Texas Killing Fields

Drinking Games

With the weekend here and most DVD and Blu-rays hitting the shelves on Tuesday, you might have already checked out our weekly drinking game for The Thing. If you want another chance – or another excuse – to drink a little this weekend, try out this bonus drinking game based on the killer thriller Texas Killing Fields. If you liked the teaming up of current “It” stars Jessica Chastain and Sam Worthington, both of whom have been in about six dozen movies in the last couple years, you could watch this film…or The Debt. But if you watch The Debt, this drinking game won’t work very well.

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This Week in DVD

Welcome back to This Week In DVD! Another week another ton of DVDs hitting shelves both real and virtual, and while there are several worth renting and avoiding there are only two worth buying. One is visible immediately below, and the other? One of last year’s best films. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Perfect Sense (UK) A chef (Ewan McGregor) and an epidemiologist (Eva Green) meet and fall in love just as a strange new disease begins to spread worldwide. People are struck with a strong emotional response immediately followed by the loss of one of their senses. It’s like Contagion but with heart and personality. This is a beautiful film about life, love and what it means to be human. It’s a must-see about mankind’s resilience in the face of loss and devastation. Just be sure to watch it before your vision goes. **NOTE – This is a region2 DVD which requires either a region-free player or the willingness to watch on your PC.**

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If you knew nothing about filmmaker Ami Canaan Mann going into Texas Killing Fields, her second feature directorial effort, you’d immediately pinpoint Michael Mann as a major influence. After all, the film is an atmospheric crime story rendered with rich cinematography and featuring characters with muddled motives. That the two are actually father-daughter hardly lessens the impact of the younger Mann’s work in creating this assured, moody police procedural. With a memorable Jeffrey Dean Morgan performance at its center, Texas Killing Fields boasts a human dimension that enhances the impact of its strong noir craft. The blackness engulfing the picture’s Texas City setting mirrors the tormented souls of detectives Brian Heigh (Morgan), a New York transplant, and hotheaded local boy Mike Sounder (Sam Worthington). The men are investigating a string of unsolved murders that have culminated in the bodies of teenage female victims being found in an oil field outside of town, which the locals have nicknamed the “killing fields.”

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Ani Canaan Mann’s second feature film, Texas Killing Fields, has had a somewhat long journey to the screen, and has gone through some slightly different incarnations, from involvement with other behind-the-camera talent (namely Danny Boyle) to the shorter, gentler title of The Fields. But with the film showing in competition at Venice, it looks like it may be smooth sailing from here on out. Despite a pretty standard true crime plotline, there’s something about Texas Killing Fields that has kept me intrigued for many months. Maybe it’s that the film’s cast is almost murderously good, as it includes Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Sam Worthington, Chloe Grace Moretz, Jessica Chastain, Stephen Graham, Jason Clarke, and Annabeth Gish. That’s got to be it.

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Considering how much I like striped shirts, pasta, and films from controversial Greek directors, it looks like I may need to stow away in someone’s suitcase and get over to Italy next month for the 68th Venice Film Festival. The fest, which runs from August 31 to September 10, has just released their lineup for the year, and I may be speaking out of my macaroni here, but this batch of films really wets my noodle. Nathan already reported last month that George Clooney’s The Ides of March was likely to join the festival, and today’s announcement confirms that twofold – Ides will not only show at the festival, it will serve as opening night film. Other good stuff here includes Tomas Alfredson’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (which has one of my favorite trailers of the year), Roman Polanski’s adaptation of play God of Carnage (shortened to Carnage), Ami Canaan Mann’s Texas Killing Fields, David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, Steve McQueen’s Shame, Todd Solondz’s Dark Horse, Madonna’s W.E., Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion, and Dogtooth director Yorgos Lanthimos’s Alps. In short terms, this is an incredible lineup of films that I cannot even remotely snark on, because I would probably do something violent if it meant I could go to the festival. Check out the full list of films after the break.

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