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It must have seemed to director John Hillcoat that Matt Bondurant’s book, The Wettest County in the World, offered promising material for a movie when he purchased the film rights two years ago. Bondurant is the grandson and grandnephew of a once-notorious trio of brothers who ran an extensive bootlegging operation during the early 1930s in Franklin County, Virginia, amid the hills and hollows south of Roanoke. The three Bondurants got embroiled in a very nasty disagreement with a corrupt state official who sought to take control of the bootlegging proceeds. Matt Bondurant wrote a well-received fictionalized treatment of his forbears’ story, and Hillcoat may well have been drawn by the opportunity to deal with little-used subject matter, by the opportunity for a pungent melodramatic piece of Americana.

Killer Joe

The maxim that the bad guy is always the best role is one that has to be discovered anew by every generation of Hollywood leading men who hit a brick wall after wearing out their welcome in romantic leads. Matthew McConaughey hit that wall earlier than some: Good-looking he may be, but (in my opinion, anyway) in a creepy way that always felt out of place in comedies. This was not a guy you wanted to see dating your sister.

Neil Young Journeys

Neil Young’s temperamental, changeling ways as a singer/songwriter/unabashed rocker measure well against Neil Young as a subject of films. While he was one of the high points of the Band’s 1976 farewell, Martin Scorsese’s The Last Waltz, and he made one of the most monumental concert opuses of its time, the 1979 companion film to the album Rust Never Sleeps, he was also the man who, for his own reasons, refused to have his image appear in the touchstone 1970 documentary Woodstock. He’s always loved the medium of film, however, from tinkering with his own off-beat semi-narrative experimentations like Journey Through the Past and Human Highway to his ongoing collaboration with Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme.

Celeste and Jesse Forever

When we first see them, Celeste (Rashida Jones) and Jesse (Andy Shamberg) are the kind of couple that often drives friends nuts: sharing private jokes, talking in silly voices to each other, and generally acting like a wholly self-contained unit. They seem to be the perfect couple, best friends as well as spouses.

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