Movie Review: The Clovehitch Killer

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?

I give The Clovehitch Killer an 9/10

*The movie is available on Hulu

Rated R

Quickie Review: THE RAID 2

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.

The Viseral Climax Of The Film is a Gruesome Joy

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.

10/10

The Raid 2 was written and directed by Garth Evans

Cinematography by Matt Flanery

RATED R

Slacker Reviews: KUNG FU HUSTLE (2004)

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:

  1. Clever and Careful editing
  2. Actors and a Crew that actually give a CARE
  3. A solid script
  4. (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.

kung fu hustle formative influences GIF

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

Tyler the creator- “IGOR” Album Review

IGOR Pink Album Cover
Lets get right to the point, IGOR is a great album that portrays heartache, growth, anger and love.

But most importantly, it just shows just how much effort and passion Tyler has put into evolving as an musical artist, producer and writer.

Basically: ITS A BANGER!!!!!

The album starts with the track “IGOR’S THEME”, which F@#KING SETS THE TONE OF ALBUM PERFECTLY. I could honestly imagine this song playing in the background of a future Jordan Peele movie. Its very eerie yet funky, with foreboding lyrics, letting you know:

IGOR AINT MESSING AROUND WIT YA

Right after that track, were brought into possibly the most hyped song of the album: “EARFQUAKE”
A surprisingly earnest yet sharply produced song about what else: Heart Ache

On first listen, I didn’t think much of it. Yet since the album dropped, I’ve found my Black Ass humming “YoU my make Earfquake!!” to myself almost everyday. You know the song is fire when you cant even control yourself from singing it. A surprisingly good appearance by PLAYBOI CARTI of all people elevates the track as well.

From that track on the album tells a story of what I would call a strong yet toxic relationship.
A relationship that almost sounds doomed to fail, yet it doesn’t make it any less sad or heartfelt.I would hesitate to call this even call this a rap album, even though Tyler does spit a few HOT lyrics on some the tracks. But Tyler’s singing and Synth-funk beats are the star of the show. My absolute favorite track being “New Magic Wand”.

YO. SON. I. LOVE. THIS. SONG! Some fire emojis would be very appropriate here.
A track that has a grimy yet slick beat with some cold blooded lyrics. Seriously if you were only to listen to one track from this project. “New magic Wand” is hands down the one to check out.

Its hard to believe that just a decade ago, Tyler The Creator released his debut Album BASTARD.
A moody, conceptual, BORDERLINE horrorcore rap album that was both brilliant and slightly disturbing. If you were to listen to BASTARD first and then listen to IGOR, you would see just how MUCH Tyler has grown and matured.

I give this album a “fire emoji” out of 10

-James

FAVORITE TRACKS:
NEW MAGIC WAND
A BOY IS GUN
EARDQUAKE
WHATS GOOD
PUPPET