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Entries in Matthew McConaughey (55)

Tuesday
Nov052013

Review: Dallas Buyer's Club

This review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

"Silence = Death" was a particularly genius political slogan for AIDS activists in the 1980s. Potently succinct, righteously angry, and, best of all, both literally and spiritually true.  The conversations it prompted about systemic gay oppression, political complacency, the importance of frank sexual discussion, and gay liberation -- particularly in regards to the fight against HIV and AIDS --  surely saved countless lives. But isn't it a curious thing that HIV/AIDS in the arts and entertainments still remains so tied to gay-only narratives of roughly a ten year window from the early 80s through the early 90s? Time to tell new stories from fresh perspectives? Enter DALLAS BUYERS CLUB, one of the first AIDS dramas (that I can recall at least) that is not about the gay community. 

Matthew McConaughey stars as Ron Woodroff, a hard-living homophobe electrician. When we first meet him he's having a drug-fueled three way with two women behind the scenes at the rodeo. While we're watching him getting it on, he's watching a man getting gored at the rodeo. This opening sequence arguably shoves the entirely less useful 'Sex = Death' argument in your face, but the film quickly finds its footing as an involving drama about a man who doesn't know what's knocked him out and also is too damn stubborn to stay down. 

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Oct122013

Notes From L.A.

backlit by L.A.'s eternal sunshineHello you. It's Nathaniel. I've been absent but with good reason. I'm in Los Angeles for a few days visiting friends and catching up with favorite peeps at a couple of studios before the season hits like a tornado and whisks us all away to the Merry Ol Land of Ozcars. But really things are already spinning furiously. And there's no Kansas. There's only New York and L.A. where your house might land. Los Angeles is sunny and beautiful and there are more blondes per block radius than you could ever imagine in NYC. I get why people love it here but I started longing for the East Coast within 36 hours. People complain that NYC is loud and crowded but at least you don't have to drive. Driving is terrifying here. Google maps is currently in hate with me for my frequent confusions on the road. I've driven to about 6 places and been lost 4 times. 66% chance of things going wrong! Yay me. 

 I just wrapped up a junket at The Four Seasons for Dallas Buyer's Club (more on that film real soon) and the conversation before the talent arrived was all about "locks" for Oscar. The press gathered were saying things like "there are 5 locks for... and 5 locks for..." and if you've been reading The Film Experience for any length of time whatsoever you will know that I was horrified.  This is not how it works people. Sigh. Entire categories don't lock up before the precursors and even when they do firm up, there's usually a deathmatch for slot #5 in any given category. Unless by "lock" you mean "this looks like it might happen but who knows" in which case the symboic word has lost all correlation to its real life counterpart so quit using it. 

I don't normally do junkets since it's virtually impossible to get fresh exclusive coverage from them. Apparently I have control issues because not being able to shape a conversation with a fine director (let's say, oh, Jean Marc-Vallée) or ask about his past work in relation to his new work while the noisiest junketeer in the room merely asks him to regurgitate the entire press note package for his entire alloted time in the room just makes me C.R.A.Z.Y.

HYPOTHETICALLY SPEAKING, YOU UNDERSTAND.

view from my room at the Four Seasons

 But I can't say that I didn't enjoy my time at the Four Seasons. Lounging poolside first thing in the morning, or typing in a plush bathrobe while the balcony door lets in a cool breeze, or a quick elevator ride up several floors to sit down with Matthew McConaughey? I'll take it!  

P.S. Good god his eyes are blue in person. When he touched the hand of the girl next to me to illustrate a point, I thought she might spontaneously combust. Or melt.

How is your weekend going? 

Sunday
Oct062013

Podcast: Best Actor Captain Phillips? Plus Inside Llewyn Davis

For this weekend we have a mini podcast but good things come in small packages.

Katey & Joe attended the Inside Llewyn Davis premiere at the New York Film Festival and tell Nathaniel about it from Garret Hedlund's ponytail, Carey Mulligan doppelgangers, Coen ambience shenanigans and film festival fashions.

