Matthew McConaughey

Judy Greer

What is Casting Couch? It’s a handy list of the day’s casting news. Today we’ve got a joyous confirmation and some intriguing possibilities, including some huge news about the A-list director Matthew McConaughey may be working with next. So far all of the casting news we’ve learned about Matt Reeves‘ Dawn of the Planet of the Apes has regarded actors coming on board to play human characters, but in an exciting twist we now we have a tidbit about who’s going to be putting on a motion capture suit to join Andy Serkis’ Caesar over on the ape side of the equation. Vulture is reporting that Judy Greer (Arrested Development, The Descendants) has joined the film in the role of Cornelia, the hairy dame who’s serving as a love interest for Caesar. If Greer’s long history of being solid in supporting roles isn’t enough to convince you that she’s qualified to pull off such an out there role, Vulture also has a scoop that she had Planet of the Apes-themed toppers on her wedding cake. So, you know, turns out she’s a weirdo. Sounds great.

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Dazed high school girls

  It won’t officially be the 20th anniversary of Dazed and Confused until this fall, but last Thursday the film was honored at the annual Texas Hall of Fame Awards, where it received the Star of Texas Award from presenter Quentin Tarantino. In person to accept were writer-director Richard Linklater and members of the cast, including Wiley Wiggins, Anthony Rapp and Joey Lauren Adams. To continue the film’s recognition, it seemed fitting to devote this week’s Scenes We Love to the 1993 high school movie classic. Dazed is not the sort of feature that is easily broken up by scenes. There are many memorable moments, a lot of quotable lines, but as far as individual scenes are concerned there aren’t many that can be bracketed and labeled so cleanly. There are definable acts marked by location, such as the school act, the Emporium act and the beer bust/moon tower act. Are the many distinct pieces of each of these sections qualifiable as scenes? Obviously I’m thinking too much about it. I feel like this is a conversation for Tony, Mike and Cynthia to have while cruising around. Clearly those geeks were the ones I most identified with when the movie came out during my junior year. As usual feel free to name your own favorite scenes or those you think are the “best.” You can find six scenes I love and the personal reasons why after the jump.

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Mud

If there was one film missing from our 2013 film guide, I’d say it was Jeff Nichols‘ Mud. Although he only has two films under his belt, Shotgun Stories and Take Shelter, Nichols has quickly risen to prominence as an A-list art house director. With Mud, the filmmaker finally has his chance to move into the mainstream, and this first trailer for the film does a decent job of pushing it as something easily digestible. Take a peak at Jeff Nichols’ newest film (via Yahoo! Movies):

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The Best Damn Oscar Blog

The Oscar nominations will be announced next Thursday, January 10th. Who’s excited? Perhaps more tellingly, who’s geared up enough to wake up early to watch the press conference live? It’s at 5:30AM PT! I’m planning on it, but I’ll probably just add another year to my tradition of sleeping through my alarm and missing all of the fun. That’s a shame, because surprises are always best in the moment. And there are always surprises. The trick is trying to predict them. Last year people were somewhat taken aback by Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close grabbing a Best Picture nomination, intrigued when Demián Bachir pulled off the nod for Best Actor, and impressed when little distributor GKIDS managed to get both A Cat in Paris and Chico and Rita in for Best Animated Feature. There are also always a few omissions that upset the common wisdom. Remember when Dreamgirls missed a nomination for Picture, knocked out by Letters from Iwo Jima? The twists and turns make the season fun. You wouldn’t want to wake up that early only to have all your bland suppositions simply confirmed by the Academy. So let’s predict the unpredictable! Here are five potential surprises to look for next Thursday morning. Don’t hold it against me if I’m wrong, but if I’m right you should totally tell all your friends.

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The Best Damn Oscar Blog

The Academy is voting! Nomination polls opened on December 17th and close on January 3rd. The two and a half week period might seem like a long time, but it’s going to go by in the blink of an eye, especially with Christmas and the New Year right in the middle. As voters pick through their piles of screeners and decide what to watch, I certainly hope that they dig deep enough to find some of the year’s best unheralded work. In fact, I’m going to suggest a few things. At this point much of the “don’t miss this movie!” conversation has been around performances, a valid pursuit if there ever was one. However, there’s also plenty of under-discussed work in “below the line” categories. Here’s a wish list, five extremely unlikely but entirely deserving nominations that would make me a very happy blogger.

