The Critical Press

The Critical Press The Critical Press is an independent publisher of short books on classic and contemporary cinema. The Critical Press is a publisher of books on film and culture.
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Our primary focus is on short books: topics and arguments that can’t comfortably fit in a long article, but don’t necessarily need 300 pages to make their point. We are most interested in books somewhere in the length of 100 to 150 pages which can delve into a subject thoroughly and explore it accessibly. All of our books are available in both print and digital formats. You can buy them directly from us at our website, http://www.thecriticalpress.com, or you can find them at most major online retailers, wholesalers, and select bookstores.

Adam Nayman's new book on filmmaker Ben Wheatley (KILL LIST, HIGH-RISE) is now available. You can get the ebook now, and...
03/15/2017
Ben Wheatley: Confusion and Carnage | The Critical Press

Adam Nayman's new book on filmmaker Ben Wheatley (KILL LIST, HIGH-RISE) is now available. You can get the ebook now, and order the paperback and get it very very soon!

"Confusion and Carnage is a wonderful, loving glimpse into the Wheatley World of genre implosion, narrative hand grenades, and madcap violence. Nayman’s writing style is witty and eminently readable – a perfect match for the films at hand." – Athina Rachel Tsangari, filmmaker (CHEVALIER)

Publisher of books on film and culture

In 2014 we published a book by Tina Hassannia about the great Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi. This year his latest fil...
01/28/2017
Asghar Farhadi | The Critical Press

In 2014 we published a book by Tina Hassannia about the great Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi. This year his latest film THE SALESMAN is nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Because of President Trump's executive order banning travel from a number of Muslim countries, including Iran, Farhadi will be unable to attend this year's ceremony.

We believe this executive order, a racist and immoral action that will cause untold harm to thousands, is abhorrent and wrong. From now through the Oscars on February 26th, we are donating all revenue from sales of Tina's book to the ACLU.

Publisher of books on film and culture

Available now from our website: HAPPY PLACE: LIVING THE DISNEY PARKS LIFE.What if the childhood day you remembered as on...
10/11/2016
Happy Place: Living the Disney Parks Life | The Critical Press

Available now from our website: HAPPY PLACE: LIVING THE DISNEY PARKS LIFE.

What if the childhood day you remembered as one of the most magical of your life became every day of your life? In Happy Place: Living the Disney Parks Life, Scott Renshaw explores the phenomenon of Disney theme park super-fans, and the unique connections they build with places known to most people only as occasional vacation destinations.

Available in paperback and ebook formats.

Publisher of books on film and culture

Next month marks the launch of HAPPY PLACE: LIVING THE DISNEY PARKS LIFE, a loving profile of Disney Parks super-fans. T...
09/27/2016
Happy Place: Living the Disney Parks Life | The Critical Press

Next month marks the launch of HAPPY PLACE: LIVING THE DISNEY PARKS LIFE, a loving profile of Disney Parks super-fans. To celebrate and promote its release, author Scott Renshaw will be going on a book tour. If you are in Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, New York, or Orlando, be sure to check out the events (including special meet-up days in the parks themselves) at the book page.

Publisher of books on film and culture

Tina Hassannia, author of ASGHAR FARHADI: LIFE AND CINEMA, wrote an essay for Movie Mezzanine about the Criterion Collec...
04/01/2016
No Home Video: On Women-Directed Films

Tina Hassannia, author of ASGHAR FARHADI: LIFE AND CINEMA, wrote an essay for Movie Mezzanine about the Criterion Collection and the lack of women directors in their catalogue. It's an important topic and well worth your time to read it.

Peruse the comments and posts on The Criterion Collection’s page and you’ll see a never-ending list of requests from cinephiles. In the last week, 30 people alone requested Todd Haynes’ Ca…

Ashley Clark, author of FACING BLACKNESS: MEDIA AND MINSTRELSY IN SPIKE LEE'S BAMBOOZLED, has an interview with Spike Le...
02/24/2016
Spike to the System: The 'Chi-Raq' Director Talks Racism, Money, and the Oscars

Ashley Clark, author of FACING BLACKNESS: MEDIA AND MINSTRELSY IN SPIKE LEE'S BAMBOOZLED, has an interview with Spike Lee on the cover of this week's Village Voice, in which they talk about the Oscars, diversity, and what needs to change in Hollywood.

