Kickboxer – My Flashback by Jade Lindley

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[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1vPYM1d3wo[/youtube]

Do you ever go to one of those sale outlet stores that sell really cheap things, like appliances, clothes, candy? I do, I always go in those kind of stores because I know somewhere deep into the store, lurking in the back aisle are the DVD stands. The DVD’s people think aren’t worthy enough to sell for over $5. The ones who look like the covers have been ripped off the VHS, the films people forget, or the films that the supplier decided to buy rights to because they thought that some loser out there would buy it, and they would make a quick buck. I am that loser. I have found many hidden gems in bargain bins over the years such as ‘King of the Kickboxers’, ‘Shaolin Drunken Monk’ and ‘Hunt to Kill’. But there is one film I thought I never thought I would see in the bargain bin for $4.99, it was a film I hold so close to my heart, a film which in my opinion is the greatest American Martial Arts film of all time…’Kickboxer’. My reaction wasn’t total sadness because when I saw the DVD cover it was an exact rip off of the VHS, which got me thinking is this the original cut version with no dubbing and all scenes intact, I bought it with hopes that it was the Holy Grail I had been searching for. I took it home, settled in bed with a Cherry Coke and turned it on…But I was to be disappointed, AGAIN. And then the reality of the adventure of buying it for $4.99 sunk in. It got me thinking about why was such a great film just tossed aside? Why was this in the bargain bin? Why wasn’t this recognised for the violent masterpiece that it is?  Is this a film that the supplier could only get rights to? Or was it a film they knew some loser like me would buy? I felt a little crushed. My love for ‘Kickboxer’ started a long time ago…get ready…I can feel a flashback coming on…but first the run down.

 

Here we have two brothers Eric and Kurt Sloane. Eric is a word kickboxing champion and decides that he is finally ready to take on foreign fighters because well he is as he says ‘kicking ass wherever he goes’…so he and Kurt go to Thailand to fight their greatest fighter, ‘Tiger’ Tong Po. Kurt notices straight away from walking into the arena that the fighting style is so different to Eric’s, for a start it looks a lot brutal, which plants the seed of worry inside Kurt’s head. Once inside the locker rooms, Kurt encounters Tong Po and sees him kicking down a cement pillar as a warm up exercise…that is normal right? Kurt tries to warn Eric but of course his 80’s ‘Soul Glo’ hair-do has seeped through his skull and into his brain and made him think he is actually better than what he is. Eric goes out there and from the moment he is in the ring, Tong Po just slaughters him. These ‘doctors’ take Eric on a stretcher and leave him outside with Kurt and lock the door so they can’t get back in. But lucky for Kurt he encounters Taylor, the Vietnam veteran who is a weapons expert. They take Eric to the hospital and then the waiting begins….and then BANG it’s official Eric is paralysed. Kurt’s mind is foggy with emotions that he decides he wants to take on Tong Po, and Taylor tells him he isn’t good enough to fight him. Kurt then vanishes and walks around Thailand in a form of a montage. Once back in the city he encounters Taylor yet again who says he knows a man called Xian who may teach him the Muay Thai ways. And what do you know, that wisecracking old Xian does teach him the ancient ways and with a lot of discipline with training exercises, montages and incorporating dance with fighting, Kurt proves he is worthy to go inside the ring with Tong Po.  Oh…the flashback is starting…

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The year is 1993, I was 5 years old and I took a trip down to my local video store with my older brother. As you can imagine I never got first choice of the movies, I had to watch whatever my brother wanted. Sometimes having my brother choose what we watched didn’t work out because I would either be so bored I would end up playing outside, but this particular day would change the course of my life. My brother rented a film called ‘Kickboxer’, I remember thinking to myself ‘What is with the random colourful glass on this man hand wraps’, but judging aside I rolled with it. After buying a dollars worth of cola bottles which bought you a lot back in those days, we went on our way home to indulge in what would eventually be one of my favourite films of all time.  Needless to say the film was a roller-coaster for me because one minute I was fired up, then sad, then scared because of Tong Po but then I would fire up again, I learnt new words watching this film one of which was the word rape…yes I was confused as hell as what that word meant for a year or so. But that aside, I walked away from this film just in complete amazement. I remember trying to tell my friends at school about the film, and since boy/girl germs were around back then I wasn’t allowed to talk to the boys, so I had to explain the story line to a bunch of girls; they were not impressed. In my life I have moved to a lot of different places, which meant a lot of different memberships at different video stores, and a common occurrence that happened as majority of these video stores was that the clerks and I were always on a first name basis and secondly they all commented on how much I rented ‘Kickboxer’. ‘Kickboxer was my safety blanket, it made me feel invincible. I went to an all girls school, and let’s face it a girl like me didn’t stand a chance there, so every week of twelfth grade I rented ‘Kickboxer’ every week(no exaggeration) and would watch that in a double bill of ‘Enter the Dragon’.

 

‘Kickboxer’ is a magnificent American Martial Arts films, and I do believe it’s an acquired taste. I have found you either love this more than ‘Bloodsport’ or you don’t. And well I do. I think the story behind this is far more grittier than ‘Bloodsport’ and well it’s a story based around revenge, and I am sure the readers of my stuff know by now, that I have a lot of love  for revenge stories. I think ‘Kickboxer’ really shows off Van Damme’s acting chops and should be commended for it. I mean sure there are montages in this film, but you can’t take away the fact that he is really giving it the old college try in terms of his acting. And some of you may laugh at me for saying this but he really is one of my favourite actors as well as martial artists. I do believe he is very well rounded and can actually possess a lot of emotion with his acting. He is a man out for revenge, and he looks like a pretty pissed off guy who would love nothing more than to rip Tong Po’s heart out. It was believable. I know some of you may be thinking I am reading too much into this film, and you can think that, but I know this film isn’t going out to win Oscars, so I can see the effort that went into all aspects of the film, and I think everyone played their parts perfect . Sure this film is a little over the top, but what American Martial Arts film aren’t? I mean majority of what happens in these films do not happen in real life, but if any of you do know of any underground fighting tournaments of any kind that are happening I would love to know about them.
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I really did enjoy Van Damme’s portrayal of Kurt Sloane because he has a huge heart. If he didn’t he wouldn’t have been able to go on this conquest of revenge and justice for his brother. You see him make a genuine change in character throughout the film, because he starts off as more of a shy kind of guy who is semi okay at martial arts, but he listens, he lives and breathes everything Xian is teaching him about Muay Thai. It isn’t just about the physicality and the skill it’s about the heart and mind that you possess to take you all the way. And Kurt does reach that high level that Xian wanted him to reach. I also found that Kurt is a lot less naive as he is learning about himself with this new training, it is crazy how some things like that can change you and give you a new perspective on things. Now you can’t leave out Michel Qissi’s performance of Tong Po. For such a long time I thought that Tong Po was a real person, but when I discovered IMDB in my early teens I realised Tong Po was fictional…I won’t lie, I was slightly disappointed. But either way you cannot help but love Tong Po as a character. I mean look at him he is freakin’ scary. I think what added to his menacing quality that he had was the fact that he didn’t speak much, he didn’t need to, he let his martial arts skill do the talking. Even now when I watch ‘Kickboxer’ I just feel worried of what Tong Po could do if you bumped into him in an alley way, late at night in the dark…it’s a scary thought isn’t it. Tong Po is a great martial arts villain, who totally stands out and any American Martial Arts film fanatic could never forget Qissi’s portrayal. I would even say it’s that good, it rivals Bolo’s portrayal of Chong Li in ‘Bloodsport’. And lastly you cannot talk about ‘Kickboxer’ without mentioning Dennis Chan’s portrayal of Uncle Xian. I loved the duality of his character because one minute he is a wisecracking old man with life lessons lying underneath his jokes, and then he would switch and be completely serious and a no nonsense kind of guy. You can see just  by looking at Xian he has seen and experienced some shit, so while he does take a serious approach at times, he does learn to laugh at the world in his own unique way.

