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A New Movie Guide

by Leonard Maltin
July 27, 2010 4:00 AM
19 Comments
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(The Penguin Group)
I know, I know: the idea of publishing a reference book in the age of instant communication sounds positively quaint. But the 2011 Edition of Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide is just out, in two paperback formats—mass-market and a larger “trade size”—still alive and kicking after forty-one years (!). True, we can’t offer the immediacy of the Internet, but I still think the book is relevant, and so do a substantial number of readers around the world, thank goodness. We’ve added 300 new reviews, as recent as Sex and the City 2 and Iron Man 2, bringing the book up to a whopping 1,643 pages, and as always we’ve made hundreds and hundreds of changes, corrections, and additions. If a film is remade or followed by a sequel, turned into a TV series or Broadway play, we say so. If an actor who wasn’t well known when a film was—

—made is now recognizable, we add him or her to our cast list, or point out their appearance. We’ve noted early credits for Jay Baruchel, Thomas Jane, Jane Lynch, Bill Nighy, Michael Cera, Rainn Wilson, January Jones, Jeremy Piven, Jane Adams, Hugh Laurie, Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, and Jonah Hill, among others, this time around.

It’s a point of personal satisfaction to lead people to good movies they might not otherwise watch, and in this edition we cite such worthy small-scale films as Summer Hours, In the Loop, The Answer Man, The Tiger’s Tail, Five Minutes of Heaven, Big Fan, World’s Greatest Dad, That Evening Sun, The Maid, Trucker, Me and Orson Welles, and Skin. I hope our reviews will inspire some readers to try them out.

Most of all, my valued team of collaborators and I work very hard to be as accurate as possible, whether it’s confirming a running time or the spelling of an actor’s name. When we do make a mistake, our readers let us know and we’re able to fix the problem in our next edition.

I’m awfully lucky to have a great team working with me, led by managing editor Darwyn Carson, and peopled by dedicated film buffs who are also detail-oriented. My thanks go out to Luke Sader, Mike Clark, Rob Edelman, Spencer Green, Pete Hammond, Joe Leydon, Michael Scheinfeld, Bill Warren, Casey St. Charnez, Jerry Beck, and my daughter Jessie Maltin for sticking with this project year after year.

And yes, we’re already working on next year’s book!(The Penguin Group)

To read Indiewire’s interview about my career and the development of this book, click HERE.


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19 Comments

  • Jason | August 4, 2010 2:13 AMReply

    Hey can someone help me? I've just bought the mass-market paperback version. Under Liam Neeson's filmography there's a listing for the 'A-Team' but I"m not finding the listing anywhere. Is it not in this guide or am I just looking in the wrong spot? Thanks!

  • Frank | August 3, 2010 7:01 AMReply

    I hope both movie guides will sonn be available for the Kindle. My eyes are starting to weaken and the type in the books has become a bit of a strain (yes, even the large trade edition of the primary guide). In addition, it would be quite convenient just to type the name of the film you wish to look up into the search box and bring up Leonard's review. That's one of the things I loved about the old Microsoft Cinemania software (anyone else remember that?). It had Roger Ebert, Pauline Kael, Leonard Maltin and CineBooks reviews along with linked cast lists, film tours, and (less than useful, but still fun) video clips from many films.

  • Ian Willson | August 2, 2010 7:12 AMReply

    Howling IV - VII

    I wonder if anybody out there can assist me or knows a source that can, regarding the 4th - 7th films in the Howling series went direct to video or had any kind of theater release anywhere in the world.

    The evidence suggests that they were all probably direct to video but Leonard's Movie Guide isn't clear on this and suggests that by their inclusion that they did in fact have a theater release.

    I also notice that Leonard doesn't include No. 7 in his guide

    IMDB have also indicated that Howling V was shown at the 1989 Cannes Film festival!!!! See link below

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097534/releaseinfo#akas

    If anybody can assist and identify if any of these movies were theater released that would be greatly appreciated

    Ian Willson

  • John Cesari | August 1, 2010 11:53 AMReply

    (Now there needs to be another revision of the Movie Encyclopedia for the future after fifteen years...)

  • Paul | July 31, 2010 5:59 AMReply

    As Rick proposed earlier, I too would welcome a two-volume edition including all deleted reviews (such as the many made-for-tv movies from the 70's/80's that appeared in earlier editions). I assume the Classic Guide doesn't cover these titles. This would be a definite purchase for me. Perhaps such an edition could be printed every 10 years or so.

  • Paul D | July 31, 2010 4:16 AMReply

    I am surprised to see there few reviews of pictures by Victor Mature; in fact, it's disconcerting that scores of films offered by Turner Classic Movies on any given month have not had any reviews! And these are classics! Another pet peeve I have is that longer reviews are saved for the most recent films, when many of them are so bad as not to justify the space given to them. (Couldn't do without your book, though.)

