Sunday, August 14, 2016

Cool Ass Cinema Book Reviews: On the Set With Aliens


By Simon Ward

144 pages; hardcover with dust jacket; glossy color and B/W; first edition 2016

The 30th Anniversary of James Cameron's ALIENS (1986) is celebrated within these 144 glossy pages of behind the scenes photos and production stills. Bursting with many never before seen images and all-new anecdotes from Carrie Henn (Newt) and Jenette Goldstein (Vasquez), devout fans will surely wish to face-hug this oversized coffee table tome. If you're expecting insight or lengthy interviews into the production you'll be disappointed. The focus is on--as per the title--the set photography. Primarily a picture book (all the images come equipped with trivia-laced captions), it will nonetheless complement collectors of Ridley Scott's famous film--particularly the 1986 sequel it birthed. Read on if you wish to purchase... "it's the only way to be sure".

The ALIEN franchise has long been a fan favorite for not just the films but the merchandising as well; everything from patches, T-shirts, toys and books. Both ALIEN (1979) and ALIENS (1986) are benchmarks in the genres of Horror and Science Fiction and there have been a few publications written about them. 

Simon Ward's new book details the behind-the-scenes story of James Cameron's classic Action-SciFi-Horror in picturesque fashion. Lavishly illustrated with imagery (broken up into three sections--cast & crew; on set; and behind the scenes), all the major sequences are covered, as well as the creation of the sets, the monsters, and the weaponry.

Beginning with 4 pages of Carrie Henn detailing how she got the role of Newt and her time working on the picture, Jenette Goldstein is also on hand for some new remarks about her on-set experiences. Further anecdotes from both actresses are spread over each chapter.

Regarding the content, the opening chapter by Ms. Henn is as extensive as it gets in regards to the written word. Primarily a photo book, every image has a caption that details names and trivia relating to the corresponding picture. This reliance on imagery may frustrate some but bear in mind the title of the book is "The Set Photography". New insight by two of the main cast is a nice addition, but with little in the way of in-depth opining this possibly won't be enough to warrant a purchase for anyone but the most dedicated of the series. 

Still, if you love the ALIEN universe, and especially this sequel, Aliens: The Set Photography will make a nice addition to your collection--whether on the shelf or the coffee table.

You can purchase the book at amazon HERE.

You can also visit the Titan Books website to see more about this release and upcoming books HERE.

For reviews on two other ALIEN-related books from Titan click HERE.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Cool Ass Cinema Book Reviews: Bronson Is Loose.... Again


By Paul Talbot

456 pages; softcover edition (also available in hardcover); B/W; first edition 2016

Paul Talbot has amassed Good Bronson, Bad Bronson, and Ugly Bronson for his newest volume that could have easily been titled 'Everything You Wanted To Know About Charles Bronson Movies But Didn't Know Who To Ask'. Over 450 pages, you'll read about Bronson's cinematic highs and lows; varying opinions from those who worked with, and were close to him; how Silvano Gallardo felt about shooting her infamous rape scene in DEATH WISH II; the original scripted ending of 10 TO MIDNIGHT; how The Giggler got his game for DEATH WISH 3; and in one of the book's greatest assets, the most intimate document into the lives of Bronson and Jill Ireland thus compiled. The man's TV work is given extensive coverage as well. Bronson's Loose Again, so don't let this warmhearted, yet burly book get away. 

There are some books that are so well-mounted, so rich with content, they're analogous to trying to decide which food items to first fill your plate at one of your finer restaurant buffets. A cursory glance at the Table of Contents of Bronson's Loose Again and you don't know where to begin. Paul Talbot's second book on one of cinema's most recognizable faces is comparable to one such culinary conundrum.

Like any good sequel, this followup maintains the spirit of the original while adding some new additions that only complement what came before. If you already own Talbot's previous foray into vigilante nirvana (Bronson's Loose! The Making of The Death Wish Films), Bronson's Loose Again! On the Set With Charles Bronson divulges enough new information about DEATH WISH parts 2 and 3 to get friends and family reminiscing about good ole uncle Wildey. 

Regarding the Kersey sections, special emphasis is placed on DEATH WISH II (1981) in an 18 page interview with writer David Engelbach; 11 pages for Robin Sherwood and Silvana Gallardo discussing their experiences filming their controversial sequences; and 5 pages with Robert F. Lyons relaying his encounters with Bronson prior to, and after, DEATH WISH 2; as well as his positive and negative experiences with director Michael Winner. 

Anecdote-filled chapters on a few of the actor's better known Kersey-ish style cop-thrillers are included (10 TO MIDNIGHT; MURPHY'S LAW; KINJITE: FORBIDDEN SUBJECTS), along with some of the best (HARD TIMES), and lesser known (CABOBLANCO), less successful entries (FROM NOON TILL THREE) of Bronson's filmography. If you've never seen any of the actor's television work (ACT OF VENGEANCE; YES VIRGINIA, THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS; THE SEA WOLF), they get the same exhaustive treatment that the theatrical presentations do.

Arguably the book's most fascinating attribute is how well it captures the romanticism, the private life, of the Bronson family more so than was ever imagined when they were alive. For those who have only seen the movies, read remarks from critics, or one of Bronson's few interviews, you never got a genuine feeling of who the man really was. There's an intimacy permeating every chapter (especially in the absolutely wonderful 23 pages devoted to FROM NOON TILL THREE [1976]) that unveils what Bronson was like off-camera... granted, not all of it is genial. Bronson's Loose Again is equal parts the big screen superman and the off-screen, and very human, former coal miner from Pennsylvania.

If a third volume is forthcoming, it will be a near impossible feat to top considering the peak of the printed page on one of cinema's most venerable actors has just been reached.

Click HERE to purchase this book (soft or hard cover) direct from the publisher.

Click HERE to purchase this book (soft or hard cover) from Amazon.

To read a review of Paul Talbot's Mondo Mandingo click HERE. You can purchase it HERE.

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