Volume 1 - Volume 2 - Volume 3 - Volume 4 - Volume 5 - Volume 6


REVIEW: WHY BLUR IS IMPORTANT?


cover by
Stephen R.
Bissette
design
Jon-Mikel
Gates


(Volume 1)

by Stephen R. Bissette


Welcome to the first of four volumes collecting the complete weekly "Video Views" columns (1999-2001) by renowned cartoonist, author and film scholar Stephen R. Bissette...



US$20.95/GBP 12.99
5x8 tpb, 256 p.
ISBN-10: 1-934543-24-1
ISBN-13: 978-1-934543-24-5


It's easy to blister Adam Sandler,
Runaway Bride, David Spade and clinkers like Jack Frost, The Haunting remake, Stigmata and Bats ("...by the time the leads are up to their nipples in a lake of bat guano, you'll realize you've been wading in the same for over an hour, and it's getting mighty deep"). It's a piece of cake to sing the praises of popular hits and cult faves like The Matrix, Run Lola Run, The Sixth Sense, Election, Bowfinger, American Pie, The Red Violin and South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut.

But Bissette went further. He bucked critical status quo with his affection for despised films like
The Rage: Carrie 2, Teaching Miss Tingle, Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut and Alan Rudolph's adaptation of the late Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions. Renowned for his work as an artist, writer, publisher and writer (Swamp Thing, Taboo, Tyrant, Deep Red, Video Watchdog, The Monster Book: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The BFI Companion to Horror, Underground USA, etc.), he brought unique insights to his 'industry insider' view of "comicbook movies" like Mystery Men and analysis of animated features like The Iron Giant, Yellow Submarine, Walt Disney's Tarzan, Pokemon and the anime invasion.

Here, too, are Bissette's "
Creeper Sleepers" Halloween horror movie overviews, in-depth essays on underground filmmaker Maya Deren, the breakthrough success of fundamentalist Christian horror movies with The Omega Code, the 1999 Blair Witch phenomenon and its unfairly neglected inspiration The Last Broadcast. Along with his picks of the best horror movies available on video and DVD, the satiric holiday "Woodchuck Video Turkey Feasts" offers hilarious odes to the worst Thanksgiving and Christmas movies of all time -- 'must see' or 'must avoid' picks, depending on your orientation to home entertainment.

Read about the underrated sleepers --
Arlington Road, The 13th Warrior, The Castle, Pirates of Silicon Valley, Broken Vessels, A Stir of Echoes, Joe the King, The Brandon Teena Story, Best Laid Plans, The Best Man, Desert Blue -- the overlooked foreign films -- Abre Los Ojos (Open Your Eyes), Ba Mua (Three Seasons), Los Amantes del Circulo Polar (Lovers of the Arctic Circle), Perdita Durango (Dance with the Devil) -- and already-forgotten curios like Freeway 2: Confessions of a Trick Baby, The Naked Man, Free Money, Trekkies, The Dead Hate the Living and The Highwayman.

Here is the 'blur' of Bissette's comprehensive weekly columns covering the endless flow of video and DVD releases from June 1999 to March 2000. He brings uncanny focus to everything he writes about, as this collection proves.



cover
by
Stephen R.
Bissette
design
Jon-Mikel
Gates


(Volume 2)

by Stephen R. Bissette

The second of four volumes collecting the complete weekly "Video Views" columns (1999-2001) by renowned cartoonist, author and film scholar Stephen R. Bissette covers the video and DVD releases of January to November 2000 and...




US$20.95/GBP 12.99
5x8 tpb, 244 p.
ISBN-10: 1-934543-25-X
ISBN-13: 978-1-934543-25-2



...opens with his scathing dissection of George Lucas's
Star Wars: Episode 1: The Phantom Menace ("...the young man's dreams implicit and explicit in Star Wars swept up a generation; the rich man's fantasies of The Phantom Menace are lumbering, sterile, and mercantile in nature, as mechanical as the Droid army at the center of its most spectacular set pieces..."). It closes with his selection of the best & worst horror films of 2000, along with his daughter Maia Rose and son Daniel's all-time top-12 recommended Halloween titles for kids.

In the course of that year -- and what a year it was! -- Bissette covered the Millennial films:
American Beauty, Fight Club, The Insider, Three Kings, Boys Don't Cry, Being John Malkovich, Magnolia, Dogma, The Straight Story and more. Embracing popular favorites like The Cider House Rules and Erin Brockovich, Bissette eloquently championed critically reviled films like Snow Falling on Cedars ("...in a culture obsessed with delineating love almost exclusively in sexualized or familial terms, it is unusual to find such an honest and uncluttered expression of the most fragile of virtues we hold dear..."), Pitch Black, Luc Besson's The Messenger, Ang Lee's Riding with the Devil and Martin Scorsese's Bringing Out the Dead. He also shamelessly celebrated those films that were grand fun, from Galaxy Quest and Sleepy Hollow to Jackie Chan's Project A and others.

