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Entries in Matt Damon (36)

Friday
Jul292016

Review: Jason Bourne

It’s Eric, returning to talk about the fifth chapter in the popular Jason Bourne franchise.   Judging from the discussions I heard coming from the exit of an early screening of Jason Bourne, your enjoyment of this latest installment of the venerated action spy films probably rests in your expectations.  

Because the level of artistry involved with these films has been so high, some out there are naturally hoping that the creative forces behind Jason Bourne found a way to ratchet things up even further.  The main grumble outside the theater seemed to be that the films have gotten repetitive in form and content (Bourne finds himself in a huge public space, uses the natural crowd to escape, etc.).   

I find myself in a different camp:  to me, it’s exactly these set-ups, and specifically the skillfulness with which they’re executed, that fuel the enjoyment...  

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Thursday
Apr212016

Yes No Maybe So: Jason Bourne

The Bourne Identity. The Bourne Supremacy. The Bourne Ultimatum. The Bourne Legacy. Miss Bourne If You're Nasty. Universal Pictures correctly assumes "You know his name" which is a brilliant tagline for the forthcoming fifth* entry in the franchise, titled Jason Bourne. In fact, it could well be a tagline for 60% of the franchises out there (the other 40% are led by concepts/groups, created "universes", or in YA dystopia cases >gasp< a young woman).

The question is are we excited to go another round with Matt Damon's leaping, punching, kicking, shooting, indestructable action man and the Oscar-nominated suits that are always trying to hunt him down? Let's find the answer together with our Yes No Maybe So game... 

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Sunday
Mar062016

What's Next for this Past Season's Actors - Part 2

Murtada here to continue the conversation about upcoming projects from actors who've just walked red carpets and absorbed whatever limelight got past the Leo coronation. We've dealt with the winners and the actresses, let's turn our attention to the men.

Christian Bale: Coming up first is The Promise with Oscar Isaac and Charlotte Le Bon (The Walk), a love triangle set during the last days of the Ottoman Empire. He recently signed on to star in Scott Cooper’s Western drama Hostiles.

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Thursday
Feb112016

Best Actor: The Year of the Ham

As noted by the recently departed Alan Rickman on his BAFTA win for Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves "Subtlety isn't everything." As far as Oscar is concerned, this year Best Actor was go big or go home. Take a look the leading men outside the bubble and you'll find mostly nuanced performances like those from Michael B. Jordan, Tom Courtenay, and Tom Hanks with their scenery unchewed. Rewarding more broad work has made this the Year of the Ham.

Some of the bigger choices have been more welcome than others in this field, so let's have some fun assessing the hammage:

Bryan Cranston - Trumbo
Clearly the most guilty of going big for its own sake, Cranston's nomination leaves quite a sour taste in your mouth. The performance feels built upon arched shoulders and mustaches, even if Cranston is a game actor admirably going along with the film's schlocky tone. It's not just the scenery getting chewed, but the script, the costumes, the camera, and poor Diane Lane. It's so hammy, he even shows us his hams in a prison scene.
Level of Ham: SPAM - some people like it? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Matt Damon - The Martian
Here's a role that actually calls upon the actor to be a ham. Matt Damon gets to use more of his natural charm than he has in anything outside of the Ocean's franchise and spends much of his performance breaking the fourth wall. He leans in on the nerd humor that's heavy on puns and dirty words, but thankfully never goes full broski. Everything lands, including his unexpected emotional moments, but this a performance playing right to the crowd. The visible hams are an obvious emaciated stunt double.
Level of Ham: Honey-Baked - generally pleasing to everyone

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Tuesday
Jan262016

Best Acting, Male Division: Personal Ballots & Oscar Charts

In the war of scene-stealing antagonists this year, Oscar Isaac's Nathan (Ex Machina) > Tom Hardy's Fitzgerald (The Revenant). We love both actors here at TFE and loved them before the rest of the web did (brag brag) but when it comes down to awards season you have to make tough choices.

That's just a handy way of saying Oscar and I go our separate ways more often than not in the acting categories but now both lists are available for your (hopeful) entertainment... 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
On the subject of category placement antagonists are often tricky. They definitely move the plot -- neither The Revenant or Ex Machina can function without these devious men, but often you can see either argument for lead or supporting. While Ex Machina arguably has three leads being such a chamber drama I occasionally relax the soapbox for performances that straddle the divide. A recent rewatch of Ex Machina confirmed that Oscar Isaac would make whichever shortlist we put him in (and I'd switched him back and forth during the year in drafts). It's such an inventive approach to a thoroughly imagined character so I tossed the dice and supporting he went. Now watch him tear up this fucking dance floor...