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Performer of the Year: Matthew McConaughey

To truly understand the essence behind our choice for 2012′s Performer of the Year, we have to take a walk back in time to 2005. It was the year that, simply a heartthrob at the point, Matthew McConaughey was named “Sexiest Man Alive.” At the time, the Texas-born star was on the road promoting his latest big screen swoon-monster, Failure to Launch. A publicity tour that landed him a memorable spot on the couch next to Oprah, back when she was still just an absurdly rich and powerful talk show host. Why I was watching Oprah on that fateful afternoon, only a higher power would know. But to this day, I can’t help but remember the magnetism of that handsome, denim-clad man who seemed so proud of the fact that he had never worn deodorant in his life. “The women in my life,” he explained amidst talk of his highly publicized relationship with Penelope Cruz and his naturally sweet B.O. “”have all said, ‘Your natural smell smells, one, like a man and, two, [it] smells like you. … [And] there’s only one of those.” It was a line of questioning that left nary a dry seat in Oprah’s lavish studio. She could have given away vibrating chairs to her audience and it still wouldn’t have made as much of an impact. That was Matthew McConaughey’s world. And in 2005, he was king. The question now is how did he end up here, in the sights of a very serious film website being named our first ever “Performer of […]

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What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting news roundup that’s ready for the weekend. Colin Firth is kind of a sneaky hunk. At first glance he’s pretty handsome, but not the most attractive dude in the world, and then he’s got this charm to him that just grows on you until you’ve scrawled his name on all of your Trapper Keepers. He’s such saucy dish that it looks like he can make even a big name star like Nicole Kidman develop a schoolgirl crush. THR is reporting that she liked playing his wife in the recent World War II drama The Railway Man so much that she’s now actively recruiting him to join her in her next project, Before I Go to Sleep. Apparently, Before I Go to Sleep is an adaptation of a S.J. Watson novel about an amnesiac woman whose husband must reintroduce himself to her every morning. Early attempts at titling the film The Rich Man’s 50 First Dates were reportedly rejected by the studio.

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Han Solo

What is Casting Couch? It’s a casting news column that’s been talking way more about a movie based on a racing video game than it imagined it would be. Read on for more information. It’s bound to get pretty annoying following every rumor that pops up about the new Star Wars movie between now and 2015. But, let’s face it, when comments start getting thrown around about Harrison Ford playing Han Solo again, even vague rumors start to get pretty interesting. So, when Inside Movies announced that they have sources claiming that Ford has reversed his famously grumpy position on Star Wars being lame, and that he, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher are now all “upbeat” about more movies getting made, geeks everywhere instantly started salivating like Pavlov’s dogs. Let’s try to not let this Star Wars thing get out of hand—but Harrison Ford might play Han Solo again, y’all!

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Christoph Waltz

What is Casting Couch? It’s a daily roundup of all the casting news you care about, and maybe (probably) one or two items you don’t. Some info has finally leaked about James Bobin and Nicholas Stoller’s upcoming sequel to The Muppets. Turns out it’s going to be a caper movie, somewhat along the lines of The Great Muppet Caper, but with more of an international flair. How international? So international that THR is reporting they’re closing in on signing Christoph Waltz to play one of the main, non-Muppet roles—that of an Interpol inspector. Other important parts for humans are said to include a Russian femme fatale and a male lead with mysterious intentions. Actors looking to land the part should start sending in their shifty-eyed head shots now.

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the paperboy

The Paperboy is, to put it bluntly, quite like a swamp. It is hazy, disorienting, and full of disgusting images. It is so densely packed and so haphazardly arranged that the experience of watching it is not unlike trying to find one’s way out of the Everglades with only a machete and a faulty compass. With this, his third feature, Lee Daniels has created a fictional universe in which rhyme and reason, focus and direction, and even basic character motivation seem like forgotten concepts. It is the sort of film that makes you miss Mystery Science Theater 3000. It’s amazing. Ostensibly, this is a Southern-fried film noir, riffing on such films as In the Heat of the Night and Mississippi Burning. Matthew McConaughey is Ward Jansen, a muckraking journalist for the Miami Times, back in his tiny home town to expose the wrongful conviction of Hillary Van Wetter (John Cusack) for the murder of the county sheriff. He was given the tip by Charlotte Bless (Nicole Kidman), who is currently engaged to Hillary even though they’ve never actually met. Ward’s partner is the dashing and difficult Yardley Acheman (David Oyelowo), a sort of British take on Virgil Tibbs. They hire Ward’s buff brother Jack (Zac Efron) as their driver. All of this is narrated by the Jansen’s former maid, Anita Chester (Macy Gray). In the ensuing detective drama not much actually gets investigated. It’s the summer of ’69, the air is sticky and sweltering, and the entire cast is in […]

