBorn a crime : stories from a South African childhood / Trevor Noah.
“Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTim Burton : the iconic filmmaker and his work / Ian Nathan.
“Tim Burton is one of the most popular and remarkable filmmakers of the last 30 years, being responsible for such films as Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Corpse Bride and Alice in Wonderland. He is famed for the visually arresting style of his films that combine with highly original storylines. A truly international filmmaker, Tim Burton has carved a reputation as one of the world’s greatest creative directors. This stunning treasury explores the influences on his development as a filmmaker and assesses how he has captured the fruits of his imagination on screen.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGeorge Lucas : a life / Brian Jay Jones.
“On May 25, 1977, a problem-plagued, budget-straining independent science-fiction film opened in a mere thirty-two American movie theaters. Conceived, written, and directed by a little-known filmmaker named George Lucas, the movie originally called The Star Wars quickly drew blocks-long lines, bursting box-office records and ushering in a new way for movies to be made, marketed, and merchandised. It is now one of the most adored-and successful-movie franchises of all time. Now, the author of the bestselling biography Jim Henson delivers a long-awaited, revelatory look into the life and times of the man who created Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Indiana Jones.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverI loved her in the movies : memories of Hollywood’s legendary actresses / Robert J. Wagner with Scott Eyman.
“In a career that has spanned more than sixty years Robert Wagner has witnessed the twilight of the Golden Age of Hollywood and the rise of television, becoming a beloved star in both media. During that time he became acquainted, both professionally and socially, with the remarkable women who were the greatest screen personalities of their day. Monroe, Gloria Swanson, Norma Shearer, Loretta Young, Joan Blondell, Irene Dunne, Rosalind Russell, Dorothy Lamour, Debra Paget, Jean Peters, Linda Darnell, Betty Hutton, Raquel Welch, Glenn Close, and the two women whom he ultimately married, Natalie Wood and Jill St. John.” (adapted from the book jacket)

Syndetics book coverTelevision : a biography / David Thomson.
“In just a few years, what used to be an immobile piece of living room furniture, which one had to sit in front of at appointed times in order to watch sponsored programming on a finite number of channels, morphed into a glowing cloud of screens with access to a near-endless supply of content available when and how viewers want it. With this phenomenon now a common cultural theme, a writer of David Thomson’s stature delivering a critical history, or “biography” of the six-decade television era, will be a significant event which could not be more timely. With Television, the critic and film historian who wrote what Sight and Sound’s readers called “the most important film book of the last 50 years” has finally turned his unique powers of observation to the medium that has swallowed film whole.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe platinum age of television : from I love Lucy to The walking dead, how TV became terrific / David Bianculli.
“Television shows have now eclipsed films as the premier form of visual narrative art of our time. This new book by one of our finest critics explains–historically, in depth, and with interviews with the celebrated creators themselves–how the art of must-see/binge-watch television evolved. Television has triumphantly come of age artistically; David Bianculli’s book is the first to date to examine, in depth and in detail and with a keen critical and historical sense, how this inspiring development came about.” (Syndetics summary)

New Books on Movies & TV programmes

New books on movies and TV offer a great summer read in a wide variety of topics. They include the lovely biography about Bill Murray and the official guide book of the much-loved TV series Outlander. A Star is Born and The Fashion of Film can be fantastic coffee table books. Check them out!

Syndetics book coverThe Tao of Bill Murray : real-life stories of joy, enlightenment, and party crashing / by Gavin Edwards ; illustrations by R. Sikoryak.
“People love Bill Murray movies, but even more, they love crazy stories about Bill Murray out in the world. For The Tao of Bill Murray: Real-Life Stories of Joy, Enlightenment, and Party Crashing, best-selling author Gavin Edwards tracked down the best authentic Bill Murray stories. People savour these anecdotes; they consume them with a bottomless hunger; they routinely turn them into viral hits. The book not only has the greatest hits of Bill’s eye-opening interactions with the world, it puts them in the context of a larger philosophy (revealed to the author in an exclusive interview): Bill Murray is secretly teaching us all how to live our lives.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLast girl before freeway : the life, loves, losses, and liberation of Joan Rivers / Leslie Bennetts.
“Joan Rivers was more than a legendary comedian; she was an icon and a role model to millions, a fearless pioneer who left a legacy of expanded opportunity when she died in 2014. Her life was a dramatic roller-coaster of triumphant highs and devastating lows: the suicide of her husband, her feud with Johnny Carson, her estrangement from her daughter, her many plastic surgeries, her ferocious ambition and her massive insecurities. But Rivers’ career was also hugely significant in American cultural history, breaking down barriers for her gender and pushing the boundaries of truth-telling for women in public life. A juicy, intimate biography of one of the greatest comedians ever-a performer whose sixty year career was borne, simply, out of a desire to make people laugh so she could feel loved-LAST GIRL BEFORE FREEWAY delves into the inner workings of a woman who both reflected and redefined the world around her.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe making of Outlander : the series : the official guide to seasons one & two / Tara Bennett ; introduction by Diana Gabaldon.
“Get an exclusive look behind the scenes of the first two seasons of Outlander with this official, fully illustrated companion to the hit Starz television series based on the bestselling novels. Best of all, The Making of Outlander offers a veritable feast of lavish photographs–including an array of images spotlighting the stars in all their characters’ grandeur and up-close personal portraits. Featuring an introduction by Diana Gabaldon herself, this magnificent insider’s look at the world of the Outlander TV series is the companion all fans will want by their side.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA star is born : the moment an actress becomes an icon / George Tiffin.
“Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe, Catherine Deneuve… Feted, adored and desired, successful movie actresses are icons of modern culture. But what was it that made them true stars? Was it looks, talent, drive, personality – or just plain luck? What was the first captivating image or unforgettable line that etched them indelibly on our collective memory – and transformed the screen actress of the passing movie credit into the screen goddess of eternal legend? In a sequence of elegant pen-portraits, George Tiffin takes a microscope to the movies and the moments that established 75 female icons of cinema. These penportraits are supplemented by quotes, notes and anecdotes, including script excerpts from key scenes. A STAR IS BORN is a seductive celebration of the eternal feminine at the heart of the movie business – and an informal and engaging history of cinema itself.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe fashion of film : how cinema has inspired fashion / Amber Butchart.
“The Fashion of Film is the perfect book for the fashion fan. In it, fashion historian Amber Butchart takes a journey through the last 100 years of cinema style and its influence on the catwalks. With beautiful imagery and thoroughly-researched text, she looks at how our most iconic movies have transformed the world of high fashion. Karl Lagerfeld was influenced by the dystopian vision of Metropolis, the picture-perfect world of Wes Anderson’s films are echoed in the collections of Miuccia Prada, and Audrey Hepburn was key to Hubert de Givenchy’s work. Fashion designers have long taken their inspiration from silver screen idols, and continue to do so today.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe real James Dean : intimate memories from those who knew him best / edited by Peter L. Winkler ; foreword by George Stevens.
“In the decades following his death, many of those who knew James Dean best–actors, directors, friends, lovers (both men and women), photographers, and Hollywood columnists–shared stories of their first-person experiences with him in interviews and in the articles and autobiographies they wrote. Their recollections of Dean became lost in fragile back issues of movie magazines and newspapers and in out-of-print books that are extremely hard to find. Until now. The Real James Dean is the first book of its kind: a rich collection spanning six decades of writing in which many of the people whose lives were touched by Dean recall their indelible experiences with him in their own words.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe impossible has happened : the life and work of Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek : a biography / by Lance Parkin.
“8 September 2016 will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the debut of the world’s most successful science fiction television series: Star Trek. In this new biography Lance Parkin, author of Aurum’s acclaimed Magic Words: The Extraordinary Life of Alan Moore, will go in search of the show’s creator, Gene Roddenberry. This book will reveal how an undistinguished writer of cop shows set out to produce ‘Hornblower in space’ and ended up with an optimistic, almost utopian view of humanity’s future that has been watched and loved by hundreds of millions of people around the world.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStanley Kubrick and me : thirty years at his side / Emilio D’Alessandro with Filippo Ulivieri ; translated from the Italian by Simon Marsh.
“This intimate portrait by his former personal assistant and confidante reveals the man behind the legendary filmmaker–for the first time. Emilio was the silent guy in the room when the script for The Shining was discussed. He still has the coat Jack Nicholson used in the movie. He was an extra on the set of Eyes Wide Shut , Kubrick’s last movie. He knew all the actors and producers Kubrick worked with; he observed firsthand Kubrick’s working methods down to the smallest detail. Making no claim of expertise in cinematography but with plenty of anecdotes, he offers a completely fresh perspective on the artist and a warm, affecting portrait of a generous, kind, caring man who was a perfectionist in work and life.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIn such good company : eleven years of laughter, mayhem, and fun in the sandbox / Carol Burnett.
“Comedy legend Carol Burnett tells the hilarious behind-the-scenes story of her iconic weekly variety series, The Carol Burnett Show. In In Such Good Company , Carol Burnett pulls back the curtain on the twenty-five-time Emmy-Award winning show that made television history, and she reminisces about the outrageously funny and tender moments that made working on the series as much fun as watching it. This book is Carol’s love letter to a golden era in television history through the lens of her brilliant show. Get the best seat in the house for “eleven years of laughter, mayhem, and fun in the sandbox.”” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe birth of a nation : Nat Turner and the making of a movement / edited by Nate Parker.Birth of a Nation: Nat Turner and the Making of a Movement
“This official tie-in to the highly acclaimed film, The Birth of a Nation , surveys the history and legacy of Nat Turner, the leader of one of the most renowned slave rebellions on American soil, while also exploring Turner’s relevance to contemporary dialogues on race relations. Based on astounding events in American history, The Birth of a Nation is the epic story of one man championing the spirit of resistance as he leads a rough-and-tumble group into a revolt against injustice and slavery.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSanford Meisner on acting / Sanford Meisner and Dennis Longwell ; introduction by Sydney Pollack.
“This book, written in collaboration with Dennis Longwell, follows an acting class of eight men and eight women for fifteen months, beginning with the most rudimentary exercises and ending with affecting and polished scenes from contemporary American plays. Throughout these pages Meisner is delight–always empathizing with his students and urging them onward, provoking emotion, laughter, and growing technical mastery from his charges. With an introduction by Sydney Pollack, director of “Out of Africa” and “Tootsie,” who worked with Meisner for five years.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAlan Partridge : nomad / Alan Partridge with Rob Gibbons, Neil Gibbons and Steve Coogan.
“In ALAN PARTRIDGE: NOMAD, Alan dons his boots, windcheater and scarf and embarks on an odyssey through a place he once knew – it’s called Britain – intent on completing a journey of immense personal significance. Diarising his ramble in the form of a ‘journey journal’, Alan details the people and places he encounters, ruminates on matters large and small and, on a final leg fraught with danger, becomes – not a man (because he was one to start off with) – but a better, more inspiring example of a man.” (Syndetics summary)

