Thursday, February 28, 2013

Entertainer Profile - Matthew McConaughey


 Sometimes I think it is kind of a shame that Matthew McConaughey had the juggernaut year as he did in 2012.  Many times, when someone has that kind of year, it is hard for them to replicate it, which is exactly what I would like for him to do.  He had four major roles, which should have garnered him much award love, but did not, which is a big disappointment.  However, he demonstrated some serious versatility and if he is going to stay on this route, I cannot wait to see what he has in store for the future.

He was born in Uvalde, Texas (a town just a little over 5 hours west of where I am sitting right now) in 1969 but grew up in Longview, Texas, a town just east of Dallas.  His mom was a substitute teacher and dad was in the oil business.  While attending the University of Texas at Austin and studying to be a lawyer, Matthew suddenly decided he had another calling and changed his major to film.  After directing some short films, he was introduced to Richard Linklater (director of Dazed and Confused) and from there, a talented career began.

Dazed and Confused (1993) - He burst onto the scene in Richard Linklater's cult classic following a group of high school students enjoying their last day of school in 1976.  His character, David Wooderson, was the older guy of the bunch who had a deep affection for high school girls.  The character took being a loser to astronomical levels and McConaughey turned "David" into a cinematic icon.
Boys on the Side (1995)
Lonestar (1996)
A Time to Kill (1996) - This is still, to this day, my favorite John Grisham adaptation.  It was an emotional American drama that dealt with extremely sensitive and controversial issues and as far as I am concerned, one of the best casts ever assembled.  This was Matthew McConaughey's breakthrough performance and made him the new 'it' actor in Hollywood.
Contact (1997)
Amistad (1997)
U-571 (2000)
Frailty (2001) - A little known dark psychological thriller that I have always thoroughly enjoyed.
Reign of Fire (2002)
We Are Marshall (2006)
The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)
Bernie (2012) - This movie was great and if you are from Texas, you will love it and appreciate this true story out of Carthage even more.  Jack Black received a very well-deserved Golden Globe nomination but Shirley MacLaine and especially McConaughey should have received some award love too.


Killer Joe (2012) - I was really looking forward to this movie when I first saw it.  I was really looking forward to it until I recently saw it that is.  The acting was good, it really had a great cast, but the movie as a whole failed to draw me in.  However, there was Matthew McConaughey's chilling portrayal of Killer Joe, police detective by day, hired assassin by night.  His character was just an all around bad seed. But, he made that seed grow and blossom into his most sinister villain since Frailty.

The Paperboy (2012) - This movie was also quite the stinker in the plot department but was packed full of great performances by Nicole Kidman, Macy Gray, John Cusack, and Matthew McConaughey.

Magic Mike (2012) - What is so phenomenal about this performance is before this movie came out, it was hailed as nothing more but a bunch of eye-candy for the ladies, and of course, it was.  McConaughey portrayed the sleazy, aging male strip club owner in an all out awesome performance and nearly got nominated for an Oscar for it, well at least there was a lot of buzz which I guess is the same thing.

There were several missteps between Reign of Fire and The Lincoln Lawyer (except for We Are Marshall of course).  To name a few:  Failure to Launch, Fool's Gold, Sahara, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, and Two For the Money.  However, he bounced back brilliantly as far as I am concerned.  He bounced back so well in fact, he should have been nominated (Oscar, Golden Globe, what have you) for one or more of the last 4 movies in the above list.  He was quite the chameleon in these movies, reinventing himself every time.  I know I am not the only one who thinks so because he was applauded by critics.  From what I have read though, we can expect the same level of tour-de-force versatility in the near future and I say bring it on Matthew.  From one Texas boy to another, ya done good son.

Thank you and see you at the next blog.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Warm Bodies

3 1/2 STARS

 I have to admit, there were other movies I wanted to see tonight at my local cinema.  There were even a couple I needed to see for the sake of my "And the nominees are...." series.  However, I had a buddy of mine with me and we decided on the weekend's number one movie at the box office, Warm Bodies.  I have to say, what a pleasant and most interesting surprise.

Warm Bodies was written and directed by Jonathan Levine (50/50).  When the film begins, we meet R who is not only a young zombie, but he just so happens to be a zombie with a conscious who wants more out of his life (I know right).  He basically spends his days sloshing around an airport in a post-apocalyptic world where an epidemic infected most of the population....well, you know the rest of the story.  It's a plot that we are seeing a lot of these days.  However, there is a twist in this tale.  While a group of young humans leave their heavily guarded city, which is surrounded by a massive wall, to obtain medical supplies, they run into a group of the undead and of course a bloody battle ensues and at the same time, R set his sights on Julie and is immediately smitten with her.  He whisks her away to his airport home and an actual friendship begins to develop, but of course this is very forbidden.  Is this starting to sound familiar?  There is a definite Romeo and Juliet going on here.   Another twist to this, as you find out from watching the trailer, is as R and Julie get closer, he starts becoming more human starting with a beating heart.

Warm Bodies is original and funny with a much more interesting and watchable love story than any of these predictable romantic comedies we are bombarded with these days.  Now, just to let you know, this film is not bust-a-gut, laugh out loud funny but you will do plenty of chuckling.  The writing is smart and I thought it flowed at just the right pace in its 98 minutes and if there is a soundtrack, it will rock!  Some awesome throwback songs make appearances.  I was also impressed the young actors in their roles, especially the star-crossed lovers.  Nicholas Hoult (About a Boy, X-Men: First Class) portrays R and does very well in a role that could not have been easy.  You will know what I mean when you see it. Teresa Palmer (Julie) is quite the fresh face and plays her part in awesome form, bouncing from tough as nails to vulnerable with ease.  One of my favorites, John Malkovich was cast in the role of Colonel Grigio, who leads the band of unaffected humans, and played the unemotional jackass leader as only he can, brilliantly.  Rob Corddry was a surprise and a pleasant one I might add.  He brings much of the comic relief of course as R's friend M, as he does with many of his roles, but he also showed some much broader acting chops in this one and I was impressed.

So, I, of course, say go on over and see Warm Bodies.  I guarantee you will leave not feeling like a cold fish.

Thank you and see you at the next blog.