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After the critical and commercial success of Precious, director Lee Daniels most likely had offers flooding into his office. Considering the way he describes the post-Precious period, that was indeed the case. There were plenty of movies Daniels could have made and for large sums of money as well. In the end, Daniels decided to followup Precious with The Paperboy, a movie many have called “pulpy.” Pulpy material usually doesn’t equal commercial success, but after making a hit, Daniels decided to stick with his gut even if his gut told him to turn down millions. The Paperboy, as ludicrous as it certainly is at times, remains a personal story for Daniels. Some may not see through the sweat and violence of the picture, but he saw this as another tale filled with people he knows well and who we don’t see on screen often enough: characters with a death wish. The world those characters inhabits is one you’ll either love or hate. Here’s what director Lee Daniels had to say about his artist side superseding commercialism, when the magic happens on set, and why he really shows Zac Efron in his underwear so much:

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McConaughey on Wall Street

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column that’s comin’ at ya, so you best be prepared. Our night begins with Matthew McConaughey looking ragged on the set of The Wolf of Wall Street, the film project from up-and-coming director Martin Scorsese. It’s not due in theaters until Christmas of next year, but can you already smell the Oscar buzz for Mr. Alright Alright? I can.

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All in all, this was a decent summer. There were plenty of highs and lows, with zero grand achievements for either sides of that scale. We could argue endlessly about what movies lived up to the hype or which ones totally blew it, but where’s the fun in having that conversation for the thousandth time over twitter? What we all should be discussing is the important stuff, like, how sad Damon Lindelof‘s Twitter feed could get this summer or how many ounces of man sweat we think Matthew McConaughey shed in Magic Mike? These are the real topics worthy of discussion, ’cause who cares why Vickers didn’t run a few feet to the right to easily save her life in Prometheus? Or how on earth Batman survived that nuclear blast when we clearly saw him in The Bat before the blast? These are details we all need to let go of. What you all really need to know is who came out as the winners and losers of this summer season, and I’m here to tell you who.

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For such an unrelentingly graphic and blood-spattered NC-17 thriller, William Friedkin‘s Killer Joe is more romantic than one would expect. The filmmaker behind The Exorcist and Sorcerer (a movie he’s currently fighting to get back out to the public) has crafted, as he puts it, a romantic comedy for the new age. That title isn’t a whole lot different than his previous collaboration with playwright/screenwriter Tracy Letts, the even more claustrophobic and humanistic Bug. They’re stories of characters wanting more, but mainly love, which Dottie (Juno Temple) finds in the titular psychopathic (Matthew McConaughey). Here’s what director William Friedkin had to say about making Cinderella for the 21st century, the importance of reading between the lines, and how one of cinema’s finest chase scenes was completely unscripted:

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Okay, so maybe screen legend is pushing it, but it’s kind of hard not to get excited about the career resurgence that Matthew McConaughey has experienced in the past year. Remember all those years he was doing lame romantic comedies and cashing checks? Well, forget them, because hopefully that’s all over. This year the man famous for his bongos, his abs, and his southern drawl has already shown up in worthwhile projects like Bernie, Magic Mike, and Killer Joe, and now Variety has word that he’s keeping that momentum going by being the latest to sign on for Martin Scorsese’s next, The Wolf of Wall Street. You remember what The Wolf of Wall Street is, right? We’ve only written up about a thousand casting announcements for it so far. It’s Scorsese’s look at the real life adventures of decadent day trader Jordan Belfort, and all of the drug and adrenaline fueled shenanigans he got himself into back in the ’80s (you know, before he got caught being involved in illegal trading and money laundering and had to go to jail).

