Killer Joe, based on the play by Tracy Letts, is the story of the lengths a certain kind of man will go to in order to get out of debt.
This movie was the best redneck, white trash thriller I have seen to date. Being so used to Matthew McConaughey playing the "good guy" in romantic comedies and such, it was great to see him in a different light. He plays a cop who moonlights as a sinister contract killer. This movie borders on the line of a Quentin Tarantino film with all the screwed up characters and the high violence content. The dysfunctional family McConaughey is working for is the epitome of trailer trash. The hole they keep digging themselves deeper into becomes impossible to climb out of. You definitely have to like this type of movie to enjoy the intense and twisted story line. It also has an unexpected ending which left me with my jaw dropped. I would recommend this movie to anyone who likes a little madness and would like to see McConaughey in a role outside of his normal genre.
The Outsiders, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, is a classic film based on the classic novel by S. E. Hinton. It’s worth noting that I’ve never read this novel, and that my review will be based solely on the film as a standalone work.
The film follows the story of Ponyboy, a young greaser living with his two older greaser brothers. For the youth in Ponyboy’s town, class warfare is an everyday occurrence, as the impoverished greasers and the upper class “socs” constantly antagonize each other.
The plot is kicked off when Ponyboy and his friend Johnny are attacked by a gang of socs, resulting in the death of one of their attackers. This escalates the already unstable relations between the two factions, and Ponyboy and Johnny have to go into hiding.
It’s a coming of age story, and mainly deals with themes of learning to understand those who are different and finding a meaningful purpose in life. On the whole I’d say this was an enjoyable and sometimes touching flick, but not incredibly memorable. The story sometimes feels aimless, and the plot seems better suited for a novel than the big screen. Still, there are some memorable characters and performances in the film, though it’s also padded up with dozens of excess characters we barely learn anything about (who I’m sure are more fleshed out in the novel.) The drama can feel a little hammy and melodramatic at times by today’s standards, but it’s never truly obnoxious. Also, look out for tons of big stars in the background, though none of them really play characters pivotal to the plot.
Overall I’d give this film a 7/10, a good watch but not something I’d really go out of my way to recommend to anyone. However, if you’re a fan of 80’s coming of age flicks or greaser movies, this film is probably worth your time. Also, if you’re a fan of the novel, it’s probably worth checking out this adaptation to see if the story “stays gold.”
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, based on the novel of the same name, is a coming of age story set in no particular time, in no particular place, with no particular people- except that it's really, really tough to not relate to them. Stephen Chbosky, author of the novel, hits his directorial pay dirt this adaptation of his own work.
Charlie, a high school freshman struggling with depression and a distinct lack of friends, meets Patrick and Sam, a couple of step-siblings with whom he can finally be himself. They introduce Charlie to their extended group of upperclassmen friends, leading him to both begin to find love, experience independent life, and wrestle down his demons.
Logan Lerman of Percy Jackson fame does well here, managing to be both likable and seriously weird. Ezra Miller is outstanding as Patrick- oft-loud, flamboyant, and deeply committed to those he loves. I want him to be my best friend too. Emma Watson finally manages to shed the hair-weight of Hermione and shine as Sam. She is affecting, she is spirited, and by George, when she is sad, she is close to Kate Winslet Sad, which is, of course, on a level above normal human sadness. It seems as though filming this may have been its own coming of age story for the actors; Lerman, Miller, and Watson each seem to blossom before the eyes of the audience over the course of the movie, emerging as adult actors. Look out for Scott Pilgrim VS The World alums Mae Whitman and Johnny Simmons as well, in well-played roles pivotal to the plot.
Overall, I really liked this movie. The music was great, the pacing was much more steady than I would expect from basically a first-time director (he did one other film in 1995 that nobody ever watched), and the casting was inspired. The school dance scene near the beginning of the film is absolutely magical. That said, BEWARE: there are plenty of things discussed in this movie that you may not be comfortable sharing with your child just yet, and there should be a "trigger alert" sticker on the box. Younger kids may be upset by the violence, intrigued by the drug usage, and/or confused by the implications of Charlie's familial relationships.
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