Sunday, September 09, 2012

Satan Spawn, The Caco-Daemon

If I were in the mood to watch a movie that takes place in a trailer park and boldly exploits taboos for shock value, I'd watch a Guiseppe Andrews movie. He's amassed an entire oeuvre doing just that and his films use non-actors and real locations.

I did not find Killer Joe (2011, William Friedkin) shocking in the least bit. It's a $10 million dollar competently executed, if not inspired, B movie with a strong, simple plot, with very limited locations and a few characters.

If I were to wager what a producer should try if they wanted a guaranteed hit, I'd probably come up with a formula close to what Killer Joe follows: plentiful female nudity and trashy revealing getups + disgustingly gory realistic attacks peppered throughout + a singular premise, easy to follow, that brings ever increasing obstacles before its central protagonist.

This is a formula movie of the most primitive variety and it's badly dated. Do bare bush and bloody broken bones actually hold any stimulation for anyone these days? Gratuitous is the word. And when you take that away, what Killer Joe remains as is a visually dull wannabe Blood Simple (1984, Joel Coen). The sad part is that even though Blood Simple only cost $1.5 million, it's the flick I'll see a few more times, whereas I have no desire to see Killer Joe a second time.

Killer Joe is novel in the sense that it feels like something a dark lonely teenager would wet his appetite with in the form of a graphic novel. But that's to say it's kid's stuff. Its writer knows how to keep an audience paying attention, but that's not a feat to me--otherwise, I'd herald Mission: Impossible III (2006, J.J. Abrams) as the best movie of the 2000s.

I've always had the hots for Gina Gershon though. And I'm glad to see her in something for more than a few minutes. For me, she's the secret to why Showgirls (1995, Paul Verhoeven) is a timeless masterpiece.

I guess I'll close by mentioning I don't use B movie pejoratively. While Killer Joe suffers from that hard to define filmed-play symptom, I do cherish the quality that pits all of its characters against obstacles that drive them to their own utterly devastating disintegration at the lowest possible point in their shared lives. It's a black comedy--I know it's PC to say "dark" comedy. And its tone is well crafted, just not quite fitting to my particular tastes. The blue strip club scene was nifty and there's some very effective use of jumping the line between Ansel and Chris during their conversation. And the seduction of Dottie is expert in its use intentional blocking; and, an open frame used in the same way Blow Job (1964, Andy Warhol) did.

McConaughey closes out by dominating Summer 2012 with a role that will rest along side his turns in Bernie (2011, Richard Linklater) and Magic Mike (2012, Steven Soderbergh).


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