My names James Dallas, I was born, raised, and currently struggle to live in Brooklyn, New York.
I created this site because I always loved discussing/debating/recommending all forms all types of modern POP Culture and NYC life.
( In reality, I’m just regular opinionated, loud mouthed New Yorker)
Apparently the geniuses over at Blumhouse and Mattel still want to ride the current wave of ironic horror movies based on children’s games and toys.
A movie centered on the fortune-telling toy, which dates back to the 1950s, is being developed by Mattel Films and Blumhouse Productions. “Fantasy Island” director Jeff Wadlow is attached to helm and will script with collaborators Jillian Jacobs and Chris Roach.
Robbie Brenner, head of Mattel Films, said, “There are no partners better suited to tell the Magic 8 Ball story in collaboration with Mattel Films than Jeff Wadlow and Blumhouse Productions, whose unique approach to the thriller genre has captivated audiences worldwide and has gained widespread accolades.”
Just to point out, Jeff Wadlow directed the terrible horror movie Truth or Dare, that came out a year ago to negative critical reception.
The Clovehitch killer is a deceptive, small scale, small town thriller.
At some point or another, we’ve all probably wondered what dark secrets our parents kept from us. A curiosity, an intrusive thought that you probably push out of your mind just as soon at it appears.
No child wants to think the worst of their parents. That something evil or twisted could be lurking beneath their loving smile. And most of us go our whole lives without even considering it.
But what if you had reason to? What if certain circumstances almost pushed you to find out what exactly is going on behind the scenes of your so called “perfect family”. What if everything you thought you knew, got flipped on its head?
The Clovehitch Killer, directed by Duncan Skiles, swan dives into those troubling questions. Shot with such care and patience, its probably one of the best thrillers of 2018. Definitely one of the best serial killer movies in a long while.
The film follows 16 year old Tyler Burnside (played by Charlie Plummer), a kindhearted, yet naive teenager who lives with his devout christian family in the town of Clarksville, Kentucky. The town is haunted by the legacy of The Clovehitch Killer, a serial killer who brutally strangled 10 female victims, before suddenly disappearing 10 years ago. Tyler participates in a boy scout troop, led by his father, Don Burnside (played by Dylan Mcdermott). Don seems like your typical christian small town dad. Friendly to fault, loving towards his wife and 2 children, working a blue collar job to bring home the bacon, stressing “honesty” and “family time”. The Burnside clan: Tyler, his father, his mother Cindy (played by Samantha Mathis), and his little sister look like a perfectly normal family.
But things start to take a turn, when on one night, Tyler sneaks out to meet his crush Amy. Before they start to do exactly what horny teenagers do, they find graphic bondage porn in his dads truck. This obliviously disgusts Amy, and immediately freaks out Tyler. Was this what his father was into? What else was his father hiding? This incident is the spark that ignites Tyler to find out what else his father was keeping from him.
The Clovehitch Killer is not just another run of mill thriller. Its a carefully filmed, slow-burn mystery. Its shot very minimalist and tight, with scenes lingering and allowing suspense to build. Never needing cheap jump scares or pointless action to keep watching. Just using great storytelling and bone-chilling imagery.
Charlie Plummer gives a very convincing performance as Tyler, The viewer is given an amazing sense of just how isolated and conflicted Tyler feels in this situation, never over-acting or just looking like some wooden lanky doll. He truly understands the character he’s playing and the situation hes in.
But the true star of this movie is Dylan Mcdermott, who pretty much blows everyone else out of water in comparison, giving a haunting performance. He somehow comes across as sincere and warm, while also coming across as skin-crawlingly deceptive. A man who could either be simply mis-understood, or genuinely sick in the head.
I love thrillers like this. Ones that actually try to grasp true human terror and tragedy. It dissects the veneer of small town life, and how you never truly know anyone, including those closest to you. What exactly do you do when a loved may have committed violent atrocities, and even more frightening to think about, how do you stop them?
