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)

New Books on TV and Movies for July

Interesting books about popular TV programmes are featured this month. They include Breaking Bad and The Muppets – plus the biography of much-missed James Gandolfini, who played Tony Soprano in The Soprano, is a must-read. Enjoy!

Syndetics book coverWanna cook? : the complete, unofficial companion to Breaking bad / Ensley F. Guffey & K. Dale Koontz.
““I am not in danger . . . I am the danger.” With those words, Breaking Bad’s Walter White solidified himself as TV’s greatest antihero. Wanna Cook? explores the most critically lauded series on television with analyses of the individual episodes and ongoing storylines. From details like stark settings, intricate camerawork, and jarring music to the larger themes, including the roles of violence, place, self-change, legal ethics, and fan reactions, this companion book is perfect for those diehards who have watched the Emmy Award–winning series multiple times as well as for new viewers. Wanna Cook? elucidates without spoiling, and illuminates without nit-picking. A must-have for any fan’s collection.” (adapted from

Syndetics book coverThe Muppets character encyclopedia / written by Craig Shemin.
“Discover everything you wanted to know about the most memorable and best-loved Muppet characters from all the TV series and movies” (Book Cover)

Syndetics book coverScience fiction TV / J.P. Telotte.
“The first in the Routledge Television Guidebooks series, Science Fiction TV offers an introduction to the versatile and evolving genre of science fiction television, combining historical overview with textual readings to analyze its development and ever-increasing popularity. J. P. Telotte discusses science fiction’s cultural progressiveness and the breadth of its technological and narrative possibilities, exploring SFTV from its roots in the pulp magazines and radio serials of the 1930s all the way up to the present. From formative series like Captain Video to contemporary, cutting-edge shows like Firefly and long-lived popular revivals such as Doctor Who and Star Trek, Telotte insightfully tracks the history and growth of this crucial genre, along with its dedicated fandom and special venues, such as the Syfy Channel.” (adapted from

Syndetics book coverSitcom : a history in 24 episodes from I love Lucy to Community / Saul Austerlitz.
“Early in this book, Austerlitz (Another Fine Mess: A History of American Film Comedy) says, “Watch enough television, and sitcoms begin to talk to one another.” This serves as the book’s thesis, and the author is at his best when he’s facilitating the conversation. Father Knows Best recalls The Honeymooners, Moe’s Tavern is Springfield’s answer to Cheers, and Curb Your Enthusiasm couldn’t exist without Seinfeld. Extending beyond the facile comparisons, Austerlitz’s chapter on Sex in the City opens with a look at The Golden Girls and leads into Entourage, while his section on Taxi reads like an introduction to TV sidekicks, spanning from The Mary Tyler Moore Show to Community. Austerlitz adheres to his history of sitcoms in 24 episodes, but isn’t shackled by it, easily covering an entire run of a sitcom while drawing comparisons to a dozen other shows within a single chapter.” (Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverThe only way is Essex : official guide to living life the Essex way / Alex Hines.
“Fake boobs? Check. Gallons of fake tan? Check. Blokes and birds obsessed with their looks? Double check. Welcome to the fabulous world of The Only Way is Essex… The Only Way is Essex is a brilliantly funny, massively addictive reality TV programme based in Essex – following the lives and loves of a group of sexy young socialites, where the men and women are tanned, toned and vajazzled to perfection. This book will invite readers into the glamorous world of Essex where champagne, nail bars, nightclubs and tanning salons are a fundamental part of everybody’s life. Packed with cast interviews, behind the scenes gossip and pictures and tips on living life the Essex way, The Only Way is Essex: Guide to Life is a must have for the show’s legion of dedicated fans.” (adapted from

Syndetics book coverRoadshow! : the fall of film musicals in the 1960s / Matthew Kennedy.
“For those who can’t belt out “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” or “Some Enchanted Evening” on cue or pick out Oklahoma! and Camelot on a musical theater atlas to save their lives, the musical roadshow was a Hollywood marketing machine juggernaut that treated engagements at local movie theaters like Broadway productions, complete with reserved seating, programs, orchestral overtures, and intermissions. Film historian Kennedy (Joan Blondell: A Life Between Takes; Edmund Goulding’s Dark Victory), in an erudite yet fetchingly entertaining style, traces the demise of ostentatious budget-busting Hollywood musicals, beginning with the mid-Sixties zenith of the phenomenally successful The Sound of Music and following the inexorable disappointments of, among others, Dr. Dolittle, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Camelot, Man of La Mancha, and-wait for it-Paint Your Wagon. Kennedy juxtaposes the over-the-top theatricality and artifice inherent in these productions with the tumultuous societal and artistically discordant developments in the late Sixties.” (Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverJames Gandolfini : the real life of the man who made Tony Soprano / Dan Bischoff.
“[This book] is the first biography of the actor who died, in June 2013 at age 51, widely recognized as one of the best – and most defining – actors of his generation. The book is informed by fresh interviews with Sopranos actors, HBO executives, the star’s acting teachers and coaches, his childhood friends, buddies from his days as a nightclub bouncer, and Hollywood figures including the directors of his posthumously released films. Bischoff decodes Gandolfini’s portrayal of mobsters and bad guys from his breakout role in True Romance with Patricia Arquette to the series role that made his career, including his portrayals of real people like Leon Panetta in Zero Dark Thirty. Gandolfini’s personal life–from his marriages and family interactions to his deep friendships with his fellow cast members—enriches and enlivens this book, and deepens our understanding of the star….” (Syndetics annotation)

