Tag Archive: matthew mcconaughey


UK Release Date: 17th January 2014

Stars: Martin Scorsese (director), Leonardo DiCaprio, Matthew McConaughey, Jonah Hill, Jon Favreau, Spike Jonze, Jean Dujardin

Plot: A New York stockbroker refuses to cooperate in a large securities fraud case involving corruption on Wall Street, corporate banking world and mob infiltration.

The partnership of Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio have been responsible for some of the greatest films of recent years: Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed, Shutter Island. They never bring a dud to the floor and this is why The Wolf of Wall Street is a must see already! It’s been three years since the pair worked together and now they’re working with a script from one of modern television’s great writers, Terrence Winter (The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire).

Recently, Leonardo DiCaprio has been performing out of his skin with his performances in Django Unchained and The Great Gatsby earning him bucket loads of critical acclaim. The wonderful thing about his performance in the former is that he was allowed to just let loose and run with it: it looks as though he’ll be allowed to do the same here and it looks to be one of his more comedic roles…but just as brilliant.

A few years ago, Matthew McConaughey could only have dreamed of being in a film like this. Now, with resurgence complete, he seems an obvious candidate. Joining an all star cast in this biographical crime drama about the life of Jordan Belfort. Expect Oscar buzz, but whether nominations or wins will arrive remains to be seen.

Was that a DeLorean?

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Killer Joe (2011) Review

McConaisance: when an actor famous for being the butt of many a jokes due to the nature of his films decides, for some unbeknownst reason, to season his career with incredibly serious roles…and actually does it well. Back in 2011, this is exactly what Matthew McConaughey did: along with The Lincoln Lawyer, Killer Joe helped transform McConaughey’s career in a matter of months and left audiences completely bewildered at the ‘new’ actor.

“If you insult me again, I will cut your face off and wear it over my own. Do you understand?”

When Chris (Emile Hirsch) has his stash of drugs stolen by his own mother, he concocts a plan with his father, Ansel (Thomas Haden church) and inconsequently his younger sister, Dottie (Juno Temple) to kill his own mother and cash in on her $50,000 life insurance. To do so, Chris gets in contact with ‘Killer’ Joe Cooper (McConaughey), a detective who moonlights as a contract killer. The agreement turns complicated when unexpected events occur and Joe takes a shine to Chris’ younger sister as collateral.

Right from the off, Killer Joe sets itself apart from any other film, introducing quite possibly the most dysfunctional family in the world as Chris is kicked out of his mother’s house and forced to stop with his father and step-mother (Gina Gershon) after, we suspect, beating up his mum. The rain batters down on the ground and sets the mood for the rest of the film. We are quickly rushed into a strip club for a conversation that should probably be happening not in a public place, but this is the second clue that Killer Joe is going to be exciting, different and anything but what you expect.

“This is going to get done, one way or another.”

McConaughey is soon introduced and as soon as he appears he steals the show completely. Long gone is the man who made his career by taking his top off (although he does have a couple of scenes with his torso on show) and making dodgy romantic comedies. He carries the film with so much intensity; no longer a joke but now someone who can genuinely scare you. The character of Joe Cooper is an interesting and complex one and McConaughey brings him to life perfectly, you won’t want to take your eyes off him for a second, even if you don’t agree with everything that he does.

McConaughey is supported by a really fantastic cast who all more than hold their own. Emile Hirsch as a kid with a lot of front but no real guts is great, Thomas Haden Church does a really understated job but Juno Temple is the other star of Killer Joe. As the annoyingly cute and naive Dottie, you really warm to her character as she seems like the innocent victim here when Joe decides that until he gets paid he’s going to be keeping Dottie’s bed warm.

“Why don’t you do us all a big favor and just go kill yourself?”

There are real horrific moments in Killer Joe: it’s an incredibly brutal, morally questionable story but handled so well by director William Friedkin. Some of the scenes are particularly hard to watch from a moral standpoint but the film does a wonderful job of pulling you in that you are willing to be shocked and willing to be, at times, disgusted. At the same time there are jokes planted throughout the script that bring a darkly comic feel to the tone and make you feel guilty for even considering laughing due to the nature of the film.

Killer Joe is adapted from a play and that comes across. There’s a small cast which is often confined to houses and shacks to really constrain the story. All of this is handled with so much intensity, every thing that happens will have your heart pounding. The dialogue is delivered (once again by McConaughey in particular) in a manner that is just so addictive, characters are so interesting that you have no choice once you start watching but to get to the end. And the end is one hell of an ending that will leave you thinking for hours to come.

“Your eyes hurt.”

One of the best films I have ever seen.

My Rating: 10/10.

I’m back from my Christmas hiatus and in the past couple of weeks critics and fans alike have been compiling their lists of the ten best films of 2012 or twenty best or whatever you like, but I have decided to take a different approach to compiling my list and I will be looking at, month by month, what were the best releases. I’ll be using the UK release dates for films and, in doing it month by month there will be some big omissions and some surprise inclusions.

Will any of these films feature on the list?

