Matthew McConaughey

True Detective 1

Your theories were wrong. Well, probably. HBO’s latest opus of small screen cinema, the Nic Pizzolatto-created, Cary Fukunaga-directed, and Matthew McConaughey- and Woody-Harrelson-starring True Detective, ended its first season last night (unless you were trying to watch the season finale on HBO GO, in which case you might still be watching the flat circle of time known as the loading screen endlessly unspool) and after eight weeks of obsessive viewing, the first season finale is already the subject of intense hyperbole. The final episode, “Form and Void,” is less than a day old, and it’s already fiercely divisive – it was either the best possible ending or a tremendous letdown. The truth is, of course, somewhere in the middle – though that doesn’t mean that True Detective is not, on a whole, great entertainment. And although True Detective is the kind of often dense programming that benefits from closer reading and a few outside sources (“The Yellow King” post over at io9 remains essential), it’s also the kind that has suffered at the hand of relentless fan theorizing – because it’s those people who are most let down by its final conclusions.

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Oscar Predictions 2014: Actor

The Best Actor field this year is a bit different than normal. Christian Bale is the only nominee to have won an Oscar, and that was in the Best Supporting Actor category. More over, two of the nominees (Chiwetel Ejiofor and Matthew McConaughey) have never received a nomination before. It’s not that these guys are newcomers. They’ve been acting for years, some of them in respected and popular films. The Academy is just finally getting around to giving them some recognition. Still, each nomination comes with a social issue attached to it. Whether it be the greed of American Hustle and The Wolf of Wall Street, the plight of the elderly in Nebraska, slavery and white guilt in 12 Years a Slave, or good old fashioned AIDS baiting for the Academy voters in Dallas Buyers Club, these nominations could be seen as a nod to the issue rather than the actor. (This could explain why Robert Redford and Tom Hanks were shut out of the contest this year: no social issues with lost yachters and captains who thwart Somali pirate attacks.) No matter what, someone will be winning his first Best Actor Oscar. Keep reading for a look at all five nominees for Best Actor along with my predicted winner in red…

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Things were so much simpler before Matthew McConaughey became a well-respected, critically lauded actor. The world was a brighter, shinier place. It was full of romantic comedies like Failure to Launch and The Wedding Planner and How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, films where McConaughey was little more than a sparkling Southern drawl stuffed into a sport coat. That old Matthew McConaughey is gone now, lost adrift a sea of accolades and acting ability and roles that are all very serious and very sad. The new McConaughey is a serious actor who takes on tougher, more complex roles and aces them, every single time. The new McConaughey is a man who will actually close his drapes before stripping nude, getting high and pounding on his conga drums like an insane person. It’s a whole new world out there. And it’s a world that will continue into Sea of Trees, the latest role McConaughey will, presumably, be really really great in. The film, according to The Wrap, will be directed by Gus Van Sant and star McConaughey as a depressed man who ventures into Japan’s Aokigahara Forest with plans to commit suicide. There, he’ll meet Ken Watanabe, who entered the forest with similar motives but has since undergone a change of heart and wants to live. Together, the two of them will “begin a journey of reflection and survival.”

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mcconaugheytampa

As I’m sure you’re aware, Matthew McConaughey is currently experiencing His Moment. Seemingly resurrected from the depths of bankable but critically ill-regarded romantic comedies, McConaughey is now headlining a gritty new HBO series, briefly stealing a scene in a Scorsese movie from fellow Best Actor nominee Leo DiCaprio, taking the lead in a characteristically ambitious and mysterious new Christopher Nolan movie, and, of course, cementing it all with an Oscar nomination and plenty of momentum to take home the statue in March. The fascinating turn of events that have occurred in the former Sahara star’s career since 2011, aka “The McConaissance,” is catnip for people who enjoy treating Hollywood seriously: it represents a tacit recognition by the star of the inherent limitations of Hollywood, and an attempt to transcend them; it evinces a star aware of his own public persona, who is seeking out roles that play with, and even subvert, that persona; and this particular star’s devotion to truly off-beat roles has made for something far more interesting than conventional career “comebacks” a la your Travolta, Rourke, or Downey, Jr. An Oscar for McConaughey would likely represent the apotheosis of the actor’s decisive shift in creative effort, a reward for his calculated and compelling career “redemption.” But McConaughey’s recognition for Dallas Buyers Club shows how even the most surprising of career moves are recognized for their most conventional and least surprising moments.

