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Posts Tagged ‘ Matthew McConaughey ’

Oscars 2014: The Verdict

This Sunday marks the most prestigious night in the Hollywood calendar; the 86th Annual Academy Awards. Now many people are chiming in with their guesses for the big prizes however I have found myself conflicted on a number of categories with who I think will win and who I want win and so I have decided to acknowledge both. You can find a full list of those nominated here . Now not to ramble on like so many of the speeches this Sunday will.

Best Actor

ImageThis years Best Actor category is the most stacked category of the year. In my opinion any one of the five men nominated put in better performances than any and of the nominees from last year’s awards, Daniel Day Lewis included. We have been treated to five top class and diverse performances from five of the best actors working today. A lot of people have picked Mattew McConaughey as their pick for the winner which is perfectly understandable. In my opinion the best actor over the last 12 months is without a shred of doubt is McConaughey. Not only in Dallas Buyers Club but he also gave Academy Award nomination worthy performances in Mud and The Wolf Of Wall Street, not to mention his haunting stint on True Detective. However Best Actor is awarded to the best single performance of the year not the best Actor of the year overall. Chiwetel Ejiofor delivered that for me. 12 Years A Slave was a completely different animal of a movie which brought its cast to places rarely explored in Hollywood cinema. Ejiofor plays the protagonist with a combination of power and weakness that has stayed with me for months now. Another factor towards my favoritism of Ejiofor is that I feel this will be the best performance of his life while McConaughey has had several stunning performances, which is a testament to the man’s ridiculous talent. Continue reading

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The Paperboy

Zac Efron aand Nicol Kidman in The Paperboy

Set in hot, humid Florida of the late 60s The Paperboy is a surprisingly atmospheric film. When big time reporter Ward Jensen (Matthew McConaughey) comes home to investigate the case of Hillary Van Wetter (John Cusack) it is the beginning of a whole series of events.

Hillary is about to be executed for killing a cop, but Charlotte Bless (Nicole Kidman), a letter-writing, bottle-blonde with the hots for death row inmates, thinks he is innocent and asks Ward to look into the matter.  Ward’s bother and college dropout Jack (Zac Efron) finds a new purpose in life when he falls in love with bombshell Charlotte, even though she is nearly twice his age.

As Ward and his co-writer Yardley (David Oyelowo) become more and more involved in unraveling the truth behind Hillary’s incarceration, Jack becomes more and more obsessed with Charlotte. Secrets are revealed and fantasies brought to life in a sticky, sexy southern way.

Surprisingly Kidman brings a lot of sex appeal to the role of Charlotte, displaying a near pornographic aggressiveness.  And Cusack as Hillary is the perfect opposite to seductress Charlotte. He is creepy and crude, manipulative and possessive and there is always a surge of violence lurking below the surface.

McConaughey embodies the slightly greasy Ward with his usual blend of charm and sleaze, however there is more depth to the character, which he slowly excavates as the plot thickens. Another pleasant surprise is Efron as Jack. Although he is outshone by Kidman, Cusack and McConaughey, Efron does hold his own and his ‘graduate-like’ struggle is believable and quite endearing.

As the whole story is narrated by Macy Gray as the sassy, omniscient housekeeper Anita, her unique voice injects “The Paperboy” with it’s own flair. But director Lee Daniels does struggle to give the film a consistent flow and the narrative is often choppy. Maybe this is because the topic is so unsettling, the mixture of sex, violence and racism always unbalancing the plot.  However what the narrative and storytelling lack the strong acting makes up for, overall a good film but not one for sensitive stomachs.

By Jensine-Bethna Wall

Killer Joe Review

Killer Joe (18)

Friedkin’s modern re-telling of the Faustian tale

(Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Thomas Haden Church, Juno Temple)

 

“How old are you?”, “12”, “So am I…”.

It was at precisely that moment in William Friedkin’s new film, Killer Joe, I knew things could only spiral out of control. Chris (Emile Hirsch) shows up in the middle of the night at his fathers trailer park home and he has a problem. He owes some people money. He suspects his mother, who has kicked him out of the house, of robbing him and concocts a plan to have her murdered in order that her life assurance policy can be collected and the family can live happily ever after. Sounds like a straightforward enough plan, you would think

Enter Detective Joe Cooper, played by Matthew McConaughey. A local detective decked out in dark leathers, a 10 gallon hat and aviator glasses, he is a hired assassin. He is unimpressed by the offer that Chris and his father Ansel (Thomas Haden Church) have laid out for him. Money up front or no deal. But by this stage the audience has guessed that Joe has taken a liking to young Dottie (JunoTemple), the sister and daughter of the boys. He’s willing to make a deal; his retainer until the money comes his way will be Dottie. The moral turning point in the film occurs when the boys agree. And they let Joe, a murderous but sharply intelligent psychopath into their home. They engage in a Faustian pact.

