Blog Archives

Animation Nomination: An Animated Rant

Guest Blogger: Barry Monush, author of Lucille Ball FAQ, West Side Story: Music on Film, and more. Also the editor of Screen World.

It wouldn’t be Oscar season without some complaining, so here goes. While the 2011 nominees are (mostly) remarkably devoid of groaners (as long as they got Christopher Plummer in there, I’m happy), those of us who actually see a lot of movies and make keeping track of the new releases a way of life (yes, we’re out there), want to vent about how certain categories are filled.

It appears that the Animated Feature category has now joined the ranks of Foreign Language Film and Feature Documentary. In other words, there is no obligation for the nominees to actually have been available for viewing by the paying general public. Considering how animation floods the market these days and dominates the box office, you’d think the Academy would be able to come up with 5 films that fans have actually heard of, but no, instead two of this year’s nominees have even the most avid movie followers scratching their heads: A Cat in Paris and Chico & Rita.

This is not a rant about their quality. Who the hell has actually seen the pictures to comment on that? What I’m bugged by is why they are in the running without being a part of the actual 2011 movie scene? If indeed categories are going to consist of items that can only be screened by Academy members or on the festival circuit, then they should not be included in the telecast that the rest of the world watches. Rather than keeping the honorary awards away from home viewers (don’t get me started on how dumb that decision was), why not relegate the Animation, Documentary, Foreign, and Short Subjects to the also-ran ceremony instead?

Better yet, just have the Oscars pay tribute to released titles and keep us all in the loop.


Screen World 62: The Films of 2010

Movie fans eagerly await each new edition of Screen World, the definitive record of the cinema since 1949. Volume 62 provides an illustrated listing of every significant American and foreign film released in the United States in 2010, documented with more than 1,000 black-and-white photographs.

Q&A with Barry Monush


Barry Monush, editor of Screen World, talks with One Movie, Five Views.


OMFV: Do you have a personal favourite film from 2010?

Barry: It’s hard to pick one – there were many highlights for me that year. The Social Network, The Ghost Writer, City Island, Please Give, Solitary Man, The Extra Man, Catfish, Let Me In, The King’s Speech, The Company Men, Another Year, to name just a few. Already I feel like I’ve left too many out …

Keep Reading in…


Volume 62: The Films of 2010

Screen World‘s outstanding features include a color section of highlights and a comprehensive index with over 19,000 entries; full-page photographs of the four Academy Award-winning actors as well as photos of all acting nominees; a look at the year’s most promising new screen personalities; complete film information: cast and characters, credits, production company, date released, rating, capsule plot summary, and running time; biographical entries: a priceless reference on nearly 2,500 living stars, including real name, school, and date and place of birth; and obituaries for 2010.

Available now from Applause Books | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

‘Tis the Season: Holiday Gift Ideas for the Music and Arts Lover on Your Shopping List

It’s that time of year again, and we here at Hal Leonard wanted to make sure our readers didn’t miss out on gift opportunities this holiday season. We’ve made our list (and checked it twice) of great holiday gift ideas for the music and performing arts lover on your shopping list. Whether your mother-in-law prefers Lucille Ball or Led Zeppelin, Hal Leonard has just the book you’re looking for. Read on for our list of holiday must-haves:


Show-by-Show Deluxe Set
By Stanley Green

Broadway Musicals: Show-by-Showis the bestselling, most comprehensive Broadway reference book today. In this new and expanded edition you’ll find over 300 of the most important and memorable productions of the American musical theatre. You’ll also find over 300 movies documented including writer, director, choreographer, cast and song lists, plot summary and more. Available for purchase here.

Unlocking the Masters Deluxe Set
Bach’s Keyboard Music, Beethoven’s Symphonies, and Brahms, A Listener’s Guide

The big three – Bach, Beethoven and Brahms – all together in one deluxe set! Each volume presents an in-depth exploration of the composer’s world of musical intimacies in an easy-to-read, nuts-and-bolts manner. Available for purchase here.


The Musician’s Ultimate Toolbox
How to Make Your Band Sound Great and The Studio Musician’s Handbook

By Bobby Owsinski

These two volumes offer the practicing musician great titles from the Bobby Owsinski Handbook series of titles. How to Make Your Band Sound Great explores every aspect of playing with other musicians, including the equipment, hardware and software used in today’s increasingly technological world. The Studio Musician’s Handbook, reveals the inner workings of a major Hollywood recording session. Available for purchase here.

The Actor’s Ultimate Toolbox
Duo! The Best Scenes for the ’90s and Duo! The Best Scenes for Two for the 21st Century

These two volumes offer a full spectrum of scenes from the ’90s and the 2000s. Each scene has a synopsis of the play, character descriptions and notes on how to propel the scene to full power! Includes: Angles in America, Burn This, Lettice and Lovage, Driving Miss Daisy, Other People’s Money, M. Butterfly, August: Osage County, George & Martha, Intimate Apparel, Take Me Out, and Water Music. Available for purchase here.