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The 71st Golden Globe Awards are happening now, and we’ve got all the winners for your reference. Don’t worry, no spoilers. We’re only finding out everything as it happens, and we’ll be updating this post throughout the big night. Keep checking in, especially if you’re not watching. But why aren’t you watching? It should be an entertaining show, not just because of hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, but because of the booze (ours and theirs). Also, nobody is sure what will win the Best Picture – Drama trophy, Gravity or 12 Years a Slave. It’s vital that we find out and we’ll be here for the ride towards finding out. Okay, let’s get to the winners. They’re the ones in bold below. Congrats to all, unless Breaking Bad wins. Nobody even likes that show, right? Just kidding, it better win this time.

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review wolf of wall street

Common wisdom says that money can’t buy happiness, but common wisdom never spooned cocaine into a flexible young woman’s anus. Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) knows better than that, and he also knows that power, expensive things, drugs, women, and drugs inserted in women are all for the taking when you have money. He heads to Wall Street, and after a quick business lunch with a mentor (Matthew McConaughey) he sets about building an investment firm complete with a team of driven, egotistical but slavish pricks shaped in his own image. His best and brightest employee is Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill), and together they build an empire built on penny stock commissions, ersatz testosterone, and the broken dreams of lower to middle class Americans. Despite affectations of friendship, simulations of love, and words of confidence from the man’s own mouth, Belfort cares for no one but himself. His climb to the top (or just as correct, to the bottom) comes with hundreds of willing and thousands of unknowing Sherpas, but only he knows it’s a one-man venture. Welcome to one of the year’s best comedies. Welcome to Martin Scorsese‘s The Wolf of Wall Street.

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interstellar teaser 1

How do you fill a nearly two-minute-long teaser for a movie you’re not ready to show much footage from? Pad it with archival material, of course. The first look at Christopher Nolan‘s highly anticipated new sci-fi film Interstellar has arrived online, and at first we could mistake it for a documentary with its clips from the Great Depression and the history of the U.S. space program plus some celebrity voiceover narration by Matthew McConaughey. This is a nonfiction propaganda film about why we must support a return to space exploration, isn’t it? After all, the concept is nearly identical to that of the Peter Cullen-narrated “We Are the Explorers” NASA PSA that played ahead of Star Trek Into Darkness earlier this year.

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Dallas Buyers Club

Editor’s note: Our review of Dallas Buyers Club originally ran during this year’s TIFF, but we’re re-posting it now as the film expands into more theaters. Matthew McConaughey’s quest to establish himself as one of the finest, most committed actors of his generation (post-Fool’s Gold, of course) continues apace in Jean-Marc Vallee’s fact-based Dallas Buyers Club. McConaughey stars as Ron Woodroof, a Texas good old boy with a taste for women, rodeo, good times, and intravenous drugs. When Ron’s hard-partying lifestyle results in a very unexpected HIV positive diagnosis, his life changes completely (and in some very surprising ways, as predictable as that may sound). Set in the eighties, in a time when public misconceptions and misunderstandings about AIDS, HIV, and victims ran rampant, Dallas Buyers Club is tasked with turning Woodroof, an initially unlikable and unlikely hero, into a gutsy and brave protagonist. McConaughey doesn’t balk at playing up Ron’s least appealing features – a womanizer, a drug addict, and an opinionated asshole to the fullest extent, Ron’s diagnosis comes with a sense of inevitability. He’s been reckless with his life and body, and he’s paying for it in the most final way possible. Initially given thirty days to live, Ron’s hardened stubbornness and profound spite for the entire situation seemingly keeps him alive, especially after his illegally procured meds dry up.