The fight choreography in ‘Kickboxer’ is amazing, and I definitely think it is one of Van Damme’s finest work. However if you do not remember the original cut of the film then you would have missed out a lot of the parts of the final fight between Kurt and Tong Po. I love the fact that this was so violent, and it was violent in a B grade movie kinda way. The fight scenes weren’t glossy. Sure there are parts where there is a slow motion part or two when you see the impact of Van Damme’s graceful helicopter kick, but otherwise I would say the fighting isn’t sleek in the well polished way. It is beautifully choreographed but in a rough, and very violent way. The music is brilliant because Stan Bush graces his talents in the opening credits with his hit ‘Streets of Siam’. That song alone sets the tone for the entire film. The musical score by Hertzog was nothing short of superb. Because while at times it can be very soft and it is something you can meditate to, it can also fire you up because the music totally hits your core. It’s truly inspiring music.

 

‘Kickboxer’ is a film which tattooed in my brain, I can’t tell you how many times I have seen it, but I knowKickboxer it line for line and scene for scene. If you wanted me to perform this in a Shakespearian style play I could do it. So when this FINALLY got released on DVD in Australia back in either 2008 or 2009, I was happy, one of the happiest days of my life when it came in that red box at work. I held it in my arms and made it clear that this DVD was going to have a safe home on my ‘Most Watched Movies Shelf’…I took it home and realised something straight away, Eric was dubbed…badly. I then also noticed that scenes were cut out, and certain frames from scenes were cut out, but then they took away several things which disgusted me more than anything. The final fight is approaching and there was a scene where Tong Po dipped his hands in the box of broken glass which were then stuck to his hand wraps, and then licked the glass just to show how badass he was…yeah well that got taken out. And then I realised something else…the fight was cut up so much it wasn’t like the original any more. It felt out of sync, it didn’t flow as well as the original cut, my heart sank. I felt like I had been cheated out of being able to experience a film it was originally intended to being viewed. To this day the closest thing I have found to the original is the Supreme Edition that a guy has made and put on Youtube.  ‘Kickboxer’ is a highly influential film in my life, it shaped a portion of my taste in film, it supported me when I was getting bullied, it entertained me for so many hours and 20 years on that film still manages to blow my mind. The original cut might be out of my reach right now, and while it is harder to capture than Carmen Sandiego, I know I will find it, and I will be able to enjoy it the same way I did all those years ago on VHS.


If it wasn’t for Jean-Claude Van Damme, I wouldn’t have been into these films, and I wouldn’t have the passion for film that I have today, so thank you so much for being in ‘Kickboxer’ and showing me how awesome and timeless films can be. 

First Blood – Review by Jade Lindley

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[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjptQSfuTy8[/youtube]

Before mass hysteria within the pop culture realm decided it was a great idea to make fun and jokes at Sylvester Stallone’s expense, he was a respect actor who saw torture within his eyes and his trembling voice. In Rocky we saw an underdog fighting for his one shot to prove he was strong enough emotionally and physically to go the distance with Apollo Creed. The world saw Stallone as a man with depth, character and integrity. And it’s those gifts that he portrayed in the tortured soul of John Rambo in 1982’s ‘First Blood’. While the 3 sequels of the original ‘First Blood’ are very violent and very much action films, ‘First Blood’ will forever be a drama with elements of thriller and action. John Rambo is a young man who has been through so much in such a short amount of time, who has had to do a lot of growing up because of the horrors that he has seen in Vietnam, This is truly a sad story of a man who is just misunderstood, a man who is unfairly treated by narrow minded simpletons.
Here is the run down. John Rambo who is trying to track down his friend from the Vietnam War only to discover he died of Cancer. Clearly devastated he walks into the local town and gets picked up by  Sheriff Teasle who warns him that people like him don’t belong in his quiet, boring town, so he drives him out of town and leaves him there, yet Rambo just immediately walks back in the direction he just came. Infuriated, Teasle then arrests him. Once at the police station it is pretty damn evident, that these depraved cops have nothing better to do than humiliate, and degrade Rambo which is giving him flashbacks of what he went through in Vietnam. And then finally Rambo snaps, kicking the absolute shit out of cop in sight and escaping the station and stealing some random guy’s motorbike with pure style. Rambo then lures Sheriff Teasle and his cop squad into the forest and then the real hunt begins.

Sylvester Stallone is just perfection as John Rambo. No one could breath life into this character. RamboHe is so raw, gritty, broken, and all he wants is some peace in his life. He endured hell on earth while serving in Vietnam, and it’s those hellish experiences which have stayed buried deep within his psyche and boiled over into his whole being. The character of John Rambo doesn’t talk much for majority of the film, he doesn’t need to. Those sad eyes tell a tale of pure sadness and horror, what he has seen, he can never unseen, those horrors don’t just live in his nightmares when he sleeps, they are there with him every day, never leaving his mind; all it takes is a trigger. I have sad in previous Stallone films, that he is a man with such a huge amount of depth, and his eyes just convey such a deep and personal story no matter what his roles may be. You can see that Stallone definitely can understand the character of John Rambo, and what he is really about. Stallone is definitely one of the most underrated actors out there. He has the ability to make the viewer experience a roller-coaster of emotions, he wants you to live and breathe the character with him, and that explains why I am always a blubbering like a baby whenever I watch ‘First Blood’. It physically hurts my chest when I see him reliving all the awful experiences over and over again, ‘First Blood’ is just way more than any movie.

Brian Dennehy portrays the arrogant, narrow minded Sheriff Teasle, who would rather hunt, and kill a Vietnam War Hero than admitting he was wrong in the first place for even approaching him in the beginning and assuming John Rambo was up to no good. You can’t help but love Brian Dennehy because you just love to hate Teasle. He is such a scumbag who abuses his power, and no one has ever kicked him off his self appointed pedestal until now, and all Rambo had to do was not listen to a word he said. Dennehy was really on the money with this portrayal and he just makes you despise his character regardless of any emotional journey he may go through during the film. If all you want to do is slice his throat open with Rambo’s knife whenever you see Teasle on screen, I think he did his job.