All three of us loved Tom Hanks performance in Captain Phillips and Nick joins us, finally, to chat about the Best Actor race. We reference this "no frontrunners" article if you missed it. You can listen at the bottom of the post or download it on iTunes. Join in the conversation in the comments.

[Editor's Note: Because iTunes only hosts the 10 most recent episodes (I'm not sure why that is), the podcasts for this year's films we'll start disappearing after this particular episode so make sure and download them if you haven't yet listened to any episode.]

Inside Captain Phillips, Best Actor

Monday
Sep232013

There is No Frontrunner For Best Actor

By and large pundits seem to have narrowed down the Best Actress category, sadly before all the films have even premiered, to about 6 or 7 women... but many of them won't be able to win for their roles (when you've already won it's more difficult to build a "more" case - this ain't the Emmys) so the fight for the actual statue will probably not be bloody at all. Here you go, Cate! The supporting categories (both male and female) are still hugely competitive as far as nominations go but again the winning could well be set in stone as soon as the nominations are facts rather than assumptions.

Will Oscar feel sentimental about Dern or Redford?

But Best Actor just can't be narrowed down. Not yet at least. [more...]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Aug272013

Yes, No, Maybe So: Dallas Buyers Club

We've been waiting for this one. Jean-Marc Vallée's biodrama about rebel cowboy Ron Woodroff who started an illegal drug ring for AIDS victims in the 80s has long had Oscar buzz for the emaciated slip of what was once Matthew McConaughey but now we can put the buzz to the test with the trailer. Let's break it down into Yes No Maybe So categories. As we do. All right All right.

YES
The cast first. At the very least one feels that a ticket purchase for this movie might help Matthew McConaughey on his road to recovery. He's been pushing himself with such commitment into the actor everyone wanted him to be right after A Time to Kill but which he never became until now. We owe him a thank you meal! Jared Leto looks amazing in his brief snippets as Ron's liaison with the gay community who were hit the hardest by the plague in the 80s. It's nice to see Jennifer Garner loosed from Ben Affleck's arm for a couple of hours. 

Newsflash for y'all. There aint nothing that can kill Ron Woodroff in 30 days."

The story sure looks compelling in this well cut trailer. There's lots of room for McConaughey to show off and as an actor, that's kind of what he does best, right? That moment where Matthew as Ron falls to the ground and the moment when he cries look gut wrenching in the good way.

Plus C.R.A.Z.Y., Canada's Oscar submission in 2005, showed that Jean Marc Vallée was a director capable of harnessing great chaotic rock n roll energy into compelling personal journey cinema 

NO
The Young Victoria, which won Oscar nominations in 2009, suggests that Jean Marc Vallée gets a little duller when he's aiming for the prestige market with personal journey cinema. (But then, who doesn't?)

Jared Leto waits for drugs

An unfair "No" aside: No matter how great the true story is, I don't particularly relish yet another civil rights struggle story being coopted to honor yet another brave white straight person. Yes, I know it's a medical drama / biographical film rather than a gay drama but given the way AIDS spread into an epidemic due to governments ignoring it during its infancy as a minority problem, a  "gay cancer" as they put it, the topic will be inextricably linked to the gay struggle in history. I have reason to believe this will eventually change given that we've seen a few historical dramas recently which were told from the point of the view of the minority (The Help, mostly, and The Butler and Milk) but for the first century of film this was largely not the case and we always had to look at history and breakthrough triumphs for minorities through a heteronormative white prism. 

MAYBE SO
In all the descriptions of the story, Ron Woodroff is described as a homophobe and there is room to explore this in an interesting way without cheaply praising him, as some movies do with their jerk heroes for making baby steps towards being a better person (Philadelphia arguably had problems with this with the Denzel character). Let's hope Jared Leto and his film friends are portrayed in a well rounded human way and that the "you sayin' I'm a homo!?" element and conflict is handled with surgical precision and not implicitly endorsed as

THE TRAILER

Are you a Yes No Maybe So ???  Let's take that question three times
1. On the movie?
2. On its Oscar chances?
3. On crazy weight loss/gain as shortcuts to acting glory? (i.e. should movie stars really risk their health this way when visual effects have come so far?)