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The Paperboy Movie Lee Daniels

Now don’t tell me that when you heard that Precious director Lee Daniels was directing a film about a love-crazed lady (played by Nicole Kidman) who is obsessed with a man on death row (John Cusack) that you thought, “yes, this will be fantastic and insightful and awards-worthy and dramatic and searing.” You did? But then you heard that Matthew McConaughey and Zac Efron were co-starring as brothers who investigate the potential wrongful conviction of Cusack, who also get mixed up with Kidman, and it’s all kinds of wacky and crazy and embarrassing and you changed your mind? No? Really? But then you heard that Kidman pees on Efron in an act of love at some point in the movie and you remembered, “oh, yes, Lee Daniels. Hack.” Good. That said, wow, can The Paperboy arrive in theaters now? The film’s first trailer is positively off the wall, the sort of marketing that includes review pull quotes that include words like “pulpy,” “sweaty,” and “down and dirty” in order to sell the film. And while Kidman doesn’t urinate on Efron in this first trailer, it just might contain a glimpse of her face while in the act (in other news, can you believe this movie?). Check it out after the break.

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Killer Joe

Exploitation cinema is good for the id. Because the great majority of us are not thieves, murderers, sociopaths, or people with problematic sexual instincts, exploitation cinema provides a safe space and an opportunity to view characters who may be any of the combinations noted above without having to experience the debilitating guilt, life-ending consequences, or moral panic that would incur if we ever engaged in such activities ourselves. In other words, exploitation cinema is a brief respite from a reality mostly determined by standards of law and order, rational behavior, stability, and long-term thinking. Exploitation cinema provides the exhilaration of chaos that is enthralling to witness onscreen, but that one wouldn’t want to encounter in anything resembling reality. While William Friedkin’s Killer Joe is a film that fully earns its NC-17 rating with its portrayals of abject cruelty, predatory sex, and strange and unusual acts of punishment, it’s never a film that asks audiences to take the events onscreen all to seriously as Killer Joe doesn’t even seem to even take itself at face value. The movie’s mood and ending will certainly polarize audiences, but if one is willing to accept and go along with the esoteric tone Friedkin strikes (and there are perfectly legitimate reasons not to do so), then Killer Joe is likely one of the more engaging films of the year if for no other reason than its sheer audacity.

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James Marsden in The Butler

Make no mistake, we love us some Matthew McConaughey around these parts, but his unique brand of show-stopping performance is perhaps not so well-suited for historical dramas with large casts of characters, particularly ones that might not have the strongest of directing talent to steer them. Films like Lee Daniels‘ upcoming The Butler, set to chronicle the life story of Eugene Allen, who served as a White House butler under an incredible eight presidents and through the years 1952 to 1986. To that end, Variety reports (via The Playlist) that James Marsden has joined the film as JFK. McConaughey had been attached to the role for only two months, but dropped out of the project just last month due to scheduling conflicts with the long-gestating The Dallas Buyer’s Club. Of course, we must also wonder if those “conflicts” have anything to do with Daniels and McConaughey’s last project, Cannes giggle factory (and home of Nicole Kidman demanding to pee on Zac Efron), The Paperboy.

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Eastbound and Down ended on the perfect note last season. Whether there would be a fourth season was still up in the air, but Jody Hill and company gave their series a sense of closure. Unlike that cheap slap in the face Entourage gave to its fans – “It may not really be over because of that silly movie idea, but it might be!” – Kenny Powers’ arc and the show itself felt completed. However, apparently HBO disagrees, considering that they’ve recently ordered a fourth season.

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The Dark Knight Rises

Alright, so June didn’t exactly kick us into high gear the way it should have. We didn’t get another Avengers, a movie everyone lost their nuts over. From the blockbusters to the little guys, there was a lack in unanimous love and praise to be found. We did finally get Prometheus, a movie which could go down as this summer’s main topic of movie conversation over whether “It was awesome! No, it sucked!” but we get those all too often during this time of year. If we’re going to get one movie to feed the millions with true, big summer entertainment where all the harshest critics will be beaten across the world, then we got one ‘lil superhero movie coming up that may provoke such a reaction… The Amazing Spider-Man! Actually, no, but Marc Webb‘s reboot does pass the time nicely and, at the very least, gives us a new Peter Parker we can care about. But that doesn’t mean it made this list. Find out what did:

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published: 04.19.2014
A-
published: 04.19.2014
B+
published: 04.18.2014
C-
published: 04.18.2014
C

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