Syndetics book coverJohn Wayne : the life and legend / Scott Eyman.
“Still larger than life years after his death, John Wayne elevated the western to a new level and created a legendary screen persona defined by honesty, courage, and character. Drawing deeply on interviews with family and friends, acclaimed biographer Eyman (Print the Legend: The Life and Times of John Ford) colorfully chronicles Wayne’s life and work from his birth in Winterset, Iowa-where Wayne was born Marion Robert Morrison in 1907-and his childhood and youth in Glendale, Calif., to his college days at USC, where he was a football standout until an injury sidelined him, and his slow rise to stardom, his marriages, and his enduring screen presence. In this compulsively readable biography, Eyman examines closely Wayne’s major films, from The Searchers and The Shootist to Sands of Iwo Jima and True Grit to depict the actor who “came to symbolize the American man throughout the world, whether he was wearing a soldier suit or a cowboy hat.” (Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverOne leg too few : the adventures of Peter Cook & Dudley Moore / William Cook.
“One Leg Too Few will feature an extensive range of fresh interviews, previously unpublished archive material and a wealth of information about the most creative (and explosive) double act that British comedy has ever produced. One Leg Too Few is a book about an extraordinary relationship: a friendship, a partnership – almost, at times, a marriage. Like a lot of marriages it ended badly, but for nearly 20 years, between the first date and the inevitable divorce, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore were the funniest thing on three continents. One Leg Too Few is the story of that relationship, and the comedy that came from it.” (adapted from

Syndetics book coverThe Hollywood standard : the complete and authoritative guide to script format and style / Christopher Riley.
“Riley (professional screenwriter and screenwriting trainer) offers a second edition of his guide to professional script formats that are the Hollywood standard. He explains what to avoid, single-camera and multi-camera film formats, shot headings, direction, dialogue, transitions, punctuation, special pages, script typing software, proofreading, and the evolution of the script from first draft to production draft. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (” (Syndetics summary)

New film & TV books: MTV, animation, Harry Potter and more!

For our last round-up of the film & television books before 2012, we’ve chosen some excellent reads for you – including a history of animation, a look at the filming and development of the Harry Potter film series (Ron! Hermione! Harry!!), and a look at how MTV changed television. Plus, ever wondered exactly how well movies and politics mix? We’ve got you covered with a look at how celebrities in America on the Left and Right have fared in politics. Plus, a film history of the goriest genre: horror. Have a browse!

Syndetics book coverThe world history of animation / Stephen Cavalier.
“Focusing on the 100-plus-year history of the genre, animator and director Cavalier’s coffee-table volume offers a comprehensive chronological look at film, television, and web-based animations. He does a great job of never overwhelming readers with information. The narrative, which nicely ties together the history and reproduced images, is almost epic as it showcases the evolution of animation techniques that are the core of the genre. Cavalier also includes a list of essential films with synopses and relevant biographies. Photographs are well placed throughout the book and add interest.” (Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverHarry Potter : page to screen : the complete filmmaking journey / [Bob McCabe].
“From the acquisition of the film rights to the casting of Harry, Ron, and Hermione and the assembly of the creative team, Harry Potter: Page to Screen is a unique, behind-the-scenes look at the making of one of the most popular film series in cinema history, as told by the people who made the magic real. Harry Potter: Page to Screen traces the cinematic process of bringing J.K. Rowling’s beloved books to big-screen life.”  (Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverI want my MTV : the uncensored story of the music video revolution / Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum.
“MTV’s influence went beyond music–it soon changed network and cable television, radio, sports, film, fashion, teen sexuality, and even politics. Highly respected music journalists Marks and Tannenbaum have assembled an unprecedented collection of stories from the early days of MTV, straight from the mouths of those who were part of the video revolution. 50,000 print.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverShock value : how a few eccentric outsiders gave us nightmares, conquered Hollywood, and invented modern horror / Jason Zinoman.
“Based on unprecedented access to the genre’s major players, “New York Times” film critic Zinoman delivers the first definitive account of horror’s golden age–the 1970s, when such directors as Wes Craven, Roman Polanski, John Carpenter, and Brian De Palma redefined the genre.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHollywood left and right : how movie stars shaped American politics / Steven J. Ross.
“Ross (history, Univ. of Southern California; Working-Class Hollywood) reveals the wide-ranging and lasting influence of Hollywood stars and producers on American politics. He profiles ten celebrities – five on the left (Charlie Chaplin, Edward G. Robinson, Harry Belafonte, Jane Fonda, and Warren Beatty) and five on the right (Louis B. Mayer, George Murphy, Ronald Reagan, Charlton Heston, and Arnold Schwarzenegger) – who devoted themselves to political activism, sometimes at great risk to their careers. Ross situates the personal stories of his subjects within the greater cultural and political landscape, exploring the motivations that drove each of them and measuring the effectiveness of their efforts.” (Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverCinema : the whole story / general editor, Philip Kemp ; foreword by Sir Christopher Frayling.
“”Cinema: The Whole Story” takes a close look at the key time periods, genres and key works in world cinema. It places the burgeoning world of cinema in the context of social and cultural developments that have taken place since its beginnings. Organized chronologically, the book traces the evolution of cinematic development, from the earliest days of film projection to the multiscreen cinemas and super-technology of today. Illustrated, in-depth text charts every genre of cinema, from the first silent films to epic blockbusters, CGI graphics and groundbreaking effects of the 21st century. “Cinema: The Whole Story” is an indispensable book for all those who love watching and reading about films and who want to understand more about the world of cinema.” (Syndetics summary)