Thursday
Jun202013

Three Quickies: Mud, Identity Thief, Frances Ha 

In an effort to say at least a few words on everything I see this year, here are three short takes on recent pictures we haven't discussed much. I'd love to hear your thoughts if you've seen 'em (or want to).

Frances Ha
Modern dancer Frances (Greta Gerwig), suddenly apartment hunting when her best friend Sophie (Mickey Sumner) moves out, struggles to get her act together while her friends are increasingly settling into career and relationship grooves
Quickie Take: Less an explicit psychological mural than a suggestive sidewalk sketch but what artistry! Palpable energy and magical color. [In black and white]. A-

Frances Ha tickles me

Best in Show: Greta Gerwig but then she IS the show. The supporting cast is fine too including newcomer Mickey Sumner as best friend Sophie, Broadway star Charlotte D'Amboise as a dance guru, and Grace Gummer as an irritated former classmate.
Oscar? I'd love to emphatically promise that it has a true darkhorse shot at Actress (Greta Gerwig is at her most Gerwigian and it's beautiful), Director (this is arguably Noah Baumbach's finest film), Editing, and Original Screenplay (at least!) but these days little charming movies stay little (sigh). I know I sound like an ol' curmudgeon - GET OFF MY LAWN - but in truth this movie made me feel young... post-college young to be specific. Quarter century life crisis! 

 

IDENTITY THIEF
Sandy Patterson (Jason Bateman continuing his variety-free post Juno rut), family man and accountant, must apprehend conwoman "Sandy Patterson" (Melissa McCarthy) to undo the damage she's done to his reputation and bank account. 
Quickie Take: Lazily assumes joke-free laughs. Shamelessly pursues atonal "Redemptive Arc". Excruciating length, rail thin characterizations, plot girth D-

 

Best in Show Melissa McCarthy wins the only laughs but at what price? Rex Reed is an a-hole but maybe he had a a teensy-tiny possible point embedded in the awful rhetoric of his infamous "hippo" review. 
Oscar Chances? LOL. No, but it might unfortunately hurt the next Melissa McCarthy's chances at hardware for a Bridesmaids style comic breakthrough; This is what you've chosen to do with that well-earned goodwill?

 

MUD
A young teenager (Tye Sheridan) discovers a wanted man (Matthew McConaughey as "Mud") holed up on a nearby island in an abandoned motorboat, awaiting word from his woman (Reese Witherspoon) who is herself in some kind of trouble.
Quickie Take: Emotionally expressive, rarely weighed down by repetitive structure. Never content to do just one thing per scene, Mud attempts coming of age adventure, family drama, and romantic thriller with nearly equal flair.  B+

Jeff Nichols and Matthew McConaughey on the set of "Mud"

Best in Show: McConaughey but the whole cast is strong and Sheridan proves that Terence Malick was on to something when he cast him in Tree of Life. He's beautifully natural onscreen, never "child actor" forced. Can we start campaigning for him to receive a Best Young Actor nomination at the BFCA Critics Choice Awards next January?
Oscar Chances? Like Magic Mike before it, it will more likely bolster Matthew McConaughey's shot at an actual statue for something else entirely. Still, both Oscar and career opportunities are all about momentum and this movie, so quick on the heels of Take Shelter is setting writer/director Jeff Nichols up to break through in a major way. If he keeps up this pace and this quality, what a career he's going to have.
And Also: Congratulations to longtime frienquaintance Kris Tapley on getting the poster quote!

Thursday
May232013

Early Bird Oscar Predix: The "Best Actor" Chart

Guess who goes where?


Everything feels so possible at the start... the only "lockish" thing about this year's Best Actor race is that there is a crazy amount of HAIR happening. Goatees, moustaches, wigs, curls, shags, pomade, dye-jobs, fros... you name it, it's happening! 

THE BEST ACTOR CHART
Tom Hanks, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Matthew McConaughey leading the charge  

Which leading men are you rooting for? (From a distance of course. I hope you all jump ship if the performance doesn't live up to your dreams! The past few years of Oscar races have shown a disturbing amount of stubborn Team Loyalty before the films and performances were seen)

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