BOOK REVIEW: The Hitcher by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas (2018)

The Hitcher by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Published by Arrow Books 100 pgs. 2018

Don’t pick up hitchhikers…EVER.

Late in 2017, when this book by film critic and writer, Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, was announced by Arrow, most of the film (mostly uptight) nerds around the “internet” were posting their disappointment. Why? Because it was a “book” and not a Bluray of THE HITCHER. I, myself, was all giddy with anticipation since it was a new book by one of my favorite film writers of all time!

I personally have only seen THE HITCHER from 1986 once and that was in the VHS days. I do own the DVD of it and it is more than likely it will not see a BluRay release unless HBO puts it out as they hold the rights to it (and I am sure there is more to it than that). So in cases like these, I look to people like Alex to throw down some knowledge to make me understand why a film like this is important to see.

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In her personal style, the “book” is assembled much like the last I read of hers, the one on Able Ferrara’s 1981 film, Ms. 45. It opens with pre-production on the film and references to older films, in this case, ones that deal with hitchhiking as a plot device. The middle section is her breakdown and observations on themes of THE HITCHER, going deep on the character’s motivations. The 3rd part deals with the film’s completion, the theatrical/critical response, the sequel and remake and other notes. The book also has stills and posters from the film, blown up to fill the page. I have read many articles on the film over the years and the writer of this book brings out tidbits I never heard before.

Alexandra Heller-Nicholas has put together a very well researched book. It doesn’t talk down to you like some film books. She drops the paragraphs easy to read but giving you plenty to consider about this film. It’s also kept clean with no footnotes (the references are in the back pages for further perusal) and Arrow did a nice concise layout. It’s a small book, yes, but books like these are important and I’m glad Arrow gave it a shot. Alex’s writing is a force to be reckoned with and I look forward to the next tome with her name on it!

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ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT Fanzine #3 is now taking submissions! The CAT III issue!

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It’s time to start writing for issue 3 of ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT! It is our first themed issue…CAT III Cinema! We are looking for the bulk of this issue to be CAT III (Category III in Hong Kong is 18 and up) films of Hong Kong OR films from other Asian countries that can be considered CAT III. Looking for reviews/essays on the most depraved, smutty, violent, dirty, sleazy films you can come up with. There are plenty of films to be considered, so start writing! Any questions ask! Any reviews received during this time that do not fit the theme, will definitely go into the November 2018 issue! We here at Asian Cinema Takeout are looking forward to your submissions…all writers will get the issue in paper form for sure!

ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT is half sized (5.5″ x 8.5″) and is 20 pages each issue. The idea is to knock these out fast. The third issue will be out in late September 2018!

Thematically, we cover films of all eras from the Asian film world, but only ones with a darker theme. Cult, Exploitation, Action, Horror, Smut, etc… you get the idea. While we will graciously accept long form articles/reviews, ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT mostly consists of shorter, paragraph length reviews with many photos and poster art work. Whatever we cannot fit in one issue, will go on to the next. All writings can be old or new. If you have things on an old dead blog, send it, give it new life.

So contact me at: Grandnagus69@yahoo.com for any more info. (Send all submissions with Asian Cinema Takeout in the subject line)

Join the Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1805935712756721

Hope to see your work in the upcoming issue!

Check out the first issue here:

http://www.mediafire.com/file/b759zlhkg71578o/asian_cinema_takeout_issue_1_march_2018.pdf

Check out the 2nd issue here:

http://www.mediafire.com/file/3vqqpzq33tf9c8a/ACT_2_for_web.pdf

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ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT issue #2 May 2018 is out! DOWNLOAD it FREE!

It’s here as promised! ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT #2!

ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT covers the darker side of Asian Cinema and this issue has plenty of short film reviews for you to pursue…

The ‘zine itself is 20 pages 5.5 x 8.5 inches and in B & W.