New Books on Movies and TV

A wide variety of new books on movies and TV programmes include the bestseller autobiography by Amy Schumer, the unique TV show guidebook TV (the book) and Batman v Superman : dawn of justice : the art of the film which features amazing illustrations and photos. If you are an actor or interested in acting, check out the last two books on this list.

Syndetics book coverThe girl with the lower back tattoo / Amy Schumer.
“The Emmy Award-winning comedian, actress, writer, and star of Inside Amy Schumer and the acclaimed film Trainwreck has taken the entertainment world by storm with her winning blend of smart, satirical humor. Now, Amy Schumer has written a refreshingly candid and uproariously funny collection of ( extremely ) personal and observational essays. In The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, Amy mines her past for stories about her teenage years, her family, relationships, and sex and shares the experiences that have shaped who she is–a woman with the courage to bare her soul to stand up for what she believes in, all while making us laugh.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTV (the book) : two experts pick the greatest American shows of all time / Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz.
“Is The Wire better than Breaking Bad ? Is Cheers better than Seinfeld ? What’s the best high school show ever made? Was the Arrested Development Netflix season brilliant or terrible? For twenty years-since they shared a TV column at Tony Soprano’s hometown newspaper-critics Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz have been debating these questions and many more, but it all ultimately boils down to this: What’s the greatest TV show ever? That debate reaches an epic conclusion in TV (THE BOOK). Using a complex, obsessively all- encompassing scoring system, they’ve created a Pantheon of top TV shows, each accompanied by essays delving into what made these shows great.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPlay all : a bingewatcher’s notebook / Clive James.
“Television and TV viewing are not what they once were–and that’s a good thing, according to award-winning author and critic Clive James. Since serving as television columnist for the London Observer from 1972 to 1982, James has witnessed a radical change in content, format, and programming, and in the very manner in which TV is watched. Here he examines this unique cultural revolution, providing a brilliant, eminently entertaining analysis of many of the medium’s most notable twenty-first-century accomplishments. With intelligence and wit, James explores a television landscape expanded by cable and broadband and profoundly altered by the advent of Netflix, Amazon, and other “cord-cutting” platforms that have helped to usher in a golden age of unabashed binge-watching.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSeinfeldia : how a show about nothing changed everything / Jennifer Keishin Armstrong.
“Comedians Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld never thought anyone would watch their silly little sitcom about a New York comedian sitting around talking to his friends. NBC executives didn’t think anyone would watch either, but they bought it anyway, hiding it away in the TV dead zone of summer. But against all odds, viewers began to watch, first a few and then many, until nine years later nearly forty million Americans were tuning in weekly. In Seinfeldia, acclaimed TV historian and entertainment writer Jennifer Keishin Armstrong celebrates the creators and fans of this American television phenomenon, bringing readers behind-the-scenes of the show while it was on the air and into the world of devotees for whom it never stopped being relevant.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDialogue : the art of verbal action for page, stage, screen / Robert McKee.
“Robert McKee’s popular writing workshops have earned him an international reputation. The list of alumni with Oscars runs off the page. The cornerstone of his program is his singular book, Story, which has defined how we talk about the art of story creation. Now, in DIALOGUE, McKee offers the same in-depth analysis for how characters speak on the screen, on the stage, and on the page in believable and engaging ways. From Macbeth to Breaking Bad, McKee deconstructs key scenes to illustrate the strategies and techniques of dialogue.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBatman v Superman : dawn of justice : the art of the film / Peter E. Aperlo ; foreword by Geoff Johns.
“Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice sees Batman and Superman come together for the first time on screen. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: The Art of the Film, takes fans deep into this world, accompanied by insight and interviews with cast and crew, including an afterword by director Zack Snyder. It explores Metropolis and Gotham City from the streets to the skies and showcases the costumes, weaponry, vehicles, allies and enemies of our two heroes.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe scientific secrets of Doctor Who / Simon Guerrier and Dr Marek Kukula, Public Astronomer, Royal Observatory Greenwich, London.
“Doctor Who stories are many things: thrilling adventures, historical dramas, tales of love and war and jelly babies. They’re also science fiction – but how much of the science is actually real, and how much is really fiction? The Scientific Secrets of Doctor Who is a mind-bending blend of story and science that will help you see Doctor Who in a whole new light. With commentary that explores the possibilities of time travel, life on other planets, artificial intelligence, parallel universes and more, Simon Guerrier and Dr Marek Kukula show how Doctor Who uses science to inform its unique style of storytelling – and just how close it has often come to predicting future scientific discoveries.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOut at the movies : a history of gay cinema / Steven Paul Davies ; foreword by Simon Callow.
“Over the decades, gay cinema has reflected the queer community’s journey from persecution to emancipation. This shift has been matched by the shift of gay films from the fringes to the mainstream: in 2005 this move was so pronounced that that years Oscars were referred to as ‘The Gay Oscars’. In this, the definitive guide to Gay Cinema, this history is told in all its complexity.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStanley Kubrick and me : thirty years at his side / Emilio D’Alessandro with Filippo Ulivieri ; translated from the Italian by Simon Marsh.
“Stanley Kubrick, the director of a string of timeless movies, has always been depicted by the media as the Howard Hughes of filmmakers, a weird artist obsessed with his work and privacy to the point of madness. But who was he really? Emilio D’Alessandro lets us see. A former Formula Ford driver who was a minicab chauffeur in London during the Swinging Sixties, he took a job driving a giant phallus through the city that became his introduction to the director. Honest, reliable, and ready to take on any task, Emilio found his way into Kubrick’s neurotic, obsessive heart. He offers a completely fresh perspective on the artist and a warm, affecting portrait of a generous, kind, caring man who was a perfectionist in work and life.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBeginning musical theatre dance / Diana Dart Harris.
Beginning Musical Theatre Dance introduces students to basic musical theatre dance techniques from a variety of genres, forms, and styles and explains how to put them into practice for performance on stage. Part of Human Kinetics’ Interactive Dance Series, the text and web resource offer students what they need to know about auditions, rehearsals, performing, and caring for themselves so they can have a successful experience in a musical theatre dance course. Each student-friendly text includes a web resource offering video clips of dance instruction, learning aids, assignments, and activities. The Interactive Dance Series offers students a guide to learning, performing, and viewing dance.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe adventure game : a cameraman’s tales from films at the edge / Keith Partridge.
“Keith Partridge is probably the world’s most experienced and famous practitioner of a rare trade. His filming has recorded expeditions all over the world in some of its most beautiful and hostile environments. The Adventure Game is the story of his life told through several expeditions ranging from the deep caves of Papua New Guinea to the summit of Mount Everest.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe fifty-year mission : the complete, uncensored, unauthorized oral history of Star trek : the first 25 years / Edward Gross & Mark A. Altman.
“The original Star Trek series debuted in 1966 and has spawned five TV series spin-offs and a dozen feature films, with an upcoming one from Paramount arriving in 2016. The Fifty-Year Mission is a no-holds-barred oral history of five decades of Star Trek , told by the people who were there. Hear from the hundreds of television and film executives, programmers, writers, creators and cast as they unveil the oftentimes shocking story of Star Trek ‘s ongoing fifty-year mission. Here is a volume for all fans of pop culture and anyone interested in the nuts and bolts of a television touchstone.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe working actor : the essential guide to a successful career / Paul Clayton.
“Every day do at least one thing that might lead to work, and then get on with living your life.” With this mantra in mind, Chairman of London’s Actors Centre, Paul Clayton, presents a series of invaluable exercises for the newly graduated professional actor to improve their chances of employment.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFacing the fear : an actor’s guide to overcoming stage fright / Bella Merlin.
“The first book of its kind, designed to help performers overcome the crippling fear of stage fright.” (Syndetics summary)

