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The Essence of Dreams: An Anthology of Film Reviews

'The Essence of Dreams: An Anthology of Film Reviews' is what the cover says... a contemporary collection of film reviews spanning across the career of film critic, Stephen 'Spling' Aspeling. Having been a movie reviewer since 2007, Spling has reviewed a few thousand of films, by way of written review and radio broadcasts. Over this time and as an independent film critic, Aspeling has been able to adjust his course to review more of the good and less of the bad and ugly. In doing so, he's encountered a great many films that have landed an 8/10 (4-star) review or higher in his estimation. Of this film selection, many have warranted these high ratings due to their ability to orchestrate their own worlds, serving as true escapist fare. Now available as an ebook or paperback on Amazon.

The Journey

Stephen 'Spling' Aspeling has wanted to publish a book for what seems like ages. At first, writing a biographical account of his boarding school adventures in Grahamstown, he realised the project needed more of a story thread and would be easier to write as a work of fiction. Inspired in part by John Cleese's biography 'So Anyway...' and John van de Ruit's 'Spud' series, these fun stories are yet to be told. Having written The Essence of Dreams over a 15-year period without realising it, made it easier to commit to collating and publishing this book.

Essence of Dream Film Reviews

Taking audiences on an immersive journey, these pictures come to play out like living in someone else's dream. The very nature of film is illusionary, which is why Christopher Nolan's sleek heist thriller, Inception, works as a double-edged sword - a powerful allegory for the actual film-making process. On one hand, Nolan captures the high concept of a mind heist whereby a group of criminals infiltrate people's minds to plant the seed of an idea in their subconscious to make it seem like their own epiphany. On the other, he's crafted double meaning by way of each character's role as relates to the film-making process with Leonardo DiCaprio's role as director.

The Design

Inception is featured in 'The Essence of Dreams' along with 96 other film reviews, this anthology is designed to take you on a journey beyond the films as Spling tries to capture their essence and unpack what makes them truly great through his insights and observations. Together with surreal yet accessible sketches from illustrator and editor, Alan Lamprecht, this assembly of words and images flows from page to page across the book. Harnessing white spaces and artful lines, the author attempts to create an enjoyable read whether landing on titles at random or working your way through the book from start to finish.

essence of dreams sketches

A few sketches from the The Essence of Dreams.

A worthy movie bucket list, Spling's book has received wonderful praise from people who actually read his work. Often there's a temptation to acquire cold reviews from media agencies, but it was important to Spling that he receive word from those who know his pre-existing body of work. Having written primarily online, this neatly packaged assortment of movie reviews works as an in-depth read for casual moviegoers and a more considered approach for film students and movie lovers. The visual dynamic melds the reading to the watching experience with ambiguous imagery that has been inspired by the movies themselves.