You can download it two different ways for FREE:

The read on screen version (PDF) is here:

Asian Cinema Takeout #2 pdf

You can also download the odd and even pages to make your own print copy here:

odd numbered pages ACT issue 2

even numbered pages ACT issue 2

If you wish to contribute to future issues, e-mail me at Grandnagus69@yahoo.com with “Asian Cinema Takeout” in the subject line. All contributors get a print copy of the ‘zine.

JOIN OUR FACEBOOK GROUP HERE! Asian Cinema Takeout Facebook Group!act issue 2 cover

Films I Watched in 2018: NEW BREED DOCUMENTARY (2018)

Films I Watched in 2018: NEW BREED DOCUMENTARY (2018)

In the mid 1980’s, when I first started to get actively involved in the NYC hardcore/punk scene, one of the things I did was organize a couple of cassette tape compilations called “Live It Live” (parts 1 and 2 respectively), they were culled from donated live recordings from bands around the world, including some local bands. They got around but in the grand scheme of things, it went nowhere and the tapes were quickly forgotten. It did help me get my “foot in the door” so to speak and people started to know me through that. There have been hundreds (maybe thousands) of tape compilations around the world from the punk rock/hardcore world of the 1980’s but none are more famous than the NEW BREED tape comp that Freddy Alva and Chaka Malik put out in the 1989. If the “tape comp” was going to go the way of the dodo, it went out with a loud bang!

I have been lucky enough to be given an advance screening of my long time buds, John Woods and Freddy Alva‘s documentary on the NEW BREED cassette compilation. It has
been in the works for a very long time. The subject matter is one I am very familiar with as I was there when it first came out. The documentary talks to a few people connected to the bands on the tape and others from the scene at the time who where highly influenced by it. Since I knew about 80% of the people in the documentary personally, I wasn’t really surprised by the answers, their memories were pretty sharp. I really liked how the filmmakers cut in a ton of footage from places that were important to the scene that do not exist anymore, like See Hear (important fanzine/small press shop) and Some Records (probably the most important record store to ever exist). Haven’t
seen or thought about much of it in years. The film quality is low budget but hey it’s about punk rock, screw it. It’s what is in that counts.

All in all, this is another fine and important look into a music past that can’t be recaptured, only appreciated. On Saturday May 19th, there will be a screening out in Los Angeles with the filmmakers in attendance. Link is below. Hopefully, they will release this soon for the general consumption.

Fiend ‘O’ Meter says: 8/10

https://www.facebook.com/events/1498782700243760

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ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT #2 IS NOW TAKING SUBMISSIONS!

It’s time to start writing for issue two of ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT! Based on the Facebook group of the same name, started by the illustrious Jesse Midnitekrawlr, the first issue of the ‘zine version was released in March 2018!

ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT is half sized (5.5″ x 8.5″) and is 20 pages each issue. The idea is to knock these out fast. The second issue will be out in late May 2018!

Thematically, we cover films of all eras from the Asian film world, but only ones with a darker theme. Cult, Exploitation, Action, Horror, Smut, etc… you get the idea. While we will graciously accept long form articles/reviews, ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT mostly consists of shorter, paragraph length reviews with many photos and poster art work. Whatever we cannot fit in one issue, will go on to the next. All writings can be old or new. If you have things on an old dead blog, send it, give it new life.

So contact me at: Grandnagus69@yahoo.com for any more info. (Send all submissions with Asian Cinema Takeout in the subject line)

Join the Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1805935712756721

Hope to see your work in the upcoming issue!