New Books on Movies

New books on movies and TV programmes feature intriguing inside stories, including the relationship between James Dean and the photographer Dennis Stock, and Star Trek’s 50 year history. Movie guides such as The Film Buff’s Bucket List give movie lovers a delightful read. Check them out!

Syndetics book coverJames Dean / Dennis Stock ; introduction by Joe Hyams.
“Magnum photographer Dennis Stock met James Dean at the Château Marmont in Hollywood in 1954, and they became fast friends. Stock captured Dean’s essence in a stunning series of images of the actor in the midst of family and friends, as well as alone, sleeping, lost in thought, in the frozen fields of Indiana, and on a rainy day in Manhattan. It was an extraordinary collaboration between two people in full command of their respective talents. Dennis Stock: James Dean reintroduces these iconic photographs with Dennis Stock’s original accompanying text and a later introduction by Joe Hyams.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary) Also, check out the recent movie Life.

Syndetics book coverYoung Orson : the years of luck and genius on the path to Citizen Kane / Patrick McGilligan.
“On the centennial of his birth, the defining wunderkind of modern entertainment gets his due in a groundbreaking new biography of his early years–from his first forays in theater and radio to the inspiration and making of Citizen Kane. In this magisterial biography, Patrick McGilligan brings young Orson into focus as never before. Filled with intriguing new insights and startling revelations–including the surprising true origin and meaning of “Rosebud”–Young Orson is a fascinating look at the creative development and influences that shaped this legendary artistic genius.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe autobiography of James T. Kirk : the story of Starfleet’s greatest captain / by James T. Kirk ; edited by David A. Goodman.
The Autobiography of James T. Kirk chronicles the greatest Starfleet captain’s life (2233-2371), in his own words. From his birth on the U.S.S. Kelvin, his youth spent on Tarsus IV, his time in the Starfleet Academy, his meteoric rise through the ranks of Starfleet, and his illustrious career at the helm of the Enterprise, this in-world memoir uncovers Captain Kirk in a way Star Trek fans have never seen. Excerpts from his personal correspondence, captain’s logs, and more give Kirk’s personal narrative further depth.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSharon Tate : a life / Ed Sanders ; illustrations by Rick Veitch.
“Ed Sanders gave readers their clearest insight yet into the disturbing world of Charles Manson and his followers when he published The Family in 1971. Continuing that journalistic tradition, Sanders presents the most thorough look ever into the heartbreaking story of Sharon Tate, the iconic actress who found love, fame, and ultimately tragedy during her all-too-brief life. Sharon Tate: A Life traces Sharon’s path from beauty queen to budding young actress: her early love affairs, her romance with and marriage to director Roman Polanski, and the excitement of the glamorous life she had always sought–all set against the background of the turbulent 1960s.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe caped crusade : Batman and the rise of nerd culture / Glen Weldon.
“A witty, intelligent cultural history from book critic Glen Weldon explains Batman’s rises and falls throughout the ages and what his story tells us about ourselves. Since his creation, Batman has been many things: a two-fisted detective; a planet-hopping gadabout; a campy Pop-art sensation; a pointy-eared master spy; and a grim and gritty ninja of the urban night. In The Caped Crusade, with humour and insight, Glen Weldon, book critic and author of Superman: The Unauthorized Biography, lays out Batman’s seventy-eight-year cultural history and shows how he has helped make us who we are today and why his legacy remains so strong.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJames Bond : the legacy / John Cork & Bruce Scivally.
“When Dr. No was released in 1962, it had an immediate and lasting impact on film audiences. The character of Bond became an icon of masculine cool and an international idol who would ride the cultural zeitgeist for the next 40 years.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWhat the eye hears : a history of tap dancing / Brian Seibert.
“Magisterial, revelatory, and-most suitably-entertaining, What the Eye Hears offers an authoritative account of the great American art of tap dancing. Brian Seibert, a dance critic for The New York Times , begins by exploring tap’s origins as a hybrid of the jig and clog dancing from the British Isles and dances brought from Africa by slaves. He tracks tap’s transfer to the stage through blackface minstrelsy and charts its growth as a cousin to jazz in the vaudeville circuits and nightclubs of the early twentieth century.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSet phasers to stun : 50 years of Star Trek / Marcus Berkmann.
“Forty-seven years after NBC killed it off, Star Trek celebrates its half-century in a state of rude health. Boldly going where several other people have been before, Marcus Berkmann tells the story of this sturdy science fiction vehicle from its first five-year mission (rudely curtailed to three), through the dark years of the 1970s, the triumphant film series and The Next Generation, to the current ‘reboot’ films, with a younger cast taking on the characters of Kirk, Spock, McCoy and co. With wit, insight and a huge pile of DVDs, he seeks to answer all the important questions. Why did Kirk’s shirt always get torn when he had a fist fight? What’s the most number of times Uhura said ‘Hailing frequencies open, sir’ in a single episode? (Seven.) And what’s the worst imaginable insult in Klingon? (Your mother has a smooth forehead.)” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverReel history : the world according to the movies / Alex von Tunzelmann.
“From ancient Egypt to the Tudors to the Nazis, the film industry has often defined how we think of the past. But how much of what you see on the screen is true? And does it really matter if filmmakers just make it all up? Picking her way through Hollywood’s version of events, acclaimed historian Alex von Tunzelmann sorts the fact from the fiction. Along the way, we meet all our favorite historical characters, on screen and in real life: from Cleopatra to Elizabeth I, from Spartacus to Abraham Lincoln, and from Attila the Hun to Nelson Mandela.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMovie freak : my life watching movies / Owen Gleiberman.
“Owen Gleiberman has spent his life watching movies-first at the drive-in, where his parents took him to see wildly inappropriate adult fare like Rosemary’s Baby when he was a wide-eyed 9 year old, then as a possessed cinemaniac who became a film critic right out of college. In Movie Freak, his enthrallingly candid, funny, and eye-opening memoir, Gleiberman captures what it’s like to live life through the movies, existing in thrall to a virtual reality that becomes, over time, more real than reality itself. For Gleiberman, the moving image has a talismanic power, but it also represents a kind of sweet sickness, a magnificent obsession that both consumes and propels him.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe film buff’s bucket list : the 50 movies of the 2000s to see before you die / Chris Stuckmann.
“Theaters around the world are dominated by comic book heroes, ice princesses, apocalyptic love-struck teens, and whatever masterpiece Pixar is rolling out. It’s clear that cinema is as healthy as ever. But which films are the best of the best? What are the top movies since 2000 to see before you die? Chris Stuckmann, one of YouTube’s most popular film reviewers (70+ million views) gives us his best of the best! In his book debut, Stuckmann delivers his list of the very best 50 Movies since 2000 – with that style and punch that YouTube viewers have come to love. These are the films you must see before you die.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe ultimate binge-watching guide / Chris Roberts.
“Watching a smartly written, well-acted, top-tier TV series is like immersing yourself in a great novel. It’s addictive. And more and more people are gobbling up shows in big bites–sometimes bingeing on an entire season in a weekend. From classics like Seinfeld and Twin Peaks, to Breaking Bad and Sherlock, to Denmark’s Borgen and France’s Les Revenants, here are 100 of the very best, all worth spending hours of time on the couch. In addition to insightful, informative, and spoiler-free overviews of storylines, themes, and characters, you’ll get enough recommendations, trivia, and teasers to make you want to catch the shows you haven’t yet seen–and revisit the ones you have!” (Syndetics summary)