Spike Lee wants you to know that he is absolutely not boycotting the Oscars this year. He might even try to catch some of the broadcast. He’d just rather watch the Knicks. “Hopefully after the New York Knicks, God willing, defeat the Miami Heat, I will, later that night, watch...

WATCH: The Tarantino Death Toll. What’s behind Quentin Tarantino’s obsession with killing? http://bit.ly/1IEKXWi via @Ke...
12/30/2015
Video: The Tarantino Death Toll

WATCH: The Tarantino Death Toll. What’s behind Quentin Tarantino’s obsession with killing? http://bit.ly/1IEKXWi via @KeyframeDaily

Around the Christmas 2012 release of Quentin Tarantino's last film Django Unchained , a prominent film journal invited me to make a video essay on the director. Pondering what angle to take, I asked myself what most immediately comes to mind when I think of Tarantino's movies. And I started to see bodies.

Check out the latest batch of titles added to the Sundance 2016 line-up:  http://bit.ly/1IBZEJE
12/29/2015
Mike Nichols Documentary and Dazed and Confused Event Added to Sundance 2016 Lineup | Filmmaker Magazine

Check out the latest batch of titles added to the Sundance 2016 line-up: http://bit.ly/1IBZEJE

Back to selection With just a little more than a month to go until The Sundance Film Festival, the festival has announced additions to the lineup, including the premiere of Douglas McGrath's documentary and three "From the Collection" archival screenings. Becoming Mike Nichols is slated to air on HBO on Feb.

Spoilers abound in the latest episode of Mousterpiece Cinema, so be warned, but if you’re ready and if the Force is with...
12/28/2015
Mousterpiece Cinema, Episode 228: "Star Wars: The Force Awakens"

Spoilers abound in the latest episode of Mousterpiece Cinema, so be warned, but if you’re ready and if the Force is with you, then check out the new post on Movie Mezzanine. http://bit.ly/1IyM35V

Friends, the time has finally come. Anticipation has hit a fever pitch. Crowds are lining up around the block just to see the result of years of buildup. Yes, friends, you know what we're talking about. It's the battle to end all 2015 battles: is Gabe about to eat a heaping pile of crow, or did he hate the new movie?

Need a little viewing inspiration for the holiday weekend? Start here: http://bit.ly/1ItiHFU
12/24/2015
Best Undistributed Films of 2015 - Film Comment

Need a little viewing inspiration for the holiday weekend? Start here: http://bit.ly/1ItiHFU

1. Right Now, Wrong Then Hong Sangsoo, South Korea 4. The Academy of Muses José Luis Guerín, Spain 7. Journey to the Shore Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Japan 8. Happy Hour Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Japan 9. Lost and Beautiful Pietro Marcello, Italy 10. Minotaur Nicolas Pereda, Mexico 11. Kaili Blues Bi Gan, China 12.

12/24/2015
I Lost It At The Video Store - Book Trailer

“I Lost It At The Video Store” is the perfect gift, even if it's late. Watch the trailer and learn more about the video store industry and what Tom Roston's book has to say! http://bit.ly/1IrPcV8

For a generation, video stores were to filmmakers what bookstores were to writers. They were the salons where many of today's best directors first learned their craft. The art of discovery that video stores encouraged through the careful curation of clerks was the fertile, if sometimes fetid, soil from which today's film world sprung.

Some say this trailer is the best of 2015. What do you think? http://bit.ly/1MrHMvO
12/21/2015
Watch: #TBT Why 'The Revenant' is the Most Enticing Trailer of 2015

Some say this trailer is the best of 2015. What do you think? http://bit.ly/1MrHMvO

In a year full of great trailers, this spot for Alejandro G. Iñárritu's upcoming survival story takes the cake. Our #TBT segment has been throwing it back hard for about six months now, so this week, as part of a grand tradition of "Best of the Year" op-eds, we've decided to narrow our scope and single out the most enticing trailer of 2015.