 

January – The Grey

To be honest, if you look at what was released in January it doesn’t really fill you with enthusiasm for the rest of the year as there weren’t really many films worth noting released this month. I think that people were still more bothered about seeing the previous year’s Christmas releases (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol) however there were a few films that stood out. You might think that We Need to Talk About Kevin, Shame or War Horse might win this month but I decided to go for Liam Neeson’s The Grey. Neeson continued his rebirth as an action hero in 2012 and it was largely down to his enounter with wolves in the partially surprising hit: The Grey.

 

February – Chronicle

February brought a lot of very disappointing ventures to the cinema. Safe House was a blockbuster than lacked a punch, Man on a Ledge was a very boring ‘thriller’ and One For the Money is one of the most boring films I have ever seen! However, saying that I was really impressed by Woman in Black which seemed to reinstate Hammer Films at the forefront of the horror scene but for the best film of the month it fell short and I went for Chronicle. Chronicle was seen by many to be very refreshing to an overcrowded superhero genre. The characters that appear in this found footage film are not from the pages of comic books and, like The Grey, Chronicle was another surprise hit but worth of all it’s critical acclaim.

March – 21 Jump Street

If you think that 21 Jump Street is a strange and ridiculous choice to be on this list then I really do encourage you to look at films that were released in the UK in March this year. March saw releases from some very highly anticipated films that were subsequently big disappointments, none bigger than John Carter. Of course, March also brought us the beginning of a huge new franchise with the Jennifer Lawrence led The Hunger Games, however I enjoyed 21 Jump Street a lot more. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much in the cinema, 21 Jump Street was a welcome injection of humour to an otherwise dull month.

 

April – Avengers Assemble

There was a clear winner for this month. Marvel’s Avengers Assemble became the third highest grossing film of all time, breaking no end of records on its way to this achievement. This was the event that film fans had been waiting for for 4 years and it did not disappoint, The Avengers (as it was known sensibly in other countries) provided big entertainment, big action, big characters and big laughs. The only real competition in this month came from another film with Joss Whedon’s name attached: Cabin in the Woods, which was seen to redefine the horror genre but really, nothing could top Avengers Assemble.

 

May – The Raid: Redemption

May saw a lack of big releases as the prospect of going up against Marvel’s box office Goliath seemed a little bit daunting for many studios. And of course there is a bit of a lull in the cinema calender before the big summer smashes get released. The Raid was something that we don’t see nearly enough on this side of the Atlantic, a foreign release… and a successful one at that! The Raid is a brilliant, action packed, adrenaline fueled Indonesian martial arts film and it should come as no surprise that there are plans in America to do an English language remake.

 

June – Killer Joe

Now, June saw the second big release of the year: Prometheus. And don’t get me started on how over rated that was and what a bore fest it unfortunately turned out to be. Rock of Ages was a very very dull adaptation of the successful stage musical and The Five Year Engagement was about five years too long. Killer Joe proved that Matthew McConaughey could really act and it turned out to be a very gritty, gothic crime drama that also featured Emile Hirsch who is quietly going about proving what a good actor he is too.

 

July – The Dark Knight Rises

At the beginning of July The Amazing Spider-Man was released and was a very good attempt at reshaping Spider-Man’s origins; then on the 20th of July Christopher Nolan turned up to show everyone how it was done. Nolan’s Batman trilogy ended with one of the greatest films of the year. Full stop. He brought an all star cast here and cranked up the tension, cranked up the stakes and people flocked to the cinema to see how the greatest superhero trilogy ever made would end. And it did not disappoint. Sure, it never quite reached the heights of The Dark Knight which preceded it but I thought that the ending of The Dark Knight Rises was one of the greatest and most satisfying endings I have ever seen.

 

August – Ted

Fans of controversial humour, outrageous humour and toilet humour were delivered an early Christmas present back in August when Seth MacFarlane made his feature film directorial debut in this story of a child’s teddy bear coming to life to become a sex-craved, pot smoking best friend (voiced by MacFarlane himself). I think Ted may suffer from a lack of rewatchability but all in all it was a very funny film with some great cameos and hilarious scenes. The “white trash girls names” scene is one of the best scenes of the year in itself!

 

September – Looper

There were some very popular films released in September: Anna Karenina, Dredd, The Sweeney and House at the End of the Street to name a few. Lawless, featuring wonderful performances from Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf and Guy Pearce among others was an incredible film and gives Looper a run for its money but when I saw Looper I knew I was watching something special. Looper is one of the best films that I have ever seen and has fast become one of my favourites. The time travel plot device that has long been a staple in the science fiction genre and Looper gave an alternate look while skirting around the edges of Rian Johnson’s own laws of time travel. Looper was incredible! My best film of the year.

 

October – Skyfall

2012 saw the return of James Bond to the big screen in Skyfall, directed by Sam Mendes. After a disappointing Quantum of Solace Bond returned in a flood of critical acclaim and commercial success worldwide in the critically lauded Skyfall. Skyfall delivered a more personal look at the characters in Bond’s world, including a small trip into Bond’s background, a more in-depth look at M and revealed a few dark secrets of MI6. Skyfall also brought back some famous characters in a new style, Q and Moneypenny. Skyfall was simply fantastic and should be an outside bet for a couple of Oscar nominations.