Fab Four FAQ Deluxe Set
Fab Four FAQ and Fab Four FAQ 2.0, The Solo Years

Fab Four FAQ contains everything left to know about the Beatles. Stories unknown by most fans, trends unseen and history revealed. Fab Four FAQ 2.0, The Solo Years, picks up where Fab Four FAQ left off, presenting in-depth information on their careers as solo artists. Both books are loaded with images of rare period ephemera, including periodicals, single sleeves, and movie stills. This is the first comprehensive biography of all four ex-Beatles. Available for purchase here.

The Songwriter’s Ultimate Toolbox Boxed Set
How to Write Songs on Guitar, Songwriting Sourcebook, How to Write Songs in Altered Guitar Tunings

By Rikky Rooksby

The bestselling How to Write Songs on Guitar shows you tips and tricks by classic songwriters, from Bob Dylan to the Beatles to Tori Amos. The Songwriting Sourcebook shows you how to turn chords into great songs and compliments How to Write Songs on Guitar. How to Write Songs in Altered Guitar Tunings is the latest installment from Rikky Rooksby and is the only book that explains how to write songs with altered tunings. Available for purchase here.

Stevie Ray Vaughan – Day by Day, Night After Night
Deluxe Box Set

By Craig Hopkins

This boxed set combines both volumes of Stevie Ray Vaughan: Day by Day, Night After Night, one of the most lavishly illustrated and detailed musician biographies ever written. In a day-by-day format, Craig Hopkins presents an award-winning and unprecedented celebration of Vaughan’s life and music. His Early Years, 1954-1982, the first volume in this deluxe set, covers the complete history of the guitar legend’s roots, from his childhood to the eve of his first major record release. The second volume, His Final Years, 1983-1990, covers Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble’s recording career, from their debut release through their rise to international stardom. Available for purchase here.

The Dream Factory: Fender Custom Shop
By Tom Wheeler

This third in a series of hardcover books joins the award-winning titles The Stratocaster Chronicles and The Soul of Tone by author/historian Tom Wheeler. In nearly 600 pages, The Dream Factory features hundreds of full-color photos of incredibly rare, collectible, and limited-edition handcrafted guitars. Learn how the Fender Custom Shop, originally intended to employ just two master craftsmen, grew into the most prolific custom instrument shop in the music industry. Available for purchase here.


Led Zeppelin FAQ

Bad Reputation

The Beach Boys FAQ

Screen World 62

A Hard Day's Night

The Vampire Film

Ghost vs. Kitty: The Revenge of Kitty Galore on Thinker Films

Guest Blogger: 
Barry Monush, author of the Screen World series, The Encyclopedia of Hollywood Screen Actors, Everybody’s Talkin’, West Side Story: Music on Film,  Hollywood Musicals Year by Year, and Lucille Ball FAQ.

Best movie of 2010 that you may not have seen.

Among the pleasures to be had from editing Screen World is the hope that your editorial decisions can draw attention to a movie or two that didn’t get its fair shake.

If you’re an ‘independent,’ as the industry insists on calling thoroughly accessible movies that don’t  fall into the ‘high concept’ category, it’s considered perfectly respectable if you make $15 million at the box office, but I don’t see it that way.  This means you’ve still fallen nearly $30 million short of the final figures on Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. Huh? If you have any taste, you’re probably thinking I made that title up, because nobody in their right mind sat around in 2010 anticipating the release of Kitty Galore, nor did you probably run into anyone talking about it at a cocktail party.

Which brings me to the $15 million-grossing movie in question, The Ghost Writer. The earliest media mentions it received came by way of a negative event – being the latest offering from director Roman Polanski, just as he was being arrested for the crime he fled our country for back in the 1970s. I don’t know if this publicity was the reason those $15 million-worth of folks chose to see what was, in my assessment, the best thing Polanski had done since Chinatown. Or maybe his notoriety is what kept this smart, devilishly unsettling adaptation of Robert Harris’ terrific page-turning novel from reaching the heights of, um, Kitty Galore.

If The Ghost Writer did not sit high on the year’s box office list, as Chinatown did back in 1974, there are a number of reasons, the most unfortunate being that there are more paying customers these days who will respond to the simplicities of Kitty Galore than to the dialogue-heavy plot turns and restrained, subtle menace of The Ghost Writer, so conditioned have they become to assuming that a movie you see in a theatre is fast, loud, and very high in concept. Too bad for them.

Barry Monush (Metuchen, NJ) is the author of the acclaimed Encyclopedia of Hollywood Film Actors: From the Silent Era to 1965; Everybody’s Talkin’: The Top Films of 1965-1969; Hollywood Musicals: Year by Year (revised third edition); and the Music on Film volume on West Side Story. He is a researcher for the Paley Center for Media in New York City.

Screen World 62’s outstanding features include a color section of highlights; an index with over 19,000 entries; full-page photographs of the four Academy Award-winning actors as well as photos of all the acting nominees; a look a the year’s most promising new screen personalities; a priceless biographical reference to more than 2,500 living stars; and obituaries for 2010.

Available from Applause Theatre & Cinema Books.