Tag Archives: Matthew McConaughey

Midnight Special (2016)

At one point Jeff Nichols was slated to direct Aquaman. Let’s let that oddity sink in for a moment, try to picture a big-budget superhero tentpole in the hands of a small-scale operator, compare it to that one time Edgar Wright was going to direct Ant-Man. Oof — too soon. If you don’t know Jeff Nichols (or just confuse him with Mike Nichols) then there are two movies you have to see. The first is Take Shelter, about a family man plagued by apocalyptic visions. The second is Mud, starring Matthew McConaughey in one of his McConaissance roles, about a backwoods constellation of intersecting characters. If you’re sensing that neither of those exactly scream underwater trident-wielding badass, don’t panic! This indicates only that you are still sane.

One commonality between the films is Michael Shannon, a forceful actor who’s risen to prominence with the likes of Boardwalk Empire and Man of Steel, and yet still the kind of guy who seems underrated.  Nichols certainly doesn’t make that mistake, recognizing his talent to such a degree that he can’t seem to make a movie without him. He’s something of a bit player in Mud, but Shannon leads Take Shelter and returns to the fore in Midnight Special, Nichols’ latest film.

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Film & TV News: March 7

News

  • People joining projects: Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey have officially joined The Dark Tower, likely kicking off a new franchise and dragging this particular Stephen King adaptation into the light once and for all after decades in development hell. Elba vs. McConaughey should put a great many doubts to rest.
  • People leaving projects: Joseph Gordon-Levitt is departing Sandman, which he was scheduled to direct and star in, over creative differences with the studio. Very disappointing. Slightly less disappointing is the departure of Eli Roth from the shark thriller Meg, which may or may not result in a better Meg.
  • Sony has announced a Venom movie to be spun out of the Spider-Man franchise that they really don’t seem to even have anymore. How do you make a Venom movie sans Spidey?

Continue reading Film & TV News: March 7

Film & TV News: January 10

News

  • Guys: a Deadwood movie. We dare not dwell on this possibility and are currently knocking on every wooden object in the vicinity, but HBO and David Milch have stated that “it’s happening”. Lots of deserving shows bring up the possibility of concluding with a movie, but a Deadwood film just makes perfect sense.
  • Lots of TV news this week, as a matter of fact: Steven Soderbergh has revealed a six-year plan for The Knick, Ridley Scott has expressed interest in helming an adaptation of The Prisoner, and Arrested Development will be structuring its fifth season like Making a Murderer. All of those things sound awesome.
  • Christopher Nolan’s next film will be Dunkirk, and fellow collaborator Hans Zimmer has already signed on for scoring duties. Tom Hardy’s name has been thrown out for a starring role, but that’s just a rumor at this point.
  • Aaron Sorkin will make his directorial debut with Molly’s Game, a true-life tale of a championship skier who turns into a “gambling matron”. If Sorkin can cherrypick from the directors he’s collaborated with recently — David Fincher on The Social Network, Bennet Miller on Moneyball, Danny Boyle on Steve Jobs — then Molly’s Game will be one to watch.

Continue reading Film & TV News: January 10

Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)

Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Alan Arkin, Ed Harris, and Kevin Spacey all in one movie, each with significant time in front of the camera. Who steals the show? If you guessed none of the above, you either were too afraid to guess or you’ve seen Glengarry Glen Ross. GGR does have all of these actors for the entire movie; it also has Alec Baldwin for one scene.

In the end, three minutes of Baldwin overshadow an hour and a half of some of the greatest actors of more than one generation. His brief, but memorable performance can be likened to that of Matthew McConaughey’s in The Wolf of Wall Street. In both cases, they achieve the goal of all actors/characters — to be memorable in just one scene.

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True Detective 2.3 – “Maybe Tomorrow”

A lot of the critical flak directed at the second season of True Detective has to do with the bottomless angst in which all of the main characters are mired. There’s certainly a lot of brooding, a lot of staring, a lot of heavy breathing. Nary a smile. The premiere dealt with child abuse, suicide and rampant prostitution (not to mention murder) and the second episode “Night Finds You” left a main character lying flat with a point-blank shotgun blast in his chest. Below is a picture of my family gathered to spend time together and enjoy this wholesome television — after that are spoilers for the third episode “Maybe Tomorrow”.

"Turn it up, son! I don't want you to miss any of the exposition in this scene at the fertility clinic!"
“Turn it up, son! I don’t want you to miss any of the exposition in this scene at the fertility clinic!”

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True Detective 2.1 – “The Western Book of the Dead”

Most everyone is comparing last night’s premiere of True Detective‘s second season with all of the highs of the first, which is both an inevitability (it’s True Detective, after all) and an exercise in futility. For the purposes of our Season 2 reviews we’ll be largely ignoring Matthew McConaughey’s Rust Cohle and Woody Harrelson’s Marty Hart (trying, anyway) although some comparisons do hold favorably with the current cast of characters. Our recent piece “A Man Without a Family” touched on the various family circles throughout the first season, and it’s clear in characters like Colin Farrell’s Ray Velcoro and Rachel McAdams’s Ani Bezzerides that some themes are inherent to the show regardless of which season we’re in.