  • Rick Curzon | July 30, 2010 1:25 AMReply

    I eagerly await the 2011 edition (I have it preordered on UK Amazon - it is due any day here), and have been reading it since 1982. I reckon Len needs to expand the Classic movie guide to 1969, and make the annual cover everything from 1970 onwards; a two-volume edition so to speak. Everything ever reviewed ought to be in there. Perhaps the TV movies could be coupled with all of the direct to video/cable TV movies into their own third volume?

  • RAFAEL CASTRO | July 29, 2010 11:56 AMReply

    from my little island in the caribbean of dominican republic , I always managed to get editions of all the guides since 1978 and always find a very useful movie tip in every one of them. that is the testimony of the greatness of your work.

  • Brian Boyle | July 29, 2010 4:10 AMReply

    I would like to share some new film credit information. I have learned that actresses Page Hannah and Jami Gertz both had bit parts in the 1981 Gary Coleman vehicle, "On The Right Track".

  • Anis | July 28, 2010 12:24 PMReply

    im 23, been buying ur book since 2004. My grandfather had a copy of the 1995 version, and it was always fun for me to look up movies I want to watch. This year, it won't be any different, I will buy this book as soon as its available in my country (lebanon that is). You're the best Leonard!

  • Jason | July 28, 2010 12:00 PMReply

    I personally am not a HUGE fan of the star-rating system. I understand their use, especially in movie-guides which are given a limited space to sum up a movie and one's review. However it can also give people the wrong impression of the reviewer's critique. Maltin gave 3-stars to both Ghost Writer and Lethal Weapon 4 but I don't think it's meant to say both films are equal in quality. It's like making a year-end 'favorite movie list' in that one could think think just because something's not on it that it wasn't worth of mention. I don't think anyone's analysis/opinion should be summed up by a mere fraction and I like to think the 'stars' in ratings are more 'footnotes' to to give you a genral 'feeling' of the reviewer's attitude, NOT neccessarily the movie's quality . I might be be wrong but that's just my opinion.

  • michaelmckay | July 28, 2010 9:21 AMReply

    If you could cross Peter Travers (a terrific "pulse" for what most audiences will find "cool") with Leonard Maltin (the film historian, with "old school" sensibilities) then you would have the perfect critic, at least in my estimation. Leonard puts too much emphasis on story, and not enough on all the technical aspects of filmmaking. For me, it's the "style" that gets me to the theater in the first place. If I just want a good story, I can read a book.

    Films like The Dark Knight, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, The Matrix, Where The Wild Things Are, and Inception (just to name a few) deserve a minimum of a three star rating based on their technical achievements alone. These films succeeded at what they were trying to accomplish, and in my mind, that should be the criteria on which any film should be evaluated and graded. It's like a critic who doesn't much care for musicals, giving such film a 2 star rating because the film is filled with songs. Isn't that the whole idea? Aren't you missing the point entirely?

  • John Nelson | July 27, 2010 12:47 PMReply

    As a proud subscriber of Film Fan Monthly almost 40 years ago, I am also happy to say I've bought every edition of the Movie Guide. The 2011 edition is in the house as of yesterday!

    Leonard, keep up the great work...

  • Brian | July 27, 2010 10:33 AMReply

    I have been getting your book since 1978 and this year is no different. It's always an essential purchase. I always felt, however, that there aren't enough new BOMBs. One of the pleasures of your book is looking up the new BOMB rated movies. Those are always the most fun to read. This year, I counted about 6 or 7 new BOMBs. Let's have more. I feel that if there are 300 new entries every year, 100 of them need to be BOMBs. And no, I'm not kidding. The book is always worth picking up year after year, but more BOMBs, please.

  • Mikael Larsson | July 27, 2010 8:45 AMReply

    The first time I bought it was 1991, the second time 1993. Since 1996 I have bought it every year. I got the 2011 edition today. Of course I have saved all the earlier books.

    Now I use Internet Movie Database most of the time, but earlier it didn´t pass a day without reading this book.

    This is my bible.

  • Jason | July 27, 2010 8:38 AMReply

    When movies get deleted from the Movie Guide do they go immediatly to the Classic Guide?

  • Dana C | July 27, 2010 6:24 AMReply

    I'm drawn to foreign films and love the fact that this Movie Guide includes a lot of my favorites. My only complaint would be that movies have to be deleted each year to make room for the new crop. I'll have to pop for his Classic Guide, I guess. I use online movie sites, but there's nothing like Maltin's Movie Guide. I like its heft and, whether I agree with his take on movies or not, I like to have a hands on film reference source on hand.

  • Langston | July 27, 2010 5:18 AMReply

    For the last four years, I have been getting a copy of the guide and can't wait to get mine, today! And also being a fan of "The Office," I'm proud to see Rainn Wilson added to the credits! I'm also looking forward to looking up, underrated films like, "Where the Wild Things Are" and "Invictus."

  • Jason | July 27, 2010 5:00 AMReply

    I cannot wait until I get my copy! While I do miss the older editions which included the TV movies, I love the additional 'films you might not have seen' at the beginnings of the book. I can always look forward to finding a favorite film in these listings. I'm suprised more people didn't see 'Me and Orson Welles' though.....

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