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Bands You Should Know: Dead Kennedys

Many of our readers claim to be into punk, but how many of you know who the Dead Kennedys are? I know you’re scratching your head, but listen up because this is a band you should know about. So put down that Against Me CD, noob. School’s in session.
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Bands You Should Know: The Misfits

If you’re reading this on ReadJunk, you’re likely into punk rock. And if you’re into punk rock, there is one band you should know about: The Misfits.
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Harry Potter FanFic: The High School Reunion

Ten years had past since the terrible and amazing events ten years prior. Harry Potter and his wife Cho Chang, sorry, Cho Potter, were sitting in their beautiful house on Long Island. Harry Potter was growing a little gray and his back hurt, but Cho still made him mow the lawn and he was really grumpy. Oh, he couldn’t use his magic because they lived around muggles and his neighbors were real yentas. Anyway, Harry Potter was grumpy but something brightened his day.

“I got a letter!” he said, happily.
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Beastie Boys Sucks Hate Mail #1

Some people simply can’t respect an honest opinion. Below is a sampling of the closed-minded emails we’ve received because we dared to point out some unpleasant facts about a popular band.
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Movie Sequels We’d Like To See

In a recent column on cinematical.com, Christopher Campbell ponders the films that need sequels. He had some good picks, but honestly, most movies don’t need to be revisited unless there’s a real need to continue a storyline. So we thought about the movies that haven’t told their whole story yet. Here’s our wish list, as well as our vision for the sequel.
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K. Page & Sleepwalker’s Parade “Green City”

Record Label: RealPolitik Records
Genre: Singer/Songwriter
Band Link: link
Buy on Amazon.com:

A female-fronted singer/songwriter album, but the accompaniment is lightly experimental jazz-rock. The airy, jazzy, and whimsical approach is a nice change from the usual, boring singer/guitar crap, but it’s still not terribly interesting.

RATING & SUMMARY:

Bottom Line: Singer/songwriter over jazz-rock fusion.
Notable Tracks:
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A Hundred Dollars And A T-Shirt: A Documentary About Zines In The Northwest U.S.

Starring:
Written By:
Directed By: Basil Shadid, Rev. Phil Sano, Nickey Robo, and Joe Biel
Studio: Microcosm Publishing
Buy on Amazon.com:

In this documentary, loads of zinesters, almost entirely from Portland, discuss the usual zine questions: “what is a zine?” “why do I make it?” and “how do I make it?” Its heart is in the right place, but the documentary is so boring, banal and pointless, you have to wonder if anyone but the interviewees would be interested in watching it.

Parts of the problem are the lack of narration, context, or debate; it relies on never-ending snippets of the same-sounding quotes from countless people who all look and say the same thing. Even if the documentary were to be comprised solely of interviews, it would have been more interesting if they had spent more time on fewer people to hear more personal thoughts and anecdotal stories on zining. And it would have been nice to hear from different types of people not just the young fat feminists and older creepy balding guys, but a variety of folks from zine readers to major media representatives to librarians to bands and musicians, all giving their perspectives on the influence of zines. (Oh wait, that’s right, music zines aren’t considered “real zines.” *snort*)

Another problem are the standard and uninteresting questions the interviewees expound upon. Zines are cool, but who wants to hear for ten minutes about how they’re stapled? And sometimes I felt the point of the documentary was to see how many times “DIY” could be mentioned in an hour. At this juncture in time, an interesting documentary on zines should focus on questions of the point of print zines in this era of technology that makes DIY expression and publishing accessible to anyone. How have web sites and blogs affected zines? How has mass communication and emailing affected the penpal culture of zining? Is there any advantage to zining when you could express yourself cheaply and reach more people online? With its lack of any present-day perspective, this documentary could’ve been made 15-20 years ago and would have looked exactly the same.

Perhaps instead of a film, Microcosm should have just compiled a big zine, filled with zinester’s perspectives on zining, alongside samples from their work. That would make a more apropos project, not to mention more interesting to zine fans.

Features:
Audio Commentary
more

Audio:

Video:

Subtitles:

RATING & SUMMARY:

Favorites:
Rating: NR
Running Time: 71 minutes
Extras Rating:
Overall Rating:

The Beastie Boys Suck

Most people who listen to top 40 music would disagree with the title of this article. After all, aren’t the Beastie Boys catchy? Aren’t they fun and easy to dance to?
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25 Worst Things About Punk

25. Can’t Wait One Minute More
Punk in commercials. People have complained about it forever, but much of it doesn’t bother me. So the Ramones sell soda and mobile phone plans – big deal. Joey Ramone always wanted to have a big commercial hit anyway. The trend I find disturbing is punk rock you simply couldn’t imagine being commercialized. First you had Levi’s trying to use “Holiday In Cambodia,” which I suppose makes sense since that’s where the jeans are made. But class warriors The Clash selling Jaguar? Thug / tough guy wannabes the Transplants selling fruit shampoo? What next – Skrewdriver songs to sell Hebrew National Kosher Hot Dogs?
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Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior

Starring: Tony Jaa, Petchtai Wongkamlao, Pumwaree Yodkamol
Written By: Prachya Pinkaew, Panna Rittikrai, Suphachai Sithiamphan, Suphachai Sittiaumponpan
Directed By: Prachya Pinkaew
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Buy on Amazon.com: link

With emphasis on beautiful cinematography, love stories, and heavy high-flying wire use, today’s martial arts films have become overly complex and heavy-handed, and more than a little ridiculous. Yes, it’s great that they’ve created kung fu movies that your girlfriend doesn’t mind watching, but in that swirling beauty of cinematography and romance, the adrenaline rush of ass-kicking is lost. And when ass-kicking is lost, the true heart and soul of kung fu is lost.