Just in time Pride month, Tinder is adding information and options about sexual orientation and gender identity to its profiles. The company has teamed up with GLAAD to roll out a new feature that will help users properly convey their identity.
Users can now simply go into their profile, tap on “orientation”, they can choose up to three terms that describe their sexual orientation. Those descriptions can either be private or public, but will likely be used to inform matches on the app.
Tinder has also updated the on-boarding experience for new users so that they can include their sexual orientation as soon as they sign up for the dating app.
ZUU is a bumping summer album that’s chock full of bangers and future party anthems. Its not as conceptual or polished as his instant classic album: TABOO, but still leaves me excited for more to come.
For those of you not familiar with Denzel Curry aka Denny Cascade aka The black metal terrorist, Denzel Curry is an American rapper, singer and songwriter, from Carol City, Florida. An MC who has quickly positioned himself to be one of the most charismatic , as well as sonically versatile rappers currently in the game. Calling Curry a one trick pony or even “boring” would probably deserve a slap in the face, with influences ranging from nu metal and punks band like Rage Against The Machine and Nirvana, to old school Outkast-esqe vibes. This all sprinkled with touches of trap beats and reverb drums, and of course Curry’s signature blunt but wildly distinguishable voice.
This time around the focus on his upbringing and representation of South Florida takes center stage on this new project, coming off more braggadocios and confident than ever before.
The titular track “ZUU” serves as a tone setter and immediately distinguishes itself from his previous album, filled trap drums and echoing bass, complete with a howling melodic chorus. In contrast TABOO kicked off somber, increasing with angst through each catchy yet darkly comedic song. It dripped with melancholy , paranoia, and bouts of manic euphoria.
ZUU comes off confident, ready to fight all comers. This tone is perfectly captured in the second song on the track list, RICKY, which was also one of the two singles that supported the promotion of the album. RICKY is a hard hitting track, that explores Curry’s childhood life lessons he learned from his parents and environment(the title and cover of the track being Curry’s father). Its clear to see why this was chosen as the promotional track. THE SONG JUST DESERVES REPLAY, held up by its punchy motivational chorus and Curry’s effortless energetic flow.
Another Highlight on the album being the track “SPEEDBOAT”, which on first listen I thought “meh, its just another generic-ass song about money”. But on the second listen, I realized just how somber and passionate some of lyrics are, inferring that even though the money Curry’s acquired has provided him more security, at the same time it has made him more of a target than ever before. One of the lines even referencing the death of the late XXXTENTACION; “My dawg didn’t make it to twenty-one, so I gotta make it past twenty-four.”
My personal favorites on the album being the insanely fun and the insanely aggressive tracks: “SHAKE 88” and “P.A.T”, respectfully. Just the way Curry manipulates his voice and tone, you cant help getting hype right with him. It is my hope that “SHAKE 88” becomes one the more circulated songs party anthems this summer. If don’t hear it in multiple clubs and bars this summer, Ima be stressed.
While most of album is great, there are some low points. The song BIRDZ featuring Rick Ross didn’t really do much for me, and Ross’s verse I almost immeadiatly forgot. BUSHY B INTERLUDE sounding like a dime a dozen trap track that’s so short and echoing, that it almost sounds unfinished, and was just thrown on the album as an afterthought. The sketch right after “BUSHY B”, “YO”, is hilarious and pokes fun at the south Florida slang and was more entertaining then I was expecting, just wish there more of it.
And as stunning and full of attitude ZUU is, it still doesn’t manage to achieve over the legacy of TABOO, which was such an ambitious album, brimming with storytelling, a dark atmosphere, and back to back songs that to this day I’m still not tired of. But that doesn’t mean ZUU falters either. ZUU is Curry’s most accessible project to date, perfect for anyone who may have been put off by the bleakness of TABOO, and want something more a bit more positive with a theme of overcoming adversity while also never forgetting your roots.
ZUU is an ode to all lessons and struggles that comes with success, it is Denzel Curry’s victory lap back to his home of Carol City, Florida.
