“Moments that Made the Movies” by David Thomson
Thomson combines iconic movie moments–of the kind that Chuck Workman might include in his compilation shorts–from Scorsese and De Niro in a cab in “Taxi Driver,” Jack Nicholson vs. John Huston in “Chinatown,” Nicholson vs. the bartender in “The Shining,” and Meg Ryan’s fake orgasm in “When Harry Met Sally” to confronting a possible killer in “Zodiac,” the body floating in the pool in “Sunset Boulevard,” and Cary Grant running across corn fields pursued by a plane in “North by Northwest,” along with more arcane scenes and selections from his favorite foreign films.
“Meryl Streep: Anatomy of an Actor” by Karina Longworth
Film critic Karina Longworth (whose podcast “You Must Remember This” is a must-listen) managed to nail Streep down in her book, “Meryl Streep: Anatomy of an Actor.” Longworth has moved from movie blogging in New York, to long-form criticism at the LA Weekly and Village Voice Media, to book author. Longworth’s third contribution to the Cahiers du Cinema/Phaidon series –the first was on Master of Cinema George Lucas, followed by an Anatomy of an Actor book on Al Pacino— takes a straightforward deep dive into ten iconic Meryl Streep characters, from the start of her career through her rich middle-age blossoming, accompanied by glossy color photos. Longworth argues that “serving up a corrective to the patriarchal version of history has been the major project of Streep’s acting career.”
“Hope for Film” by Ted Hope
Ted Hope has led the exemplary indie producer’s life: from Good Machine through Ang Lee and Nicole Holofcener and Michel Gondry to his recent experiences at the San Francisco Film Society and Fandor, he has a sharp picture of the evolving film industry, which he shares in his new memoir “Hope for Film.” We talked about the book and the state of the industry here.
And yes, “The $11 Billion Year” by Anne Thompson
As some of you may have gleaned, this year I delivered my first book. “The $11 Billion Year: From Sundance to the Oscars, an Inside Look at the Changing Hollywood System” was published by HarperCollins on March 4. I answer questions here.
More holiday gift picks from 2013 are here.
Indie streaming sites:
For the pretty price of $7.50 a month, stream indies, foreign films, docs and classics, from the Werner Herzog oeuvre to new 2014 international favorites. Fandor’s rapidly growing slate is heaven, a must-have for any self-respecting cinephile.
SundanceNow Doc Club
Not sure what to get the doc film lover on your list? Doc Club continually offers great, curated programs of documentaries with guest curators like Ira Glass and TIFF documentary programmer Thom Powers. The service also offers members exclusive access to free movie tickets, film festivals, premieres and more. And, Doc Club streams on smartphones, tablets, TV and online. In terms of pricing: 3 months for $19.99, an exclusive gift subscript 6-month option for $34.99 or 1 year for $59.99.
Vyer boasts a fab, well-curated catalogue of films fresh off the festival circuit that you can’t find anywhere else, along with earlier films that had little or no US distributions. Features are accompanied by behind-the-scenes extras, video essays, directors’ commentaries and more. Holiday gift subscriptions range from $24.99 and up.