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Posts Tagged ‘The Paperboy’

In The HouseMamaDaniel Day Lewis as LincolnHansel & Gretel Witch HuntersLes MisérablesThe PaperboyZero Dark ThirtystokerDjango UnchainedWarm Bodies

(All films release in the UK in January, February, March 2013)

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Regular visitors may have noticed a lack of posts this month. The simple reason I have been too busy watching movies to write about them. Sixteen movies at the cinema in twenty-nine days to be precise. Was it worth it? This is what I have seen:

Mama: A simple and generic ghost story horror movie that is creepy atmospheric and with just enough jumps to keep it ticking along. The whole thing is elevated by the presence of the sensational Jessica Chastain who is as great in a genre movie as in more weighty movies.Mama

Cloud Atlas: Tom Tykwer and The Wachowski’s adaptation of David Mitchell’s 2004 novel of the same name. moving between six stories set between 1849 and a time approximately 300 years into the future. Utilising the same actors in the different stories to help ram the metaphor down your throat, but it gets away with it. What it lacks in subtlety, it more than makes up for in charm and beauty.Cloud Atlas

Stoker: Its no secret that Oldboy is one of my all-time favourite movies, it therefore comes as no surprise that I have been eagerly anticipating the English language debut of its director, Chan-wook Park. It isn’t Oldboy but I was far from disappointed. I won’t dwell on the plot as its best to go in without preconceptions, I would like to say you won’t be disappointed but to say you will love it or hate it is probably more accurate. Matthew Goode continues to impress, Nicole Kidman reminds me of what I used to love about her and Mia Wasikowska finally gets the role her talents deserve.Stoker

Arbitrage: An intriguing drama that blends a topical story of the murky world of hedge fund management with a crime thriller. The cast, particularly Richard Gere is fantastic but the movie as a whole is a little cold and holds its audience at arms length.Arbitrage

Side Effects: The film seems to get lost in the “will it/won’t it” speculation over if it is to be Steven Soderbergh’s last movie as a director. I have heard criticism of the movie for descending from a serious movie with a social realist agenda to a more base genre movie, without going too far into the plot, I found the movie strongest in the latter parts of the movie. Not the directors finest work but a an intriguing and enjoyable movie that tips a knowing hat to directors like Alfred Hitchcock and Billy Wilder.Side Effects

Oz the Great and Powerful: Prequel to The Wizard of Oz that ticks all the boxes you would expect but lacking the magic and spark needed to really make it work. It comes across as another cynical Disney attempt to cash in a successful movie.Oz the Great and Powerful

Parker: Jason Statham is a good fit for the Parker character. The movie starts and ends well but sags in the middle. As predicted it, its biggest fault, its too long. A disappointing movie and a missed opportunity but not a terrible one.Parker

Welcome to the Punch: A British crime thriller that with a distinctly Hollywood feel. The plot isn’t great but the casting is spot on. The “Michael Mann blue wash” makes London look great. Ultimately it is flawed but still enjoyable and serves as a stepping stone for promising director Eran Creevy in just his second feature.Welcome to the Punch

In the House: A teacher becomes obsessed with the stories one of his pupils submits. There us just enough ambiguity to the story to elevate the story beyond the average quirky dark comedy. Great performances from Fabrice Luchini and Ernst Umhauer as teacher and pupil with equally good support from Kristin Scott Thomas(why are her French roles so much better than her English ones?) and Emmanuelle Seigner.In the House

The Paperboy: A dirty and gritty southern yarn that probably has more in common with the genre roots of director Lee Daniels first movie Shadowboxer than his better know (and received) Precious. I don’t get the look warm reception for this movie, a good bedfellow of last years Killer Joe that also revels in its visceral grime. John Cusack revels in the opportunity to play against type, Matthew McConaughey continues his redemption (following a lifetime of crappy rom-coms), Zac Efron reminds us again that he is so much more than the teenage movies he is known for, but this is Nicole Kidman’s movie displaying naivety and vulnerability at the same time as being sensual, sexual and controlling.The Paperboy

Vinyl: A British comedy drama based on the 2004 “rock and roll swindle” where aging welsh punk-rock band, The Alarm released a single fronted by a fake young band. A little lightweight and clearly made on a tiny budget but and enjoyable little movie with a strong cast including stalwarts Keith Allen and Phil Daniels and relative newcomer Jamie Blackley.

