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.

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‘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. 

 

Action Junkies : Expendables 3 and Shit

Helloha…. and welcome to another Action Junkies podcast where the wonderful Jade Lindley   and myself  as get together each week or any week, to talk about our love for action films.

This episode we delve into our thoughts for The Expendables 3. This is another one with both having different opinions on the film and that is always entraining to listen to.

We also go way off topic which is something that you will see much more of in the new up and coming episodes and stay tuned for a Cobra Commentary Track  coming in the near future.

Appoliees for the slow audio.. Skype was up to no good on this one so we just went for it.

Please Subscribe to our iTunes The Geek Soapbox » The Action Junkies Podcast – iTunes – Apple

and leave us a lovely review

 

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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. 

 

 

Action Junkies Podcast : Comic Books and Rants

Welcome back to  another episode of The Action Junkies Podcast, hosted by Chris () and Jade ( ) and here we chat about action films and our love for the genre.

This episode we take a look at two of the most recent comic book sequels in Captain America : The Winter Soldier and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. We also take a detour mid way through that discuss DC’s recent efforts  and in turn figure out the hype machine and what makes a good movie.

Listeners bewarned, Fans of The Dark Knight should take caution when listening to this podcast…… But we highly suggest that you do and…… why so serious?

Next week we take on The Best of the Best where Jade will swoon some more over Eric (Silver Fox) Roberts.

Email us theactionjunkies@gmail.com and follow us   on twitter and subscribe to us on  https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/cinematronix-action-junkies/id713997986?mt=2

 

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The Action Junkies : Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter

We’re back yet again after some more time off. We will try and keep these up dates as regular as possible but for now we are back yet again talking about the video game double bill Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter.

There is some disagreement about Street Fighter but then again that’s to be expected when a certain Mr Van Damme’s involved.

Chris  and Jade  also ramble on some more and even Chris goes on a rant about the general attitude towards Stallone.

Please follow us on Twitter  and don’t forget to email us theactionjunkies@mail.com

Next episode we will get all comic book on your ass with Captain America 2 and The Amazing Spiderman 2

Watch this space.

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The Action Junkies : Judge Double Dredd

The Action Junkies are back and in this episode Jade Lindley and myself take on the two cinematic adaptations of the 2000 AD character Judge Dredd.

Starting with the 1995 Sylvester Stallone starring Judge Dredd followed by the 2012 Karl Urban starring Dredd.

As ever you follow the Action Junkies twitter handle @Action_Junkies as well as Jade’s @CelluloidAK and Chris’s @CinemaTronix  and you can check out Jade’s awesome review of The Raid 2 here http://www.imwithgeek.com/2/post/2014/04/the-raid-2-review.html 

Be sure to check out our next episode where we find out what’s better…. Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat?

Any feedback sent to theactionjunkies@gmail.com would be greatly appreciated…. Thank you.

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Jade’s Top 5 (Action Junkies) Podcast

Its yet another Top 5 podcast but this time it’s a crossover.  This time it’s my fellow co-host from the Action Junkies Jade Lindley.

Jade is a fellow blogger who is the head of comics at I’m With Geek.com , is a massive fan of genre films such as Horror and Action and maybe have a few crushes on a few action stars.

In Top 5, I discuss Jades top 5 favourite films and what they mean to her as well as get side tracked by the odd tangent.

Please follow Jade on Twitter @CelluloidAK and check out her work at

http://www.imwithgeek.com/comics.html

http://podcastration.blogspot.co.uk/

and why not follow me as well  @CinemaTronix

Also you can send emails to ibastnerds@gmail.com and theactionjunkies@gmail.com with any feedback or suggestions you may have..

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The Action Junkies : Escape Plan

So with a bit of a break of over a month but we’re back with the Christmas period behind us and Jade (@CelluloidAK) gives her run down of her top movies of 2013, not before discussing her number 1 film Escape plan.

Escape Plan is the monutenus film where Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone co headline the same film. Stallone plays Ray Breslin, who gets hired to be put in prison to escape out of them to find the flaws within the system. He gets offered a multi-million dollar deal  to break out of a top secret prison that is supposedly escape-proof.  Things go south when the warden (Jim Caviezel) is not who he seems and must turn to fellow inmate Emil Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger) and plan to escape together.

Chris (@CinemaTronix) also chips in on some of the films he likes in 20013. It’s great to be back a hopefully a lot more will follow.

Follow us on twitter @Action_Junkies

and send us a email theactionjunkies@gmail.com and why not send us a lovely review on iTunes.

See you next week with Enemies Closer.

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The Action Junkies : Bullet to the Head

So it’s another episode of the Action Junkies Podcast. The podcast where Chris (@CinemaTronix) and Jade (@CelluloidAK) talk about the recent Walter Hill action film starring Jade’s number one crush of all time Sylvester Stallone.

Sly stars as a hitman who is trying to get rubbed off by some shady people after doing a job for them. In order to stay alive he must team up with a cop (Sung Kang) who’s is out to find the people responsible for killing his ex-partner.

This is a good as we really differ on this film, (no prizes for guessing where Jade stands on this) so sit back and enjoy.

Next week will be the new Van Damme film Enemies Closer, also look out for Escape Plan and Supercop coming soon.

If you like to get in touch you tweet us @action_junkies or you can email us theactionjunkies@gmail.com

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