Mike's Bookshelf

Currently showing posts tagged Comedy

  • Young Frankenstein: The Story of the Making of the Film by Mel Brooks & Rebecca Keegan Book Review

    Young Frankenstein: The Story of the Making of the Film by Mel Brooks & Rebecca Keegan

    Reviewed by Mike Kenny

    Puttin’ on the ritz for over forty hilarious year, Mel Brooks’ love letter to the Universal monster movies of yesteryear lives on through its well-documented creation in Young Frankenstein: The Story of the Making of the Film.  Serving as its scripted shot caller, Brooks warmly recalls his childhood experiences watching the original Frankenstein and being equally terrified by Karloff’s performance and transfixed by James Whale’s gothic direction.  From the project’s earliest origins during the making of Blazing Saddles, Brooks discusses the writing process with Co-Writer and Star Gene Wilder before 20th Century Fox’s interest in the property ushered it before cameras.  Through Brooks’ own memories and interviews, both new and vintage, with the film’s talented cast and crew, Young Frankenstein: The Story of the Making of the Film covers in-depth the timeless collaboration between Brooks and Wilder, the selection of the film’s many kooky characters, the bittersweet completion of filming and its well-executed marketing campaign.  Featuring passages from the screenplay, rare behind-the-scenes photos and an adoring foreword by Writer/Director Judd Apatow (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up), Young Frankenstein: The Story of the Making of the Film wonderfully encapsulates the significance and comedic genius of Brooks’ greatest effort while, also serving as an affectionate tribute to the late and eternally talented Gene Wilder.

    Available now from Black Dog & Leventhal Publishing, Young Frankenstein: The Story of the Making of the Film can be purchased via Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and other fine retailers. 

  • The Art of Krampus by Michael Mallory Book Review

    The Art of Krampus by Michael Mallory

    Reviewed by Mike Kenny

    Inspired by the genre blending fantasies of Amblin Entertainment, Michael Mallory’s The Art of Krampus sends readers down the developmental chimney of this year’s hilariously terrifying Christmas-themed opus.  From the macabre imagination of Michael Dougherty (Trick ‘r Treat), Krampus centers on a midwestern family overwhelmed with the holiday season and the arrival of their tedious visiting family members.  When young Max (Emjay Anthony, Chef) loses his faith in the Christmas spirit, the shadowy demon Krampus, joined by his evil minions, crashes his household to unleash their own frightening season’s greetings.  Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation), Toni Collette (Little Miss Sunshine), David Koechner (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy), Allison Tolman (Fargo) and Conchata Ferrell (Edward Scissorhands) comprise the ensemble cast.  

    An admitted throwback to the 80s efforts Dougherty was raised on, The Art of Krampus explores the early mythological origins of its titular character to the popular modern greeting cards bearing his likeness that sparked the film’s inspiration.  Successfully bringing his love for the Halloween season to fruition, Dougherty and his team vowed to conjure the dark fairy tale aspects of Christmas for a unique experience.  Unlike most live-action films, extensive pre-visualization and storyboards were conducted to firmly establish the film’s tone ahead of filming.  Beautiful concept paintings, character sketches and detailed costume depictions are showcased alongside insight into the film’s uses of puppetry, CG animation and practical makeup effects accomplished by New Zealand’s Weta Workshop (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, King Kong).  With a foreword by Dougherty, The Art of Krampus is the perfect combination of textual substance and behind-the-scenes visual exploration, leaving fans (naughty and nice alike) with an exceptional post-holiday treat into the film’s making.

    Available now from Insight Editions, The Art of Krampus can be purchased via InsightEditions.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Amazon.com and other fine retailers.

  • Back to the Future: The Ultimate Visual History by Michael Klastorin with Randal Atamaniuk Book Review

    Back to the Future: The Ultimate Visual History by Michael Klastorin with Randal Atamaniuk

    Reviewed by Mike Kenny

    Serving as production publicist on its sequels, Michael Klastorin, along with noted Back to the Future expert Randal Atamaniuk, launch readers on an explosive journey into the past chronicling the history and enduring legacy of the Back to the Future franchise.  Dating back to Director Robert Zemeckis and Co-Writer Bob Gale’s days at USC to their earliest developments of the time-traveling tale, Back to the Future: The Ultimate Visual History is an unprecedented retelling of the trilogies making, told from the creative talent who were there.  Featuring countless never-before-seen stills as well as concept art, storyboards and additional removable treats, Back to the Future: The Ultimate Visual History gives fans a comprehensive look into the series like never before.  

    Granted full access to decades old material, Klastorin and Atamaniuk’s passionate love letter to one of the greatest film franchises of all time is an expertly detailed and consistently intriguing chronicle.  From an acorn of an idea through its countless drafts, Back to the Future was unbelievably rejected by every studio before Steven Spielberg’s belief in the concept and Director Robert Zemeckis’ box-office success with Romancing the Stone changed the winds of destiny.  Established at Universal Studios, Klastorin and Atamaniuk guides readers through the weekly production schedules that involved shooting on the Universal backlot, crafting visionary special effects and filming with another actor in the lead role of Marty McFly for several weeks before making way for the original choice of Michael J. Fox.  Complimented by phenomenal production stills and remarkable conceptual drawings, interviews with Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale, Steven Spielberg and many others paint a clearly defined picture of the difficult but incredibly rewarding experience.  Furthermore, Back to the Future: The Ultimate Visual History details the lengthy production schedules of shooting both sequels back to back as the makers juggled bringing the story into the then long-distant future of 2015 before sending Doc and Marty in time to the Wild West.  In addition, the fascinating but rarely told history of Back to the Future: The Ride at Universal Studios’ theme parks and the short-lived Saturday morning cartoon are also recounted in this definitive document of all things Back to the Future.

    Celebrating the original film’s 30th anniversary, Michael Klastorin and Randal Atamaniuk’s Back to the Future: The Ultimate Visual History is the perfect literary companion to the beloved time-traveling trilogy that altered cinema.  Definitive and excellently researched, Back to the Future: The Ultimate Visual History provides readers with overwhelming insight and extensive imagery into the franchise that demands a spot on all fans’ bookshelves.

    Available October 20th from Harper Design, Back to the Future: The Ultimate Visual History can be purchased via Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and other fine retailers.