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Movie rating system (0-2) The movie is balls (2-4) A few moments but mostly bad (4-5.5) Entertaining film but lacking something to make it good. (6-7.5) A recommendation meaning a good solid watch. (8-10) must watch films, they are usually leaders in their respective genre. I can also be found on Facebook or follow my blog at the bottom of this page. THERE MAY BE MINI SPOILERS AHEAD!!! But there will be no endings/twists/cameos/or large plot reveals given.

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Monday, 29 July 2013

Fantasy Books versus Game of Thrones

Top 8 Fantasy Books/Series/Authors for the people on the Game of Thrones bandwagon.

I know this is not a movie post but it is loosely related. All of these books/series that I am about to list would make great television shows/movies in my mind. I will start off by saying that I like Game of Thrones. I think it is a great book series and a great television show. What I am tired of hearing is all the hype and discussion around it. I read every type of genre but my heart will always belong to fantasy. If you are a person who has never been into fantasy and have recently jumped on the GOT bandwagon, I am happy that you found something you like. If you have been reading fantasy your whole life and are looking for something else to read, this list should work for you also. GOT is good, but there is better, and more importantly there are other authors that should receive your adulation and praise if you are willing to try something new. Don’t just try the flavor of the month, as you are missing out! Obviously, I haven’t read everything so if I have left off one of your beloved series/books please let me know about it.

Top 8

# 8 Among Thieves
Author: Douglas Hulick

I was on a thief/assassin kick so I randomly picked this off the shelf of my local bookstore. Following a kin member named Drothe, the reader will be entranced with a mystery involving ancient artifacts, shady characters, and dark magic. It is a wonderful tale made that much more enjoyable by Drothe being such an ordinary person. Author Doulas Hulick captures your attention from the first couple of chapters and you will not want to put this book down. Hulick is currently working on the second book in this series.  

#7 Dream of Eagles series/Golden Eagle series/The Guardians of Scotland series
Author: Jack Whyte

Author Jack Whyte has been writing for a long time. It is a testament to his skills that his work has remained so captivating. The Dream of Eagles series is a fantastic tale of the Roman occupation of Britain and the subsequent years leading up to the tale of King Arthur and his knights. It covers many years, and it covers many people and places. You will cheer the successes and lament the failures of this tale of survival. If that doesn’t do it for you then Whyte has also written stores surrounding the main players in the movie Braveheart. Read stories about William Wallace and Robert the Bruce that paints a much different picture than in the movie. Whyte makes you care about the plight of the characters and his books should not be missed.

#6 Acacia Series
Author: David Anthony Durham

The Acacian Empire has known peace and prosperity for many generations, but that is all about to change. A strange world is about to be thrown into civil unrest. There are deadly animals, mysterious races, and lots of deception that awaits you if you choose to read this series. It is slow at times and there are too many storylines but it is still a great read, and Durham has penned a great world where the reader can get lost in.

#5 The Runelords
Author:David Farland

Never has a world existed where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer as much as it does in The Runelords. The nobility in this series have the ability to extract physical attributes (Brawn/Grace/Wit/etc.) from the common man to create super warriors/kings. The story is gripping as we follow a land under constant war between powerful kings. No one is safe as complex war strategies are enacted to battle each other. This series falls apart HARD after the fourth book, but once you read the first book they are hard to stop. There is love, magic, and beasts out of you worst nightmares awaiting you if you read this series.

#4 Night Angel Trilogy/The Lightbringer Series
Author: Brent Weeks

These are two completely different series and yet equally awesome. Weeks has the rare ability to hook the reader from the opening chapter. The Night Angel trilogy follows a master assassin and his quasi apprentice. The action is intense and the lead characters are awesome. The Lightbringer series follows a world of unprecedented magic; here the color spectrum dictates your magical ability and strength. War has broken out in the land and the color magic might tear it to pieces. Both series are amazing and shouldn’t be missed.