As a seasoned storytelling and cartoonist, Bissette brought special insight to his praise for animated features like Hayao Miyazaki's P
rincess Mononoke and Bill Plympton's I Married a Strange Person, analysis of botched genre efforts like Supernova, and condemnation of dross like Scream 3, 28 Days, The Skulls and Bicentennial Man.

Here are 2000's underrated sleepers:
The War Zone, My Dog Skip, Ghost Dog, La Cucaracha, The Third Miracle, End of the Affair, Tumbleweeds, Boiler Room, The Minus Man, The Adventures of Sebastian Cole, Love & Basketball, and more. Here's the overlooked foreign films -- The Dinner Game, Todo Sobre Mi Madre (All About My Mother), Fritz Lang's The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse, etc. Bissette sheds light on the key documentaries (American Movie, Beyond the Mat, Divine Trash, Mr. Death) and already-forgotten curios like The Cradle Will Rock, The Lathe of Heaven and Fire on the Amazon. Here are Bissette's in-depth overviews of Mary Harron's American Psycho and Julie Taymor's Titus -- and why cutting-edge female filmmakers are drawn to such mayhem -- the trio of Ripley films based on Patricia Highsmith's novels, and the definitive Andy Kaufman video catalogue.

Savor the 'blur' of Bissette's comprehensive weekly columns from April to October 2000. He brings unflinching focus to it all, sharpening your own perceptions.




cover
by
Stephen R.
Bissette
design
Jon-Mikel
Gates


(Volume 3)

by Stephen R. Bissette

The third of four volumes collecting the complete weekly "Video Views" columns (1999-2001) by renowned cartoonist, author and film scholar Stephen R. Bissette covers the video and DVD releases of November 2000 to May 2001.



US$20.95/GBP 12.99
5x8 tpb, 216 p.
ISBN-10: 1-934543-57-8
ISBN-13: 978-1-934543-57-3


On
MI2 (Mission Impossible 2): "...as in so many modern Hollywood thrillers, however 'real' the stuntwork, we cease to be amazed given the soup of CGI-enhanced non-reality they swim within. To paraphrase an old hippy joke, when there is no gravity, action films suck."

On
Gladiator: "Yes, Commodus is a dim echo of the real corruption Rome's most terrifying despots personified; for that, the justifiably infamous X-rated Bob Guccione travesty Caligula (1980) and Joe D'Amato's even more depraved (!) knock-offs come closest to the mark, and they STILL fall short of the genuine excesses history has recorded."

On
The Nutty Professor II: The Klumps: "...proof once again that less is more -- and more is much, much less when it comes to overblown, overproduced, over-calculated filmmaking-by-committee sequels. Feed 'em all to the giant hamster, I say."

On
Julien Donkey-Boy: "...a calculated assault on the very notion of film-as-entertainment. You aren't meant to be entertained, or amused, but challenged. This is an ugly, distressing, depressing work; but it's also an engaging, fascinating sui generis work, and once seen, it is impossible to forget."

As the Millennium turned, Bissette wrote with perceptive wit and a greater grasp of cinema history than the high-ticket critics. From the slick Hollywood fantasy
Frequency ("...Frequency gets nervous whenever it approaches any real emotional candor...") to Dogme 95 spawn Dancer in the Dark ("...Von Trier embraces the seductive power of the musical form... while surgically exposing its madness..."), he screened 'em all. He covered true indy films (When Pigs Fly, Tracy Moffet's BeDevil, etc.) and often interviewed the filmmakers themselves (of Delinquent, Waiting and Nice Guys Sleep Alone). He discussed the revivals (Dementia, The Exorcist: The Version You've Never Seen, Georges Franju's Les Yeux Sans Visage/Eyes Without a Face) and rehashes (Heavy Metal 2000), the glorious (The Sopranos, Almost Famous, Tigerland, Wonder Boys, and 2000's top 20) and the ghastly (Battlefield Earth).

The renowned artist, editor, publisher, writer, scholar and critic brought special insights to the 'blur' of comprehensive weekly columns covering the constant flow of video and DVD releases. Writing at lightning speed, his focus remained razor-sharp.



cover
by
Stephen R.
Bissette
design
Jon-Mikel
Gates


(Volume 4)

by Stephen R. Bissette

The fourth volume collecting the complete weekly "Video Views" columns (1999-2001) by Stephen R. Bissette covers May to October 2001, and miscellaneous video & DVD-related articles from this period -- plus an index for the entire four volume set, making this highly-entertaining read into an essential research tool.