First Blood
Jerry Goldsmith did a magnificent job of producing the musical score for ‘First Blood’. The opening music just sets the tone for the film, it conveys the sorrow and bad memories that lie within John Rambo and how how they continue to affect his life on a daily basis. The musical score spoke volumes, and really added raw emotion to the film. Jerry Goldsmith composed a perfect musical score which also proves he was also in tune with the character of John Rambo, he brought out his hell, his experiences, his flashbacks out through the music, and I believe that was a lot of the glue that held the film together.
My favourite scene would have to be the ending, it is just pure honesty and tragedy, a fallen hero struggling to come to terms with what his life is after his hellish ordeal. It is the first time throughout the film, where we learn how he really feels, what he thinks, what stays in his mind, the things people have put him through during and after the Vietnam war have shaped him, and therefore having trouble adjusting to normal life. He feels he is still stuck in the war, people will not let him forget what they thought that war was about, and instead of been treated a hero who endured so much pain for his country, he was cast aside, spit on, and banished by society. John Rambo lost his friends to a war which didn’t need to happen, and he feels he is going to be paying for it for the rest of his life. When he breaks down crying and falls to the floor, it is incredibly hard to watch, because you feel the pain, you feel like your heart is going to burst out of your chest, it just hurts. It is heartbreaking to see a man so broken up inside, he doesn’t know who he is, what his purpose is, so when he does break down you can see that is years of bottled up suppression of frustration, sorrow, anger. John Rambo is just a man, and all he wanted when he walked into that town was something to eat, and they took away a basic right of any human being away from him, just because of the assumption made about what kind of person he was.

‘First Blood’ is a tragic story of a man trying to get a grip on reality with close minded people standing in his way. Sylvester Stallone is an absolute treat to watch in this, and his portrayal of John Rambo is timeless, and it is this role which will go down as one of cinema’s most iconic roles of all times. If you haven’t seen ‘First Blood’, you have been living under a rock, so you need to finish reading this review, grab several Cherry Coke’s and you need to buy the film and watch it ASAP. I have found ‘First Blood’ to be one of those kind of films that I need to watch to have a good cry, now I know majority of women would do that with trash like ‘The Notebook’, but since I have more male chromosomes than most women, I think it’s perfectly acceptable. Now forget what the haters of action films say about Stallone and his portrayal of Rambo, because all they see are the muscles and the explosions. But since the readers of my articles are intelligent life forms you should watch ‘First Blood’ for the brutality, the depth, the horror and the dark beauty surrounding John Rambo.

The Cinema Experience…Or Lack of… by Jade Lindley

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Remember that moment on Christmas morning when you were waiting for that video game that all your friends had for months and you had been begging your parents for? How excited were you when you saw that square shaped box, wrapped up tightly in red wrapping paper with a gold ribbon around it. This HAS to be the latest Mortal Kombat game, it just has to be, it’s all you have spoken to your parents about for months. You start to slowly tear the edges and then think ‘SCREW THIS’ and tear away the wrapping paper like a rabid dog and then the realisation hits you like a tonne of bricks…this isn’t Mortal Kombat, it’s Fatal Fury…The poor man’s Mortal Kombat, still a good game though but not nearly as violent. You’re heart sinks and your 10 year old self can think of nothing worse. Now fast forward that same emotion you felt as a 10 year old to you right now,  and apply it to how you feel when a film you have been gagging to see, doesn’t get played at any cinema in your state…or even YOUR COUNTRY.  It’s scandalous right? An outrage? A joke? But once the initial anger has seeped under your skin and will boil over another day, you start to wonder why the hell would this film get scrapped from cinemas at the last minute. But the more you think about it, the more frustrated you feel, surely these film distributors and the guys behind the marketing know what they are doing right? Or are they just being square headed ignoramuses? You be the judge.

 

In the past few years I have noticed more and more films which have not been reaching our cinemas here in Australia, or what they do is, get scrapped last minute or they get a little run in selected cinemas. I am not just talking about B grade movies which I would like to see because I love my cheese, I am talking legit films which could have made these film companies a bit more cash, than rather having it sitting around for several months until the straight to DVD release. And all the while this is happening, the Justin Bieber 3D film got slammed at the cinemas, so did the Katy Perry movie also in 3D…Did I mention there is also going to be a One Direction movie too? Word on the street is, it’s going to be in 3D too. Now why is this allowed to happen? Why are so called documentaries like that getting slammed, marketed and pushed down our throat yet Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning didn’t even get a cinematic release here in Australia besides in 2 cinemas…you heard right, 2 FREAKIN’ CINEMAS. I will tell you why this is happening. Teenage girls are idiots, lets face it, all of us were crazy about some guy as a 15 year old right? I mean I was crazy about Stallone…hrm maybe I am exempt from this. Anyway these girls will spend whatever money they have on the latest cd, t-shirt, poster by guys like One Direction. And these girls are in the masses, its like the Horde from He-Man. And these film companies know these girls will go with their friends to see the movie and buy the DVD, so it’s a quick buck for them. No real thought process went into the production all they saw behind this kind of ‘movie’ is dollar signs. But the thing is, no one will remember these kind of movies in 10 years, want to know why? Because these girls will grow up, and they will find ACTUAL boyfriends which will exist past the poster hanging above their bed, and they will look back on those couple of years and think ‘Why the hell did I like this band so much?’ Without these kind of ‘documentaries’ and films the companies wouldn’t be as financially set, because they know how peoples brains work when it comes to mind numbing plots, so good on them for making their money that way. However whenever something is due for a release that they don’t know much about or even really care to know much about, they go into a panic and either pull out of releasing it last minute or limit the sessions down, regardless of the fact the film may have done well in another country.

 

Action and Horror movies are the bastard children of the film industry. Sure action movies get released but unless it’s ‘A Grade’ with several big names in the cast and is guaranteed to make them millions, it won’t get played. And when it comes to horror movies, that is a genre that is definitely cast aside in Australia. The best example of that is the remake/reboot to the Evil Dead franchise. There was a tonne of buzz around this when it got announced there was going to be another instalment and let’s face it the trailer really did sell it. And then just before it was due for release here in Australia, it got limited to 3 cinemas in the entire country. A Facebook group and petition was then created for Sony Pictures to rethink it’s decision to scrap most of the sessions, but alas they didn’t care. But what I can tell you is this, they would have made a lot more money if they would have distributed ‘Evil Dead’  to the mainstream cinema. Film companies do not trust horror films, because there have been a lot of misses, they aren’t exactly stable when it comes to bringing back that cash. Word on the street is in Australia the most rented genre on DVD is actually horror. Now that is totally something I can understand, remember back when you were a pre-teen and you wanted to watch movies you shouldn’t be and all those gruesome and weird horror covers would entice you and keep your interest, so as soon as you were old enough you rented them with your friends; and it’s still like that to this day.

Back in the 1970′s cinema was something which was enjoyed by the masses, sure it still is, but back then it was on a different level to what it is now. In the 70′s a lot of films whether they were mainstream or independent were a lot more grimy and gritty, and the themes were seen as a little more dramatic, intense and at times over exaggerated but for the right reasons. And even though that was the case, they were still an accepted form of film, and they were played even if it was a midnight session or at the drive in, either way they managed to bring in a big crowd of people. There were less boundaries back then until the shit storm in the 1980′s arose in the UK with the banning of films and labelling them ‘Video Nasties’. And I believe since all that erupted back then that has definitely played a big part into why certain genre of films get a limited to no run at the cinema. I love going to the movies, it’s something that makes me happy, it calms me and for me it’s a kickass experience, but at times I do get tired of seeing the same crap pumped through the cinemas and getting a tonne of sessions compared to something which I believe is a lot better, but that goes back to personal taste. I just think at times it is unfair that we miss out on a great and memorable movie experience just because a company doesn’t think it will make them any money. If they do seriously believe that I say they shouldn’t be so upset when people decide to download the movie. You didn’t want to make money so don’t get mad if someone downloads it.

