Playing catch-up

Website work tends to happen in clusters, so the current update was kind of put in stasis until several contributions to Rue Morgue [RM] magazine and Music from the Movies [MFTM] were fulfilled.

This month’s print issue of RM features interviews with iconic writer/director/composer/Tarot reader/eccentric Alejandro Jodorowsky, and his son Christobal (who, billed as Axel Jodorowsky, appeared in his father’s film Santa Sangre, also available on DVD from Anchor Bay, but only in England).

My contributions to the May issue include a piece on the bonus soundtrack CDs for El Topo (previously released on LP and 8-track by Apple Records) and The Holy Mountain (announced in that film’s end credits, but never released), and soundtrack reviews for Byung-woo Lee’s The Host (on Milan), Charles Bernstein’s Deadly Friend (on Perseverance), George Shaw’s Marcus (on MovieScore Media), and Tyler Bate’s raw and rocking 300 (Warner Bros.)

Coming soon at, I’ll review some related Jodo-music, and I’ll also take a peek at the director’s other films, still unavailable in North America on DVD.

Royal S. Brown’s film music columns for Fanfare magazine were recently published by Scarecrow Press, and you can read a detailed review of this 398 page anthology at MFTM’s website. (My review of Mikel J. Koven’s La Dolce Morte, a superb examination of giallo films, also published by Scarecrow Press, will appear in an upcoming RM issue.)

The next MFTM DVD column is also on the way, and I’ll take a close look at a recent spate of DVDs featuring a Special Feature that’s been more or less abandoned by the major labels.

As for, we’ve got some neat reviews for a series of eclectic titles (since that’s what we seem to specialize in, though it isn’t wholly deliberate).

First up is Death of a President, the controversial mockumentary by Gabriel Range that premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2006. Audiences finally got a chance to see the fake docu-thriller that focuses on the events surrounding the assassination of George W. Bush, and the DVD from Maple (Canada) and Lions Gate (USA) comes with some decent features, where the unrepentant director/co-writer explains why the heck he chose to pick on a living U.S. President.

Kind of related is The Killing of America, a manipulative quasi-documentary/visual essay on America’s cultural disintegration into a land of assassins, rapists, and murderers wanting pop culture immortality. Produced and co-written by Leonard Schrader (Paul Schrader’s brother and occasional co-screenwriter), this 1982 film was released in the UK on a Region 2 DVD, and features the uncut version of this visually graphic and disturbing film that some regard as a fascinating and prescient snapshot, or outright trash.

Magnolia’s DVD of Joon-ho Bong’s amazing The Host/Gwoemul is coming out in July, but here’s a capsule review of the Korean DVD that’s out as a 2 and 4-disc monster set. We’ll also have some reviews of Bong’s other work in the coming weeks.

Lastly on the DVD front is Musica Cubana, a 2-volume set (sold separately) from Icon Entertainment/VSC/MVD Visual that divides the Tokyo and Amsterdam concerts, featuring Buena Vista Social Club member Pio Leiva with the Sons of Cuba performing old and contemporary songs.

In the soundtrack department is the latest release from Lalo Schifrin’s Aleph label – Jerry Fielding’s long unavailable score for the third Dirty Harry film, The Enforcer.

From MovieScore Media is Laura Rossi’s chilling chamber orchestra score for Shooting Shona, and Christopher Slaski’s The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes. Both are available as downloadable MP3 albums from MovieScore Media and iTunes, whereas Piano Tuner marks the label’s first CD release, available exclusively from Screen Archives Entertainment.

Also new as a downloadable MP3 album from New Line Records is Fracture, the latest collaboration from Mychael Danna and Jeff Danna. Some might prefer a CD to a digital album, but New Line’s decision to distribute a Hollywood films score via iTunes may well be a sign that scores too costly or risky for a CD release might finally get their chance in the digital medium.

The point is to get the music out there, and the immense popularity of iTunes means more film music will get a chance to reach broad listeners and collectors. CDs are still the preferred format, with hands-on artwork and liner notes, but for those just wanting to hear music, free from duties and shipping fees, a downloadable album is perfect. It works for a number of labels, and iTunes has become an important source for soundtrack releases by major labels, including Varese Sarabande, and Lions Gate (whose upcoming MP3 album of Don Macdonald’s Fido score is reviewed in an upcoming RM issue, too).

Lastly, we’ve an interview with John Frizzell on his latest film score, The Reaping, where we discuss aspects of the theological thriller, and other neat stuff.

Coming next: Smut.


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