#3 Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit
Author: J.R.R Tolkien

If you have read GOT and you haven’t read LOTR and the Hobbit, stop being a fantasy lemming trying to fit in. Please read these stories as Tolkien is the godfather of fantasy. GOT would not exist without Tolkien (and others) paving the way so respect the history!

#2 The Kingkiller Chronicle
Author:Patrick Rothfuss

The Name of the Wind is arguably my favorite fantasy book of all time (The first of the Kingkiller Chronicle.) It is over a thousand pages and I went two days without sleep while reading this book. Detailing the story of Kvothe, the book follows his life from a child to his early teens. It is easy to get lost in this book as Kvothe is an amazing character. You will be immersed in a world virtually unparalleled in fantasy as Rothfuss details Kvothes struggle to survive. This book is highly addictive so make sure you have the spare time to read it.  Rothfuss’s series is as epic as his huge beard! Read it and thank me later.

#1 Drenai Series/Rigante Series/And many more
Author:David Gemmell

It is a shame that Gemmell is not more beloved in North America. David Gemmell passed away a few years back and I was heartbroken. Someone once wrote that Tolkien created the fantasy genre but Gemmell perfected it, and I couldn’t agree more. No fantasy writer is able to make you care more for a character than Gemmell could. You will love, laugh, and bleed with these characters as they battle their way to riches and glory (mostly just for survival though). His writing is unrivaled and he truly is the master. The books Waylander, and The First Chronicles of Druss the Legend, are amazing starters for you if you choose to read him. Gemmell will be missed but his amazing fantasy legacy will carry on.

Honorable Mentions (Non Fantasy)

Ready Player One
Author:Ernest Cline

Like the 80’s? Ready Player One is a book that shouldn’t be missed then. It follows a world addicted to online gaming. Referencing movies, music, T.V., books, and pop culture mostly from the 1980’s (some 70’s/90’s) this book is must read for the nostalgic nerd lover in you.

Ender’s Game
Author: Orson Scott Card

I hope this helps you in your search for fantasy reading. Let me know what your favorites are!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Top 15 Movie Scenes: That Stuck With Me

Top 15 Movie Scenes: That Stuck With Me (In a negative way)


My mind is always connecting things/life situations to movies. It is something I have always done and will always continue to do. Where this particular list came from is due to my strange inner workings. Here is the warped Kevin Bacon styled game that I played in my head which led to this blog post. I got a splinter in my finger last night. It led me to think of a time when I was playing road hockey (when I was a small kid.) While playing, a guy I knew took half a broken hockey stick through his hand (In reality it was probably a three inch splinter.) However, that happened almost 25 years ago and it has stuck with me (Pun not intended.) That injury was devastating to witness and it makes me cringe thinking about it even now. But then I thought some more and the word splinter made me think of the rat from Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles. Splinter was a ninja and it got me to thinking of the ninja Storm Shadow from G.I. JOE. Storm Shadow was on Cobra with a guy named Major Blood. Major Blood wore an eye patch and that came from a past eye injury. That injury led me to think of the cop that was stabbed in eye during the movie End of Watch. That injury has stuck with me and so here is the list of scenes that have stuck with me in a negative way.



#15 Cop stabbed in the eye: End of Watch

I have a phobia of things touching my eye. So injuries involving the eye are particularly awful for me. This scene stuck with me because it seemed like a routine back up call. That is until they find their fellow cop sitting on the ground with a knife sticking in his eye.

#14 Stifler eats dog crap: American Wedding

Stifler has been peed on, has drunk semen, and even has kissed a guy. None of that bothered me as much as him having to eat dog crap in the third movie. Watching him eat it and then having it stuck in his teeth doesn’t sit well with me.

#13 Captain Spaulding: The Devils Reject/House of a 1000 Corpses

I hate clowns, look at this clown. Have fun trying to sleep tonight.

#12 Watching the VHS tape: The Ring

A host of disturbing and unsettling images await you if you watched the tape in The Ring. There was something about the strange imagery that stuck with me. It was easy to think bad things were going to happen after watching this video and that hasn’t gone away.

