12.March.2012: William Friedkin’s Killer Joe had already played a couple of other festivals before arriving at South by Southwest on Saturday night, but it’s not mellowing any with age. Kenji Fujishima’s review is mixed, deriding Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tracy Letts’ script (“a dysfunctional-family drama that tries to pass off ‘shocking’ behavior as edgy provocation to mask the utter conventionality at its heart”), but he has good things to say about the direction and cast: “Friedkin has directed this emptily outré material with gusto, fully committing to the play’s madness with the same intensity that he brought to his 2008 adaptation of Letts’s Bug…[and] who knew that McConaughey, memorable more for his handsome blandness in many of his previous roles, was capable of rising to the depths of this character’s depravity so persuasively and menacingly?” The L Magazine’s Mark Asch agrees on that last point: “McConaughey has never struck me as someone particularly interested in playing against type, but he’s roused to interesting effect here. Dressed all in black, he is, as Dennis Hopper would say, a suave motherfucker; his drawling physicality suggests an eerie control, and indeed portends righteous rage.” Asch takes issue with critic Harry Knowles’s post-screening Q&A with McConaughey and his co-star Gina Gershon: “Sorry, getting a laugh is not an appropriate reason to speak to a professional actress like a whore.”
Also from SXSW, Hammer to Nail’s Jesse Klein publishes a review of the Zellner Brothers’ Kid-Thing: “Annie, the titular character, is in every way on her own, roaming the fields and alleyways of rural Texas with paintball gun and aluminum bat in hand, destroying all she comes across. She sees time and again that human love is not an absolute; it is conditional, finite, a scarcity.” Meanwhile, Indiewire rounds up all its affiliated coverage of the Austin festival to its midpoint.
For the Associated Press, Nasser Karimi reports that Iranian authorities have canceled a ceremony for Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation even after hailing the film’s Oscar win. “There were no details as to why a permit was denied,” Karimi writes, “but some Iranian conservatives were upset with the film’s themes: domestic turmoil, gender inequality and the desire by many to leave the country…Two cinema groups, the Center for Directors of Iranian Cinema and the High Council of Producers of Iranian Cinema, issued a statement decrying the cancellation.”
Daniel E. Slotnik reports for The New York Times that longtime character actor Leonard Cimino died on March 3. He was 94. Slotnik writes, “Mr. Cimino studied acting, directing and modern dance at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater. But he thought that his looks — he was slight of build and had a distinctively thin face — might make it hard to win steady roles when he was trying to choose a profession in the 1940s. Those looks, however, turned out to be his greatest asset.” After taking dance classes with Martha Graham as a young man, Cimino went on to play bit parts in movies as varied as Dune and Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead.
The New York Public Library opened the Star Quality: The World of Noël Coward exhibition yesterday, and the Quietus responds by republishing a 1997 piece in which Suede’s Brett Anderson and Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennant consider the British actor’s sexuality and cultural influence.