I’m not gonna lie. I had such high expectations for this mind melting thriller. The poster was creepy in a vintage/minimalist way. The trailer for the movie was mysterious, and I was a fan of Jake Gyllenhaals performance in Nightcrawler, a thriller he starred in a mere year AFTER he starred in Enemy.
Enemy was NOT what I was expecting. Both, in a good and bad way.
Lets get the plot summary out of the way. The Story is about a mild-mannered college professor Adam Bell (Jake Gyllenhaal) who discovers a look-alike actor and delves into the other man’s private affairs. The film goes on to explore subtle themes of the repressed subconscious, anxiety, and compulsion.
I’m gonna start off with what I loved about the film before I get into the many things that left me shaking my head unsatisfied.
For starters, Jake Gyllenhaal is gripping in this. He plays a dual role in this as both main characters, and the subtleties he displays to differentiate between them are just great. The history teacher, Adam Bell, is a very quiet and meek man. His life consists of teaching, coming home, eating, and sleeping with his girlfriend, who treat each other more like one night stands than actual lovers. His life mirrors the historical patterns he talks about during his lectures. He is a shy, boring man, who only shows some kind of ambition when he finds out he has a twin. From then, he becomes a man on mission to find out whats going on, albeit going about it in the most roundabout and paranoid way possible.
On the flip side, his twin Anthony Claire is much more confident and outgoing. More sure of himself and headstrong. He has a wife, and an apartment that’s well furnished and glistening. The complete opposite of Adam in almost every way. Gyllenhaal handles this tightrope act with ease, without resorting to overacting or turning these characters into horror movie stereotypes. You truly do come to see these as different characters, even if the movie plays to conclusion that they might not be.
The film has hazy nightmarish atmosphere to it. Almost everything looks dull, brownish and muddy. The world feels cold and uncertain, maybe even fake. There are numerous dream scenarios in the movie that revolve around sexual lust and spiders; spiders that seem to grow and seep into our main characters reality, like ignoring a problem that only becomes larger the more you ignore it. This motif of spiders, lust, and anxiety, eventually come to a head in the films final scene, that comes so out of left-field, that it will either terrify you or leave you scratching your head.
This is where we get into my problems with movie. There are so many ideas, themes, and suggestions, but none of them result in anything of actual substance. For anyone who manages to sit through this slow burn thriller,they will likely leave with a completely different interpretation of whats going on than the next person. Nothing about the movie is certain and it does not attempt to hold your hand.
Normally, I don’t mind that in a movie. Ive seen other psychological thrillers that leave a lot whats going on to the audiences imagination. Where the director refuses to compromise just to have mainstream movie-goers go home happy. Not to sound like a pretentious ass-hat, but this is very much a thinking persons movie. Designed for discussion and analysis. Its just that analyzing the movie is more enjoyable than actually watching it. Too many ideas and too much build up get in the way of actually enjoying the movie. I was CONSTANTLY waiting for something to happen, waiting for all this tension to be released in a surprising sendoff or twist. What I got was much more quieter and subdued. A sly whisper instead of a bang. Even though the film is technically sound in its own right, better than most of the dime-a-dozen crap that’s pushed in theaters, Id be lying if I said my viewing was mostly enjoyable. The first hour was great but as time went, the more unease and impatience grew. “Get to the point, GIVE ME SOMETHING”, was one of the thoughts that appeared in my head near the end.
I cant really give the film points for originality either. Although it changes many details from the novel its based on , the concept of having a doppelganger isn’t territory at all, and the film uses the special effect of twin magic sparsely. The scenes that do showcase both twins interacting are great, but they do leave you wanting more.
It could be said that my own expectations betrayed me. I had this movie in my Netflix queue for about a year, as if i was waiting for the perfect time to watch this gem that I had saved for myself and put on a pedestal. That turned out to be a stupid idea. I had built up this movie so much own mind, that what I got wasn’t at all what I expected, and sadly that ended up hurting my experience. The movie might be more enjoyable on re-watch, although I cant say the urge is strong.
In the end, I went on to prove one of the movies biggest arguments right.
