Leonard Maltin's 2010 Movie Guide

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PENGUIN group, Sep 24, 2010 - 1664 pages
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Probably the best print guide to films. A couple of caveats, however:
1. Because of all the new films that Maltin has to include each year, many early films have now been pulled from this Movie Guide
, and relegated to the Classic Movie Guide, a separate book that is updated only every few years or so. But not all the classics are now missing; many films appear in both books, which results in duplication and a waste of space—odd when the motivation was originally to save space.
2. The information is generally accurate, but often timings are significantly different from what you will find on DVDs. And there are many points of disagreement with the IMDb, which is much more comprehensive but also somewhat less reliable about details.
3. Maltin's opinions are rather old-fashioned, sometimes aggressively or even self-aggrandizingly so. Few excellent recent films are rated at 4 stars. Further, he seems to go out of his way to dis some very popular, and arguably quite good films--e.g. The Shawshank Redemption, which he rates only 2 1/2 stars. A lot of these films he acknowledges have "cult" status, but that description sounds like a haughty dismissal. This attitude undermines the book's usefulness. Anything he rates highly is worth watching, but a low rating doesn't mean all that much.
4. Finally, the cycling through of print editions each year seems like the care and feeding of a dinosaur. Why isn't he getting his staff to retool the guide and put it online? With some mechanism for each user to mark films individually in some way? Most of us would, I'm sure, pay a subscription for such a site...which would be easy to update, wouldn't be limited by size (bring back all the TV movie reviews that have been dropped in past editions!!), and could reamalgamate the Movie Guide and the Glassic Movie Guide into one listing. This seems like a book whose days are numbered, and which increasingly urgently needs to be retooled for the digital online times.
 

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