 

 

To the film companies out there I say this; back the projects which you guys distribute as much as you can. Obviously not everything will hit the cinema, because that is impossible, and some sign in their contract that it won’t be getting a cinematic release. But don’t promise something to an audience and then take it away because you don’t believe the hype or buzz surrounding a film. I can understand that these companies do not want to lose out on money and that is fair, but if something which is mainstream or even independent that has made a fair bit of cash, shouldn’t you be excited to distribute it in another country and not just in selected cinemas with selective sessions? Start doing the research, go onto Facebook, Twitter, movie forums, movie news websites, and read up on your product you are selling, check out what people want and what they expect, and find out what your target audience really thinks.

 

Tuff Turf – Review by Jade Lindley

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[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtihaP7JZqA[/youtube]

When it’s late at night and I can’t sleep, I often wonder about the important things in life; the things that really matter. I wonder about whether ‘Kickboxer’ will ever be uncut again and available on DVD or if Kurt Russell and Sylvester Stallone will answer my prayers and team up for ‘Tango and Cash 2: Bigger, Badder and Bloodier’. But there is one thought that has haunted me for a long time…What would happen if the movies ‘The Karate Kid’ and ‘Savage Streets’ decided they wanted to make love and have a baby? What 80’s awesomeness would a fiend like me hope these two films create? Well there is only one possible answer to this…’Tuff Turf.

 

The storyline is something that has been used a lot in films, but that doesn’t mean to say it’s a boring take on the matter. Here we have Morgan(James Spader) who is a smart kid, plays by his own rules, and doesn’t have too many friends. He moves to a new town and encounters the school bullies, and just so happens to fall head over heels in love for the long haired barbie, Frankie(Kim Richards), who happens to be dating king of the bullies and ultimate douche-bag Nick(Paul Mones). While Morgan is not busy hiding his boner, I mean feelings for Frankie, he is also making friends with the greasy, and possibly drugged up drummer Jimmy(Robert Downey Jr).  Jimmy is a reliable pal, who tells Morgan how it is on Nick’s turf and how he needs to stop overstepping his boundaries with Frankie. Throughout the film we see Morgan constantly try to woo Frankie, and while she may seem like an ice maiden on the outside, it is revealed that this shallow person actually does have a soft heart…And the only way that Morgan could get into her heart is by doing what any normal person would do; Crash a posh country club, get on the piano and sing a song called ‘I Walk the Night’…and with lyrics such as ‘I feel your face, I hear your eyes. I know the nights that you’ve cried, but we still survive’, who wouldn’t fall for his charms

 

Now you are probably thinking, ‘This sounds so lame and cheesy’; and you may be right about the cheesy part, but hear me out. While it has some cringeworthy parts, you cannot help but love what director, Fritz Kiersh was trying to do. He managed to balance drama, comedy, and violence extremely well considering some of the cheesy scenes in the film. This is a lot of fun, and it doesn’t try to preach to you the importance of it’s themes, it just makes them aware in your psyche and you can do what you like with them. While a lot of people out there do love 80’s teen flicks like ‘The Breakfast Club’ and ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’, they tend to pick and choose which of these film has credibility and which has just plain cheese. The 80’s was a wonderfully cheesy era of film, regardless of the genre and I’d say in just about every 80’s movie there may be at LEAST one slightly cringeworthy moment. The 70’s films, regardless of genre had more of an intense feel to them and a grimy appeal which didn’t seem to care if it offended you; those kind of films wanted to wake their audiences up. Whereas the 80’s had a lot more to do with putting a strong sense of emotion out there and conveying it to the audience. Films like ‘Tuff Turf’ were just as relevant to the 1980’s as ‘Sixteen Candles’ was.

 

‘Tuff Turf’ is a great example of a teen flick which just has all the elements that has made the genre cliche. Firstly you have the unattainable popular girl which the new ‘loser’ kid at school could never date because she is dating or she dated the possessive ‘king of the douches’ and he won’t let her out of his sight. The first act of the film usually has the protagonist chasing or pining over said person and doing just about anything to get noticed, and while they think nothing could ever come of them, BANG they do something which touches their heart, a letter, a song or a cute and embarrassing gesture usually does the trick. And while all this is going on, they manage to fit in a scene where teens are dancing at an ‘underground’ club and everything is perfectly choregraphed. But you have to make sure ‘King of the Douches’ believes he is in control because he beat up the new kid for panting in the sun over his lady friend. And in the end it usually boils down to a fight over the girl, or there is some kind of emotional speech which 100% wins over the girl, and then the credits roll to a really awesome B grade song by some band that had one famous song. These are simple elements, but they work well and have been used many times over and were rehashed in the late 90’s and early 2000 flicks such as ‘She’s All That’ and ’10 Things I Hate About You’. While not every single teen flick has all the elements, they do have enough to tie them all together to put them in that genre and make them similar one way or another.

 

‘Tuff Turf’ is one of those underrated 80’s gems like ‘Thrashin’  and ‘The Last American Virgin’ which was forgotten in the midst of the John Hughes fog. It can definitely appeal to both chicks AND dudes, because it has romance, it has fighting, normal themes that teenagers can relate to but exaggerated a tad to come across as more ‘alive’ on screen. And it works, because you will get a great time with this film, and if you are an 80’s movie fiend like myself, you will be charged up, you will probably go on a search for more movies like this which may end up leading you to 1980’s revenge teen flicks, and more importantly you will want to watch James Spader’s performance of ‘I Walk the Night’ over and over again. This film knows exactly what it is, and it takes you on one of the most entertaining and unintentionally hilarious 80’s rides you have been on. It hasn’t aged the best in terms of production value, but it has a strong and easy to follow structure. Take ‘Tuff Turf’ for what it is and just enjoy it for that very reason; if you apply that kind of mentality to all movies, your movie viewing will be a hell of a lot more enjoyable.

Kickboxer 2: The Road Back – Review by Jade Lindley

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[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKUX7E0B9vg&authuser=0[/youtube]

Most sequels in the American Martial Arts movie bubble don’t really continue on from the original film, in nearly every single way. And because this a known fact, you would think we could give the genre a break right? Wrong! Apparently us viewers have such high standards for film that we cannot accept a terrible, cheesy, or absurd sequel. HOW DARE THESE FILMS BE MADE TO INSULT OUR SENSES. That isn’t my opinion on the genre, but that is the general viewers opinion. Well to that I say FUCK high standards. Lower your standards, your intelligence levels, and give some films from this genre a chance. You lower the expectations, and you know what…YOU MAY BE ACTUALLY SURPRISED. I am a film optimist, I believe if it’s entertaining despite the flaws, and it keeps you looking at that screen and it is definitely something you can see yourself watching again, then it’s a success…That makes sense right? Not every film gets a crazy budget, especially if it’s a sequel of a successful film which doesn’t even have the main actor starring in it. If a film is memorable, and enjoyable shouldn’t that be enough? Which brings me to this question…why the hell do people dislike ‘Kickboxer 2: The Road Back’?