Recent Film and Television book picks

This month’s picks feature a variety of books on the history of entertainment, including costume, comedy and Coronation Street. Enjoy!

Syndetics book coverHow to watch a movie / David Thomson.
“From one of the most admired critics of our time, brilliant insights into the act of watching movies and an enlightening discussion about how to derive more from any film experience. David Thomson offers his most inventive exploration of the medium yet: guiding us through each element of the viewing experience, considering the significance of everything from what we see and hear on screen – actors, shots, cuts, dialogue, music – to the specifics of how, where, and with whom we do the viewing. With customary candour and wit, Thomson delivers keen analyses of a range of films, revealing how to more deeply appreciate both the artistry and (yes) manipulation of film, and how watching movies approaches something like watching life itself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWhy stand-up matters : how comedians manipulate and influence / Sophie Quirk.
“Popular as a good night out and packing the TV schedules, stand-up permeates British society and culture. Ubiquitous though it is, we are generally reluctant to consider comedy’s social consequences. This book looks at the social and political impact of stand-up comedy in both its positive and negative forms. Drawing on exclusive interviews with comedians such as Stewart Lee, Josie Long, Joe Wilkinson and Mark Thomas, and examples of comic material on everything from revolution, terrorism and homosexuality, to knitting and the inefficiency of the home shower, it explores comedy’s role in determining our attitudes and opinions.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOrry Kelly : Miss Weston’s protege : the story of a great Hollywood costume designer / Robert Parkinson.
Orry Kelly, Miss Weston’s Protègè tells the incredible story of one of Hollywood’s greatest designers. Using never before seen materials, photographs and letters, Robert Parkinson has compiled years of research into one of the most detailed accounts of Orry Kelly’s history. Over the course of his career Orry Kelly worked for all of the major studios, including Warner Brothers, Paramount and Fox, dressing many of the well-known female stars in some 312 films. As biographies of movie stars began to appear in the 1980s his fashion styling and costume design came to be highly regarded and worthy of study across several universities and colleges.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe comedians : drunks, thieves, scoundrels, and the history of American comedy / Kliph Nesteroff.
“Based on over two hundred original interviews and extensive archival research, Nesteroff’s groundbreaking work is a narrative exploration of the way comedians have reflected, shaped, and changed American culture over the past one hundred years. From comedy’s part in the Civil Rights movement and the social upheaval of the late 1960s, to the first comedy clubs of the 1970s and the cocaine-fueled comedy boom of the 1980s, The Comedians culminates with a new era of media-driven celebrity in the twenty-first century.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA to Z great film directors / Andy Tuohy, with text by Matt Glasby.
“A striking, design-led reference book. A-Z Great Film Directors features Andy Tuohy’s portraits of 52 directors significant for their contribution to cinema including kings of world cinema Wong Kar-Wai and Akira Kurosawa, arthouse pioneers Fritz Lang and David Lynch as well as the often under-appreciated female directors Kathryn Bigelow and Jane Campion. So whether you’re already a film afficionado, or looking for a helpful cheat to pass convincingly as an arthouse fan, you’ll love this guide to international directors, past and present.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDeirdre : a life on Coronation Street / Glenda Young.
“From her first appearance in 1972, Deirdre Barlow (nee Hunt) went on to become one of the street’s most iconic stars and been at the centre of some of its most explosive storylines; including her affair with Mike Baldwin, her imprisonment for fraud which prompted the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to raise her case in the Commons and her relationship with daughter Tracy, a woman who has literally gotten away with murder. Deirdre: A Life on the Street is a tribute to one of the most recognised and loved characters on television.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAndy and Don : the making of a friendship and a classic American TV show / Daniel de Visé.
“Andy Griffith and Don Knotts met on Broadway in the 1950s. When Andy went to Hollywood to film a TV pilot about a small-town sheriff, Don called to ask if the sheriff could use a deputy. The comedic synergy between Sheriff Andy Taylor and Deputy Barney Fife ignited The Andy Griffith Show, elevating a folksy sitcom into a timeless study of human friendship, as potent off the screen as on. Written by Don Knotts’s brother-in-law and featuring extensive unpublished interviews with those closest to both men, Andy and Don is the definitive literary work on the legacy of The Andy Griffith Show and a provocative and an entertaining read about two of America’s most enduring stars.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAnd on that bombshell / Richard Porter.
“I was Top Gear’s script editor for 13 years and all 22 series. I basically used to check spelling and think of stupid gags about The Stig. I also got to hang around with Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. It didn’t feel like something you should get paid for. From the disastrous pilot show of 2002 to the sudden and unexpected ending in 2015, working on Top Gear was quite a rollercoaster ride. I realised that I had quite a few stories to tell from behind the scenes on the show. I remembered whose daft idea it was to get a dog. I recalled the wilfully stupid way in which we decorated our horrible office. I had a sudden flashback to the time a Bolivian drug lord threatened to kill us. I decided I should write down some of these stories. So I have. I hope you like them.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStrictly Bruce : stories of my life / Bruce Forsyth.
“Bruce Forsyth, the consummate performer and much-loved face of British entertainment, invites you to share with him in a collection of his favourite photographs, which tell the story of a remarkable life lived to the full. Charting his life story from talented young lad growing up in north London to achieving national treasure status, Strictly Bruce is full of dazzling photographs and warm anecdotes spanning eight decades of Bruce’s life, man and boy. It’s a chance to take a trip down memory lane, celebrate the golden age of British showbiz and step behind the scenes of Bruce’s personal life, meeting the people he loves and learning what makes him tick.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJames Dean / Dennis Stock ; introduction by Joe Hyams.
“Magnum photographer Dennis Stock met James Dean in 1954, and they became fast friends. Stock captured Dean’s essence in a stunning series of images of the actor in the midst of family and friends, as well as alone, sleeping, lost in thought, in the frozen fields of Indiana, and on a rainy day in Manhattan. It was an extraordinary collaboration between two people in full command of their respective talents. James Dean reintroduces these iconic photographs, taken at the dawn and high noon of a brief and brilliant career, with Dennis Stock’s original accompanying text and a later introduction by Joe Hyams.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New books on Movies & TV shows