#11 Drinking horse semen: Jack Ass 2

I got sick to my stomach when Party Boy drinks horse semen in the second movie. It still makes me queasy thinking about it.

#10 Rob Roy’s wife is raped: Rob Roy

Add caption
Cunningham was already one of the most hated villains in movie history. This scene of complete misogynistic degradation was impossible to watch and completed my hatred for him.

#9 Curb stomp: American History X

One of the most shocking scenes in cinematic history, its brutality is virtually unrivalled in film.

#8 A handful of blood: Cabin Fever

Imagine finally getting with the girl of your dreams only to come away with the grossest hand of gore possible. You knew it was going to happen and even then it was still sickening.

#7 Hospital scene: The Eye

Not the crappy Jessica Alba version of The Eye, but the Asian version entitled Gin Gwai. There is a scene after the woman just has an eye transplant. She is walking around a hospital with weird sounds and strange images coming from everywhere. It still freaks me out thinking of it.

 # 6 Elijah Price on the stairs: Unbreakable

Elijah Price is suffering from osteogenesis imperfecta, a rare disease that makes his bones break easily. He has a scene where he hurries down some subway stairs. I only have a face of horror when looking back on that scene.

#5 Paul Krendler eats his own brain: Hannibal

Not sure why this one stuck with me so much. It is just the exposed brain and the thought of eating it that gives me the willies.

#4 Mutant rape: The Hills Have Eyes

Over the top? Check. Disturbing? Check. Scarred for life? Check. This scene was disgusting and although it is mostly implied, totally unnecessary.

#3 Finger nail fallout: The Fly

Lots of things stuck with me from The Fly. His metamorphosis where Seth Brundle is falling apart is the most horrific to watch though.

#2 Semen éclair: Van Wilder

There is a scene in Van Wilder where they fill chocolate éclairs up with bulldog semen and then drop them off at a rival fraternity’s house. Long story short, the éclairs get eaten in the sloppiest of manners. Disgusting and till this day I cannot look at an éclair without shuddering.

#1 Jesus being whipped: Passion of the Christ

It is just painful to sit through as skin is being flayed off his body. People walked out in droves from the theatre when this was going on. I remember the scene like it was yesterday and it still haunts me.

So that is my list of scenes that have stuck with me. Keep in mind that every rape scene could easily have made the list as they are never easy to watch. Also, personal phobias and experiences weighed in. Do you have a scene that sticks with you in a negative way?

Honorable mentions from movies and TV

Saw 2# Pit of Syringes

The Grudge# Girl on stairs

X-Files# Inbred woman under bed

 V/H/S# Woman with big eyes

About Schmidt# Kathy Bates Hot Tub

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Hobo with a Shotgun

Hobo with a Shotgun
Rated: R
Running Time: 86 minutes
Starring: Rutger Hauer
Directed By: Jason Eisener
Rating: 5 out of 10
A hobo grabs a shotgun and takes on the criminals in a rundown city.

I was hoping this movie was going to be about a German Sheppard with a shotgun (Sorry, Canadian TV show reference about the Littlest Hobo.) I didn’t want to merely like this movie; I wanted to LOVE it (Figuratively speaking.) It arguably has the best title of any film out there (The movie Snatch is also a classic.) So, I wanted to scream its praises as one of the best and bloodiest films that I have ever seen. Unfortunately, it was only okay. Hobo with a Shotgun is about, well, a hobo with a shotgun. This hobo is pissed off that the city he resides in is a cesspool of criminals and thieves. So he grabs a shotgun and blows away anyone who commits crimes against the law abiding citizens of the city.