 

Now the run down is set a few years after the original ‘Kickboxer’. Here we have David Sloane(Sasha Mitchell) who is struggling to keep the family afloat, but refuses to close it down because of the impact that he has on his students. He get’s offered to fight in the ring again and initially says no but goes back into the ring and wins, which comes to the attention of a kickboxing manager called Sanga AKA Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa. Sanga has his own fighter that he is ready to unleash in the ring against David Sloane’s friend and student.  Brian(Vince Murdocco). You may be thinking who is this mysterious fighter from Thailand which is going up against Brian, well I will give you a hint. He paralysed Eric Sloane, assaulted Mylee but got his ass beaten around the underground temple by Kurt Sloane and his helicopter kick…give up? TONG PO!  Tong Po wants revenge on being humiliated the way he was back in Thailand all those years ago, so why not get revenge back on the little Sloane brother. Now I say that is a pretty awesome plot, simple, to the point and it has revenge on the mind, what’s not to like?

 

Now firstly I will discuss my love for the song ‘My Brothers Eyes’ by Eric Barnett. This song I believe has meaning and has a cool sound and I think it fits in perfectly with the films story.  You may laugh at my opinion and think how can a song like this from an American Martial Arts sequel be meaningful, well let me explain. The fact that David Sloane’s two brothers Kurt and Eric are now dead, is something that still eats him up a little, and he also thinks that because the gym is failing financially that he has some how disappointed his brothers. David is a man of integrity and in some ways is a lot like Kurt more than Eric. Fighting is something that all the brothers were passionate about, so every day that he is training himself and others at the family gym, he is going to be reminded of the passion for the sport that he and his brothers had. I think it’s a critical song, and yeah it might sound a little cheesy and dated, but the song still has the meaning. 

 really did enjoy Sasha Mithell’s portrayal of David because like I previously stated he is a lot like Kurt, so he does have a more nurturing side and an honest quality to him, whereas Eric was very blunt, ignorant and quite full of himself. David cares for his students so much that he will let them train for free, and one of them who is homeless he lets sleep in the gym. David does have a lot of pride though, he doesn’t like people knowing of the financial situation of the family gym, as well letting his brothers legacy affect him; in other words deep down he feels like the inferior brother.  I am happy to announce that Uncle Xian from the original ‘Kickboxer’ is also back and he is still the wisecracking smart ass full of wisdom the second time around. I think it was cool that they managed to get him back for the sequel because I think we need that comedy and wisdom to infiltrate the dialogue and the mood. And of course it was ever so amazing to see Michel Qissi reprise his role as Bolo’s evil long lost half-brother, Tong Po…Okay I know Bolo and Tong Po aren’t related in any way but because they play such evil roles in ‘Kickboxer’ and ‘Bloodsport’ I figured hey they should be related.  Again Po doesn’t really say much in his dialogue, he is definitely a man of mystery well not so much a man of mystery but more of a man who kicks the absolute fuck out of people and just doesn’t say much unless he feels like insulting you. I think it’s clever keeping him relatively quiet in terms of the dialogue, because his eyes, body language and his overall awesome Muay Thai skills speak for him, and I know I wouldn’t want to encounter him in a dark alleyway.

                                                                                         

I think the storyline is great because I do love revenge stories, and I have found a lot of American Martial Art films and their sequels do have a lot of revenge they need to fulfil, and it is usually quite brutal, so that makes me extremely happy and fired up. I won’t lie but the dialogue is a little bit cheesy, and at times gets a little preachy but hey sequels usually have their flaws, and that’s pretty much it. The acting I think was great, because you had the seedy kickboxing managers and promoters and just all round bad guys who will do whatever it takes to get what they want. You want those kinda guys in these films because you always love it when they get their karma for being greedy, selfish assholes, please tell me you agree? I think at times this film does look a little dated especially if you watch it next to the original. The original stands on it’s own and is just quality, and while the second is still an awesome film, it does lack a lot of the heart and drive the original had.


I say keep an open mind with this instalment, and enjoy it for what it is, no for what it isn’t. And I know it’s hard to not compare it to the original, but just try not to. I mean the original I found is grittier, darker and well it has Van Damme in it, you just can’t beat that. But either way ‘Kickboxer 2: The Road Back’ stands up on it’s own, and it is a guilty pleasure of mine, and I have to say I love the final fight, just hearing the noise of the blood as it drips onto the canvas is a sound I have not been able to get out of my head since I first saw this when I was a child. Lower those standards and expectations and grab some cherry coke, pizza and a couple of awesome buddies and watch this film. I think doing these things don’t cloud your judgement when watching the film, but they let you experience it for what it is and enjoy it without prejudice.

Sweet Jane – Review by Jade Lindley

sweet-jane1Every now and again there are some films which just depress me. You know the ones I mean, the ones that unfold very slowly and make you feel like nothing god can come at the end of this film. And once you have finished watching it you have this strong sense of realisation that everything is messed up in the world, and it drags you in quite a depressing mood. Sometimes as viewers we need to watch films with more of a realistic take on life, to bring us down to earth a little, to give us that kick up the ass or maybe to even kick us off our pedestals and let us feel something.  That is how I felt after watching ‘Sweet Jane’. I had never heard of this film before, not up until a month ago as it was a recommendation, and I am glad I got the chance to find a copy of this film and watch it. After I watched ‘Sweet Jane’, it gave me a little glimpse into the life of a junkie. I have seen a fair share of drug related movies involving junkies, most of which are so overly dramatised and romanticised that it makes me get to a point when watching the film, that I just wish the junkies would die and then the film would end…cold right? Whereas in ‘Sweet Jane’, I felt something so different, I actually felt sympathy and even though I knew how the film was going to end, I just wanted a happy ending, but alas tragic stories like this just doesn’t happen like that.

 

Here is the run down. Jane(Samantha Mathis) is a junkie who has overdosed and winds up in hospital, downloadand is given the news that she is indeed HIV positive, yep so as you can see not the most positive note to start the film on. We then cut to a scene of Tony (Joseph Gordon-Levitt)a young kid who is being forced to take his medication much to his dismay. We then cut to Jane escaping the hospital and Tony following her. When she realises he is following her she makes it clear she wants him to leave her alone, but after much persistence she just lets him tag along. At this point Jane is trying to do whatever she can to get money for a fix of heroin, even starring in a cheap porn film but gets herself out of it before shit got really real. But as we get say 40 minutes into the film we start to see Jane and Tony bond, and become close, something that Tony wants yet Jane is relearning how to let her guard down. As the story unfolds more and more, we learn a lot more about Tony and the film focuses a lot more on him. Obviously knowing more about his past really says a lot about him, and shows he has gone through a lot for such a young kid. The film is under 90 minutes long, so it isn’t a film which drags it’s story out for ages before we learn anything vital about the main characters, everything is pretty well structured and fairly quick paced. I think if it was a tad bit longer, we could have learnt more about the characters, because even though the characters were developed well, I still think there was a chunk missing from the film. I think they needed to have a bit more layers in the context and not just make nearly everything surface value.

