The Arts Bookstore of the Internet
created by Matt Zoller Seitz
“Outside of a Dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.” ~Groucho Marx
Check back often! New items and Collections added daily!
With films like Gladiator, Blade Runner, and Black Hawk Down, director Ridley Scott has shown his mastery of cinematic storytelling that is epic in dimension but with a deeply personal core. In Kingdom of Heaven, he turns to the Crusades—that world-shaping 200-year collision between Europe and the East—to frame the tale of a young Frenchman who defies all odds to become a knight, then lives out what that glorious title really means. "I'd always wanted to make a movie about knights and medieval times, the Crusades especially," says Scott. "Historically, the knight—like the cowboy or the policeman—has given us great opportunities to tell stories about a hero."
With the cry "God wills it!" Pope Urban II in 1095 urged Christian Europe into a frenzy to reclaim the holy city of Jerusalem, conquered by Muslim armies that swept through the Middle East in the 7th century. Thousands answered the call, from kings to peasants, and in the ensuing waves of war ancient cities fell to bloody sieges, Christian kingdoms were founded in the Holy Land, and unspeakable atrocities were committed on both sides. Between the Second and Third Crusades, however, two visionary leaders—King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem and the Saracen general Saladin—forged a short-lived peace amid the carnage. Drawn into this immense drama is the young blacksmith Balian (Orlando Bloom). Fleeing his village under a death sentence, and fleeing his own demons as well, Balian joins forces with a great knight, Godfrey of Ibelin (Liam Neeson), who swears him to serve King Baldwin and up-hold the truce—that fragile "kingdom of heaven." On reaching the Holy Land, Balian falls under the spell of the king's sister, Sibylla (Eva Green), and becomes embroiled in a struggle for the kingdom's soul, as the dying king is assailed by extremists bent on war. Ultimately, Balian must choose between his love and his sense of knightly honor. And when Jerusalem faces its greatest peril, he must use all his wits and courage to defend it against staggering odds.
Scott and his production team scale new heights in creating worlds on film: building vast sets on locations in Morocco and Spain, peopling them with international stars and thousands of extras, enhancing filmed action with state-of-the-art effects. Scenes of medieval warfare, breathtaking in scale and realism, feature weapons and machines that were carefully researched and built for real. This splendid companion book, illustrated with more than 200 photos, drawings, and Scott's own storyboards, documents this landmark production behind the scenes and before the cameras. But it also delves into the details of storycrafting that give Kingdom of Heaven its solid historical grounding, and includes a lively primer on the Crusades that will expand readers' appreciation of both the film and the history behind it. With more than 200 photographs and illustrations.
All copies are new, but guaranteed in good condition.
MZS.Press is the online arts bookstore founded by author, critic, and filmmaker Matt Zoller Seitz. It offers a variety of new, used, signed, collectible, and rare books on film, television, music, photography, and the visual arts. The store was launched in 2019 under the direction of the founder's late wife, Cincinnati-based businesswoman and activist Nancy Dawson, and was originally hosted by Shopify until the platform became corrupt and started destroying independent merchants by freezing their accounts without explanation and making them jump through administrative and legal hoops before shutting them down and taking whatever was left of their money. This same fate was visited upon this store, prompting Seitz and his business partner Judith Carter to relocate here, the better to preserve a hospitable environment for the types of authors they like to champion: independent voices, often published by small presses whose extraordinary work tends to get swallowed up on giant platforms like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The store's inventory of nearly 1000 volumes is currently in the process of being reconstructed after its relocation. The titles featured here are personally selected by a group of curators and advisors, including Seitz, Carter, and an array of critics, artists, journalists, educators, publishers, and arts mavens who are known for their ability to suss out what the author's jazz musician father once called "the good sh*t."
The plot thickens, as they say. Why, by the way? Is it a soup metaphor?
Matt Zoller Seitz
Critic, Author, Filmmaker, MZS Press Creator
Matt Zoller Seitz is the Editor at Large of RogerEbert.com. He is also the TV critic for New York Magazine and Vulture.com, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism. His writing on film and television has appeared in The New York Times, Salon.com, The New Republic and Sight and Sound. Seitz is the founder and original editor of the influential film blog The House Next Door, now a part of Slant Magazine, and the co-founder and original editor of Press Play, an IndieWire blog of film and TV criticism and video essays.
Seitz has written, narrated, edited or produced over a hundred hours’ worth of video essays about cinema history and style for The Museum of the Moving Image, Salon.com and Vulture, among other outlets. His five-part 2009 video essay Wes Anderson: The Substance of Style was spun off into the hardcover book The Wes Anderson Collection. This book and its follow-up, The Wes Anderson Collection: Grand Budapest Hotel were New York Times bestsellers.
Other Seitz books include The Sopranos Sessions, Mad Men Carousel, and the newly published by MZS Press, The Deadwood Bible: A Lie Agreed Upon. He also wrote the New York Time Best Sellers Mad Men Carousel: The Complete Critical Companion, and TV (The Book). He is currently working on a science fiction puppet movie, a memoir about his two marriages, and an epic non-fiction television series covering 50 years in the life of his extended family.
His hobbies include exotic dancing, moonwalking, and affixing masking tape labels to every food item in the refrigerator, including eggs.
He has the attention span of a gnat.