The film starts out and we see the Hobo as he enters the city. It is a city without hope as it is equal parts chaos, to squalor. The roads are littered with trash, the buildings are derelict and boarded up, and the populace is ragged and malnourished. The city looks like Tim Burton and Andy Warhol smoked crack, and then designed Gotham together, but there was no Batman to defend it. This city is under the rule of powerful men and the police are powerless to intervene. The Hobo minds his own business as he tries to panhandle and collects pop cans for nickels. He witnesses the most violent of crimes imaginable. People are decapitated in the street, kids are snatched from the sidewalks by sexual deviants, and drug use is rampant. He is just trying to survive another day, but that is all about to change. He is tired of being bullied and being mistreated. He is tired of the police apathy and the misogynistic attitudes. Finally, he is tired of being poor. So he grabs a 20 gauge shotgun and takes matters into his own hands. The first half of the movie is nonsense but in a good way. He is angry and he is ready to go on a rampage, and that’s exactly what he does. Limbs get blown off and blood sprays like a fire hose from the gaping wounds. Heads got caved in and blood sprays like a geyser from the gaping wounds. Criminals die in every way imaginable and blood sprays like Mentos mixed with Diet Coke out of the gaping wounds. No one is safe from the Hobo’s gun and it is fun to watch.

Rutger Hauer plays the Hobo, and he is good as the old cantankerous bum. This isn’t the hardest of roles to pull off as he just has to be incessantly angry for the whole film. He is likable in a psychotic and twisted way, and his anger is palpable. His support cast is as bizarre as the city. The mob guys are campy 80’s gangsters, the prostitutes are pretty but angry, and the rest of the city snorts drugs out in the open. Long story short, the characters were weird.

As the movie continues it just got stranger and stranger, and it is in this strangeness that the movie lost me. Instead of the Hobo just killing people with his gun, the film takes a turn into the world of an acid trip gone wrong. People are subjected to eating glass, which is out of place. People get killed with a pair of hockey skates, which is out of place. Organs and intestines are removed without thought, which is out of place. Lastly, characters wearing comical looking armor arrive on the scene to cause murder and mayhem, which is out of place. The story is irrelevant as the Hobo shoots his way through the criminal element. As the film comes to a close, does the Hobo have the strength to save this city? Or will the criminals win out as usual? In conclusion, this film is entertaining in a bloody spray type of way, but you will tire of it around the midway point. The random violence and characters in this over exaggerated city were too much for my liking. This film was a collage of violence, and as such, was highly disorganized.

Director Jason Eisener shot this movie and even though I didn’t love this film, I respected his vision. He wanted this film to be bloody and violent, a throwback to the 70’s and 80’s, and I could see what he was going for. He just took it too far in every aspect. When the film needed a little normalcy he added more shock and awe. Because the film was so strange it never felt right to me and that is where the movie failed.

I cannot recommend this film because it just goes too far out there.

T Factor + If you are a fan of the Grindhouse type films then this could score higher on the rating scale.

T Factor – If you do not like violent films then this could score lower on the rating scale.

If you liked this film reel recommendation: Kill Bill movies, Grindhouse movies     

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

The Day

The Day
Horror (Sci-Fi)
Rated: R
Running Time: 87 minutes
Starring: Shawn Ashmore, Brianna Barnes, Shannyn Sossamon, Ashley Bell, Michael Eklund, Dominic Monaghan, Cory Hardrict
Directed By: Douglas Aarniokoski
Rating: 5 out of 10
A group of human survivors try to find a place of safety in an apocalyptic world.

A day seems like a relatively short period of time, but when you are battling for your life, it can seem like an eternity. The Day is the story of the world in an apocalyptic state. 5 people band together and try and survive the packs of vicious roaming predators. An abandoned farmhouse promises a brief respite as they traverse the land, but it may end up as their grave as the enemy closes in.

Post apocalyptic themed movies seem to be the new flavor of the month. It seems with the Mayan end of the world prediction; Hollywood took advantage of the opportunity and cranked out some films on the subject. The film starts out and we see a small town ravaged by some unknown cause. Cars lie abandoned on the street, houses are empty and their windows are smashed in, and blood is causally splattered all over the place. It is a world devoid of life and the remaining humans lay low and keep to themselves. There is an unknown terror that has abnormal strength/quickness, and it craves meat. The film follows five humans (Adam, Shannon, Mary, Rick, and Henson) as they try and survive.  Circumstances arise that forces them to stop at an abandoned farm house for a while. The film is pretty slow to start out as we get to know each of the players. What I liked about the opening half was the bleakness of the land. A lot of the film is shot in black and white or with little color. It causes the viewer to think of depressing thoughts and prepares them for some violence of the worst kind. It is also cool that the viewer is unsure about what is stalking these people. It could be anything from vampires to rabid sloths, and it is cool not knowing the actual danger. The only thing the viewer does know is that whatever is out there, are some truly bad Mofos.