Joe effectively moves in, and you get the sense that he is there to test the family, to see how far he can stretch them into degradation until they break. It turns out they can be stretched to the point of snapping. It is following the murder of the mother that the film springs into life and spirals towards a violent end. And what ensues is a web of double-crossings, lies, violence and downright stupidity.

The defining relationship of the film is the one most unlikely, between Joe and young Dottie. They are the two characters that you are inevitably drawn towards and their on-screen interaction is notable. They study each other, one in all respects the Devil, and the other the picture of purity and innocence. It is a fascinating glance at the subject of underage love and the corruption of youth. Friedkin attempts to illustrate Dottie as the exceptional moral youth, the Gretchen, corrupted by the people around her; her drug dealer loud mouth brother, her idiotic indifferent father, and the psychopathic murdering figure of Joe.

The film is undoubtedly sewn with the needle of the Coen Brothers. The humor is dark and ironic. The character of Joe is reminiscent of the famous Anton in No Country For Old Men. The setting is the south and the characters are for the most part imbecilic. The southern drawl is the trademark. But the most defining similarity is the manner in which Friedkin brings it all to a close. Every decision made during the film inevitably leads the characters towards the last scene. And this is the trademark of the Coen Brothers.

It is McConaughey’s best performance in many years and he should stick to similar roles. As for the support acts, JunoTemple is radiant and gives an exceptional performance. For the performances and on-screen relationship of Joe and Dottie I would merit a viewing but Friedkin somewhat over-cooks the violence for me. You suspect that the graphic scenes of violence and underage sex are just for show and shock-factor.

Film review: Magic Mike

It may cost you a few singles but Magic Mike shows some of the hottest men in Hollywood take off their shirts, pants and what little they wear underneath. But this stripper film is about more than just some g-strings, great abs and gyrating hips.  Director Steven Soderbergh (Erin Brockovich, Contagion) may have been shooting under his pseudonym Peter Andrews but it’s not hard to miss his skill of pulling the best out of his leading actors.

Set in Tampa Florida Magic Mike tells the story of Mike (Channing Tatum), a part-time roofer who dreams of becoming a custom furniture designer while saving all the singles he earns stripping in the seedy nightclub Xquisite. A chance encounter with Adam (Alex Pettyfer) is the beginning of the end of his stripping career.

Mike takes Adam under his wing and mentor-protégé relationship develops. At first it’s all fun and games and the two hot male strippers enjoy the single life and spending the ones stuck in their underwear. But Adam’s protective older sister Brooke (Cody Horn) isn’t happy with the changes she sees in her little brother and sees Mike as the culprit when things go wrong.  But as the story progresses Mike discovers that the life he is leading isn’t the answer to his dreams and he struggles to see what and how he can change.

Tatum is perfectly cast in the role of Magic Mike and shows he hasn’t forgotten how to move since Step Up and performs acrobatic back-flips and sexy dance moves to prove it. But he is more than just a very sexy body in this movie, it is in the quite moments, particularly partnered with Horn or Pettyfer where his true ability shines through. As a producer on this film the idea behind the script came from his own personal experience as a 19-year old stripper at the beginning of his career, so maybe that is why his portrayal is so raw and real.

Pettyfer holds his own as the bashful newbie stripper, who leaves his socks on, who then succumbs to the lure of the night-life glamour.  But even at his best he can’t steal the scene away from Tatum whose charm and screen presents out shines him.

But the true star of this movie is Matthew McConaughey whose supporting role as the leathery, overly tanned club-owner and old-time stripper Dallas couldn’t be more cheesy, more greasy and more of a self parody.  Seeing him prance around in his ridiculous hats and outfits makes the film worth seeing on it’s own.

Magic Mike is hard to but into one genre as it is not a date-night film, the poor lads will never live up to the expectations given on screen, and it is not a chick-flick either as it is grittier than expected. But even though the ending is a little disappointing and one can’t help but feel let down or that the story ran out, Magic Mike is a good film with strong actors and surprising moments. And if you can look past the fact that Sonderbergh fell a little too in love with his yellow filter that taints many of the scenes and gives them a vintage feel, Magic Mike gives a little insight into a milieu most of us don’t know and isn’t afraid to be a bit controversial.

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