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Entries in Matthew McConaughey (59)

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)

Tuesday
Apr232013

Burning Questions: Can You Really Separate A Performance From The Film?  

Hey everybody. Michael C. here. Growing up in the dark days before Twitter, back before I could get my Oscar gripe on 24/7, I had to focus all that emotion on Siskel and Ebert’s annual "Memo to the Academy" special. Watching year after year, one of the refrains the duo drilled into my head was that the Academy should expand their idea of what constitutes an Oscar-worthy performance. Don’t lazily jot down the names of those appearing in best picture contenders. Evaluate each performance on its own merits, apart from the film that contains it. They were adamant on the subject. 

Or at least they were, until the 1998/99 episode when Gene found the limits of Roger’s open-mindedness by suggesting James Woods receive a Best Actor nod for John Carpenter’s Vampires. After Gene went on for a bit about Woods’ talent for commanding the screen, Roger demurred, “Yeah, but if you’re gonna nominate someone for Best Actor you kinda want them to be in a little better movie, don’t you think?”

Gene wasn’t having it: “No. I want the performance. I don’t care about the movie.” 

This altercation zeroed in on a question that has always nagged at me. If even a harsh critic of stodgy thinking like Ebert has to draw the line somewhere, is the issue that cut and dry? Is it really possible to separate the performance from the film? [more]

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Feb232013

Spirit Awards. Tape-Delay Blogging

I purposefully stayed off line so as to not have any awards spoiled for me tonight. Andy Samberg hosts. First things first, Andy Samberg's opening monologue is maybe a "D" at best but those Oscar Pistorius jokes are defiantly "F"...as is the segueway from a Michael Fassbender dick joke (in 2013 no less) to Quvenzhané Wallis. Errr. Inappropriate Segueway Inappropriate Segueway. But I love love love this faux trailer Bottlecap especially that "they're in f***ing everything" shout-out to two ubiquitous actors Ari Graynor and Chris Messina who can ubiquit all over me whenever they want.

Seriously, I ♥ them so much.

Public Service Announcement: Ari Graynor will soon be on TV weekly in the Cameron Diaz role in Bad Teacher and Chris Messina is available (all of him) in the romantic drama 28 Hotel Rooms which is out on DVD right now. I'll try to write something about that one soon.

And on to the awards!

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Feb132013

Best Supporting Actor: Oscar's Ballot & Mine.

I haven't been shy about my disappointment with this year's Best Supporting Actor Oscar Ballot, a lineup lacking in narrative oomph (which shouldn't be a factor in judging "best" but still makes Oscar way less fun to follow when he eschews it for old favorites) and missing several electric, fresh, film elevating and moving performances in favor of merely solid work from Oscar winners in popular films. I'm all in for Tommy Lee Jones winning since he's the only nominee Oscar & I agree is worthy to hold a place in this particular shortlist. [While we're on the subject of votes, you should cast yours in the poll]

Will he win? That's another matter entirely. I'd wager he still has the lead by virtue of a very long one (since November when he took it from Matthew McConaughey... who never really had it *sniffle* in the first place) even if the precursors have never quite settled on a frontrunner and even if his no-show at SAG didn't exactly help his cause. Christoph Waltz's BAFTA win for his leading role in Django Unchained (which might more accurately be called Schultz Unchains Django Who Only Takes Over the Film-Carrying Duties For the Final ½ Hour of a 2½ hour Film) suggest that the tide has shifted but in the end with Argo and Silver Linings Playbook campaigns both fighting so hard in the final weeks for wins, I'm not so sure that votes won't still be all over the place in this category, letting Tommy take turn two at the podium.

More after the jump...

Click to read more ...

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