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"I ask you not to worry about that possibility. Because my son and I live on the Demon Way in Hell, we're prepared to descend into Hell through the Six Realms and Four Lives."

Posts Tagged ‘Matthew McConaughey’

Serenity (2019)

Thursday, May 2nd, 2019

I have great respect for Steven Knight. He wrote EASTERN PROMISES, ALLIED and THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB, he wrote and directed the under-recognized Jason Statham movie REDEMPTION (a.k.a. HUMMINGBIRD) and the Tom-Hardy-on-the-phone movie LOCKE. Most of his shit is good. So when his new steamy sleazy noir thriller thing SERENITY was universally panned and made fun of for a purportedly insane plot twist I didn’t entirely buy it. I thought maybe people were being unappreciative of its apparent audacity, maybe I would enjoy it more.

But jesus, they weren’t lying. This is the most potent feeling of how did all these people agree that this was a movie worth making I’ve had in a long time. It’s not just that the twist is outlandish – it’s that it’s just not a good premise. Being crazy, being unpredictable, being bizarre, unfortunately does not always equal being cool. I just can’t picture the person who would get to the part where you find out what’s going on and think Ah ha, now we’re talking! This is absolutely an idea that is not dumb and was worth writing down and printing out on paper and getting talented people to convey in a storytelling medium! Your mileage may vary.

I will of course tell you what the twist is. I have to. But it starts as a story about Baker Dill (Matthew McConaughey (AMISTAD), Iraq vet turned charter boat captain and fisherman on a quest to catch a mythical beast of a fish he has named “Justice.” He’s kind of a mess, but well-liked on the tiny island of Plymouth. Also he’s hard up for money and taking it out on his faithful first mate Duke (Djimon Hounsou, also AMISTAD), who he fires and accuses of being bad luck. (read the rest of this shit…)

Interstellar

Friday, November 21st, 2014

tn_interstellarYou guys heard of this INTERSTELLAR? Came out recently. It’s Chris Nolan’s take on the wide-eyed space exploration epic. The type of sci-fi movie that keeps its feet partly on earth, has no lasers or star wars in it whatsoever and tries to seem relatively semi-quasi-plausible by modern scientifical-esque theories. It’s definitely supposed to be a spectacle, but not in the complicated-cgi-creations-loudly-smashing-things-into-a-million-cgi-particles way we generally get now, or even the how-did-they-even-do-that style of the INCEPTION hallway scene. More in the LAWRENCE OF ARABIA sense of gigantic landscapes. It’s the type of movie made by and for people who get awe struck staring up at the stars and weepy at the thought of specific astronauts. People whose imaginations get boners from the idea of a manned mission to Mars more than they would from a monster biting the head off a robot.

So the truth is I’m not the audience for this movie. I was better in monster biting head off a robot class than in science. When a guy sitting by me in the theater said he read that the black hole created for the movie was so “mathematically accurate” that scientists were now making discoveries based on it, I literally had no idea what that meant. Still don’t. On several different levels. So keep that in mind when I tell you I liked, didn’t love INTERSTELLAR. But I’m still gonna write about it, ’cause this is America. (read the rest of this shit…)

This year’s pre-Oscar post

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

tn_oscarclintI saw all the best picture nominees this year, an old family tradition. I actually completed the check list a while back. It was easier than usual because I only had two I hadn’t seen at the time of the nominations, and only one of those I hadn’t been planning to see already. There was also one nominee I watched a long time ago but didn’t review. So for the sake of completism I’ll write a few words about those last three before tomorrow/tonight’s Oscar rituals are performed. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Wolf of Wall Street

Monday, December 30th, 2013

tn_wolfofwallstreetTHE WOLF OF WALL STREET is the incredibly entertaining new movie from director Martin Scorsese (Michael Jackson’s BAD), based on the memoir of scumbag fraudulent stockbroker Jordan Belfort (executive producer of SANTA WITH MUSCLES), adapted by Terence Winter (writer of a 50 Cent video game and 2 episodes of The Cosby Mysteries). Leonardo DiCaprio (POISON IVY) plays Belfort in the saga of his meteoric rise from innocent Wall Street rookie to multi-millionaire cokehead innovator in greed and callous thievery. After THE GODFATHER and all these other classics that show how organized crime operates like a business, here Scorsese flips it around to show how business acts like gangsters.

Man, we take it for granted after so many big, showy movies with great directors – or we don’t want to admit it ’cause he’s still got kind of a baby face and we remember when he made the teenage girls faint in their pants – but jesus, DiCaprio sure has turned into a good actor. WOLF is Scorsese picture #5 for him, and it seems for a while like he’s mostly doing his usual moves. He’s got the intensity, the energy, the accent that’s old timey and not very naturalistic but he goes so all-in that I buy it, the face that teeters between boyish and Benicio Del Toro. Early in the movie he even crash-lands a small aircraft and stumbles away, as if he’s doing callbacks to THE AVIATOR. He should do that in all his movies, it could be his “I’ll be back.” (read the rest of this shit…)

Mud

Monday, November 18th, 2013

tn_mudMUD is the latest from Jeff Nichols, whose SHOTGUN STORIES and TAKE SHELTER I’ve been a big not-get-around-to-er of for years. I hear they’re great from people I trust and then I go watch a BLOODSPORT or something. But some day I’m gonna make you guys proud. For now I’ve just seen MUD.

