Dan's Reviews > Rick Trembles' Motion Picture Purgatory

Rick Trembles' Motion Picture Purgatory by Rick Trembles
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's review
Sep 07, 11

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bookshelves: entertainment, visual-art
Read in August, 2011 , read count: 1

Reading this book takes me back to the late 80s and early 90s when I was living in Montreal and getting the free weekly alternative paper The Montreal Mirror where, along with Cecil Adams’s The Straight Dope and Matt Groening’s Life in Hell, I’d find Rick Trembles’s Motion Picture Purgatory, film reviews in comic strip form. While I’ve since moved from Montreal and the Mirror no longer includes Trembles’s work, the strips have since been republished in book form, which is great whether you’re a fan wishing you could re-read those original strips or you missed Motion Picture Purgatory the first time around but you’d still like to know more about Trembles’s unique approach to film reviewing.

In this, the first of two volumes, you can find Trembles’s reviews of films like The Matrix , Gladiator or Titanic , as well as of older classics like A Trip to the Moon , Birth of a Nation and 2001: A Space Odyssey .

Because they are in comic strip form, I find these reviews fun to read, even if I know very little about the movies Trembles is discussing. In contrast to prose reviews that typically include commentary on character, on narrative, and on themes, Trembles’s work focuses on film as a visual experience. Although he will sometimes include a paragraph or two on the kind of thing one usually finds in a discursive review, such as details about plot, about relations among characters, or comments on the production history of the film, for me his work is best when his emphasis is on the images in the film, which is to say sex, violence, and special effects.

I could say more about Trembles’s aesthetic, about his battles with the Mirror over the content of his strip, or about his love for stop-motion animation, but if you’re interested, you should check out examples of his work here.

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