New books on movies and TV shows include very popular Star Wars and Back to the future. Two books about James Bond and Woody Allen offer intriguing reads. If you are a fan of TV shows you won’t be disappointed. Check out comprehensive studies on Mad Men, Poldark and others.

Syndetics book coverThe art of Star Wars the force awakens / written by Phil Szostak ; foreword by Rick Carter.
“Step inside the Lucasfilm art departments for the creation of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Exclusive interviews with the entire creative team impart fascinating insights in bringing director J.J. Abrams’s vision to life; unused “blue sky” concept art offers glimpses into roads not traveled. Bursting with hundreds of stunning works of art, including production paintings, concept sketches, storyboards, blueprints, and matte paintings, this visual feast will delight Star Wars fans and cineastes for decades to come.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBond by design / written by Meg Simmonds.
Bond By Design gives an exclusive tour through EON Productions’ James Bond archives – a treasure trove of set, storyboard, vehicle, gadget and costume designs, many of which have never been published before. The book provides a unique, spectacular and fascinating insight into the longest-running film franchise of all time. It reveals the craft behind the creation of famous sets, such as Stromberg’s Atlantis base in The Spy Who Loved Me and Drax’s shuttle launch site in Moonraker, as well as technical drawings of Bond’s gadget-laden Aston Martin DB5. Includes two exclusive, full-colour prints of Bond film designs.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBond vs. Bond : the many faces of 007 / Paul Simpson.
“Who is your favorite Bond? Whether you love Sean Connery, Roger Moore, or even Timothy Dalton, you are going to love Bond vs. Bond . A fully comprehensive guide, Bond vs. Bond compares and contrasts all of the various ways Ian Fleming’s iconic British Secret Service agent, code name 007, has been interpreted through the years, from the books and movies to the guns and gadgets. Spanning from Fleming’s 1953 book Casino Royale to Sam Mendes’ 2012 film Skyfall, Bond vs. Bond features every incarnation of 007. This is definitely a book that no Bond fan should be without!” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBack to the Future : the ultimate visual history / written by Michael Klastorin.
“Great Scott! Go Back to the Future with Doc Brown and Marty McFly in this visually stunning look at the creation of one of the most beloved movie trilogies of all time. Few films have made an impact on popular culture like the Back to the Future trilogy. This deluxe, officially licensed book goes behind the scenes to tell the complete story of the making of these hugely popular movies and how the adventures of Marty McFly and Doc Brown became an international phenomenon. Back to the Future: The Ultimate Visual History is a stunning journey into the creation of this beloved time-traveling saga.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWoody Allen : a retrospective / Tom Shone.
“Woody Allen is a uniquely innovative performer, writer and director with nearly fifty movies to his credit, from cult slapstick films and romantic comedies to introspective character studies and crime thrillers. In this timely retrospective, Tom Shone reviews Woody Allen’s entire career, providing incisive commentary on his films and shedding light on this uniquely self-deprecating filmmaker, with the help of comments contributed by Allen himself. This is a fitting tribute to one of the masters of modern cinema, published to mark Woody Allen’s eightieth birthday.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWoody : the biography / David Evanier.
“In the first biography of Allen in over twenty years, David Evanier writes about Allen’s private life as well as his very public career. In fresh interviews with collaborators, boyhood pals, family and friends, Evanier fills in fascinating details about where Woody came from, how he got his start, and how he has been able to be moral in his business dealings and make exactly the movies that interest him most with the people who interest him most, from Diane Keaton to Cate Blanchett to Michael Caine. Woody is the biography of an artist who has never lost his passion, talent and capacity to break new artistic ground, who has always been swept up in the creative act of becoming.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe big bad book of Bill Murray : a critical appreciation of the world’s finest actor / by Robert Schnakenberg.
“The man. The movies. The life. The legend. He’s played a deranged groundskeeper, a bellowing lounge singer, a paranormal exterminator, and a grouchy weatherman. He is William James “Bill” Murray, America’s greatest national treasure. Part biography, part critical appreciation, part love letter, and all fun, this enormous full-color volume, packed with color film stills and behind-the-scenes photography, chronicles every Murray performance in loving detail, recounting all the milestones, legendary “Murray stories,” and controversies in the life of this enigmatic performer.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMad men carousel : the complete critical companion / Matt Zoller Seitz ; foreword by Megan Abbott ; illustrations by Max Dalton ; poems by Martha Orton ; with contributions by Deborah Lipp and Roberta Lipp.
Mad Men Carousel is an episode-by-episode guide to all seven seasons of AMC’s Mad Men. This book collects TV and movie critic Matt Zoller Seitz’s celebrated Mad Men recaps –as featured on New York magazine’s Vulture blog–for the first time, including never-before-published essays on the show’s first three seasons. Seitz’s writing digs deep into the show’s themes, performances, and filmmaking, examining complex and sometimes confounding aspects of the series.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe world of Poldark / Emma Marriott.
“Emma Marriott’s The World of Poldark explores the characters, the compelling stories and the era that Winston Graham – and the television series – set out to recreate, the England that Ross Poldark returned to from the American War of Independence. England, and especially Cornwall, was then marked by social unrest and a deep division between rich and poor. It was a place of tin mines and shipwrecks, of new money versus old, of harsh justice and great kindness. And, above all, it was a place that inspired Winston Graham’s beloved novels. The World of Poldark is the ultimate guide to the popular series.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDownton Abbey : a celebration / by Jessica Fellowes ; foreword by Julian Fellowes.
“Downton Abbey set a new standard, and it’s probable that in 20 or 50 years critics will look back and say that this was period drama at its very best, often imitated but never bettered. Alongside are in-depth interviews with the cast, who have worked on the show for six years and know it so well, as well as a complete episode guide for the first five seasons and a teaser for the sixth. Packed full of stunning location shots and stills from all six seasons of the show including exclusive behind-the-scenes photography, this celebratory book is the ultimate gift for Downton Abbey fans the world over.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe world of Vikings / by Justin Pollard ; foreword by Michael Hirst.
“MGM’s hit show Vikings on the History Channel has drawn millions of viewers into the fascinating and bloody world of legendary Norse hero Ragnar Lothbrok, who led Viking warriors to the British Isles and France. Covering the first three seasons of the series, this official companion book delves into the real history as well as the behind-the-scenes stories. This spectacular package is a must for fans of the show and history buffs alike.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBehind the illusion : unlocking the 9 types of magic / Darcy Oake.
“Darcy, a thrilling Canadian illusionist, won the coveted People’s Choice Award in Seattle and performed at the Magic Castle in Hollywood before he was legally of age. Aged 26, he dazzled the nation as a finalist on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent and on ITV special Edge of Reality. In Behind the Illusion, magician Darcy Oake takes you through the nine traditionally accepted forms of magic. He reveals the origins and science behind various illusions, and explains why there is a difference between what the eye sees and what is actually happening on stage; as well as giving famous examples from history, and his own personal twists on them.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStar trek costumes : five decades of fashion from the final frontier / Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann ; introduction by Robert Blackman.
“This deluxe book showcases the unique costumes of the Star Trek saga, taking in fifty years of iconic and hugely influential designs. Drawing on the entire franchise, including all twelve films and six TV series, Star Trek: Costumes explores the creation of some of the most memorable garb in the galaxy, telling the complete story of how Star Trek’s outlandishly chic wardrobe has been expanded in increasingly thrilling ways throughout the years. Star Trek: Costumes is the ultimate way to experience the incredible fashions of the Final Frontier.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThunderbirds : the vault / Marcus Hearn.
“On 30th September 1965, International Rescue successfully completed their first assignment, and the Tracy brothers imprinted themselves on a generation of captivated children. Thirty-two episodes, many repeats, sixty territories, two feature films, three albums, numerous comics, books, toys, videos and DVDs and five decades later, Thunderbirds are still saving the world from the brink of peril. Thunderbirds: The Vault will be the first ever lavishly illustrated, definitive, beautifully packaged, presentation hardback telling the story of this enduring cult phenomenon.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInvestigating Murdoch mysteries : the official companion to the series / Michelle Ricci with Mir Bahmanyar.
“Based on Maureen Jennings’ award-winning novels, at the end of the Victorian era, Toronto-based police detective William Murdoch uses radical forensic techniques, including fingerprinting and trace evidence, to solve some of the city’s most gruesome murders. This companion looks at every aspect of all 8 seasons of the show, from the regular characters and their relationships, to the history of the period, including figures Murdoch encounters, the forensic and scientific advances he utilises, and Murdoch’s most notable cases.” (Syndetics summary)