Check out these American indie films that are worth your time! http://bit.ly/1lXjFQV
12/18/2015
Seven must-see American indie films at LFF

Check out these American indie films that are worth your time! http://bit.ly/1lXjFQV

What's it about? A spliff-fuelled day out for three twenty-something guys that tests old and new friendships. Who made it? Debut director Michael Larnell also wrote, produced and edited. In a filmmaker's fantasy-come-true, Cronies - his thesis project at film school (he just graduated in May of this year) - was exec produced by Spike Lee no less (his professor) and had its world premiere at this year's Sundance.

Richard Pryor has become so revered that it’s easy to forget what an unusual and enigmatic man he really was. “Richard P...
12/17/2015
The Critical Press

Richard Pryor has become so revered that it’s easy to forget what an unusual and enigmatic man he really was. “Richard Pryor: American Id” available on our website! http://bit.ly/1Oae5QZ

This series of essays examines Richard Pryor's work - from his albums to his concert films to his movies - as one of the most powerful yet idiosyncratic voices of American culture.

Top 5 fictional frames that show us that unfiltered real life hardly exists anymore. http://bit.ly/1O6DnQ0
12/16/2015
Top Five Fictional Frames

Top 5 fictional frames that show us that unfiltered real life hardly exists anymore. http://bit.ly/1O6DnQ0

Unfiltered real life hardly exists anymore, and fiction has no choice but to acknowledge it. Some of the best films in 2015, be they fiction or documentary, have within them a narrative anchor for an apparently plotless chain of situations or events so as to help channel them into something comprehensible and meaningful.

“Among the many virtues of F.X. Feeney’s book is that it conveys, as no book ever has before, what it must have felt lik...
12/15/2015
The Critical Press

“Among the many virtues of F.X. Feeney’s book is that it conveys, as no book ever has before, what it must have felt like to be Orson Welles.”
-Joseph McBride, author of “What Ever Happened to Orson Welles?: A Portrait of an Independent Career.”

Find Feeney’s book “Orson Welles: Power, Heart, And Soul” on our website today! http://bit.ly/1O3nH02

This incisive introduction to the life and work of Orson Welles is an essential study of one of the most important American artists of the twentieth century.

Here are 5 epiphanies that were made about the Documentary market and scene at the IDFA forum. http://bit.ly/1NZYpjf
12/14/2015
The 5 Minor Epiphanies of the 2015 IDFA Forum | Filmmaker Magazine

Here are 5 epiphanies that were made about the Documentary market and scene at the IDFA forum. http://bit.ly/1NZYpjf

Back to selection The IDFA Forum The IDFA Forum is one of the oldest pitch roundtables in the world specifically for documentaries. It's a yearly event that gathers some of the biggest broadcasters in Europe, Canada, and the US, as well as other financiers, foundations, and distributors to hear about some of the most compelling new documentaries that are being produced independently.

Ashley Clark’s book “Facing Blackness” is said to be “... an essential reading for anyone interested in black film, blac...
12/11/2015
The Critical Press

Ashley Clark’s book “Facing Blackness” is said to be “... an essential reading for anyone interested in black film, black history, or America’s dark past,” by fellow author Kaleem Aftab. Clark’s book is available on our website! http://bit.ly/1IKnHWq

In 2000, Spike Lee released the controversial film Bamboozled, which follows a frustrated black TV producer on his quest to create a show so offensive it will get him fired. The result is a modern-day minstrel show that, contrary to expectations, becomes a massive hit.

Ever wonder what happens to old film sets? Well, the Star Wars prequels’ sets are being consumed by the desert now as we...
12/08/2015
Star Wars' abandoned Tunisian locations - in pictures

Ever wonder what happens to old film sets? Well, the Star Wars prequels’ sets are being consumed by the desert now as we speak. See what they look like today. http://bit.ly/1ICFPlf

Business at the old Star Wars set isn't what it used to be. Miles into Tunisia's southern desert wastes, fantastical structures define the desert landscape. Towers made of wood and fibreglass point fruitlessly into an endless sky. Pipes that lead from nothing to nowhere run between domed buildings that owe nothing to either region, country - or, strictly speaking, planet.