 

November – Argo

My heart longs to say that Rise of the Guardians was the best film released in November but my head says otherwise. November saw End of Watch and Silver Linings Playbook released as well but I think that Argo was a really really incredible achievement for Ben Affleck. Argo was crammed full of suspense and tension and had audiences chewing on their nails whilst sitting on the edge of their seats. A true story of a rescue attempt using the undercover story of being a film crew for a science fiction film seems almost unbelievable but Argo brings it to the screen with such perfect realism.

 

December – Life of Pi

Life of Pi was very hotly anticipated as soon as it was announced. Being a best-selling book Life of Pi already had a huge audience waiting to see how the adaptation would turn out. The story is of 16 year old Pi who suffers a ship wreck which kills his family and leaves Pi stranded with just a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. It is a truly touching and emotional story and is already reaping the rewards of their hard work with Golden Globe nominations for Best Score, Best Drama and Best Director.

Matthew McConaughey is a pretty big name actor if you think about it. If you think of romantic comedies then his name will be one of the first few you associate with the genre, along with Jennifer Aniston and Katherine Heigl. Funnily enough, if you also think of plain bad films (and I’m talking really bad, not bad but enjoyable, just bad) then Matthew McConaughey must also be synonymous with that too! He does however, have a huge legion of fans, mainly of the female gender and probably because of his looks rather than his acting ability, but you would be hard pressed to find a man who counts Matthew McConaughey among their favourite actors. Now it looks as though that may be set to change as McConaughey opts for more dramatic roles than we are used to seeing him in.

McConaughey began work as an actor in television adverts and the rare television episode appearance but then he got his big break back in 1991 in Dazed and Confused. Maybe, and I never thought I would say this, McConaughey put in a performance that was too good, because this is pretty much what made him a shoe-in for any male lead role in a romantic comedy. As an actor you don’t want to get pigeon holed into one genre but as a young emerging good looking man then you are always going to be wanted for romantic comedies (the same happened for Chris Pine and Chris Evans in recent years although not to the same extent).

Throughout the nineties Matthew McConaughey tried out many different genres including crime (A Time to Kill), drama mystery (Contact) and action (The Newton Boys) but didn’t have as much success in these as he did with his romantic comedies and at the turn of the century McConaughey really started to churn out the rom-coms. In 2001 McConaughey starred in The Wedding Planner alongside Jennifer Lopez and although he continued to try and be versatile with his career it is his rom-coms in this decade that are his most famous films: How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Failure to Launch, Fool’s Gold and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.

Now though, there seem to be no signs of Matthew McConaughey returning to make another romantic comedy as he has taken on more serious roles in recent years. This began with McConaughey taking on The Lincoln Lawyer which was a thriller that received great reviews from critics and McConaughey won high praise for his performance in the lead role. Killer Joe, a crime thriller in which McConaughey plays a contract killer/police detective, also won a lot of praise; then Magic Mike came out which also got surprisingly positive reviews from critics. Next up for Matthew McConaughey is Mud, which is already getting a lot of praise from early screenings and that is a drama so it appears that Matthew McConaughey is taking on more serious roles recently and these are really helping his reputation.

McConaughey’s next film project will be another drama The Dallas Buyer’s Club before taking on war film Thunder Run alongside Gerard Butler and Sam Worthington, two more actors who have a lot to prove in my opinion. McConaughey’s recent film choices do signal a more serious approach with his career and this can only be good news. I hope he succeeds.

 

UK Release Date: 11th July 2012.

Plot: A male stripper teaches a younger performer how to party, pick up women, and make easy money.

Magic Mike is a comedy drama which has pulled a pretty mismatched cast together to be directed by Steven Soderbergh, the man who was at the helm of the Ocean’s trilogy. In the lead role is Channing Tatum; pretty boy turned actor, supporting him is Alex Pettyfer; teenage superspy Alex Rider from Stormbreaker; the wonderful Matt Bomer; charming con artist from the brilliant television series White Collar and finally all round bad actor Matthew McConaughey.

No doubt this is probably a film for the female audience to enjoy but I think that it could turn out be a great laugh for all audiences. I think that the trailer picks up on some pretty good points (the opening scene in the trailer of the strippers arriving at the party was pretty amusing) and there is no doubt that Steven Soderbergh can inject humour into his films as he did with Ocean’s Eleven and Ocean’s Thirteen (the less said about Ocean’s Twelve the better).

It feels as if this role will suit Channing Tatum perfectly; he used to be a model, he has a big female fan base and he showed his comedy credentials earlier this year in 21 Jump Street. He should be able to excel in the title role and I think he could have some fun with the role because I highly doubt this is going to be a film that takes itself 100% seriously.

I think its a film that could go either way but it does have a lot of positives going for it and hopefully it will be a great laugh for everyone.