Monday, May 14, 2007

Video Watchdog Issue 130

I am particularly impressed with the newest issue of Video Watchdog (featuring a cover shot of FORBIDDEN PLANET) that Tim Lucas and company have put together so I thought I would post a couple of thoughts on it here.

A main selling point is a new article on the fascinating GANJA AND HESS written by David Kalat. It is real exciting to see a feature article again about this stirring film. Reading it I was reminded of Watchdog's original groundbreaking article back in the magazines earliest days that turned me on to this film, one of the best and most mystifying I ever seen. Kalat's excellent new article focuses on the origins of the film, how Bill Gunn become involved with it and what the company expected from him. This article brings new things to light but it also manages to make the film seem even more mysterious.

Another feature focuses on the late Freddie Francis. Ted Newsom does a great job here in respecting Francis' directorial career and still being honest about it. It's a solid tribute to a very important figure.
Of the many reviews I really admired Shane Dallmann's take on CRANK, a film that I really loved and I am glad to see it getting some attention in a publication like Watchdog. Kim Newman delivers an excellent and long DVDSpotlight on Universal's new BORIS KARLOFF COLLECTION as well as a review of THE PYJAMA GIRL CASE which I recently covered here. He doesn't like the film as much as i do but I enjoyed reading his thoughts on it.
Tim Lucas offers us a fascinating Watchdog Barks editorial on his upcoming Bava book as well as in depth look at the DR. MABUSE dvds from Retromedia.
Many other noteworthy reviews are given for films ranging from domestic releases like SATAN'S BLOOD to THE NIGHT STALKER collection and imports such as ARIZONA DREAM and WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO YOUR DAUGHTERS.
The main highlight, outside of the new GANJA AND HESS piece, is Ramsey's Campbell's excellent and insightful look at Gasper Noe's IRREVERSIBLE. This is one of the best reviews I have read of this searing and important film and I agree with Campbell when he says that Noe (along with Aja) is "France's greatest living exploitation filmmaker." I also appreciate that Ramsey recognizes that the film's backwards narrative isn't just for show and that, in my opinion, thematically it gives the film a major emotional force that might have been lost in a strictly linear telling. It's a great piece that made me think about elements of the film that I hadn't before.
Finally, cheers to Douglas Winter for noting that Clint Mansell's score for THE FOUNTAIN is possibly the best score of last year. This haunting album was near the top of my list for the best cds of 2006 and it is quickly becoming an all time favorite. Winter's article on minimalism in film scoring is very informative and very well done.
Issue 130 also marks Watchdog's return as a monthly publication. This is a great issue of the best magazine on the planet and I am pleased to highly recommend picking it up if you haven't already.


Anonymous said...

Tim Lucas writes like a maestro conducts. He is a writer steeped in an ability to create insightful single space substantive triumphs. Donna, his wife, has an extraordinary complimentary skill set; when their monster Bava book (9lbs.!) comes out, it will wield a heavyweight literary punch.

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks for the comment.
Tim his writing and Video Watchdog have been a major force and influence in my love for film. I couldn't imagine the past 15 years or so without them.


I need to pick up the new issue soon. It sounds liek a good one.

It's nice to know you like Noe's fillms too. I think he's currently one of France's most interesting filmmakers. I'm not sure that I see him as an exploitation director, but I really loved Irréversible and I Stand Alone. I hope he makes another full-length feature soon.

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks Kimberly,
I like Noe a lot, 'exploitation' probably isn't the best term for him but I liked what Campbell was getting at in his great review. That term probably goes better with Aja, whom I like very much also.
I'm really curious to see what Noe's next project is going to be. I really need to get the import special edition of "Irreversible" that features a new commentary track.
The new Watchdog is great, I'm sure you will enjoy it.
As always, thanks for commenting.