Matthew Dessem’s book “The Gag Man” has been hailed by The New Republic as “Wonderfully Engaging.” Pick up your own copy...
12/07/2015
The Critical Press

Matthew Dessem’s book “The Gag Man” has been hailed by The New Republic as “Wonderfully Engaging.” Pick up your own copy today off of our website. http://bit.ly/1IAuP7Q

Though today he is barely remembered, Clyde Bruckman was a key figure in early film comedy, collaborating with icons like Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, W.C. Fields, Laurel & Hardy, and the Three Stooges. Working while screenwriting was still in its infancy, Bruckman helped shape many influential shorts and films, developed the gags that made them legendary, and eventually became a director himself.

“For a generation, video stores were to filmmakers what bookstores were to writers. They were the salons where many of t...
12/04/2015
The Critical Press

“For a generation, video stores were to filmmakers what bookstores were to writers. They were the salons where many of today’s best directors first learned their craft. The art of discovery that video stores encouraged through the careful curation of clerks was the fertile, if sometimes fetid, soil from which today’s film world sprung. Video stores were also the financial engine without which the indie film movement wouldn’t have existed.”

Learn about the world of indie films from the book “I Lost It At The Video Store,” available on our website and on Amazon. http://bit.ly/1SCVzVt

For a generation, video stores were to filmmakers what bookstores were to writers. They were the salons where many of today's best directors first learned their craft. The art of discovery that video stores encouraged through the careful curation of clerks was the fertile, if sometimes fetid, soil from which today's film world sprung.

“‘I Lost It At The Video Store’ is a work of art itself – a warts and all look at a slice of movie history that’s as int...
12/03/2015
The Critical Press

“‘I Lost It At The Video Store’ is a work of art itself – a warts and all look at a slice of movie history that’s as interesting as the content on screens was. It will make you laugh, (not quite) cry, and it will teach you something as well.”
-- A review from @MovieHole
Get your copy today on our website. http://bit.ly/1Is8PMg

For a generation, video stores were to filmmakers what bookstores were to writers. They were the salons where many of today's best directors first learned their craft. The art of discovery that video stores encouraged through the careful curation of clerks was the fertile, if sometimes fetid, soil from which today's film world sprung.

“Though it's a reality many filmmakers might prefer not to face, making films (and especially documentaries) in the inde...
12/02/2015
Attention, Documentary Filmmakers: Industry Experts Give 5 Tips on How to Craft the Perfect Pitch

“Though it's a reality many filmmakers might prefer not to face, making films (and especially documentaries) in the independent field often means a certain amount of pitching.” Here are 5 tips on how to craft the perfect pitch!
http://bit.ly/1Sx4oQB

Though it's a reality many filmmakers might prefer not to face, making films (and especially documentaries) in the independent field often means a certain amount of pitching. In order to get your film realized, the realities of tipping your hat and accumulating financial partners for each stage of production is integral to a successful project.

“Yesterday is Forever,” is “an affectionate look at what Pixar does, but also a clear-eyed work of scholarship and inves...
12/01/2015
The Critical Press

“Yesterday is Forever,” is “an affectionate look at what Pixar does, but also a clear-eyed work of scholarship and investigation. It may make Pixar fans see their favorite films differently—by making them even better.”
Learn more about the book here: http://bit.ly/1ImK2Jq

Since its first feature film in 1995, Pixar Animation Studios has often been treated, rightly, as a powerful, influential, and forward-thinking animation company. However, many of its films are incredibly besotted with a nostalgic longing for the past, one that may not have truly existed outside of the mind's eye.

“Yesterday Is Forever” is said that, “It may make Pixar fans see their favorite films differently—by making them even be...
11/27/2015
The Critical Press

“Yesterday Is Forever” is said that, “It may make Pixar fans see their favorite films differently—by making them even better.”
Available now! http://bit.ly/1XwY5hh

Since its first feature film in 1995, Pixar Animation Studios has often been treated, rightly, as a powerful, influential, and forward-thinking animation company. However, many of its films are incredibly besotted with a nostalgic longing for the past, one that may not have truly existed outside of the mind's eye.

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