Samantha Mathis did a great job in portraying junkie, Jane. You could see she was a lost young woman, who only found solace in the heroin she let flow through her veins. She felt challenged by nothing in her life until she is told she is HIV positive. And even when she is, she tries to ignore it by getting her hands on more drugs. We see her character doesn’t like to be close to anyone until she really starts getting to know Tony, but we don’t really find out why she is the way she is, surely something out there had to have spun her into the direction of being an emotionally cut off junkie. I think the only time she really feels anything is when she is high, she looks dead without it. Obviously in the second act of the film we do see her feel emotions without being high, which is interesting to see, but at times I found it to be a little unbelievable how quickly you can bring down those walls that you have had up to guard you for so long and be vulnerable and actually feel pain. In my own experience years of putting up walls takes more than 

download (1)just a few days to bring back down, but hey maybe I shouldn’t look too far into it because it is after all just a movie. Joseph Gordon-Levitt played his character of Tony exceptionally well, and dealt with and portrayed the emotions of his character very simply. You could tell there was always something on Tony’s mind, which was important to him, he was a deep thinker. You can also tell in his eyes that Tony had seen a lot and experienced a lot of hardships for such a young kid. In the second act of the film we see what he really thinks come to light and we get an insight into what he went through growing up. I think with his character the less information we know about his back story the better because I think his characters life is more affective on screen when you have to imagine it yourself.
While the film does revolve around Jane’s heroin usage it isn’t the only thing that the film is about. The film is also about finding that person you can connect without there, someone who can love you as a friend and accept you for what you are, and try and pull you out of the most roughest times of your life. And even though this film does end quite sad, you cannot help but think these characters help each other and impact one another’s lives. I liked this film because it wasn’t all about the heroin use. It wasn’t portrayed as this glorified drug movie, which went into ‘depth’ on what happens when you take the drug for majority of the film. Most drug related films portray the users as these invincible rockstars who are far ‘too intelligent’ for this world so the only way they can go beyond what they already are is take drugs. And I hate the fact you are chastised because you don’t see the ‘beauty’ and ‘honesty’ in those films. I would rather listen to an actual junkie and let them tell me about why they do it and what it is actually like taking the drug and being actually dope sick. ‘Sweet Jane’, isn’t a glorified drug-fest which is ‘wild’ and ‘out there’, it’s about someone being able to change your life. Even if they are only in your life for a brief moment, the impact they have is great and it is something that can change the route you were originally planning to go down in; so don’t get that twisted. If you haven’t seen this film, and you want to, don’t go in thinking you are going to get this cult film, with a memorable soundtrack and scenes which are ‘edgy’ because it’s not. It’s not a glossy production, it’s just a film with a solid, simple story, great dialogue and strong emotion. Definitely give this film a watch, because it definitely is a forgotten gem. There isn’t much I can say about this film without giving too much away and also the mood after you watch the film just can’t be described, it is something you need to see and slowly take it in. If you are having an amazing day however, it may not be the best film to watch especially if you get emotionally invested into films like I do. I watched this along with 2 other films on the same day because if I was going to stick with one depressing film, I may as well keep going with that mood because nothing was going to make that mood better; really not trying to sound morbid or depressed or anything, but I got to experience 3 films which I enjoyed and which made me think. But out of the 3 that I watched ‘Sweet Jane’ was definitely the stand out film.

Carnival of Souls – Review by Jade Lindley

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[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkTz0EvfEiY[/youtube]

 

From the mid 1950’s to early 60’s, horror was at a very interesting time. You had Hitchcock leading the way for his unique storytelling and direction and you had Ed Wood Jr. just trying to find his B grade audience who would appreciate what he was trying to do. But in 1962 Herk Harvey directed a film which stood between sheer greatness and just plain bad; that film was ‘Carnival of Souls’. I actually had not seen this film before, I had always steered clear of it because I was afraid of being bored all the way through it all the while imagining a better movie in my head – That’s normal right? Either way I was pleasantly surprised but not so surprised I would put it in my top 100 favourite horror films of all time.

968full-carnival-of-souls-screenshotThe story line is pretty easy to follow and if it was made today I believe it would make one creepy film(if put in the right hands of course). The films revolves around a woman called Mary Henry who was in a car with two of her gal pals and doing what any normal young girls would do; accept a drag race from some young and cute juvenile delinquents – Alright maybe I might be stereotyping the guys just a little…Anyways as they are racing they come to a bridge and of course it’s all fun and games until one of the cars plunges into the river, yep those poor girls die…or do they? One of them so happens to escape and from that moment on weird stuff starts to happen to this girl. Within less than a week of the accident she drives to Utah to become a church organist(that isn’t what is weird, her miraculous recovery is though). As she tries to start her life again after the accident she starts to see a silent yet creepy man who just won’t seem to leave her alone. As the film progresses and her paranoia is going into overdrive she starts to maybe think is this creepy man is trying to lure her somewhere that has a purpose in her life? But is he? Or is he just trying to mess with her because hey isn’t that what most creepy people do?

unnamedThere were several things I did like about the film one of them was the music, it was just creepy, but didn’t put me on edge like the ‘Halloween’ themes does. It was still really well constructed music for it’s time. I did love the leading lady played by Candace Hilligoss because I really could believe and see her slipping into some weird world of insanity, and to say the film isn’t very long just shows she definitely had the acting chops to pull of such an intense role and make you believe her with such time constraints. As for the ‘creepy’ man who was actually played by the film’s director, I just couldn’t get scared by him. But hey this film was made in 1962. I am sure if I saw it back then at the drive-in with my varsity football player carnsoul17boyfriend I would more than likely hide my face with my hands and demand to be taken home…Okay probably not. This film does have a horror vibe about it with maybe a hint of the supernatural and a touch of thriller. I think that is one of the main problems with the film, it doesn’t actually know what it is because it just seems a little messy. The tone of the film is creepy but there isn’t much more depth than that outer layer. The script and overall film seem to be as well structured as it could be with the resources they had and you can see where the film could have possibly gone if it was given more money and perhaps more support. You can definitely see where Herk Harvey took his influences from and how he tried to recreate them with his own personal stamp but it just fell a bit short for me. 

If you are into classic horror, you should check it out but don’t go thinking it is going to be up there with classics like ‘The Innocents’ and ‘Rebecca’ because it isn’t. Take it for what it is, and you might be able to see how this film has influenced other horror films that came after it. It is by no means so bad that is comes across as comical it is just very average. If I could rate this out of 5 I would give it a 2.5. 

 

 

 

Pieces – Review by Jade Lindley

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[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1cnjEAZOjk[/youtube]

Alright Halloween is coming up and it would be pointless for me not to review a horror film…but what should I pick? Should I pick something left of field that no one would expect or maybe even heard of? Do I pick something to appeal to the generic masses of horror fans or do I pick something which possesses everything I personally love about horror? You know what I’m going to choose…’Halloween’…alright I’m not. I mean I could write a review on that amazing film which scared me straight as a kid and kept me a virgin for a long time in fear that Myers was going to kill me for such sordid acts…but lets face it, I am not predictable, and generic and also everyone is probably writing a review on that film. I have decided to discuss a personal favourite of mine from the Giallo genre from 1982 entitled, ‘Pieces’. For my readers who are not entirely sure what Giallo is, here is a little explanation. Giallo is a sub genre of horror which conveys very graphic and violent killings accompanied by a wonderfully orchestrated musical score and a lot of soft focus camera work. The Giallo genre definitely has more of a murder/suspense vibe about it opposed to the typical slasher movies, and the story lines are definitely more unique and better thought out with some great character development. The films are a lot of the time recorded in the Italian language and then dubbed over. This sub genre is definitely one of the most creative but alas forgotten or unheard of to the masses, but now this genre is  scoring new fans as well as rekindling the old flame between former lovers of the genre. 

