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FIRST GLIMPSE OF FILM SNOB*S DICTIONARY

We were going to wait ’til much, much, much later to run an image of the cover of The Film Snob*s Dictionary, since it won’t be available until next February. But since the cover’s been released on both Broadway Books’s Web site and on Hollywood-Elsewhere, a movie blog by the journalist Jeffrey Wells, we thought we’d do the Apple Computer thing and offer a tantalizing glimpse months before the product is ready for release. Unlike a new Apple operating system, The Film Snob*s Dictionary does not cost lots of money, nor does it take an hour or more to install. It does, however, feature Cupertino-sleek design and have something to do, vaguely, with Pixar. Closer to the publication date, Snobsite.com will accomodate material from this book and a separate blog about Film Snobbery. We will also emit a buttery popcorn aroma via Griffin Technology’s new iSmell adapter for Macintosh.

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Here are two preview entries:

Harryhausen, Ray. Animator and visual-effects maestro (born in 1920) behind a series of terrifying films, putatively for children, that combined stop-motion animation with live action. In such films as Jason and the Argonauts (1963), The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974), and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977), spray-tanned actors and actresses did furious battle with stiffly moving but nevertheless nightmare-inducing centaurs, minotaurs, walking statues, and other exotic predators. Though his filmography is more familiar to Kitsch Snobs than to kids, Harryhausen was awarded an honorary Oscar for his work in 1992, and was slyly namechecked in the Pixar film Monsters, Inc. (2001).

Wire-fu. Modish Snob term for both the genre and the technique in which martial-arts actors are attached to wires and pulleys, the better to suggest such superhuman powers as the ability to leap great heights and to slowly pirouette through the air while dispatching of opponents with combination kicks. Pioneered by the action star Jet Li in Hong Kong movies in the 1980s, wire-fu reached the mainstream with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) and the Matrix movies. Some martial-arts purists lament the growing popularity of wire-fu, preferring the “wireless,” and therefore more audacious, stunts of vintage Jackie Chan. Ching Siu-Tung’s ninja extravaganza Duel to the Death is an awesome example of early wire-fu.

June 21, 2005 More Film Snobbery »

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