Latest Film and Television book arrivals

Terry Gilliam. What’s inside his head? Find out by reading his book. Explore the TV revolution by reading Taschen’s favorite TV shows. Journey inside North Korea with The director is the commander. Plus, many other great new arrivals!

Syndetics book coverGilliamesque : my me, me, me memoir / Terry Gilliam and Ben Thompson.
“From his no-frills childhood in the icy wastes of Minnesota, to some of the hottest water Hollywood had to offer, via the cutting edge of ’60s and ’70s counter-culture in New York, LA and London, Terry Gilliam’s life has been as vivid and unorthodox as one of his films. Telling his story for the first time, the director of Brazil, 12 Monkeys and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – not to mention co-founder of Monty Python’s Flying Circus – recalls his life so far. Packed with never-before-seen artwork, photographs and commentary, Gilliamesque blends the visual and the verbal with scabrous wit and fascinating insights.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTaschen’s favorite TV shows : the top shows of the last 25 years / Jürgen Müller (ed.).
“In the last decade, shows like Breaking Bad, Borgen and Mad Men have toppled cinema from its leading position in the popular culture universe and ushered in a whole new level of small screen excellence and appreciation. Networks such as HBO, AMC, and ABC have launched a new era of cinematic narrative, while cable TV networks, DVDs, and the Internet have brought about new, flexible ways of watching and engaging. Global fan communities devour episode after episode, independently of programs and broadcasting schedules, and probe the multiple levels of meaning in their favorite series in blogs, fan groups and online forums. Alongside a wealth of stills, this overview of the TV revolution presents the most important and successful series of recent years, from David Lynch’s groundbreaking masterpiece Twin Peaks to current highlights like Game of Thrones, Girls and House of Cards. Learn something new about your favorite shows, and about those you’re still to discover.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWomen I’ve undressed / Orry-Kelly.
“Orry-Kelly created magic on screen, from Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon to Some Like It Hot. He won three Oscars for costume design. He dressed all the biggest stars, from Bette Davis to Marilyn Monroe. He was an Australian. Yet few know who Orry-Kelly really was – until now. Discovered in a pillowcase, Orry-Kelly’s long-lost memoirs reveal a wildly talented and cheeky rascal who lived a big life, on and off the set. Sharing digs in New York with another aspiring actor, Cary Grant, and partying hard in between auditions, he ekes out a living painting murals for speakeasies before graduating to designing stage sets and costumes. When The Kid from Kiama finally arrives in Hollywood, it’s clear his adventures have only just begun. Fearless, funny and outspoken, Orry-Kelly lived life to the full.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe science of TV’s The big bang theory : explanations even Penny would understand / Dave H. Zobel.
“The highest-rated scripted show on TV, The Big Bang Theory (CBS) often features Sheldon, Howard, Leonard and Raj wisecracking about scientific principles as if the rest of us should know exactly what they’re talking about. The Science of TV’S The Big Bang Theory lets all of us in on the punchline by breaking down the show’s scientific conversations. Covering every angle, author Dave Zobel maintains a humorous and informative approach and gives readers enough knowledge to make them welcome on Sheldon’s couch.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe director is the commander / Anna Broinowski.
“Looking for respite from her crumbling marriage and determined to stop a coal seam gas mine near her Sydney home, filmmaker Anna Broinowski finds wisdom and inspiration in the strangest of places: North Korea. Guided by the late Dear Leader Kim Jong Il’s manifesto The Cinema and Directing, Broinowski, in a world first, travels to Pyongyang to collaborate with North Korea’s top directors, composers and movie stars to make a powerful anti-fracking propaganda film. The Director is the Commander centres around the bizarre twenty-one day shoot Broinowski did in North Korea to make her documentary, Aim High in Creation! Funny, multi-layered and utterly compelling, The Director is the Commander is a gripping account of an extraordinary journey inside a nation we can usually only see from the outside looking in.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMany more lives of the Batman / edited by Roberta Pearson, William Uricchio, Will Brooker.
“The Many Lives of the Batman (1991) was a pioneer within cultural and comic book scholarship. This fresh new sequel retains the best of the original chapters but also includes images, new chapters and new contributions from the Batman writers and editors. Spanning 75 years and multiple incarnations, this is the definitive history of Batman.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSpecial effects make-up artist / Jonathan Craig and Bridget Light.
“Movies are full of amazingly odd creatures, from aliens to zombies, but what goes into creating them? Many of these bizarre creatures are brought to life with make-up and prosthetics. Find out what’s involved in being a special effects make-up artist, the tools and skills you need, and the difficulties of bringing imaginary creatures to life.” (Syndetics summary)

Star Wars, Harry Potter, Judd Apatow and more! – Film and Television books for August

Here is a great selection covering the history of Hollywood, famous movies and famous people.