 

Pieces

Okay so how many horror films have been made which focus on people getting murdered on a college campus? Plenty! And let’s face it, not many of them are any good, most if not are just a lame excuse to get some drunken chicks tits out and watch the moronic bitch die. Whereas sure this very simple plot but what is different from trash like that and ‘Pieces’ is that not every girl dies the same way, the circumstances are all very different…each victim loses a certain part of her body, whether it’s her arm, torso or even her pretty head. Is this just senseless violence? Or is there some actual motive behind what the killer is doing? Of course there is motive! But I am not going to divulge that information because while it wouldn’t be a huge spoiler since it’s shown at the beginning of the film  it would just be nice for you first time viewers of this film to have the same reaction as I did. But what I can tell you is that this killer stalks his prey something wicked and while the film does have occasionally campy moments, I couldn’t help but tense up every time there was a lead up to seeing these poor victims just get hacked into it. It definitely does have an easy narrative to follow, and I found it easy to pick who the killer is, so there really wasn’t any twist, but either way I was satisfied with how it ended.


What I think is awesome about ‘Pieces’ is the fact that it definitely has ‘sleaze’ written all over it. And with that added sleaze-factor it does make you feel a little dirty at times, but that isn’t a bad thing. That means it had really awesome exploitation elements thrown in. Joe D’Amato helped write the screenplay, and you can just see his stamp written all over this film. D’Amato is known for his writing and directing of films in the horror genre as well as erotic films and some soft core porn. So with credentials like that it’s not hard to imagine why this film has the sleaze-factor and it’s fucking great! I think about how many people are against films from the Giallo genre as well as the horror genre from the 70’s and 80’s, it’s insane  how many people opposed the perversion, and exploiting the nature of women in these films. Now this may sound very ‘serial killer’ of me, but I will say it, women look so much more better when murdered on screen than a man. They can portray real horror, they can portray the vulnerability and when you see them fighting for their life, you believe they are fighting for it. But when you see horror films today where a girl is in a white t-shirt, running through sprinklers and tripping over an invisible log and they get hacked up, no one says shit. I think because when you see horror films now, the killing is just so unbelievable and I guess it isn’t as ‘real’.  This film isn’t the most violent horror I have seen, but I think having that suspense element in the film really adds to the brutality of the killings. I do believe that ‘Pieces’ is an underrated gem, but the many people I know who have seen this film absolutely LOVE it. It is an ambitious film, no question but it know’s what it is. I mean it will never be as higher valued as something like ‘Suspiria’, but ‘Pieces’ still puts it’s own stamp on the Giallo genre, and makes everything work for it. I only saw this film last year, and I was so surprised that this film had passed me by for so long. I will not lie though the acting, isn’t the best shall we say, it at times is very over the top or so subtle you are just wishing they would emote just a little. But trust me there are far worst horror films out there with a tonne more worse acting.

pieces-6

‘Pieces’ will always be a favourite of mine because it really does stand on it’s own two feet, and doesn’t try to be like every other Giallo film. While it definitely does have some artistic merit, this film doesn’t try to be something that it isn’t, it works with the resources that it has, and puts it all to good use. That is why I love Giallo so much, while there is definitely a hierarchy on the genre, each of those films have something to offer. And ‘Pieces’ definitely has the suspense element wrapped up nicely as well as the Exploitation genre influence and the overall creativity of the killings. If you want a fun film, that is violent, suspenseful, at times sleazy with a hint of shit acting for good measure, then check this film out. If I could rate this out of 5 I would give it a 5. Sure there are things wrong with it, but I believe with some films things go wrong for the right reasons. 

 

Downloaded – Review By Jade Lindley

By Jade Lindley  

In 2000, I was thirteen years old, and even though I was young, I had a very eclectic and grown up taste in music. At every chance I got I was listening to music, and going to the local record store every day after school was my safe haven. I went in every day just in case I missed out on a CD I didn’t see the previous day. I remember coming home after school and seeing my older brother sitting on the computer and telling me about a file sharing platform called Napster. He was explaining how you upload and share files with other users who like the same music as you. Upon hearing that my mind couldn’t comprehend just how awesome Napster really was. At every chance I got I was using Napster, and even though I was getting music for free, I was still buying the same songs on a CD, because I wanted to be able to listen to it on my stereo as well as taping that same CD onto a cassette so that I could listen to it on my walkman…Wow I feel so old now reminiscing about cassettes. Anyways, I never got over how amazing Napster was, and was crushed when it eventually shut down. I remember reading all over the internet and all through the newspaper of what happened to the company, and just thought how pathetic it was. Musicians and huge music companies coming together to attack Napster for just bringing music lovers closer. For years this has bugged me. I had watched interviews over and over again on Youtube with the Napster creators explaining what their goal was, as well as watching positive and negative reactions to the company from musicians. Then this year I decided to follow Alex Winter on Twitter. I have been a huge fan of him since I first saw ‘Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure’ when I was 8. While looking on his Twitter profile I saw that he was releasing a documentary about  Napster and the online music revolution which was perfectly entitled ‘Downloaded’. I couldn’t help but get excited that this was going to be released but at the same time annoyed at the prospect that it wouldn’t get played here in Australia, because they do have a tendency to bypass truly amazing films and documentaries. And then a couple of weeks ago I noticed it was available to purchase and watch online, so I practically lost my shit and changed my viewing plans for that evening and decided that I had to watch it. 


‘Downloaded’ is the story of how Napster changed the way we listen to music thanks to it’s founders Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker. Throughout this documentary we are exposed to the story through former members of the company, archive footage, disgruntled and freethinking musicians and corporate giants on both sides of the fence. What is so brilliant about this documentary is that we hear all sides of the story, it is by no means bias, but no matter which way you look at it, the real villains of this music revolution were not Napster, it was the greedy music companies and some self-entitled musicians who really were not about giving back to their loyal fans, but rather lining their pockets with their fans hard earned cash. The music industry is always changing, and there is no way to stop it, especially when technology is concerned. No one thought there would be a bigger battle than the step up from vinyl to CD, but they were wrong. There were so many things we didn’t even understand about the Internet, and here we have a group of guys who had barely finished high school changing the way we can access, share and enjoy music. What is so wonderful about this documentary is that Alex Winter manages to convey these guys as passionate pioneers for the music industry who only wanted to make people happy and if they happened to make money on the way, that was just an added bonus. The emotion from Fanning and Parker just radiates out of the screen because these guys had to push themselves to be the best they could be, and while they were just working together for a common good, they were chastised and painted in a bad light by people who only understood any kind of context if dollar signs were involved. Actually hearing different point of views from the guys who all contributed to Napster, gives a real sense of authenticity and that makes you relate to them. If these massive companies had any real knowledge on how people’s minds work, they would have realised how awesome Napster was, but instead they didn’t want to budge. They were just happy staying complacent, and not even listening to their consumers regardless of the fact that their consumers were evolving. 


