BURTON BURTON BURTON

If you haven’t seen the Burton exhibit at MOMA, stop what you’re doing immediately and walk over to 53rd street. The exhibit is phenomenal – so inspiring. I particularly loved this 1976 rejection letter from Walt Disney Productions. (Also check out this 1992 interview with Rolling Stone.)

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HBO’s Thing for Autism

It was only a matter of time before someone made a biopic about Temple Grandin. When you stop and think about it, HBO makes perfect sense- so does Claire Danes. (Oh and add Sheila Nevins to my list of creative heroes.)

Ms. Grandin is currently reading a copy of Elaine Hall’s book Now I See The Moon (Elaine starred in the incredible HBO doc Autism: The Musical). I can’t wait to hear what she thinks!

(update! this just in from Temple Grandin: “Now I See the Moon provides insightful ways to teach and work with individuals with autism and severe disabilities.  It will give parents great hope.” Whoop! Whoop! JC)

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No One Does the Apocalypse Like Cormac McCarthy

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Poetry in the Raw

Shirley MacLaine reading T. S. Eliot from the movie Woman Times Seven (1976)Shirley MacLaine reading T. S. Eliot from the movie Woman Times Seven (1976)

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Is The Movie Ever Better Than the Book?

Jaws Movie Poster (1975)At the kick-off dinner for the Denver Publishing Institute last night, Joyce Meskis from The Tattered Cover asked the group if they had ever liked a movie more than the book from which it was made. We were all pretty hard-pressed to name one, but we agreed on “Jaws” and “The Reader.” Got any other suggestions?

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Where the Future Readers Are

The magic of a great kids book…

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An enterprising mom makes her kid a Max costume from Where the Wild Things Are.

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Criterion Collection, Paving the Way Yet Again

untitled-2This is a guest post from our friend Ryan Chapman at MacMillan.

The Criterion Collection has taken an interesting step forward, almost contrary to their “mission statement.” A little background first: way back in the day, they invented the Director’s Commentary and the “Deluxe Edition” with their line of laserdiscs (remember those?), and soon after moved to DVDs. They’re essentially an arthouse imprint for lost and underrated classics of world cinema, like the Taschen or Rizzoli of DVDs. (Bob Stein of the Institute for the Future of the Book was a co-founder.) Each film is presented in the best possible format, with updated packaging, scholarly essays, definitive “Director’s Editions” and clean, beautiful transfers. A 1953 film like The Wages of Fear looks better in a Criterion edition than most recent DVDs. If anyone would resist the digitalization of content, it would be these guys.

Well, surprise: with their website re-launch, Criterion is offering online rentals of a broad selection of their almost 500 titles. For five bucks you get to watch the film as many times as you want for one week. A little like iTunes or Netflix, sure. But their real innovation, in my opinion, is that your rental fee also acts as a coupon off the purchase of the physical DVD from their online store. They’ve found a great way to link the online and offline content experience.

Would this work for books? The subscription model idea has been kicked around the industry for a while now – what if it was tied to an easily accessed online platform? What do you guys think?

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HarperStudio Congratulates Philippe Petit on his Oscar!!!

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Congratulations to Philippe on winning the Academy Award last night for Best Documentary for his remarkable movie, “Man on Wire.” We’re so honored to be working with him on his next book

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Walking a Tightrope Between the World Trade Towers Was Nothing–Try Building A Barn By Hand, With 18th Century Tools

You may know Philippe Petit for his remarkable artistry as a tightrope-walker, most famously for his walk between the World Trade Towers. That feat is documented in the Academy Award-nominated film, “Man On Wire,” which Petit discusses here:


Philippe Petit on The Colbert Report on January 27, 2009


Philippe Petit on The Conan O’Brien Show.


Philippe Petit at Sundance 2008

Now Petit is attempting a new challenge: he is building a barn by hand, using only 18th-century tools. And he has signed with HarperStudio for his book about that experience, to be published in Fall, 2010.

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Leonard Maltin Lists The Five Best Movies of 2008 You Didn’t See

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by Leonard Maltin
Please forgive the presumptuousness of my headline. If you’re a dedicated filmgoer you may already know some of these titles. Yet in our media-driven, blockbuster-oriented society most people don’t hear about smaller, offbeat movies and if they do they don’t go out to see them. Some people are actually wary of movies they haven’t seen advertised on TV, billboards and bus ads.
Sometimes a good movie manages to build word of mouth, fueled by positive reviews and an award or two; this year’s success story may well be Slumdog Millionaire, which deserves all the praise it’s receiving. That said, here are five good movies I think you ought to try. They’re as good as any of the box-office hits of 2008—if not better. All of them except Let the Right One In is available on DVD.
Then She Found Me – Helen Hunt directed, co-wrote and stars in this entertaining comedy-drama about a schoolteacher who’s contacted by her birth mother at a particularly vulnerable moment in her life. Colin Firth, Bette Midler and Matthew Broderick costar. If this had been released by a Hollywood studio it could have been a mainstream hit.
Chop Shop – A 12-year-old Hispanic boy fends for himself on the mean streets of New York City while living in the auto-body shop where he works during the day. This vivid slice of life is reminiscent of Italian neorealist films of the 1940s like Open City. As in Rahmin Bahrani’s previous film, Man Push Cart, the actors here don’t seem to be acting at all, let alone following a script.
Ghost Town – British comedian Ricky Gervais stars in this engaging comedy-fantasy as an acerbic Manhattan dentist dogged by recently-deceased Greg Kinnear, a ghostly figure who needs to clear up unfinished business with his ex-wife, nicely played by Téa Leoni. Filmmaker David Koepp wisely allowed Gervais to ad-lib freely and retain his uniquely snarky sense of humor…yet in spite of that he emerges as a very likable romantic leading man.
Let the Right One In – I can’t stomach horror-torture films like Saw but this Swedish import has style and smarts to go along with its shocks (and they are substantial). It’s 2008’s “other” vampire movie, about a lonely boy who comes to realize that the strange girl next door is in fact a bloodsucker. This one is still playing in a number of theaters around the country, and is well worth seeking out.
The Wackness – The setting is New York City in 1994, and our hero (Josh Peck) is an alienated high-school senior who finds independence by selling pot. His best customer is a hippie-ish psychiatrist who trades advice for grass, and expects young Peck to steer clear of his young, attractive daughter. The shrink is played by Ben Kingsley with great gusto and humor, and he alone makes the movie worth seeing. Writer-director Jonathan Levine captures the time and place quite well.
Leonard Maltin is writing a book for HarperStudio about the 100 best movies you probably haven’t seen.
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