The acting is passable as it is quite a veteran cast. Dominic Monaghan, Shawn Ashmore, Shannyn Sossamon, and Ashley Bell all have done this before. They are a veteran cast that settles into their roles quite easily. They bicker, they argue, and the struggle to remain positive in a world with no hope. Their weapons are insufficient, their supplies are dwindling, and their nerves are shot. Even though it is a strange group and a somewhat clichéd group, you will root for them to survive. I felt the group look disheveled, they look run down, and they even looked a little desperate. However, they were not gaunt enough to completely buy into the desperate scenario. All in all, the characters and acting were decent enough, even if their background stories were forced on the viewer to try and give an emotional attachment (it didn’t work.)

As the film progresses, it turns out this farmhouse might be the end of the road for these five. What was at first a welcome respite from all the wearisome walking, now may serve as their gravesite. Their presence is known to the evil that stalks the land and they have little choice on what to do. They can either run and be hunted like sheep, or they can stand their ground and try and fight. This is where the movie gets confusing. It is in the bad guys themselves that ultimately lost me as a supporter of the film. The ambiguity of the terror that stalks the land is puzzling. Are these unkempt bad people supposed to be vampires? Or are they people suffering from a terrible disease? Or are they people that Amanda Bynes has slept with over the last year? They don’t explain it at all, which was the wrong call in my mind. With reckless abandon, these monsters of the new world descend on the farmhouse for some human flesh snacking. This is also confusing as they have little self preservation skills and make the dumbest decisions possible. For a race that now rules the world, they have no problem sticking their heads in random holes, run at armed people with no thought to protecting themselves, and seem to make the wrong choice on how to attack 100 percent of the time. It got a little stupid after a few minutes. The action sequences are good even if the special effects are not the best. CGI blood spray and gaping wounds are easily spotted and look cheap and hurried. The action is furious and graphic though, so if you like lots of bodies piling up due to horrific injuries, then this film has that in bulk. When your life is on the line you tend to stab and cut with more power than is necessary so be prepared for that. The struggle for survival is upon them, and as the film comes to a close it won’t be a question of will they all make it, more a question of will any of them make it. In conclusion, I liked the black and white hue on the film and I liked the characters even in their simplicity. I liked that the battle for their lives was violent and bloody. I didn’t like the bad guys as I felt they had no thought to their design. I also felt this film was rather low budget to pull off some of the scenes. I was entertained but ultimately not blown away by this film.

Director Douglas Aarniokoski (Seriously, shorten that last name to Aarn) does a commendable job with this film. With a higher budget and some slight tweaking, this film could have worked. I liked the landscape, the cast, and the bleakness to the film. The film lacks a lot of fine detail which is the saddest part. I was impressed with the overall product on such a small budget though, and he certainly will be one to watch.

I cannot recommend this film as it is a poor mans, The Road.

T Factor + If you like low budget horror then this could score higher on the rating scale.

T Factor – If you need great special effects in your movies then this could score lower on the rating scale.

If you liked this film reel recommendations: The Road, The Divide.

The Innkeepers

The Innkeepers
Horror (Thriller)
Rated: R

Running Time: 101 minutes
Starring: Sara Paxton, Pat Healy
Directed By: Ti West
Rating: 6 out of 10
An old Inn is about to be closed due to lack of business. Two employees conduct some paranormal experiments to try and catch a ghost during the inns final days.

Remember the days when taking a black light to the sheets was the scariest thing about staying in a hotel? The Innkeepers is the story of the Yankee Peddler Inn. Two employees (Claire and Luke) are working during the inns final days before it closes forever. They are determined to find out about the inns sinister past and if any ghosts still reside on the premises.