I can totally understand why musicians would be less than impressed at the fact that people are illegally sharing or downloading their music. They are missing out on CD sales, yeah that’s definitely true. But when people are exposed to an artist for free and hear one or two of their songs, some of these listeners will go out and buy the CD or buy it off iTunes, how do I know? I worked in a huge Hi-Fi chain store for five years. And despite the fact that there are illegal downloads happening all over the world, people would still come in and buy the CD. I cannot tell you how many conversations I had with customers who had illegally downloaded many songs, and then just decided they would prefer the CD. Sales of music has definitely decreased but don’t just blame the illegal downloaders. Maybe have a look at the ACTUAL music industry and really listen to what is being released. There are a lot of brilliant new musicians that are out there; some are discovered…and a lot aren’t. Instead there is complete rubbish dominating the charts and iTune downloads but these songs are not going to be remembered the way the tunes of Led Zeppelin will be remembered. Napster was brilliant because there were so many independent bands out there who just wanted to be heard, and thanks to Napster they were, and some were even a big success. It is sad though because now it isn’t so much about the quality anymore, but the quantity. Push out a tonne of singles, albums, it doesn’t matter because die-hard fans will always buy their favourite musicians albums regardless of whether or not it’s good. It’s as if these cashed up musicians forget about all the crappy bars and clubs they had to perform at just to get people to hear their music. And more often than not, they would have done it for free. At times I do believe musicians forget about how loyal their fans truly are. Think about it, you spend hundreds of dollars for a concert ticket, you buy band shirts, CD’s. DVD’s, re-issues of old album with two added new tracks, and you do that because you love their music. But love get’s lost in the music industry and it’s all about money. And when it comes down to it, these companies didn’t want to lose cash, so they destroyed something that could have made them just as much, all because they didn’t understand it. 


I really loved ‘Downloaded’, and I would have to say it is easily in my top 10 favourite documentaries of all time. I can’t tell you how many times I have watched this in the past few weeks. It’s storytelling at it’s best. It doesn’t just briefly summarise certain aspects, it really goes in depth but not so convoluted that it’s a mess. Everything is edited and explained honestly and straight to the point, so you’re not having to stop and say ‘Oh shit I have no idea what they are talking about’. Alex Winter really knows how to tell a story and make it unfold to captivate your interest and that is a sign of an amazing filmmaker in my eyes. He managed to piece together this saga which had been more or less forgotten about, and gives the audience the saga in it’s entirety. ‘Downloaded’ definitely has a smooth transition between the chapters, so you understood what was going on and you aren’t left confused. You can see Alex Winter’s passion and knowledge for the issues been discussed, and his direction of this feature are nothing short of brilliant and engaging. ‘Downloaded’ is fresh, insightful, and totally in a league of it’s own. The ideas and elements used in this documentary are very well thought out, so this know’s exactly what it is. If you have a thirst for knowledge and love documentaries you need to see this, because I am sure you will take away something awesome away from this. 


If you are curious and want to watch an amazing documentary then go to the following link, there are a tonne of different ways you can access it: 


http://downloadedthemovie.com/

 

And don’t forget to follow Alex Winter  on Twitter :  

Maniac Review by Jade Lindley

By Jade Lindley  

Oh how I loathe remakes, they never get it right. It’s just total rehashes of the original films just without the charm, the individuality, TOTAL GARBAGE…oh wait what’s this there’s a remake which is just as good as the original…wait it’s a horror film? Yep that’s right you heard correctly, FINALLY there is a decent remake in the horror genre, and it goes by the name of ‘Maniac’.  I had been losing my shit over this film since I heard  about this going into production. Unfortunately this didn’t hit the cinemas here in Perth, surprise surprise. But last week I was lucky enough to buy a Blu-ray copy and I went home that night, poured a big glass of whiskey and got ready for the violence that I was going to indulge myself in.

It’s not every day that a killer has a strange fetish and love for women’s scalps, but Frank Zito does. On his journey of recreating beautiful women with bloody scalps he meets the beautiful photographer Anna who has a fascination for mannequins and want’s to use them for an art exhibit. As she is preparing for this exhibit, their friendship blossoms and Frank is struggling with his own demons and wondering if this woman could be his ideal match, the woman that stops him fulfilling his sick desires. I don’t want to give too much away with the plot, because it’s an amazing piece of modern-day horror mixed with exploitation elements which you need to see unfold for yourself. I do love the original version of ‘Maniac’ but I cannot help but feel this remake is just as enjoyable if not more so than the first one. The pacing with the remake doesn’t feel as slow, it feels a lot more intense and with the musical score in the background it only adds to severity of the brutality that we witness on the screen.

ManiacRemakePoster

Now I just have to say I have never been a huge fan of Elijah Wood and I am probably one of the only people out there that can’t stand the ‘Lord of the Rings’ franchise, however this film proves Wood is capable of so many talents. His role of Frank Zito could have totally fallen flat on his face if he played this in more an aggressive manner in terms of his personality. Instead he played Frank as if that he had  a childlike mentality who truly believed what he was doing was right. And even though what he was doing to these women was just straight up horrifying, I couldn’t help but feel really sorry for him. He had severe mummy issues and seeing what she was doing while he was a child, definitely changed his course on life and how he should act towards women. And it’s a real shame that this sort of thing isn’t just seen in the movies. I really enjoyed the character of Anna played by Nora Arnezeder because while at times she seemed very vulnerable to Frank’s insecure charms, she was still badass and she is by no means a weak character, it was good to see a strong 
female lead.

You cannot talk about this film without mentioning the amazing POV shots in the film. The reason why I love that it was filmed this way, is because it makes you feel like you are Frank. It makes you feel like you are doing the killing, and it’s a very effective way to get into your own psyche and actually ask yourself if you sympathise with the victim or with him. Also when a film like ‘Maniac’ is shot in POV it’s actually quite chilling because you somewhat feel that you are in control of this situation but at the same time there is nothing you can do about it because it’s a film.  It’s an extremely personal way of shooting a film and if given the right setting, and story then it’s something that can be pulled off with a lot of artistic merit, instead of looking like an amateur porno film. I also loved the musical score, it just had a very 1980’s feel to it which at times was reminiscent to the film ‘Drive’. At times I was actually wondering if Ryan Gosling was going to appear out of the shadows, but alas nothing.  The death count wasn’t extremely high, but I am glad it wasn’t because instead of killing a tonne of stupid hookers this really focused on Frank and why he chose the women he did. Between each killing there was time for you to gather yourself and see Frank’s madness unfold, and parts of his life is slowly revealed and as the film goes on you are trying to piece together this jigsaw puzzle. 

‘Maniac’ is an incredible piece of film, a remake which is loyal but has it’s own take on it but pays homage to the original. Everything is very clear, concise to the point, and it doesn’t try to confuse with too much convoluted and pointless sub plots. This film is honest, and simple and that simplicity really goes a hell of a long way. Sure a lot of people have branded this film ‘depraved’ and ‘sick’ and I have heard that people have walked out of the cinema when watching this film, which I think is just funny. Sure the killings are graphic and are blatant, but it isn’t a gore-fest. It isn’t about how much fake blood could have been used during the production, it’s just that Frank like’s to scalp women and it’s not something we see in every single horror film, so of course people will be shocked. If you haven’t seen this based upon the fact that it is a remake, just please throw that thought out of your head because it is one of the best remakes that has been produced in the last 10 years. And I definitely think that this film could be in a few people’s top 10 films of 2013…I know it’s definitely going to be in mine. If you are a horror buff and have not seen this you should definitely check it out and see all the different elements taken from sub genres such as ‘splatter’, ‘Giallo’ and ‘Exploitation’. ‘Maniac’ has so many creative influences but it is so damn unique, so I order you to grab yourself a whiskey, settle in for the night and watch ‘Maniac’…just do it now.