“The Western Book of the Dead” was jam-packed with stuff, juggling a handful of protagonists and delving into flashbacks and allusions to mysterious pasts. Ray, a California cop in the Vinci Police Department, is introduced to us as the father of a young boy. The kid’s afraid of his classmates picking on him, but Ray seems tender and loving in his encouragements. “Be proud,” he says. When we discover that Velcoro’s kid is likely  product of the years-ago violent rape of his wife, our picture of Ray the Loving Father starts to disintegrate. By the end of the episode he’s ripped into his son, driven to the home of the kid that’s been bullying him, and beaten the father of that kid to hell while making the kid watch. The beauty in the fact of watching this scene on Father’s Day is not lost on me.

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True Detective 1.7 – “After You’ve Gone”

This review appeared shortly after the initial premiere of True Detective in early 2014 — slight edits have been made since the original posting.

Matthew McConaughey took home a well-deserved Oscar last night for his work in Dallas Buyers Club, beating out stiff competition in the likes of Christian Bale and Leonardo DiCaprio. While his acceptance speech was, as you would expect, very positive and un-Rustin Cohle, the usual drawling fatalism we’ve come to expect from Sunday Night McConaughey was going down on another channel. True Detective followed the slow-paced “Haunted Houses” with an even slower penultimate episode, and yet it still provided enough story progression that waiting a week to find out what the finale has up its sleeve will be torturous. Spoilers follow for the seventh episode “After You’ve Gone”.

At the end of “Haunted Houses” Cohle and Hart met in 2012 for the first time, having not seen each other for a decade and both looking a little worse for wear. Speculations as to what their ultimate meeting would entail were fueled by the shot of Hart checking his loaded gun, guesses ranging from standoff to a revelation that Cohle or Hart or both or whoever is indeed The Yellow King.

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True Detective 1.5 – “The Secret Fate of All Life”

This review appeared shortly after the initial premiere of True Detective in early 2014 — slight edits have been made since the original posting.

Anyone who has been watching HBO’s True Detective knows that there’s something not quite right about Detective Rust Cohle. Matthew McConaughey has one of the roles of his life here, and he conveys the darkness inside Rust with brilliant ambiguity — is he a deceitful lawman or a meticulous killer? The fourth episode of the series “Who Goes There” marked the first indication of real evidence of something sinister within Cohle, although viewers have suspected as much since the pilot episode. Sunday night’s episode began, finally, to blow the question wide open — full spoilers follow for the fifth episode “The Secret Fate of All Life”.

“Who Goes There” finished with a tracking shot that quickly took the internet by storm over the past week, and the following episode picked up more or less where that shot left off. Hart and Cohle use the latter’s Iron Crusaders connection to hunt down Reggie Ledoux, meth chemist and prime suspect in the Dora Lange murder, and we finally reach the swamp-set shootout that both men allude to frequently in their case testimonials in 2012. Detectives Gilbough and Papania ask Hart and Cohle to recount this event for what must be the thousandth time since it happened 17 years ago, and Hart confirms that every time he’s told the story he’s told it the same, because “it only went down the one way.”

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True Detective 1.3 – “The Locked Room”

This review appeared shortly after the initial premiere of True Detective in early 2014 — slight edits have been made since the original posting.

Horror creeps ever closer in the third hour of True Detective, and Rust Cohle and Martin Hart may not be doing all they can to slow the arrival. After last week’s episode “Seeing Things” revealed more about both characters, the most recent entry in the eight-part season dug still deeper into the good and the bad inside the detectives portrayed by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson — but mostly the bad. Spoilers follow for the third episode “The Locked Room”.

Not long ago, if you told me the hunky McConaughey and the thick-jawed slacker Harrelson would be in a show together and the latter would be the one involved in a love triangle, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. In a distinct continuation of the character arc presented in the first two episodes, Harrelson’s Hart is far from the family man he pretends to be, and his treatment of the women in his life seems increasingly self-centered. Though he is drunk, the scene where he barges in on his younger lover (Alexandra Daddario) and beats the hell out of the kid she’s with still shows Hart’s penchant for quick violence in much the way Cohle’s sudden flare of brutality with the mechanic in last week’s episode showed a similar capacity. These are men with morals but they are also bad men, inescapably, calling to mind Marlon Brando’s musings as Kurtz near the end of Apocalypse Now, seeking “men who are moral, and at the same time…without feeling…without passion…without judgment…without judgment.”

Continue reading True Detective 1.3 – “The Locked Room”

True Detective 1.2 – “Seeing Things”

This review appeared shortly after the initial premiere of True Detective in early 2014 — slight edits have been made since the original posting.

After a strong, stimulating pilot episode last week, True Detective returned with a second episode that further steeped us in the characters of Rust Cohle and Martin Hart. Headway is made on the murder investigation, but True Detective continues to emphasize the characters over the plot. Spoilers follow for the second episode “Seeing Things”.

Last week, the 1995 murder of Dora Lange brought State Police Detectives Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and Hart (Woody Harrelson) together for the investigation while their disproportionate attitudes kept them distanced outside of work. A connection was made between the Lange murder and the shady disappearance of the young Fontenot girl years earlier, but other than that very few pieces of the puzzle can be placed by the young detectives. The pilot episode also introduced a part of the story unfolding seventeen years after the Dora Lange murder, and in 2012 Cohle and Hart are seemingly estranged, definitely changed from the men they used to be, but somehow definitely still the same.

Continue reading True Detective 1.2 – “Seeing Things”