Check out the first issue here:

http://www.mediafire.com/file/b759zlhkg71578o/asian_cinema_takeout_issue_1_march_2018.pdf

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3 recent books on Punk Rock & Hardcore Music…

Book looks…Have been off from watching film for a bit to catch up on some essential reading. All three of the following I already have extreme knowledge of but time makes memories fade, so you kind of have to get reacquainted with the subject matter. Reading Roger’s book “My Riot” was a bit of a revelation. I never spoke to him way back then. I saw Agnostic Front play a few times. Never knew enough about the people in the band to form solid opinions on them. There were a ton of “rumors” of course… After reading My Riot, many of my ideas about him were pretty much unfounded. He had a rougher life than I but strangely in a weird way we both had similar paths heading into the NYHC scene. (I didn’t know he grew up much of his young life in the same area of NJ as I did. Talking about taking the PATH train into NYC, brought back a lot of memories) It is a solid autobiography that is eye opening to say the least. Actually, there is an event he describes in the book that I showed up to mere moments after it happened. I wasn’t happy about that night… AY YI YI!

Straight Edge: A Clear-Headed Hardcore Punk History is the 3rd oral history by Tony Rettman. I had no idea this book was being made as I have really spoken to him since the NYHC hardcore book came out a couple of years ago. I am so close to the subject matter, I was really interested to see how it was put together. Previous attempts at books on Straight Edge were so lackluster but Tony knows how to do this documentary style well.
It covers the history and concepts of Straight Edge bands from the humble beginnings in Washington DC to the worldwide movement it has become today. I knew/know so many of the players here, I was looking forward to what they had to say. Wasn’t “surprised” by too much and there really was a lot of new info on some bands I only corresponded with back them (mostly the California bands). I detected very little BS here as much of what was said I remember as true. Again, there are many situations discussed that I was there for so…. There are also many photos culled from private collections that were never published and so many flyers from shows that even I haven’t seen. It’s a great book that belongs on your music history shelf for sure.

My Damage by Keith Morris is an in depth autobiography from the former singer of Black Flag and Circle Jerks. Another book I didn’t know existed until a few months ago and I was very happy to get a copy in my hands. Other than a few facts, I knew very little about the front man of two of my favorite bands of all time. he talks in detail about his upbringing, entry into the LA punk music scene and how his first two bands came to be. His telling of things is a very interesting point of view and I learned quite a bit of how “it went”. He doesn’t hold back and has regrets on some of things he has done in his life. I read this book and wonder how he is still walking among the living.

If you have any interests in old punk and hardcore music, all 3 of these books are high recommends from me. Now, let me get back to some movies….

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My Riot https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072F5DLXH

STRAIGHT EDGE: A Clear-Headed Hardcore Punk History https://www.bazillionpoints.com/product/straight-edge-a-clear-eyed-hardcore-punk-history-by-tony-rettman/#

My Damage: The Story of a Punk Rock Survivor https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DWWCBEK

It’s HERE! ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT FANZINE #1!!

asian cinema takeout cover

After a few months of planning, the first issue of ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT is ready to go!

ASIAN CINEMA TAKEOUT cover the darker side of Asian Cinema and this issue has plenty of short film reviews for you to pursue…

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The ‘zine itself is 20 pages 5.5 x 8.5 inches and in B & W.

You can download it two different ways for FREE:

The read on screen version (PDF) is here:

http://www.mediafire.com/file/b759zlhkg71578o/asian_cinema_takeout_issue_1_march_2018.pdf

You can also download the odd and even pages to make your own print copy here:

http://www.mediafire.com/file/at0dm3w2yyn7y11/odd_pages_for_act_issue_1_march_2018.pdf

http://www.mediafire.com/file/g6k7v2ug6eg40cd/even_pages_for_act_issue_1_march_2018.pdf

and for the truly hardcore…you can download the 11 x 17 poster that comes with it:

http://www.mediafire.com/file/rhzuczcr4b49nj1/11_x_17_poster_for_issue_1.pdf

11 x 17 poster for issue 1

If you wish to contribute to future issues, e-mail me at Grandnagus69@yahoo.com with “Asian Cinema Takeout” in the subject line. All contributors get a print copy of the ‘zine.

JOIN OUR FACEBOOK GROUP HERE! https://www.facebook.com/groups/1805935712756721

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