A Companion to the Action Film
With 24 incisive, cutting-edge contributions from esteemed scholars and critics, A Companion to the Action Film provides an authoritative and in-depth guide to this internationally popular and wide-ranging genre. As the first major anthology on the action film in more than a decade, the volume offers insights into the genre’s historical development, explores its production techniques and visual poetics, and provides reflections on the numerous social, cultural, and political issues it embodies.
A Companion to the Action Film offers original research and critical analysis that examines the iconic characteristics of the genre, its visual aesthetics, and its narrative traits. It considers the impact of major directors and stars on the genre’s evolution, puts the action film in dialogue with various technologies and other forms of media, such as graphic novels and television, and maps out new avenues of critical study for the future. This important resource:
- Offers a definitive guide to the action film
- Contains insightful contributions from a wide range of international film experts and scholars
- Reviews the evolution of the genre from the silent era to today’s age of digital blockbusters
- Offers nuanced commentary and analysis of socio-cultural issues such as race, nationality, and gender in action films
Written for scholars, teachers and students in film studies, film theory, film history, genre studies, and popular culture, A Companion to the Action Film is an essential guide to one of international cinema’s most important, popular, and influential genres.
Publication Date: March 2019
Hardback and ebook
Darkness in the Bliss-Out: A Reconsideration of the Films of Steven Spielberg
(Bloomsbury Academic, 2014)
While there has been a significant outpouring of scholarship on Steven Spielberg over the past decade, his films are still frequently discussed as being paternalistic, escapist, and reliant on uncomplicated emotions and complicated special effects. Even those critics and scholars who are favorable toward his work still tend to view it as essentially optimistic, reassuring, and conservative. James Kendrick takes an alternate view of Spielberg’s cinema and proposes that his films—even the most popular ones that seem to trade in easy answers and comforting, reassuring notions of cohesion and narrative resolution—are significantly darker and more emotionally and ideologically complex than they are routinely given credit for. Darkness in the Bliss-Out demonstrates, through close analysis of a wide range of Spielberg’s films, that they are only reassuring on the surface, and that their depths embody a complex and sometimes contradictory view of the human condition.
Publication Date: April 2014
Hardback and Paperback 6 x 9
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
|“Kendrick’s approach to screen violence emerges as a valuable contribution to the already extensive body of work on the topic.”—Craig Frost, Screening the Past
“an important contribution to the endless debates about film violence…. Kendrick makes us look at the interwoven histories of filmmakers’ strategies of representation, the changing chatter of fears from critics and moralists, but also the historical circuits of real violence (wars, conflicts, social upheavals) to which the different traditions of films he studies are responding. This is a wide-ranging study of real force, challenging us to new and detailed work.”—Martin Barker, Aberystwyth University
“Provides a thoughtful and knowledgeable overview of violent films and what their makers, viewers and critics have (had) to say about them, mapping out the dominant critical positions as well as illustrating (and complicating) them by looking at individual films…. The book deserves praise for its ability to grasp the fundamentals of its topic, just as the author does for getting them across with such clarity.”—Steffen Hantke, Sogang University
Film Violence: History, Ideology, Genre
(Wallflower Press/Columbia University Press, 2009)
A concise and accessible introduction to the role of violence from the silent era to the present, this volume illustrates the breadth and depth of screen bloodshed in historical, cultural, and industrial contexts. After considering problems of definition, the book offers a systematic history of film violence and examines three of the most popular violent genres: western, horror, and action. It concludes with a case study on the centrality of film violence to the directors of the New American Cinema, such as Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg, with special emphasis on the films of Francis Ford Coppola, offering a strong example of how violence, history, ideology, and genre are deeply intertwined.
Publication Date: December 2009
Paperback 6 x 9, 144 pages
Publisher: Columbia University Press / Wallflower Press
ISBN-10: 1906660263 / ISBN-13: 978-1906660260
|“not only one of the best film books of the year, but also a superb piece of social commentary, a volume that ranks alongside Robin Wood’s Hollywood From Vietnam to Reagan and Jonathan Rosenbaum’s Movie Wars as an all-time great study of the intersection between movies and the political climate they both reflect and influence.”—Jim Hemphill, American Cinematographer
“an exemplar of modern film criticism which integrates the careful analysis and theoretical knowledge expected of academics with the sense of immediacy and well-crafted writing required in popular writing“—Sarah Boslaugh, Southwest Journal of Cultures
“an important addition to the growing literature on violence in American cinema…. a very well written analysis of how screen violence developed, and the controversies that incurred within that development during a much-undervalued decade of American film history.”—Ron Wilson, Quarterly Review of Film and Video
“stands out … as a contribution to film studies with broad application…. could be a stimulating read even for film scholars not inclined toward cinema’s violent edges.”—Andrew Cooper, Post Script
“Hollywood Bloodshed is a compelling and original book that will expand and update the available body of work on film violence and enrich the wider history of 1980s U.S. cinema.”—J. David Slocum, editor of Violence and American Cinema
Hollywood Bloodshed: Violence in 1980s American Cinema
(Southern Illinois University Press, 2009)
In Hollywood Bloodshed, James Kendrick presents a fascinating look into the political and ideological instabilities of the 1980s as seen through the lens of cinema violence. Kendrick uses in-depth case studies to reveal how dramatic changes in the film industry and its treatment of cinematic bloodshed during the Reagan era reflected shifting social tides as Hollywood struggled to find a balance between the lucrative necessity of screen violence and the rising surge of conservatism. As public opinion shifted toward the right and increasing emphasis was placed on issues such as family values and “money culture” film executives were faced with an epic dilemma: the violent aspects of cinema that had been the studios’ bread and butter were now almost universally rejected by mainstream audiences. Far from eliminating screen bloodshed altogether, studios found new ways of packaging violence that would allow them to continue to attract audiences without risking public outcry, ushering in a period of major transition in the film industry. The 1980s would see the ascent of entertainment conglomerates and powerful producers and the meteoric rise of the blockbuster—a film with no less violence than its earlier counterparts, but with action-oriented thrills rather than more troubling images of brutality.
Publication Date: April 6, 2009
Paperback 6 x 9, 304 pages, 20 illus.
Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press
ISBN-10: 0809328887 / ISBN-13: 978-0809328888