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Book Review

Book Cover

Radio Times Guide to Films 2009


Edited by the Radio Times Film Unit
BBC Worldwide
RRP: £22.50
ISBN: 978 0 9555 5561 7
Available 25 September 2008

The 2009 edition of the Radio Times Guide to Films contains reviews of over 22,000 movies. This is the ninth edition of the guide and includes over 500 new entries - comprised of films released in UK cinemas during the past 12 months, and movies, old and new, that have been screened on television or become available on DVD during the same time period and have never before appeared in the guide.

The biggest problem with books like this is that there's nothing here (and I mean nothing) that you can't already access for free (and probably quicker) on the Internet. But, if you are the sort of film buff who prefers to flick through a book than surf the Web, then there's plenty here to get excited about. Although, be warned. It's a meaty book - A4 in size and 1610 pages - and is not easy to pick up and flick through.

Each film is given a synopsis, a very brief critique, a list of main cast and crew and a mark out of five. There are also segments on directors, actors, alternative titles, awards and, most helpfully, a list of four/five star movies.

An interesting addition is the inclusion of Blu-ray releases, but what would have been a little more helpful (for those considering purchasing the DVDs/Blu-rays listed in the guide) would have been a reference to how many different versions are available of a given release and what additional content each version has. For example, there are a lot of old movies that were issued by one studio way back when DVDs were first introduced. These have subsequently been reissued as anniversary releases, or just as better packages with more content. Also a list of audio options (stereo/5.1/ DTS as well as languages) would have been handy as would the BBFC's rating.

Also, a lot of studios are slapping DVD content straight onto Blu-ray without improving the pictures quality or including any additional content not already available on the DVD releases. A list of the resolution of the Blu-ray transfers as well as any additional content would also have been helpful.

If a stonking great guide to movies is what you're after then you'll be hard pressed to beat this collection. However, as I mentioned before there are much better, and more up to date, resources available for free online.


Darren Rea

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