Only one of Oscar's men makes my own personal ballot (just posted) with apologies to Mark Rylance who I thought would place but he fell in the dread sixth spot! It happens. I've completed the Oscar chart as well and included trivia for this golden sausage party. Speaking of sausage parties... I think this is the first male Oscar lineup ever in which ALL the men have gone full frontal in other movies. Weird, right? It's an exhibitionist group this year. This only occurred to me to check because I was a big fan of Intimacy (2001) back in the day which starred Mark Rylance and everyone knows that Sly starred in a porno before Rocky (1976)

The charts also include our "How'd they get nominated" fun. So here's a sample -- the Tom Hardy in The Revenant edition: 

25% Leo's bro power pulls his main men in w/ him
21% Spicy Bait: Villains prioritized in this category 
20% Timing. 'The Revenant' was the shiniest new toy
15% Everyone wishes they could have punched Iñárritu in the face
10% Performance - they like 'em BIG to shake up slow epics (see also: The Zeéeeee in 'Cold Mountain')
9% 'Mad Max Fury Rd'

P.S. I should not that though Hardy didn't make my top 12 in supporting I appreciate his go for broke attempts to save The Revenant from its own grandiose self-importance with a little cured ham.

Matt Damon a nominee at both the Oscars & the Film Bitch AwardsBEST LEADING ACTOR 
Given the weirdly unanimous "meh" factor that Oscar's shortlist has produced in audiences, at least on the web, it's hard to imagine it coming to be at all. But then you remember the media complicity in producing these sorts of safe groupings of all-stars whether or not people were actually hugely impressed with their work. Oscar produced a list of five major players who unfortunately could have been nominated based on the roles themselves before anyone saw the work (always a problem!). You've got your reigning Best Actor (Eddie Redmayne), your mega stars (Leonardo DiCaprio & Matt Damon), and your highly-revered thespians (Bryan Cranston & Michael Fassbender) with all but one of them (Damon) playing real life people. That's the baitiest of bait to awards types -- not just Oscar! --  though after 15 years of covering movies and awards seasons I still can't fathom why playing someone who really exists/existed is so much more likely to be lauded than creating a character from scratch with only the screenplay, director and your imagination to guide you. 

But anyway that's Oscar's list. Only two of them survive to make my personal ballot and I had to correct some category campaign problems too to put Jacob Tremblay (Room) and Paul Dano (Love & Mercy) where they belonged. Since DiCaprio's fans can be quite touchy I should note that he's solid, as ever, in The Revenant. He's locked up to win the Oscar finally but sadly the film just isn't asking very much of him, emotionally, beyond grief and anguish which he's been playing with minor variations for at a dozen years now. Sorry Oscar campaign narrative but tough physical working conditions and weird diets ≠ acting triumph. 

Sunday
Jan172016

CCMA Live Blog

08:00 I was going to boycott the show this year because of The Shark Jump Awakens but I'm an addict. Awards shows. Red Carpets... excuse me Blue carpets. So I watch. TJ Miller begins the show with an okay monologue without many jokes. The recurring joke is the physical gag of his "four dancing critics." In comedy theory this is one fo those jokes that gets funnier and funnier as it goes from the sheer commitment and silliness but it's probably too early in the evening (read: everyone is too sober) to pull this off just yet.

Suddenly picturing a team of 4 puppets typing with me. Enjoying the fantasy.

08:03 There are approximately 1000 reaction shots of Matt Damon already. Which is weird since there are so many celebrities to choose from in the house. 

Netflix and Chill. I'd rather HBO Go Down on Someone."

08:05 That's a joke I laughed at. I am only human.

08:07 At some point critics are called "professional sifters"? Which hmmm. Semantic comedy? There's also an aside about Oscar Isaac that I didn't get. Miller also congratulates everyone in the room

All of you are in here. You're in the room. You already did it. you won.

I lost, I guess. I'm not in the room this year. But Kirsten Dunst and Rachel McAdams are. [More after the jump]

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