Anyone who has ever caught Quentin Tarantino on a talk show knows he can be exhausting. He may be one of our most exciting directors, but he can come across like an annoying party guest. His rambling monologues work much better in book form; you can take a break whenever it's all too much.

He offers a lot to digest in this collection of essays, most of which deal with films of the 1970s. You get some smart thoughts on classics like "Deliverance" and "Dirty Harry." But die-hard movie nuts will get their biggest kicks when Prof. Tarantino focuses on movies that most critics sniff at. There's an engaging tribute to Sylvester Stallone's "Paradise Alley" and circus-horror flicks like "The Funhouse."

He also has some interesting thoughts on the casting of "Taxi Driver" and Bill Murray's legacy. He dares you to re-evaluate your thoughts. If Tarantino hadn't become a director of hits like "Reservoir Dogs" and "Django Unchained" he might have become an important film critic. "Cinema Speculation" suggests he could end up being both.

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