Syndetics book coverHollywood traitors : blacklisted screenwriters : agents of Stalin, allies of Hitler / Allan H. Ryskind.
“Too often, the “Hollywood Ten” brought before the House Un-American Activities Committee are memorialized as victims of an unjust witch-hunt and heroes who stood up for free speech. The truth is shocking: Not only did these supposed liberal paragons adore Josef Stalin and take their orders directly from the Communist Party, but they also sympathized with Adolf Hitler. Ryskind, who grew up in the heart of the Hollywood scene and personally knew many of the key players in this real-life Hollywood drama, has penned a definitive, myth-busting account of the Hollywood Ten and Hollywood Blacklist that will forever change the way you think about the ideological battle waged in the movie capital of the world.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSick in the head : conversations about life and comedy / Judd Apatow.
“Before becoming one of the most successful filmmakers in Hollywood, Judd Apatow was the original comedy nerd. He took a job washing dishes in a local comedy club so he could watch endless stand-up for free. He hosted a show for his local high school radio station on Long Island – a show that consisted of Q & As with his comedy heroes, from Garry Shandling to Jerry Seinfeld. Thirty years later, Apatow is still that same comedy nerd – and he’s still interviewing funny people about why they do what they do. Sick in the Head gathers Apatow’s most memorable and revealing conversations into one hilarious, wide-ranging, and incredibly candid collection that spans not only his career, but his entire adult life.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUltimate Star Wars / written by Patricia Barr, Adam Bray, Daniel Wallace, Ryder Windham.
“Become an expert on the Star Wars galaxy! Ultimate Star Wars® is an in-depth visual feast exploring the characters and storylines from the Star Wars galaxy. This is a beautifully illustrated guide that is structured chronologically and packed full of information about key characters and storylines from the Star Wars movie saga, The Clone Wars , and Rebels(tm) . Ultimate Star Wars will get new and old fans caught up and knowledgeable on all things Star Wars.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA wish your heart makes : from the Grimm brothers’ Aschenputtel to Disney’s Cinderella / Charles Solomon ; introduction by Kenneth Branagh.
“With its kind heroine who receives her just reward with the help of her Fairy Godmother, ‘Cinderella’ is one the most beloved fairy tales throughout the world. A Wish Your Heart Makes will trace the history and many incarnations of the fairy tale, emphasising its strong ties to Walt Disney and his studio. The book will conclude with the making of the 2015 live-action film Cinderella directed by Kenneth Branagh, including interviews with Branagh, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham-Carter, Derek Jacobi and Lilly James.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverYear of the fat knight : the Falstaff diaries / Antony Sher ; with illustrations by the author.
Year of the Fat Knight is legendary stage actor Sir Antony Sher’s account–splendidly supplemented by his own paintings and sketches–of researching, rehearsing, and performing one of Shakespeare’s most iconic characters for a 2014 Royal Shakespeare Company production. This follow-up to Sher’s 1985 classic Year of the King is a terrific read, rich in humor and excitement, that also stands as a celebration of the craft of character acting.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHarry Potter : magical places from the films : Hogwarts, Diagon Alley and beyond / by Jody Revenson.
Harry Potter: Magical Places from the Films: Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, and Beyond offers an unprecedented look at the creative process that transformed the magical locations of the wizarding world from the page to the big screen. Readers will discover the many challenges the studio faced to build the fantastical sites depicted in Rowling’s books, from Hogwarts castle and its many classrooms and dormitories, to Diagon Alley and the Ministry of Magic. Organized by film appearance, the book takes readers on a behind-the-scenes visual journey through all eight of the Harry Potter films. Gorgeously designed, visually stunning, this is truly is an unmatched look at the imaginative sets that were designed, built, furnished, and digitally enhanced specifically for the films.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBroadcast hysteria : Orson Welles’s War of the worlds and the art of fake news / A. Brad Schwartz.
“On October 30, 1938, regular radio programming was interrupted by an announcer delivering news of a meteor strike in New Jersey. With increasing intensity, the announcer read bulletins describing terrifying war machines moving toward New York City. Some listeners sat transfixed before their radios, while others ran to alert neighbors or call the police. But the broadcast was not breaking news–it was Orson Welles’s adaptation of the H. G. Wells classic The War of the Worlds. In Broadcast Hysteria , A. Brad Schwartz examines the history behind the infamous radio play. Did it really spawn a wave of mass hysteria? Schwartz is the first to examine the hundreds of letters sent directly to Welles after the broadcast. Relatively few listeners believed an actual attack was under way. But even so, Schwartz shows that Welles’s broadcast prompted a different kind of “mass panic” as Americans debated the bewitching power of the radio and the country’s vulnerability in a time of crisis.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverConquering chaos / by Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra.
“Since Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra shared their story of teen pregnancy and adoption on the MTV’s ’16 and Pregnant’ and ‘Teen Mom’, they’ve been known for their inspiring commitment to growing up right. Between their experience placing their first daughter for adoption, and their struggle to cope with problems in their families, Catelynn and Tyler were challenged in every imaginable way. But against all odds, the childhood sweethearts rose above the dysfunction to become responsible adults whose story has inspired many others. How did two troublemaking kids from the trailer park make it through the storm of family dysfunction, teen pregnancy, and adoption without letting go of each other? In their debut book, Catelynn and Tyler tell the story in their own words…and they leave nothing out.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHow Star Wars conquered the universe : the past, present, and future of a multibillion dollar franchise / Chris Taylor.
“Why do most people know what an Ewok is, even if they haven’t seen Return of the Jedi? How have Star Wars action figures come to outnumber human beings? How did ‘Jedi’ become an officially recognised religion? When did the films’ merchandising revenue manage to rival the GDP of a small country? Tracing the birth, death and rebirth of the epic universe built by George Lucas and hundreds of writers, artists, producers, and marketers, Chris Taylor jousts with modern-day Jedi, tinkers with droid builders, and gets inside Boba Fett’s helmet, all to find out how STAR WARS has attracted and inspired so many fans for so long.” (Syndetics summary)

Cabin In the Woods & Downton Abbey : new film & TV books

This month our selection of new books includes the visual companion to Joss Whedon’s Cabin in the Woods, the official series three tie-in for Downton Abbey, how to make and market your own web series, and the first in the new “If you like…” series that collects more than 200 movies you’ll like if you love the Terminator movies. Plus, Nicole Kidman, The Big Lebowski, film history, and more. Have a browse!

Syndetics book coverThe chronicles of Downton Abbey / foreword, Julian Fellowes ; text, Jessica Fellowes and Matthew Sturgis ; photography, Joss Barratt, Nick Briggs and Giles Keyte.
“The Chronicles of Downton Abbey take you deep into the lives of the Crawleys, their servants, lovers, friends and guests. So wander the crowded servants’ quarters and peek into luxurious bed chambers. This lavish book explores the lives of every important member of the Downton estate. Focusing on each character individually, it examines their motivations, their actions and the inspirations behind them. An evocative source of story and background, it will take you even deeper into the secret, beating heart of the house.” (adapted from amazon.co.uk summary)

Syndetics book coverThe cabin in the woods : the official visual companion / foreword by Drew Goddard ; afterword by Joss Whedon ; screenplay written by Joss Whedon & Drew Goddard ; interviews by Abbie Bernstein.
“This exclusive companion book to the Cabin in the Woods movie, directed by Joss Whedon, features an extended interview with Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, the full script, and over 150 photos and stunning pieces of production art. The details of the plot are a closely guarded secret, though Joss himself has described it as ‘a straight-up, balls-out, really terrifying horror movie’, adding, ‘it is not just a slasher in the woods. It’s a little more complicated than that…'” (amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverThe Big Lebowski : an illustrated, annotated history of the greatest cult film of all time / by Jenny M. Jones.
“This is the first comprehensive, highly illustrated analysis of the history, legacy, and cultural significance of the 1998 Coen brothers film The Big Lebowski. Author Jenny Jones explores what it is that makes the film so raucous, quotable, memorable, and downright hilarious” (Provided by publisher)

