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#188 October 9, 2013

Sheila writes: As the daughter of a librarian, I grew up surrounded by books. It was a treat to go visit my father at the university library where he worked, since he had such a passion for books (a passion he passed on to his children). For some reason or another, I've seen a couple of photos over the past week of the Book Mobiles of yore on various vintage photo sites, and while they all pre-date me by a good decade or so, there is something beautiful about the idea of a traveling library bringing books to people who want them. I've had Book Mobiles on the brain. So I was pleasantly surprised to come across an entire post devoted to photos of them. Heaven! Included are photos of the now-defunct Book Mobiles, rusting away in people's yards, lovely and bittersweet reminders of a bygone era.

Ebert Club

#34 October 27, 2010

Welcome to a special Halloween edition of the Newsletter! Marie writes: the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise in Paris is considered one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world, in addition to being the final resting place of many a famous name. From Édith Piaf, Sarah Bernhardt and Chopin to Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison and Georges Méliès, the well-known sleep on the tree-lined avenues of the dead and which you can now explore in a virtual 360 degree tour...

ENTER Père-Lachaise

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Zombies: Time of the Season of the Witch

Zombies and vampires, zombies and vampires -- sure, we're entering Dias de los Muertos, but the undead are crawling all over popular culture these nights. "Twilight" to "Tru-Blood," "Zombieland" to "Fox News," the undead are back with a vengeance. But, of course, they've been around for a long, long time. Matt Zoller Seitz takes a bite out of the cinematic zombie corpus with his latest video essay, "Zombies 101." He begins, (un-)naturally, with George Romero's "Night of the Living Dead" (1968), flashes back to Jacques Tourneur's voodoo-themed "I Walked With a Zombie," and moves forward through the Romero "Living Dead" pictures to 21st century remakes and variations -- "Shaun of the Dead" (2004), "28 Days Later..." (2002), "28 Weeks Later..." (2007)...

Matt writes:

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America's Funniest Undead Videos

My review of "George A. Romero's Diary of the Dead" (that's the title) is at RogerEbert.com. Here's an excerpt:

When young filmmakers gather to shoot cinema-verite video documentaries, watch out: Something really bad is going to happen. In “The Blair Witch Project,” it was ... well, we don’t really know what it was, but it sure freaked out Heather.

In “Cloverfield,” it was something large with an antipathy toward Manhattan landmarks. And in George A. Romero’s “Diary of the Dead,” as you have probably gathered by now, it is the meat-eating undead. These movies give the shaky-cam a reason to get shaky — but the kids try not to miss a shot.

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Hidden horrors: Four spine-tingling DVDs

Don't look now, little girl, but the children of rage (mummy's rage) are about to get you.

Los Dias de los Muertos begin today, October 31 (aka "Halloween day") through November 2 (aka All Souls Day -- and Tara Mulan Sweeney's birthday). Time to recycle my appreciation of four critically undervalued horror movies from a few years back: David Cronenberg's "The Brood," Roman Polanski's "The Tenant," Neil Jordan's "In Dreams," and John Carpenter's "Prince of Darkness" ("The critics were horrified!!!!"): Critics can be particularly rough on horror pictures. It's so easy -- too easy, sometimes -- to make these spook-shows sound risible and preposterous in synopsis, especially once you remove them from the darkness of the theater and examine them them in the harsh light of black and white newsprint (or monitor pixels). But the horror films I like best are not the abundantly bloody shockers critics love to loathe (though George Romero's extravagantly gory Grand Guignol "Dawn of the Dead" is a treasured favorite), but the ones that are the most atmospheric and creepy -- that suggest far more than they depict. Continue reading here...