Book review – The Wolf at the Door: Stanley Kubrick, History, & the Holocaust

29 March 2006

Geoffrey Cocks. The Wolf at the Door: Stanley Kubrick, History, & the Holocaust. New York: Peter Lang Publishing Inc., 2004

The Wolf at the Door: Stanley Kubrick, History, & the Holocaust is the ambitious attempt by author Geoffrey Cocks, a Professor of History, to view the films of Stanley Kubrick as a personal discourse on the horrors of the Holocaust. Having written previously about both the Holocaust and Kubrick, Cocks has combined his two interests in The Wolf at the Door to conclude that The Shining (1980) is Kubrick’s “artistic and philosophical response to the horrors of the Second World War. (2)”

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Book review – Media Matrix: Sexing the New Reality

8 August 2005

Barbara Creed. Media Matrix: Sexing the New Reality. Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin, 2003

Film critic, academic and media commentator Barbara Creed’s latest book Media Matrix: Sexing the New Reality is a collection of essays that argue that the growth of various forms of contemporary media have significantly shifted the boundaries between the traditional separate public and private spheres to herald visible shifts in morality. The various essays explore the many new forms of media (such as cyberfilm, reality TV, the woman’s romance, virtual pornography, crisis TV, the Internet, queermedia, cybersex and virtual reality) to argue that the spectator is no longer distanced but actively seeking to play with traditional notions of reality and fixed identities. This interplay with the media’s representations and explorations of sexuality and identity have led to the emergence of a new fluid, hybrid and multisexed global self that is not constrained by classical oppositions such as male/female or gay/straight.

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Book review – The Inquisition in Hollywood: Politics in the Film Community, 1930-60

8 August 2005

Larry Ceplair and Steven Englund. The Inquisition in Hollywood: Politics in the Film Community, 1930-60. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2003 

The Inquisition in Hollywood probably belongs on the History shelves more than it does on the Cinema Studies shelves. However, that should not deter people with a serious interest in film and film culture from ploughing through its lengthy account of American politics from the 1930s, 40s and 50s and how they impacted on the film community in Hollywood. The result is a damming account of the Red Menace era where screenwriters were blacklisted, having been falsely accused of indoctrinating cinema with Communist propaganda.

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Book review – The Artist as Monster: The Cinema of David Cronenberg

20 September 2002

Beard, William, The Artist as Monster: The Cinema of David Cronenberg, University of Toronto Press, Toronto, 2001

William Beard’s extensive critical analysis of the cinema of David Cronenberg considers Cronenberg as a filmmaker with a strong authorial voice whose films make up a powerful body of work containing very specific re-occurring themes, attitudes and style. From Videodrome (1983) onwards Beard identifies the main theme of Cronenberg’s films as an existential-romantic ideal of “a pathfinding, transgressive [male artist/creator] figure delving into hidden or repressed realms where others do not wish to go”. (257) 

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