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There are very few reviews out there for Dallas Buyers Club that don’t make mention of its stars’ Oscar chances. The movie is a real showcase for Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto‘s two larger than life performances, to the point where the Academy could use virtually all of their scenes for their nomination clip. Our Kate Erbland described their performances as the best from Tiff, saying that “Dallas Buyers Club lives and dies on the strength of its two lead performances, and it’s a solid pairing of both good luck and pure talent that McConaughey and Leto bring their absolute best to a film that requires nothing less.” It also lives or dies on director Jean-Marc Vallée. The filmmaker behind C.R.A.Z.Y. knows how to capture those quality performances on an exceptionally tight deadline. Speaking with Vallée, he expressed appreciation for his two leading men, while also delving into how exactly he shot McConaughey, Leto, and co-star Jennifer Gardner’s performances. Here’s what Vallée had to say on the subject:

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Frankenstein 1931

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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trailer true detective

Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson are taking the leap to HBO like so many great Buscemis and Daniels and McBrides and Jessica Parkers before them, for True Detective, a gritty and sprawling crime drama helmed by Cary Fukunaga. Though many of you probably saw the trailer after the season premiere of Boardwalk Empire last night, those who missed it can check it out right now. McConaughey and Harrelson play Rust Cohle and Martin Hart, respectively, two Lousiana detectives entwined in a 17-year chase for a serial killer. A freakish murder in 1995 that would not look out of place on the set of NBC’s Hannibal is the basis for their investigation; the series appears to jump back and forth between their initial finding and 2012, when the case is reopened. Watch the trailer here:

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Matt Damon

We still know next to nothing about Christopher Nolan‘s Interstellar. Matthew McConaughey will voyage through a wormhole- that’s about it. But at least we can add one more name to the list of those joining him on his cosmic voyage: Matt Damon. The actor will be joining Nolan’s latest for a small role; one that only necessitates two weeks out of Interstellar‘s four-month shoot. Obviously, it hasn’t yet revealed who Damon will be playing, but presumably he’ll be another space voyager, or an alternate-universe version of McConaughey’s character, or a caveman in some elaborate sequence where the film jumps back to the dawn of time (as people are already comparing this one to 2001: A Space Odyssey).

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Yesterday we brought you a whole slew of stills featuring Matthew McConaughey as AIDS patient and activist Ron Woodroof in Jean-Marc Vallée‘s Dallas Buyers Club, and just a day later, his character comes to life in the trailer. Woodroof is a red-blooded, all-American Texas man who drives fast cars, smokes and gambles, and suffers from HIV. And when his doctor (Jennifer Garner) tells him he only has 30 days to live after giving him his prognosis, he finds that unacceptable, and sets out to Mexico to find better treatments for his awful disease. When he finds medicine far beyond what the FDA is willing to give him and his fellow patients, he sets up his own little business back in the states getting the people what they deserve. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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Matthew McConaughey, in continuing his transition away from “alright alright alright” McConaughey, and into  “adult who wears clothes and makes adult choices” McConaughey,” is next starring in Jean-Marc Vallée‘s much talked-about Dallas Buyers Club. The film tells the true story of Ron Woodruff (McConaughey), an AIDS activist who suffered from the disease himself in the 1980s, a time when it was largely misunderstood and feared. Woodruff, after far outliving the 30-day life expectancy given to him by his doctor (Jennifer Garner), devotes his life to smuggling and selling treatments to HIV and AIDS patients who don’t have the time to wait for the government to help them. In the new stills released from the film, we get a good look at an extremely slimmed-down McConaughey as Woodruff, which has been talked about at great lengths in the press since the moment his casting was announced. As dangerous as starving himself was, McConaughey looks the part – it’s jarring. I sincerely hope he gorged himself on burritos while jamming on his bongos after shooting wrapped. In the various shots, as you can see, Woodruff negotiates with doctors, including a very concerned looking Garner, and appears to be making a few deals with potential buyers. The outfits are all on point for 1980′s Texas as well. Garner in the shot with McConaughey looks like the girl from a teen movie who would be beautiful at prom if only she would take off her glasses. Take a look:

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Paramount announced today that principal photography is officially underway in Canada for Christopher Nolan‘s galactic voyager movie Interstellar. The film, based on a combination of an original idea by Nolan and an existing script by Jonathan Nolan, follows a group of intrepid explorers who use a wormhole to bend the limits of human travel and experience a radical space journey. On this fantastic voyage? Anne Hathaway, Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Topher Grace, John Lithgow, Ellen Burstyn, and Michael Caine, among others. Nolan is re-teaming with his usuals: production designer Nathan Crowley, editor Lee Smith, and composer Hans Zimmer for the film as well. Though not much is known about the film yet besides these little tidbits, it sounds like a fantastic sci-fi affair with the trappings for something of epic proportions. Can you just picture Michael Caine hurtling through a wormhole set to a Hans Zimmer score? Because I’m definitely imagining that right now, and it’s the best movie of the year. Interesting to note: renowned physicist Kip Thorne is consulting on the film, as well as serving as executive producer, so this wormhole journey might actually be pretty factual. Interstellar is in theaters November 7, 2014.