Kind of like a piece of abstract art, I have no idea what I just watched. I watched The Innkeepers without fully understanding what this film was trying to be. Was this trying to be scary? Was it trying to be campy? It flip flops between the genres so many times that I was left wondering if director Ti West is a genius, or just doesn’t know what he is doing. Whatever the answer is, I was entertained by this movie and that is all that matters. The film opens up and we see Claire as she arrives at the Yankee Peddler Inn for her final shift. Just a few short days remain as the hotel is shutting down due to lack of business. Her and fellow employee (Luke) take shifts at the virtually empty hotel, and hold down the fort while investigating for ghosts. Not much happens for the first half of the film. There is the odd predictable fright and Claire and Luke’s conversations are rather dull. It is just the vibe of the film that I dug. With just a few strange people staying at the old hotel, the quiet and the emptiness work very well to set up the story. Odd noises and sounds emanate from different rooms in the hotel, and Claire and Luke use ghost hunting equipment to try and capture the phenomenon. An unsubstantiated story of a murdered bride at the hotel only adds to the nervous tension of finding these spirits.

The acting was decent in a hilarious, over the top kind of way. Claire is played by Sara Paxton and all I could think of was Ferris Bueller’s sister (played by Jennifer Grey) with her performance. Her goofy facial expressions, running up the stairs like a madwoman when she hears a noise, and just her overall social awkwardness when dealing with people, was a very odd route to take with the character. It was odd but it worked somehow. Luke was played by Pat Healy and he was also solid in a socially awkward type of way. The two of them have an almost brother/sister type relationship as they play pranks on each other and have lame inside jokes. It is strange seeing such weird lead characters in a film that is supposed to be chilling, but I liked it. The few strange people staying at the hotel can only be classified as random but effective in their roles.

As the film carries on and the amateur paranormal investigations dig deeper and deeper, Claire and Luke might think there may be more to the murdered bride story then they originally thought. Unseen entities loom in the dark, doors bang on their own accord, and warnings to stay out of the basement go unheeded. The film is effective because you never know what is going to happen next. The ending will leave most people saying WTF, but I felt it fit with the rest of the film. In conclusion, this film is not particularly scary and certainly isn’t gory. The characters are ridiculous and not in a humorous way. There are a lot of unanswered questions that are left, and the ending will bother most people with its incompleteness. And after all of those complaints, I still enjoyed this film for some reason. The tone of the film just felt right to me.

Director and writer Ti West was unknown to me until I read about him at MovieFemme@blogspot.ca. The jury is still out on if I like his style or not. What I think he did well: His camera work was fantastic in this. Long sweeping shots and unique angles really captured the nuances of this empty hotel. It gave each scene an element of tension and creepiness which I enjoyed. The casting and the tone were also great for a smaller budget film. What he didn’t do well: The film takes a very long time to get going. The makeup and scares were a little cheesy, and the reactions to them were also misguided. Films don’t always need proper closure but they should be cohesive, and he also failed in that department. Lastly, they have been working in the hotel for years and all of a sudden things get CRAZY on the final weekend?

I give this movie a recommendation, but heed my warnings as it is more for style than substance.

T Factor + If you like campy element to your horror then this could score higher on the rating scale.

T Factor – If you like lots of blood and high body counts in your horror then this could score lower on the rating scale.

If you liked this film reel recommendations: Cabin in the Woods, Cabin Fever. 

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Killer Joe

Killer Joe
Drama (Thriller)
Rated: R
Running Time: 102 minutes
Starring: Emile Hirsch, Matthew McConaughey, Juno Temple, Thomas Haden Church, Gina Gershon.
Directed By: William Friedkin
Rating: 7 out of 10
A man hires a contract killer so he can claim the insurance money from the hit.

I used to hate him but like a single malt Scotch, Matthew McConaughey is only getting better with age. Maybe he is picking better roles? Maybe he is keeping his shirt on and is staying out of the sun? Whatever the case, he is delivering better and better movies as time goes by. Killer Joe is the story of Chris Smith. A debt has put his life in danger, and so he hires Killer Joe to murder his mother in order to collect a large insurance pay out.