Ong-Bak harkens back to the days of natural ability and brutality. Tony Jaa (the protagonist) is jaw-dropping talented, with a circus-like acrobatic ability. His moves might remind you of early Jackie Chan, before Chan needed wires and without the buffoonery. Without stunt doubles, without wires, Jaa runs up walls, performs perfectly timed dodging, and executes fluid aerial moves that you wouldn’t believe was humanly possible. (And if you doubt the authenticity, check out the extra on the DVD where Jaa performs similar moves in front of a live audience.) Most impressive is a lengthy chase scene where Jaa jumps over tables (the long way), moving cars, food stands, and various other obstacles.

Acrobatics are also featured in the fight scenes, particularly as part of cool flying elbow and knee attacks. Which brings me to the next point: the fighting may be exaggerated, but it’s uniquely Thai-styled moves, not often seen in kung fu films. Ong-Bak proudly shows off some astounding legwork, elbow and knee attacks, headbutts, and light grappling.

The story itself is simple and unoriginal: thieves steal religious artifact from village, nave and quiet village boy follows them to the big city to retrieve it. There, he teams up with his fast-talking, deep-in-trouble cousin (who is corrupted by the city, but eventually redeems himself), and together they take on the whole city full of nondescript all-black-wearing kung-fu-fighting henchmen.

Hey, if you want epic storytelling, go watch Crouching Hero, Flying Daggers. This movie is all about the fighting. The fight scenes tend to be awash in orange hues, which seem to be prevalent in most Thai kickboxing movies. The light techno and “instant replays” bring to mind the Mortal Kombat movies, but the fighting is of course much better choreographed, and is directed clearly and without idiotic choppy cuts. The director wants you to see the amazing moves, and does a good job presenting the fights realistically with long shots.

The DVD has great special features; unfortunately, they’re each too short. As mentioned before, there’s a brief live performance of Tony Jaa doing his gravity-defying moves and jumping over people’s heads. There’s also a short presentation of the Muay Thai moves that are featured in the film this is a great extra that any specialized martial arts movie should include but, again, it’s very brief, and each move is shown only once. The B-Roll offers a few extra takes (and it’s impressive to watch Jaa do take after take with legs on fire during one action sequence), but I wish more were offered. Of course, the DVD is worth getting for the movie itself, which has successfully reintroduced the kick-ass to kung fu.

Features:
Live Tony Jaa and Stuntment Performance Before French Auditorium Audience
The Movements of Muay Thai
French Rap Music Video with Tony Jaa
Making of Music Video
Selected B-Roll
Promo Video Featuring the RZA
Trailers

Audio:
English Dolby Surround
Thai 5.1 Dolby Surround

Video:
Widescreen Anamorphic 1.85:1

Subtitles:
English
Spanish

RATING & SUMMARY:

Favorites:
Rating: R
Running Time: 105 minutes
Extras Rating:
Overall Rating:

Momentum

Starring: Louis Gosset, Jr., Terri Hatcher, Grayson McCouch
Written By: Deverin Karol
Directed By: James Seale
Studio: Dimension Home Video
Buy on Amazon.com:

If you’ve ever flipped to the Sci-Fi Channel in the middle of the night and left it on, because, I don’t know, maybe your finger stopped working, chances are you’ve seen a movie exactly like this one. In fact, chances are you’ve seen a few dozen movies exactly like this one. Normal guy with reluctant supernatural ability? Check. FBI agents with names like Riggs trying to get to the bottom of everything? Check. Idiotic story that the studio would call “a thrilling cat n’ mouse game?” Check. Slow set-up, nonexistent acting, low budget? Check, check, check. There is not one iota of originality in this movie, nor does it have the gratuitous action or sex to allow you to disregard the lack of originality. You can pretty much write the dialogue and story using a Sci-Fi Channel Movie Generator.

Momentum is directed by James Seale, who has helmed other cliche one-word bombs such as Asylum, Scorcher and Throttle. It stars Louis Gossett, Jr., who will take whatever work he can get, and Terri Hatcher, before her career revived with Desperate Housewives. To their credit, they seem to know they’re trapped in an awful straight-to-video movie and don’t even bother acting. Instead, Gossett and Hatcher read lines while waiting to collect their paycheck, plodding along as if embarrassed, and hoping curious viewers press stop before their appearances a half hour into this lumbering, low-end mess.

I’m not going to bother with this X-Files wannabe’s details, and for that you can thank me. Suffice it to say, unlike its title, it has very little momentum and there is absolutely no reason to rent it unless you accidentally thought you were getting Memento.

Features:
none

Audio:
Dolby Digital

Video:
Widescreen (1.85:1)

Subtitles:
French
Spanish

RATING & SUMMARY:

Favorites:
Rating: NR
Running Time: 92 minutes
Extras Rating:
Overall Rating:

10 Biggest Ska Mistakes

I have friends who are into ska and complain about how the music and scene completely disintegrated since the late 90s. They sometimes wonder what factors contributed to that wrong turn, and what could have prevented it, but really, it’s not that difficult to see. All you need to do is think about what popularized ska, and simply follow that path again. But the last time around, ska did make a number of near-fatal mistakes. Here are the biggest blunders – and hopefully our knowledge of them will prevent future screw-ups from this funky scene.
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