Zine Reviews By Mike White. Shemp # 29 - $2 (593 Waikala St., Kahului HI 96732-1736)Larry Yoshida’s been creating Shemp for at least as long as I’ve been into zines...

Shemp # 29 - $2 (593 Waikala St., Kahului HI 96732-1736)
Larry Yoshida’s been creating Shemp for at least as long as I’ve been into zines. Each issue is consistently great. Written from a first-person point-of-view, Larry reviews records, movies, zines, and whatever else catches his eye while occasionally bitching about his job; clerking at a video store. I feel your pain, Larry, and I love your zine.

Issues consist of three or four pieces of paper folded in half, stapled together with clip art and hand-written blurbs around the neatly typewritten reviews. Shemp is zinedom in its raw, original form. No sell out!

Cinemad #2$4 US (PO Box 43909, Tuscon AZ 85733-3909)
Now this is the stuff, here. Cinemad’s approach to film as an institution and as entertainment feels very familiar. Writes editor Mike Plante in his editorial, “I think all of these people/topics [in Cinemad] are barely covered by other media. I wanted to learn more about them so when I couldn’t find any articles I went out and made some.” Material covered in Cinemad is “interesting movies that we like” with the main goal being “getting others to check ’em out.”

It isn’t too difficult to see that Cinemad and Cashiers du Cinemart are following quite a similar path. Cinemad’s second issue features an article about existential car flicks wherein both Vanishing Point and Two Lane Blacktop are discussed. There are interviews with Chris Wilcha, director of The Target Shoots First and Conrad Hall, who’s been director of photography on films such as Electra Glide in Blue (see CdC #10) and American Beauty. Luckily, there are more differences between Cinemad and CdC than similarities! Cinemad does a terrific job in spotlighting overlooked character actors such as Thelma Ritter and Tracey Walter as well as covering other lost gems of the cinema like The Magnificent Ambersons and Chameleon Street.

Cinemad is providing a valuable voice in film criticism and coverage. If I have one complaint about the mag it’s the look-so large that it’s often difficult to concentrate on the words. But, knowing that this is only the second issue, I imagine that’ll improve by issue three. I look forward to Cinemad having a long, prosperous life!

Micro-Film #1 - $5 US - (PO Box 45, Champaign IL 61824-0045)
For as raw as Cinemad appears, Micro-Film is slick. Out of the box, Micro-Film is a polished and serious look at independent film and video. I almost feel like a plebian like myself shouldn’t be looking at such a highfalutin disquisition. Covering film fests, the state of indie film zines, and grassroots filmmaking, Micro-Film also boasts a good number of reviews; jam-packing thirty-two pages full of information.

The second issue of Micro-Film will carry interviews with Kevin (Surrender Dorothy) DiNovis along with Chris (American Movie) Smith—good stuff to be sure!

Cinema Scope #2 - $5 US —(465 Lytton Blvd, Toronto ON M5N 1S5 CANADA)
Damn, this sucker is huge! Clocking in at 124 pages, Cinema Scope apparently has a lot to say!

Before getting too much farther into this review I have to admit up front that I know the editor, Mark Peranson, and have even contributed to Cinema Scope. Issue #2 even contains my list of the top ten films of the ’90s. I think I’m the only person with Freaked on their list. Actually, my list doesn’t jibe with most of the other folks whose lists are included—what does that say?

I met Peranson when I was in Toronto earlier in 1999. I was up there seeing Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Phantom of the Opera” as it was on its last legs at the “fabulous Pantages Theatre.” More than that, starring as the Phantom was none other than Paul Stanley of KISS! All made up, singing, strutting around stage with big pyrotechnic effects, playing the Phantom wasn’t much of a stretch for “Star Child.” And, finally, Stanley’s lispy speech impediment came in handy as it helped add to the strangeness of the misshapen musical pariah. Up on stage screaming “Christine!” (with no “Sixteen” following it), I was in stitches throughout performance. Not to say that Paul did a bad job. Quite the contrary; his rock theatrics and strong voice fit perfectly with the play and I can’t imagine anyone else doing it.

But I digress. It was the next night that Andrea and I met up with my buddy Colin Geddes for a few drinks at the bar next to the Markham Street Suspect Video. We were joined by a few other Suspect staff members and their friends, including Peranson. We shot the shit a bit as I got nice and toasty on a local brew. It turned out that Peranson had recently done a major article on John Paizs, one of CdC’s favourite filmmakers.

A few weeks later found Peranson and me exchanging emails. He helped hook me up with my press credentials for the Toronto International Film Festival (see CdC #10) and told me that he was thinking about starting up a magazine-any suggestions? In the middle of a financial crisis, I told him that my best suggestion was not to do it and just freelance instead.

Luckily, Peranson wasn’t swayed by my moment of negativity and proceeded to produce one hell of a first issue. Completely pro, baby. It boasted reviews of nearly all of the entries to the Toronto International Film Festival and proved to be among the most valuable possessions of folks attending the fest that were lucky enough to score a copy. Thinking that Cinema Scope was a one-shot deal, I was surprised when Peranson announced plans for a second issue. And, damn, if that one isn’t a knock-out as well!

As I said, Cinema Scope is big. Really big. There is no shortage of well-written articles that span anywhere from a few columns to a few pages. Keeping to a ’90s theme, Cinema Scope has a plethora of pieces concerning the latest and “greatest” films of the last decade. While I tend to disagree with some of the choices of the writers about which films they consider to redefine cinema, there’s no doubt that Cinema Scope is a very serious film magazine. While the lack of popular and/or trashy films might be considered a weakness by some readers, Cinema Scope uses this as a strength. The magazine covers a bevy of arty, foreign flicks that usually get overlooked as “snooze movies” by other film magazines. Cinema Scope is definitely not a lark. Instead, I can see it becoming a powerhouse of film criticism.

Back to Issue 11