I saw mother! by myself, in an strangly empty theater, on a windy and gloomy September evening. This made for a uniquely sensory yet bizarre viewing experience. It was like my own little fever dream broadcasted on a wide screen.
The film stars Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem, as simply Mother and Him. A married couple that seem to live in a house that was recently violently burnt down. Him( Javier Bardem) apparently is an acclaimed poet suffering from writers block, while Mother (Jennifer Lawrence) dotes on him while also renovating the bare household. Their relationship comes across as tender but at the same time distance, with Him coming across as aloof and melancholy.
This all changes with the arrival numerous guests into household. First a doctor, then his wife, and even his sons eventually making their way into the house. With each guest, Mother becomes more and more agitated and confused at this bizarre gathering of people who seem to know Him well, who also is puzzlingly hospitable, almost blissful with by the thought of these people being his house.
Mother is stuck in the middle of this and barely gets a word in edgewise before Him let’s these strangers into her home. Her interactions with her unwelcome new buddy’s range start polite, then go on to be intrusive and slightly aggressive, escalating to a violent altercation between the two sons. From then on, things get….weird. Fanatic fans of Him start visiting, the house get damaged and broken as Mother is barely able to grasp what going on. Next thing you know, there’s a literal war going on inside the house with rabid fans fighting swat teams, as death and destruction swirl all around.
Lost? Confused? Don’t worry, that’s a normal side effect of trying to dissect this movie.
I’m being purposely vague with certain plot points and story beat, because this is film that is less about coherent plot or arc, but how the story is told and what atmosphere and vibe it displays. I’ve seen many films described as fever dreams in the past few years but I believe Mother! actually deserves the moniker.
The house that is the main and ONLY setting in the movie acts almost as pocket universe or world. One where actions and reactions escalate at a rate that wouldn’t be normal in real life. The passage of time seems distorted and amplified. Months or even years seem to go by in hours. This antagonistic atomosphere lends itself well to the style of the movie, that of a increasingly violent fever dream or even nightmare, one that Mother can’t seem to escape from.
This turns out to be the movies biggest strength and its biggest curse. If you prefer straight forward films with a clear cut narrative and story structure. You can stop reading. This movie is definitely not for you.
Mother! is absolutely LOADED with allegories, symbolic characters, and events represent biblical lore. It’s essentially a big budget art house flick. Which explains the polarizing reactions to the film. If you finish this movie saying “Was I just dosed with acid? What the hell was that?!?” you’d be well within your rights to say so. Even if the performances by the actors are good, it’s not going to mean a lot if everything being presented seem like the ramblings of a crazy person.
Make no mistake, this is a film that is intentionally antagonistic to the person watching.
It’s wants you to squirm. It wants you to get tense and uncomfortable.
And depending on who you are, this movie is either going succeed or absolutely fail.
I get it. I know you wanna get back to watching The Office for the 34th time, or go back to playing Fortnite with the squad, or go watch whatever trash is on Amazon. I know. Your schedule is clearly hectic. So I’m gonna make this quick.
The Raid 2 is the one of the best action movies of the past decade. I know, you probably have your own favorite action movie, near and dear to your heart that YOU believe is king of the hill.
Yeah, The Raid 2 is probably better than whatever’s in your head.
With a thumping, almost primal soundtrack, The Raid 2 is a bloody battle royale of yakuza, dirty cops, and assassins, with Rama, an undercover cop in the middle, played by Iko Uwais. Rama is an undercover agent simply trying to protect his family and get revenge for his murdered brother, who helped him survive in the first film.
From the start, with a shockingly grisly death scene, which happens in the literal first minute, the movie is pretty much telling you to strap in. From then on we go down a twisted rabbit hole to the Asian criminal underworld, where a gang war is almost ready to erupt, and Rama will be the one to put it to an crimson red end. Without getting into spoilers, thats pretty much all you need to know.
To pick just one scene from the movie to highlight would be a disservice. The movie is like a twisted manga with just how much intensity and emotion is dripping from each epic fight scene. Its probably the closest were going to get a movie adaption of the game Sleeping Dogs. Whose main character was also an undercover cop within the criminal underworld.
