Do the Movies Have a Future?

Do the Movies Have a Future?

In the second decade of the twenty-first century, the movies, once America’s primary popular art form, have become an endangered species. Do the Movies Have a Future? is a rousing and witty call to arms. In these sharp and engaging essays and reviews, New Yorker movie critic David Denby weighs in on “conglomerate aesthetics,” as embodied in the frenzied, weightless action spectacles that dominate the world’s attention, and “platform agnosticism,” the notion that movies can be watched on smaller and smaller screens: laptops, tablets, even phones. At the same time, Denby reaffirms that movies are our national theater, and in this exhilarating book he celebrates such central big movies as Avatar and The Social Network as well as small but resonant triumphs like There Will Be Blood and The Tree of Life.

Denby joyously celebrates what remains of the shared culture in romantic comedy, high school movies, and chick flicks; he assesses the expressive triumphs and failures of auteurs Quentin Tarantino, the Coen brothers, Pedro Almodóvar, and David Fincher. Refusing nostalgia, he mines the past for strength, examining the changing nature of stardom and the careers of Joan Crawford, Otto Preminger, and Victor Fleming, and the continuing self-invention of Clint Eastwood. And he recreates the excitement of reading two critics who embodied the film culture of their times, James Agee and Pauline Kael.

Wry, passionate, and incisive, Do the Movies Have a Future? is both a feast of good writing and a challenge to fight back. It is an essential guide for movie lovers looking for ammunition and hope.
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  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 368 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439110096 | 
  • October 2012
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PREFACE

Except for the review of Pulp Fiction, all of these essays and reviews were written in the years 1999 to 2011. I have revised some of them, and, in two cases (the articles on James Agee and Pauline Kael), combined two pieces into one. When I revised, I didn’t change any of the opinions, or alter the happy or angry mood in which the pieces were first written, or fiddle with the phrasing. I restored a few things that were cut for space, while dropping some passages about, say, business conditions in Hollywood that are no longer of much interest or relevance. I’ve also cut some matters covered in other pieces.... see more

About the Author

David Denby
Casey Kelbaugh

David Denby

David Denby has been film critic and staff writer at The New Yorker since 1998; prior to that he was film critic of New York magazine. His reviews and essays have also appeared in The New Republic, The Atlantic, and The New York Review of Books. He lives in New York City.

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