Syndetics book coverIf you like the The Terminator– here are over 200 movies, TV shows, and other oddities that you will love / Scott Von Doviak.
“Here is the first book to explore the spectacular array of films, television shows, and other works that helped inspire The Terminator , as well as those that have drawn inspiration from it. If You Like The Terminator … delves into the history of science-fiction cinema, from its earliest days to the golden age of the 1950s and beyond, encountering killer robots, time travelers and postapocalyptic wastelands along the way. This turbo-charged journey through time also reviews the improbable career of Arnold Schwarzenegger, revisits the action heroes of the 1980s, and reevaluates the films of James Cameron, before touching down in the computer-dominated realm of today’s science fiction cinema and projecting the future of the Terminator franchise. From Metropolis to The Matrix , from Frankenstein to RoboCop , from H. G. Wells and Harlan Ellison to Roger Corman and Roland Emmerich, you’ll find them all here in If You Like The Terminator.” (adapted from amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverHistory of film / David Parkinson.
“In this lively, informative and up-to-date analysis of what has been called the seventh art, David Parkinson traces the evolution of the moving image from the earliest shadow shows to the digital film-making of the 21st century. Covering the key elements and players that have contributed to its artistic and technical development, the book offers a remarkably concise overview of film throughout the world” (Book Cover)

Syndetics book coverNicole Kidman / Pam Cook.
“Nicole Kidman is a high-profile, successful exponent of contemporary commodity stardom, and a product of fundamental changes in the media industries over the last two decades. Pam Cook vividly brings to life her journey from Australian actress to global superstar, looking at her work in different contexts from film and television to fashion, commercials, philanthropy and the Internet. This absorbing case study unveils a star narrative as compelling as any that appears in her films.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWeb TV series : how to make and market them / Dan Williams.
“Online distributors – such as YouTube, Hulu, and Funny or Die – are interested in acquiring web series (episodic digital entertainment, like mini-TV shows) that attract audiences and appeal to advertisers. Web TV Series… How to Make and Market Them provides advice and expertise to help readers create their own original, successful online shows – projects that can be profitable, potentially developed into film or television properties, and help to start a career in the industry. Readers will learn how to develop characters and stories designed for new media platforms, and find tips for planning, shooting, and editing that are tailored specifically to web series production. This book also extensively covers the latest distribution platforms and social media marketing strategies.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverComedy by the numbers : the 169 secrets of humor and popularity / [edited] by Eric Hoffman and Gary Rudoren.
“Being funny is hard work: just ask Gary Rudoren and Eric Hoffman. Like many people, they once believed that comedy was simply a matter of coming up with “zingers” and “jokes.” But after countless hours of painstaking research, they’ve discovered that true creativity is derived from simple formulas and the memorization of data. Their groundbreaking new book makes the secrets of comedy accessible to all, not only to the naturally funny, but to those who lack the ability or talent to be funny.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

New film & television books: featuring Star Wars, Star Trek & Doctor Who

The new film & television books this month have a distinctly sci-fi bent — with new titles on Star Wars, Star Trek and Doctor Who. Sandwiched around the sci-fi books this month are several titles on the golden boys of film and sirens of the screen — the the first two volumes in a four volume series entitled “Sexbombs”. Read for profiles of Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot, Marlene Dietrich, Marlon Brando, Cary Grant and more. Have a browse!

Syndetics book coverA brief guide to Star Trek / Brian J. Robb.
“This essential guide will cover all prominent actors including William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and Patrick Stewart and will explore the connection between Star Trek and the US cold war foreign policy, why much of the far-out science from the show is now at the forefront of research, why linguists are now studying Klingon, and much more.” (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverStar trek FAQ : everything left to know about the first voyages of the Starship Enterprise / Mark Clark.
“Star Trek FAQ tells the complete story of Star Trek, from the before the beginning (the books, films, and TV shows that inspired producer Gene Roddenberry to create Star Trek) until after the end (when the show emerged as a cultural phenomenon in syndication), and including dramatic behind-the-scenes stories (e.g., Leonard Nimoy’s struggle with alcoholism and actress Grace Lee Whitney’s controversial firing) often omitted from “authorized” histories of the program.” (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverU.S.S. Enterprise owners’ workshop manual : 2151 onwards (NX-01, NCC-1701, NCC-1701-A to NCC-1701-E) / Ben Robinson and Marcus Riley ; technical consultant, Michael Okuda.
“The U.S.S. Enterprise is without doubt the most famous starship in history. The vessels that have carried the name have saved the galaxy countless times and her captains, including Archer, Kirk, and Picard, have been legendary. This Haynes Manual provides in-depth information about these extraordinary ships, from the Enterprise NX-01, to Captain Kirk’s Enterprise NCC-1701 and Captain Picard’s Enterprise NCC-1701-D including histories of each vessel, technical information about their systems, and discussions of key technologies such as transporters and warp-speed travel.” (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverStar Wars : the essential guide to warfare / Jason Fry with Paul R. Urquhart ; illustrations by Drew Baker … [et. al].
“Like many a great epic, Star Wars is rooted in a rich history of armed conflict. Now, for the first time, the facts, figures, and fascinating backstories of major clashes and combatants in the vast Star Wars universe have been documented in one fully illustrated volume. Encompassing all of the Star Wars media, including the legendary films, the hit TV series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the bestselling books, comics, and videogames, and packed with original full-color artwork, Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Warfare is a conquering achievement.” (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverWho is the doctor : the unofficial guide to Doctor Who : the new series / Graeme Burk & Robert Smith?.
“Penned by the authors of the famed sci-fi series’ fanzine collections, this entertaining combination of episode guides and essays is a must-have for all Doctor Who aficionados. The handbook explores all facets of the six most recent seasons, providing an essential companion for the show’s avid fans and casual viewers alike. The history of everything related to Doctor Who is touched upon, from Daleks and Cybermen to the eight Classic Series Doctors.” (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverLove and monsters : the “Doctor Who” experience, 1979 to the present / Miles Booy ; [series editor, Stacey Abbott].
“Scholar and Whofan Miles Booy has written the first historical account of the public interpretation of Doctor Who. Love and Monsters begins in 1979 with the publication of ”Doctor Who Weekly”, the magazine that would start a chain of events that would see creative fans taking control of the merchandise and even of the program’s massively successful twenty-first century reboot. From the twilight of Tom Baker’s years to the newest Doctor, Matt Smith, Miles Booy explores the shifting meaning of Doctor Who across the years – from the Third Doctor’s suggestion that we should read the Bible, via costumed fans on television, up to the 2010 general election in Britain.” (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverSexbombs. Golden boys. Vol. 1, Sexiest men ever / [authors, Paul G. Roberts … [et al.]]
“In this edition (the first of four) we revisit the compelling mystery of the male sex symbol in a lavish fashion. The lives and legends of Marlon Brando, Cary Grant, Elvis Presley, Harrison Ford, Clark, Gable Errol Flynn, Gary Cooper, James Dean, Rock Hudson, Rudolph Valentino, Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Jim Morrison, Robert Redford, Clint Eastwood, Sidney Poitier, Muhammad Ali, Sean Connery, Jack Nicholson, Tom Jones, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, George Clooney, Mick Jagger.” (adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverSexbombs. Sirens. Vol. 2, Sexiest women ever / [authors, Paul G. Roberts … [et al.]].
“Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot, Raquel Welch, Gina Lollobrigida, Sophia Loren, Jane Russell, Jayne Mansfield, Ursula Andress, Mata Hari, Rita Hayworth, Ava Gardner, Ann-Margaret, Bettie Page, Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Mae West, Betty Grable, Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Fonda, Madonna, Lauren Bacall. To be a star you need to rouse the senses, but to be a siren you must touch the heart. The intensity of human beauty concentrated in the most famous female sex symbols of the twentieth century is matched by their vulnerability, their daring and their sheer courage.” (adapted from Amazon.com summary)