Red necks and dysfunction usually go hand in hand, and those two things are captured perfectly in this movie. The film starts out and we see Chris as he is stressing about a rather large debt that he has incurred while selling drugs. It doesn’t take a shot of his step mom pulling off a Julianne Moore classic (shirt but no bottoms) to know that these people are hicks. Chris needs money and he needs it fast. With the help of his dad, they hatch a scheme to make everyone rich (well, rich for them). It involves a murder plot and a large insurance payout. The only problem is they don’t have the stones to do it themselves. Enter Killer Joe. He is a smooth killer for hire, and he oozes confidence. I liked the first half of the movie for various reasons. I liked the bleakness of the poor trailer park existence. I liked the unique and unhealthy relationships between virtually every character that is presented. I liked the desperateness caused by owing powerful men a relatively small amount of money. And I liked that the film traverses a dark line with no clear trajectory. Not much happens, other than uneducated conversations and uneducated decisions, but it completely held my attention.

The acting/characters are really what make this film as good as it is. Without all these great performances, the movie would have clearly been lacking. Chris Smith is played by Emile Hirsch. He is one of these actors that doesn't get enough credit in my mind, but he does a great job in guiding this film to where it needed to be. He is the so called brains of the operation, and it is up to him to make the tough decisions. He is very much the adult, as his dad is just a simple man living a simple existence. His dad is played by Thomas Haden Church. His performance reminded me of an R Rated Lowell, from Wings. He was simple but thoughtful when he needs to be. I haven’t seen Gina Gershon in many a year but she nailed the middle age, bitchy step mom character. She was equal parts trashy to unclassy. Juno Temple plays Chris’s younger sister (Dottie.) She is a pretty girl with obvious mental health issues as she spouts random nonsense from time to time (Apparently, Temple was up for Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter movies, and if you watch this then you will see why.) Temple is one to watch as she was fantastic in her oddball way. Lastly, there is Killer Joe played by Matthew McConaughey. This was an interesting role for McConaughey but he steals the show. He is quiet, but his actions speak volumes. He is polite, but is also unsettling. He is charming, but also professionally cool. He is engaging, but also borderline sociopathic. It is a shame he wasn’t recognized by the Academy for this film as he was excellent.

 Obviously things don’t run smoothly or this wouldn’t be much of a film. As Killer Joe prepares to pull off the job, questions start to pop up about his intentions. What should have been a quick and easy operation starts to see many issues arising. Chris is running out of time to pay back the debt and he doesn’t fully trust Killer Joe. Killer Joe doesn’t seem to be focusing on the task at hand and seems more intent on romancing Dottie. The rest of the family has vested interests but stays in the background while letting the crime play out. Money can tear the closest family apart so imagine what it can do when they all hate each other? As the film comes to an end, I was truly surprised at how much I liked this when there are so many lowlife characters. In conclusion, this film is raw, gritty, and at times can be excessively violent. The conversations and the formed relationships will keep you captivated at all times. The planned murder and money problems seem like after thoughts as you watch these degenerates try to function within normal society. This movie flew under most people’s radars but should not be missed as it is dark, quirky, and can even be humorous at times (In a dark way.)

Director William Friedkin takes a Tracy Letts screenplay and delivers a solid film. Friedkin has been doing this for a long time, so the film has very little wasted screen time. He lets the actors own their characters/scenes and the viewers are rewarded for his faith. This film could easily have been mired in a depressing state, but he presents the dysfunction in an entertaining way. This is a great shot film that will ultimately get little recognition, which is a shame.

I give this movie a recommendation but especially to those people looking for something outside of the mainstream, and who appreciate great acting.

T Factor + If you like quirky/strange films then this could score higher on the rating scale.

T Factor – If you don’t not like Matthew McConaughey as an actor then this could score lower on the rating scale.

IF you liked this film reel recommendations: Bug, Very Bad Things.