Vinyl

Compliance: This demonstration of human stupidity and gullibility is prefaced by claim “based on a true story”. Although the claim is that nothing has been exaggerated I suspect the story is an amalgam of many incidents. The movie is helped by a trim 90 minute running time and a good and largely unknown cast.Compliance

Trance: A British heist movie about the theft of a £25million painting. The less you know about Trance the better, other than to say with Danny Boyle you are in safe hands. The primary cast of James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson and Vincent Cassel are all as fantastic as you would expect but the star is director Danny Boyle who skilfully manipulates the audience and their affections.Trance

Stolen: The first re-teaming of Simon West and Nicolas Cage, the director and star of Con Air (don’t get too excited, a similar re-teaming from Gladiator resulted in A Good Year!). As you would expect from a Nic Cage genre piece, it is no better than your average straight to DVD release but its quite good fun along the way.Stolen

G.I. Joe: Retaliation: I didn’t intend to see the first G.I. movie but good word of mouth convinced me to change my mind. While it wasn’t terrible, it also wasn’t great. This sequel is more of the same. It isn’t terrible but it offers nothing that hasn’t been done better many times before.G I Joe Retaliation

The Host: Imagine Invasion of the Body Snatchers where all despair and desperation is replaced with hope and a love story. Just for good measure you could then take out any subtext and metaphor, and with it any meaning or point. That is the banal and emotionless movie that The Host is. On a positive side William Hurt is good and Diane Kruger looks like she is having fun as the villain.The Host

What’s the movie of the month? As  its the first of April I should say G.I. Joe or The Host but the truth, it’s an easy choice, my favourite movie of both the month and the year to date:Stoker movie poster

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As 2012 got underway I was looking forward to some well publicised movies like Skyfall, The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers and The Hunger Games. I had heard good reports from across the Atlantic about The Artist, Young Adult and The Descendents. But, I had never heard of what turned out to be some of the best movies of the year: Moonrise Kingdom, Argo, Haywire, Rust and Bone, Café de Flore, End of Watch and Killer Joe. Hopefully there will be some pleasant surprises this year too, if not there is still a lot to look forward to:

Django Unchained
When Quentin Tarantino decides to make a western, he doesn’t just make a Weston, he makes a Blaxploitation Spaghetti Western. The cast includes Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio as well as a cameo from the original Django, Franco Nero. And did I mention Quentin Tarantino.Django Unchained

Zero Dark Thirty
I saw Near Dark when I was about 13, I have seen every other Kathryn Bigelow since (yes I am the person who saw The Weight of Water ) and would now watch anything she makes . It also stars Jessica Chastain who I had never heard of before The Tree of Life but is fast becoming one of my favourite actresses.Zero Dark Thirty

The Counselor
A Ridley Scott crime thriller based on a novel by Cormac McCarthy starring: Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz and Penélope Cruz. Any one of these would be a reason to watch it.The Counselor

The Wolf Of Wall Street
Its Martin Scorsese what more do I need to say.The Wolf Of Wall Street

Cloud Atlas
Most readers probably know more about this than me as it was released three months ago in some countries. The story looks bonkers but Tom Tykwer and the Wachowski’s were responsible for two of my favourite movies of all time (Run Lola Run and The Matrix).Cloud Atlas

Star Trek Into Darkness
There have been a couple of great Star Trek movies, but the franchise had really run out of steam until the J.J. Abrams’ 2009 reboot that was far better than I ever expected it to be. Lets hope he can do it again.Star Trek Into Darkness

The Great Gatsby
As proved by previous adaptations The Great Gatsby (like all F. Scott Fitzgerald stories) is better on the page than the screen, however I am intrigued by what Baz Luhrmann will do with it.The Great Gatsby

