Saturday, March 08, 2008

Happy Rondo Eve

Rondo voting ends tonight
Be sure to pick your Favorite Site!
Twelve times a year it makes the scene --
Shouldn't VW be your Favorite Zine?

Cast your votes by hook or crook:
Help BAVA win for Year's Best Book;
And Donna, at the very least,
Deserves to be Rondo's Best Artiste.

Newman, Newsom, Schow and me
Made the Best Article ballotry;
And other Kennel folk might rate
As a special write-in candidate.

Nothing to it, but act post-haste:
Just click the link and cut-and-paste.
It would mean so much to us, you know,
And give our best to Taraco.

Friday, March 07, 2008

The VWSE #2 Is Being Signed!

In today's e-mail, we received this shot of CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE star Ann Carter signing copies of the new VIDEO WATCHDOG SIGNATURE EDITION, which will soon be available. She's surrounded by family and friends -- from left to right, neighbor Sandy Horvath, husband Crosby Newton, son David and grandson Ryan. The photo was taken by Sandy's wife Georgia Horvath, and we appreciate it. We're told they all went out to dinner afterwards to celebrate the signing; I wish that Donna and I, along with her interviewer Tom Weaver, could have been there too, to raise a glass with them.

A reminder: the Ann Carter VWSE is limited to only 200 copies and Ann's signatures are the first fan autographs she has signed in many, many years. She retired from the screen in 1952 and has never made a convention appearance. Also, this particular issue features what is, in my opinion, one of the finest covers Charlie Largent has ever done for us (complete with unique inside front, inside back and back cover photos from Ann's personal scrapbooks) and is collectable on that score alone. The VWSE #2 will start shipping next week and, having been printed in such small quantity, our supply is bound to run out without warning -- so reserve your copy now!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Playing Favorites

In the "How Cool is This?" department, the folks at Facets Multimedia recently invited me to join the ranks of their "Celebrity Favorites" where they are collecting the Top Ten Favorite lists of various filmmakers and critics. My lists, composed of 10½ films and another 10½ horror films (one short added to each list), is now posted here, and I get a kick out of seeing my choices sandwiched somewhere between those of Jerry Lewis and Guy Maddin.

If you bother to follow the link, you'll see that some of my main selections have changed since the list I provided for the SIGHT & SOUND Top Ten Poll of 2002. The reason for this is that I, perhaps naïvely, used greatness as a criteria for my S&S poll choices; as it turned out from the choices of the other participants, this wasn't necessary part of the plan, but it was the way I chose to meet the challenge of concocting a list. With my Facets lists, I took the word "Favorites" to heart and tried to pick and choose from a somewhat longer list of movies I love, while adding in a title or three purely for provocation purposes -- not the provocation of readers, but the provocation of DVD companies that might not otherwise consider a deluxe disc of Franju's JUDEX or Willard Huyck's MESSIAH OF EVIL (widescreen! and in proper Technicolor!) worth doing.

I freely admit that there are greater films that exist than are found on either of my lists, but these are the titles that push my specific buttons and that's all that counts. It's two lists of movies, yes, but more particularly a core sampling of me. I don't regret any of the choices I made, only that I couldn't make more of them. There is something wrong about any Top Ten film list that doesn't include Welles, Lang, Bunuel or Hitchcock (oh, that's right, I did pick one of his), and there is something just as askew when a Top Ten list of mine doesn't include some of the movies to which I'm known to be addicted (HATARI!, THE NUTTY PROFESSOR, THE COMEDY OF TERRORS, MAN'S FAVORITE SPORT?, WOODSTOCK, TOMMY, LOCAL HERO, LOST IN TRANSLATION, THAT THING YOU DO!) or anything by Feuillade, Starewitch, Zeman, Ptushko, Corman, Fisher or Zulawski, not to mention the director I've often cited as my favorite: Eric Rohmer. (PERCEVAL got bumped from my Top Ten because I've only seen it once and feel trepidation about seeing it a second time; if I had to pick a favorite Rohmer today, it would probably be THE GREEN RAY aka SUMMER, which happened to slip my mind on "Make Your List" day.)

But a list of favorite movies can't really be anything more than a snapshot of how you felt about those films at the moment you were asked to provide the list -- unless you're cursed to be one of those mudturtle-minded critics who take pride in never watching any film a second time nor giving any a second thought after they've turned in their review. With that thought in mind, I hope you'll be moved to check out the lists -- all of 'em, not just mine (Joe Dante contributed one, too) -- and perhaps be inspired to familiarize yourself with those titles, if any, still awaiting your discovery.

In my ongoing effort to make my latest Top Ten list out-of-date, I saw a long-postponed pleasure -- Marcel Carné's CHILDREN OF PARADISE [Les Enfants du Paradis, 1945] -- today for the first time; the first half this morning, the second half this evening. I loved every minute of it, but -- forgive my ignorance of the extant literature about the film -- am I the first viewer who was left asking, "So where is Part Three?"

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Closed On Account of Molasses II

The opposite of molasses, actually. On Sunday night I was slammed hard with some kind of stomach virus. I thought it might be food poisoning at first, but nothing I consumed that day checked out as being bad. The worst of it was over by early yesterday, leaving me with various abdominal and body aches and incredible fatigue. The best thing, I found, to do was sleep through the discomfort. I've done very little eating since this started, as even an English Muffin looks too formidable to take on, but a protein shake offered some needed nutrients as my "dinner" last night. Today, aside from feeling as though I've taken a few hard punches to the gut, most of the body aches and fatigue are gone and I'm feeling a little more like my usual self. I may try some solid food later today. A lot of work has been piling up, so it's hard to say how active this blog will be this week.

In the meantime, please remember that the Rondo Awards are now down to their final days of voting. All ballots must be in by March 8, Saturday at midnight, and you can easily access the ballot by clicking on the visual link above. VIDEO WATCHDOG is nominated in quite a few categories including Best Magazine; Video WatchBlog is up for Best Website/Blog; and MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK is among the nominees for Best Book. And, once again, I humbly request that you consider Donna Lucas as Best Artist for her Michelangelo-like work on the Bava book.

Thanks for your support, as always, and I hope to be back with you soon. There's a new TV in the house and a lot to talk about.