Texas

Killer Joe

William Friedkin’s (The Exorcist, Bug) latest thriller, Killer Joe, looks gritty, greasy, and gross, the sort of crime movie that makes you feel like you have to take a shower after you watch it. It’s full of bad people making evil decisions; which, according to noir morality, is going to spell certain (and likely bloody) doom for everyone involved. Sometimes watching a movie like that can be a masochistic experience, but when the film in question stars names like Thomas Haden Church, Emile Hirsch, Gina Gershon, an adorable-while-spinning Juno Temple, and a seemingly motivated Matthew McConaughey, more likely than not the experience is going to be fascinating. Killer Joe’s new trailer has violence, matricide, deep shadows, rain storms, Southern accents, dilapidated pool halls, people putting their sister up as collateral, and I think someone gets killed with a can of pumpkin pie filling. It looks moody, and dangerous, and it warns us that the film has an NC-17 rating.

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Like most people, there was a time in my life where I fancied myself a filmmaker. I will readily admit now that I do not possess the creative talents to be able to take the written word and make it a visual piece of art. Heaven knows I tried to dream it up, but I just wasn’t meant for that world. Well, during my most recent case of wanting to be a filmmaker, I worked on the short film Knife (currently playing in the SXSW Texas Shorts Showcase) directed by Fort Worth, TX writer/director/producer/vegan chef and all around awesome man, James Johnston. James has been a staple at SXSW for as long as I’ve been attending and his commitment to promoting Texas filmmaking is just one of the many reasons he continues to earn respect and praise in our little Texas bubble. As you can imagine, James is pretty busy this week promoting Knife and working on various other projects, but he took a few minutes to talk with me about some of his fondest SXSW memories.

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Even though I’m no longer in the bunker of Reject HQ in Austin, I still like to keep my ear to the ground to catch the political rumblings. So far there’s been a lot of talk about how much mansions are worth, how you get 8 pounds of hair to stay put, and something about an amendment to create a committee to look into committee creation. Boring stuff, I know. Nothing was all that interesting until I hit upon an entry on the Alamo Drafthouse’s calendar for October 5th (after the mad, mad, mad, madness of Fantastic Fest is over) that claimed to be a showcase of political short films made especially for the current gubernatorial race between Rick Perry and Bill White.

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We have to say goodbye to the King of the Wild Frontier – Fess Parker.

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For years, Texan scholars thought Neil Miller was the real Wild Man of the Navidad, but it turns out he is some pelt-wearing man beast. How that is proof its not Neil is beyond me.

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Tim Disney’s American Violet, opening in limited release today, is a well-acted but heavy-handed message movie that could have used a subtler approach.

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The Eight Best Films About Texas

In honor of the South By Southwest festival in Austin a few weeks back and this weekend’s AFI Dallas Film Festival, and to celebrate the fact that Neil has very little power over me while he’s still recovering from oversized novelty margaritas, I’m presenting this Lone Star-themed Top Eight list.

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