The Last Voyage of Demeter
The Demeter was the Russian ship that carried Dracula from Transylvania to England in Bram Stoker’s novel. By the time it reached Whitby all the crew had disappeared presumed dead. Neil Marshall’s movie tells their story. One thing you can guarantee about Neil Marshall movies is that they are fun. (they don’t appear to have started shooting yet so I  Neil Marshall

Stoker
Chan-wook Park, the director of my favourite movie of the 00’s (Oldboy) finally makes an English language movie. It looks bonkers; and that’s a good think if you were wondering!Stoker

Pacific Rim
Guillermo del Toro’s giant robots v alien invaders movie. Enough said.Pacific Rim

And the next ten:
World War Z
Snowpiercer
A Field In England
The Paperboy
Machete Kills
Kick-Ass 2
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Iron Man 3
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
The Wolverine

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Matthew McConaughey is a second-rate actor who appears in crappy rom-com’s with posters that feature him leaning against his co-star a stupid grin on his face. It would be easy to believe this based on some of the terrible movies he has appeared in, but look a little deeper and you will se some great performances in interesting movies.

As with many people he first came to my attention in 1993’s Dazed and Confused. Looking back now Richard Linklater’s ensemble cast looks impressive, however, the truly impressive thing is that they were unknowns at the time. The funniest and most charismatic of these, despite his reprehensible attitude towards high school girls was McConaughey’s David Wooderson. A Time to Kill is still my favourite movie based on a John Grisham novel, it is even more impressive when you consider it was directed by Joel Schumacher around the same time as he was fucking up the Batman franchise. McConaughey is perfectly cast as Jake Brigance, an easygoing but honourable southern lawyer who more than holds his own against an impressive cast including: Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Spacey, Brenda Fricker, Donald Sutherland and Patrick McGoohan.

He followed this up with impressive performances in Lone Star (1996), Amistad (1997), Contact (1997) and a reunion with Richard Linklater in the true story of The Newton Boys (1998). Edtv (1999) was a sublime satire that is remarkably prophetic given the rise of reality TV in the decade that followed its release. It was sadly overshadowed by the previous years The Truman Show. Like his character Ed Pekurny in the show he stars in McConaughey’s is the reason to watch the movie, he is as perfect for the part as Jim Carrey was for Truman.

U-571 (2000) is a routine action, adventure, thriller, it has its issues but is largely enjoyable and gives us a first look at McConaughey in a more action orientated movie. Two films that best exemplify his action credentials are: the man v dragon movie Reign of Fire (2002) where he makes the future Batman and King Leonidas (Christian Bale and Gerard Butler) look like average Joe’s. It isn’t a great movie, but it is great fun. The same can be said for the underrated Sahara (2005). Based on a Clive Cussler novel, and featuring the character Dirk Pitt in his second movie outing (the first was played by Richard Jordan in the rubbish Raise the Titanic, 1980). A fun action adventure that is as close as anyone has ever come to emulating Indiana Jones. McConaughey has the right blend of hero and comedian and has great chemistry with co-stars Penélope Cruz and Steve Zahn. Sadly the film “underperformed” at the box-office and was beset with legal issues mainly involving author Clive Cussler making a sequel unlikely.

After a slew of the aforementioned crappy rom-com’s last year saw a return to form with an adaptation of the Michael Connelly novel The Lincoln Lawyer. Mick Haller is a sleazy defence attorney, radically different from the honourable boy scout Jake Brigance in A Time to Kill but no less charismatic. This year sees McConaughey take on three radically different roles: A cop with a sideline in murder for hire in William Friedkin’s Killer Joe, a male stripper in Steven Soderbergh’s Magic Mike and a journalist trying to exonerate a man on death row in The Paperboy.

So next time you see a picture of Matthew McConaughey leaning against his co-star on a movie poster of a film like Ghosts of Girlfriends Past or The Wedding Planner, give the guy a break and remind yourself that he has made some more interesting movies.

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