Listen. just go watch it. you shouldn’t even be still reading this. If you consider yourself an action fan. You owe it to yourself to check this out.
The Raid 2 was written and directed by Garth Evans
Kung Fu Hustle, is one of those movies that reminds me that you can basically make any type of movie you want, as long as you have these things:
Clever and Careful editing
Actors and a Crew that actually give a CARE
A solid script
(Last but not least) A truly Inventive Mindset
Written, Starring and Directed by Stephen Chow , Kung Fu Hustle is an martial arts action comedy that works on Cartoon logic, complete with zany sound effects right out of a Looney Tunes short. Characters get stabbed, punched, bitten by snakes, stabbed again, YEETED (that means thrown for you older folk) into buildings and billboards and of course shot with all manner of guns. The film is actually quite violent when you stop and look at it, buts its handled with such skill, charm, and insanity that the violence never truly becomes gruesome or hard to look at.
The plot basically is: In 1940s China, street gangs have been running amok and rule the town surrounding towns with an iron fist. The most infamous being the Axe Gang. Sing (played by Stephen Chow) and his fat sidekick Bone are scammers that desperately want to join the Axe Gang, to raise themselves from rags to riches. The two goons visit Pig Sty Alley, a poor housing community owned by the hilariously dysfunctional married couple, simply known as the Landlord and the Landlady. A few lies and misunderstandings after another, lead to the REAL Axe Gang coming in and attempting to shakedown the tenants. To the shock of the gangsters, some of the people living within Pig Sty turn out to be powerful martial artists who proceed to fight back the Axe Gang into a retreating. This chain of events sparks mini-war between the residents of Pig Sty and the embarrassed Axe Gang who vow bloody revenge, with Sing who see this as his chance to finally achieve his destiny.
This is not just some wacky, ultra-violent, movie that only works when your STONED with your buddies (although that’s not such a bad idea). The film is elevated by its beautiful choreography and deadpan comedic writing , featuring several prolific Hong Kong action cinema actors from the 1970s. The show stealers being the landlord and Landlady, played hilariously by Yuen Wah and Yuen Qiu. Yuen Wah, before playing this role, starred in dozens of martial arts movies and was even Bruce Lee’s Stunt double at one point.
If I had any problem with the movie, it would be that some of special effects didn’t really age well. While the movie was probably mind-blowing back in 2004, some of the CGI would be considered laughable to today’s standards. And yet, this almost adds to the whole vibe of the movie being a slapstick cartoon. One scene in particular involves The Landlady chasing Sing while they both run like its a Road Runner Cartoon. It looks so unrealistic but always manages to put a smile on my face.
Kung Fu Hustle* is the perfect “we cant decide on a movie to watch” movie. Its funny, violent but somehow light-hearted, shot well and best of all: SHORT. The movie does all needs to in about 98 minutes. Any longer and the movie would probably end up feeling like a joke doesn’t know where to end. And if there’s one thing I like, its a movie that doesn’t waste a second of your time.
I give Kung Fu Hustle a solid 8.5 out 10
*Its on Netflix BTW, just in case you were wondering
Not that anybody was really anticipating this, but I finally have a website where can I just crank out my eclectic thoughts on pretty much anything.
Movies, Music, Tech, Games, Comics, how terrible but wonderful city life is.
IM GETTING INTO EVERYTHING
I created this site because frankly…. I think too much. That’s not some humble brag or me attempting to establish intellectual dominance.
I’ll save that for later.
No, just in general my brain just never shuts up and can never stay focused on one thought alone. Always yammering away on some wild opinion, random thought or stupid idea. When you have a boring desk job, unlimited internet access and an active imagination, you are definitely going to be just a ball of anxious ideas.
Even now as I start type this introduction post, I have a million ideas for what I want to post, but for now lets just take it nice and slow like a terrible new wave band.
If your reading this from when I first posted or perhaps years later: