Killer Joe & Ruby Sparks

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(KTSF by Sean Au)

Thriller “Killer Joe”

A man in dire straits thought of killing his mother to get the insurance money. His plan backfires and lands the family in trouble.

Saddled with huge debt and his life being threatened, Chris (Emile Hirsch) learns that his evil mother has a life insurance policy with his sister Dottie (Juno Temple) as the beneficiary. Chris hires Joe Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) who is also the town’s detective, to do the killing. After the job, Joe is not able to collect his fee and picks Dottie as his retainer.

“Killer Joe” is a no-holds-barred film from William Friedkin who gave us the Oscar-winning “The French Connection” and what is viewed by many film critics as the best horror film of all time, “The Exorcist.” Friedkin excels in transporting us into the underbelly of blue collar Texas. Matthew McConaughery gives an exceptional career-turning performance as the cold-blooded Joe. It is a performance not to be missed.

Working with minimal rehearsals, Friedkin believes that most of his work is done after picking the right material and casting the right actors. All he needs to do on the set is to provide an environment for the players to do what comes naturally. “What we do during filming, is create an atmostphere where the actors and the crew,” says Friedkin. “the people who are actively making the film with you, can feel free to create, to offer suggestions, to feel that they are not being judged.”

Friedkin describes the story as a modern Cinderella story, but this is a fairy tale steeped deep with grime and sleaze. It is dark, bold and uneasy. Yet, after viewing, you would applaud its raw energy and expose on the human weakness.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Video courtesy of LD Entertainment.

Romantic Comedy “Ruby Sparks”

Having written his first novel with sensational success at 19 years old, Calvin (Paul Dano) is trapped in a major case of writer’s block. As suggested by his psychiatrist, Calvin tries writing about a girl whom he would want to meet in a fantasy world. The classic Pygmalion myth is reborn. The girl, Ruby Sparks (Zoe Kazan) comes to life, but will she now bring happiness to Calvin’s life?

Behind this quirky comedy is are two filmmakers from the Bay Area, Jonathan Dayton and Valeria Faris who are themselves a couple. “This is a story that is full of humor but also really, it is about what happens between people in love and our desire to control,” says Dayton.

“This story really looks at how hard it is, and how much give and take there is, in a relationship,” adds Faris. “and just that desire (to change somebody) is something that you just have to work through.”

Zoe Kazan, who plays Ruby Sparks with an innocence well captured in this film, shares her thoughts, “What makes us lovable is our imperfections, and we all have to figure out how to accept each other for who we really are.”

The movie maybe looks fluffy, but the moment Calvin makes changes to Ruby just by pounding on the keys of the typewriter, it takes on a darker tone that questions if you had the absolute power over the person you love, would that give you happiness? If it did, would you take this happiness for granted?

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

Video courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures.

(Copyright 2012 KTSF. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

 

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