US$20.95/GBP 12.99
5x8 tpb, 228 p.
ISBN-10: 1-934543-58-6
ISBN-13: 978-1-934543-58-0


On the UK miniseries
Traffick vs. its feature film adaptation Traffic: "By skirting the spidery source of all the corruption, collusion, addiction, denial, and betrayal at the heart of its web, the feature film version of Traffic cut itself from the root of all evil exposed in Traffick..."

On
The Wedding Planner: "...the entire confection exists to stretch the seemingly irreconcilable situation between these star-crossed lovers to the breaking point. I squirmed through every agonizing moment of the prolonged syrup, angst and tedium..."

On
Snatch: "To my mind, [director] Guy Ritchie perfectly translates [Dick Tracy cartoonist Chester] Gould's dark universe to celluloid, with an ingratiating wit, vigor and savagery guaranteed to put off the squeamish and faint-hearted."

On
Dude, Where's My Car?: "Dude, where's my movie?"

As the Millennium unfolded, Bissette continued to write about the true indy films (
Home to Tibet, Butterfly, Radio Free Steve, etc.), including interviews with the filmmakers. Here are the already-forgotten gems (See the Sea, The Pledge, Alex Winter's Fever), the resurrections (the Esperanto opus Incubus), revivals (Akira, Blood Simple, City on Fire) and rehashes (Dracula 2000, Driven), the masterpieces (O Brother Where Art Thou?, Memento, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, You Can Count on Me, Once Upon a Time in China I and II, etc.) and misfires (Shadow of the Vampire, Cast Away, State and Main, Sweet November, Monkeybone, Valentine, Blow Dry, etc.).

Along the way, Bissette also illuminated the virtues of Steven Seagal thrillers ("...most entertaining for their utterly deadpan absurdities..."), crafted expansive essays like "
For Love of Cinema" ("...Miramax has calculated, with surgical precision, how to titillate the 'alternative' taste buds, and do so here with singular, shameless hucksterism. Here we are, a generation of Truffaut, Kurosawa and Bergman aficionados, played like rubes at the carny..."), and scribed a loving ode to Hannibal, "the Bush Era Bogeyman We Deserve."

Week after week, the renowned artist, editor, publisher, writer, scholar and critic applied his pen, passion and expansive pop cultural knowledge to the 'blur' of video and DVD releases. His relentless focus prompts us to see these -- and all -- movies in new ways.




cover
by
Stephen R.
Bissette
design
Jon-Mikel
Gates


(Volume 5)

by Stephen R. Bissette

This is the fifth volume in the book series Blur, which has already gathered over 1000 pages of writer artist editor teacher Stephen R. Bissette's reviews, interviews and insights on all aspects of cinema, DVD and video.
Now make that over 1200 pages! And -- it's in Blog-O-Scope!




US$20.95/GBP 12.99
5x8 tpb, 232 p.
ISBN-10: 1-934543-97-7
ISBN-13: 978-1-934543-97-9

With this volume,
Blur truly shifts into the 21st Century, collecting into book form the best of this award-winning cartoonist's tsunami of online essays and articles from 2005-2007. Whether rhapsodizing over a masterpiece like Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth or Guy Maddin's Cowards Bend the Knee, savoring the genuine pleasures of home movies, or lambasting The Wicker Man remake or the encroachment of commercials into movie theaters, S.R. Bissette's Blur pulls it all together into an engaging, entertaining and intoxicating feast for movie-buffs, cinephiles and anyone who loves movies.

This volume includes analysis of a previously undefined genre -- 'the awful place' cinema, including
Silent Hill, Chain and The Decay of Fiction; European and Russian science-fiction movies of the 1960s and '70s (First Spaceship on Venus, Ikarie XB-1, etc.); blistering anti-war films from Abel Gance's J'Accuse to Joe Dante's The Homecoming; George W. Bush-era horror movies, from notorious torture films like Hostel to real bone-chilling fare like DC 9/11: Time of Crisis and Faith in the White House; the 2006 Broadway revival of Sweeney Todd, Vermont's celebrated Ground Hog Opry stage show and the man behind it, and even the dream-inspired rant "Santo for President!"

Also inside: reviews of
The History Boys, Apocalypto, Children of Men, The Good Shepherd, and more, and of recent DVD releases of once-rare Mario Bava, Edgar G. Ulmer, Val Lewton, Hammer Films and Mexican horror classics; cutting-edge animation from Sally Cruikshank and anime based on Jim Woodring's celebrated Frank comics stories; rarities like Existo (The Forbidden Movie), I Was a Zombie for the FBI, Massacre, Satan's Children, The Descendant, Hintertreppe/Backstairs, and the delightful Ali Baba Goes to Town.

Go to town yourself with this fifth volume of S.R. Bissette's
Blur!



cover
by
Stephen R.
Bissette
design
Jon-Mikel
Gates


(Volume 6)

by Stephen R. Bissette


US$20.95/GBP 12.99
5x8 tpb, TBA p.
ISBN-10: TBA
ISBN-13: TBA