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Wolf of Wall Street

“As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a stockbroker.” Leonardo DiCaprio might as well be laying out that line in Martin Scorsese‘s The Wolf of Wall Street, where he plays real-life multi-millionaire stockbroker/swindler Jordan Belfort. In the new trailer, gleeful immorality, fat stacks of cash and a self-aware voice-over from a man who wants too much all feel like a sequel to Goodfellas. Or maybe a modern adaptation of “Bonfire of the Vanities” (The Wolfe of Wall Street?). Or maybe the Gatsby For 2013 that’s really for 2013. Comparisons aside, it looks ridiculously cool. Belfort’s trick was artificially inflating a stock price before dumping the lion’s shares and screwing over clients. He made a crazy amount of money that fueled some very profound drug and control problems — and it looks like DiCaprio is having the time of his life here. It’s almost like Django loosened the lid for him, and Wolf has opened the pickle jar. Plus, the script comes from Terence Winter (The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire), and it’s about time he teamed with Scorsese. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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mcconaugheytampa

Given the sweaty, squealing reactions everyone witnessed during screenings of Steven Soderbergh’s male stripper movie, Magic Mike, it doesn’t take much of an expert in human behavior to realize that there are a huge group of flesh-obsessed folk out there who would more than welcome a second go-around with the taught and toned gang from Tampa. Really, a Magic Mike 2 is something of a foregone conclusion. But given Soderbergh’s constant claims that he’s now retired from directing movies, how would another Magic Mike come together? We’ve already heard the film’s star, Channing Tatum, hint at the fact that—seeing as Magic Mike was largely based on his real-life experiences as a male stripper—he’d like to use the sequel as an opportunity to step behind the camera and try out directing a movie for himself, and some new comments from Soderbergh reveal that this might be exactly the direction a sequel would take, and that development on the film might be further along than any of us anticipated.

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Editor’s note: Allison’s review originally ran during Sundance earlier this year, but we’re re-posting it as Jeff Nichols’ film hits theaters in limited release this weekend. What would be most exciting to two young boys living a slightly boring life along a river bank in Arkansas? An adventure, of course. And that is exactly what Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) think they have found when they come across a peculiar sight — a boat trapped high up in the tree tops thanks to a recent flood. But what the two boys end up finding in that boat is a much bigger adventure because they are not alone, and are not the only ones looking to get it down. Enter Mud (Matthew McConaughey), a charming drifter living on the boat who, unlike the boys, is not looking for adventure, he is looking for a way off the island that the boat (and Mud himself) is trapped on. Ellis is quickly drawn to Mud with his cross-heeled boots and endless stories, but Neckbone is more wary, especially when Mud asks the boys for a favor. Ellis remains intrigued, and it becomes clear that it is not simply the prospect of adventure that has his attention, it is Mud’s story explaining why he is stranded on that island — the pursuit of true love.

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jeff

Shotgun Stories and Take Shelter are no lightweight cinematic affairs, and writer/director Jeff Nichols certainly didn’t pull any emotional punches when making them. While both Shotgun Stories and Take Shelter put put their audience through the emotional ringer, his third film, Mud, is a departure. While Nichols’ old-fashioned picture deals with heartbreak, for both youngsters and oldies, it’s more of a crowd-pleaser than the filmmaker has made previously. That’s not because Nichols decided it was time to lighten up and make a movie for everyone, however, but unlike Shotgun Stories and Take Shelter, his last film follows the perspective of two kids. Centering the feature on children gives Mud a more innocent and adventurous spirit, while also pushing Nichols as a filmmaker on a technical level. Here’s what Mr. Nichols had to say about his “big American movie”:

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Anne Hathaway

Christopher Nolan’s next film as a director, Interstellar, is something of a mystery. We know that it was originally set up by Steven Spielberg, that it has something to do with wormholes and time travel, and that Jonathan Nolan was brought on board to write the initial script, but any sort of plot or character specifics have been closely guarded. Lately some casting news regarding the sure-to-be-huge blockbuster has started to leak though.

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published: 04.20.2014
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published: 04.20.2014
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published: 04.19.2014
A-
published: 04.19.2014
B+

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