As you can tell by the title, MUD is one of these historical fiction adventures where Dr. Samuel Mudd, imprisoned for aiding John Wilkes Booth after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, has to redeem himself by solving mysteries from his cell on Shark Island using his forensic knowledge and what not. But then there’s a twist where actually he’s not redeeming himself at all, he’s giving medical attention to various bad guys like Jesse James, Jack the Ripper, Count Dracula, etc. And then it’s a triple twist because actually he’s redeeming himself by giving them medical attention but then trying to influence them to be better people. It’s kind of like an underworld doctor story but also redemption, procedural, action, romance, racism, etc.

Actually that’s not what MUD is about, I tricked you into reading the pitch for my new intellectual property, for sale to Hollywood as a movie or TV series or both. Please buy. I don’t need my name on the credits though if it’s all the same to you guys. As we’ve all heard, the MUD that actually exists is real good, and Matthew McConaughey is real good in it. What I had not heard was anything else, like what it was about. And I’m glad, it’s rare to see a movie completely fresh like that. You won’t get that if you keep reading.

(Why am I always telling you not to read my reviews? This kind of defeatist attitude is why some dude from Lost is not playing Samuel Mudd on tv yet) (read the rest of this shit…)

The Paperboy

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

“If anyone’s gonna pee on him, it’s gonna be me!”

THE PAPERBOY is the new one from Academy Award nominee for Best Director Lee Daniels. That’s the guy that did PRECIOUS, BASED ON THE NOVEL PUSH BY SAPPHIRE as well as SHADOWBOXER, BASED ON THE IDEA THAT HELEN MIRREN AND CUBA GOODING JR. ARE ASSASSINS AND SHE RAISED HIM BUT ALSO THEY’RE FUCKING AND SHE HAS CANCER. I feel like the critical community embraced PRECIOUS without really picking up on how nutty it was, or doing a background check on Mr. Daniels’s previous work. So they did cartoony “wh-wh-whUHHH?” double-takes when THE PAPERBOY played at Cannes and had a part where Nicole Kidman territorially pisses on Zac Efron from HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL. Because it’s a Lee Daniels movie.
(read the rest of this shit…)

Magic Mike

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Remember when it got out that Channing Tatum had been a stripper before he was an actor? I forget if he said it in an interview or if it was Wikileaks or something, but there were alot of stories about it in the entertainment journalism and it was a big joke to everybody. But who’s laughing now, motherfuckers? Tatum found the best possible way to own that on the set of HAYWIRE when he convinced Steven Soderbergh that his experiences would make a good movie. It might’ve gone a different way if it was on the set of GI JOE and it was Stephen Sommers that ended up directing MAGIC MIKE. But Soderbergh is the guy to take any subject matter, find what’s interesting about it, bring out the innate and sometimes unknown talents of his cast, and shoot it beautifully. He’s made one of his little independent character pieces, but he threw in just enough shirtless cowboys humping stages to advertise that for the ladies.

(read the rest of this shit…)

Amistad

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

tn_amistadWith AMISTAD Spielberg brings his historical dramas closer to home, dealing with slavery in America through the story of an unusual court case. The case deals with a group of Africans captured as slaves and transported on a schooner called La Amistad. Cinque (Djimon Hounsou) leads an uprising and takes control of the ship, but they end up taken into custody along American shores. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Thursday, October 5th, 2006

TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE NEXT GENERATION

Well in a serious bid to not hate the upcoming TEXAS CHAIN SAW remake prequel, I decided to mentally condition myself by rewatching the two bad sequels, parts 3-4. But I don’t know, maybe I’m getting soft in my old age, maybe the remake lowered the bar, maybe it’s some kind of Stockholm Syndrome deal, but this week I found out I really don’t hate these two movies like I used to. They’re not good sequels, no, but I was able to appreciate them a little more after all these years. The little fuckers are starting to grow on me.

I also realized the secret behind the failure of the sequels. Every one of them is basically a loose remake, but without all the elements that were in place to make the first one work. You can’t catch lightning in a bottle 4 times unless you’re really good with a bottle, and not even Tobe Hooper is that good with a bottle anymore. The sequels are all closer to the original than the actual remake is. They change the reason why the victims are in town, they have a different lineup for the family (and a different person playing Leatherface), and they add some new twists here and there. But they’re all basically some people come to town, get stuck at the house, they’re tormented in crazy ways, there’s the dinner scene, they escape, they battle, they get away. (read the rest of this shit…)

Reign of Fire

Friday, July 12th, 2002

I heard a rumor, or actually I just saw it on the ad, that REIGN OF FIRE is supposed to be the perfect summer movie. And in a way I think it is. Because it takes a good special effects extravaganza premise – the world is obliterated by firebreathing dragons and a small community of survivors fight back in postapocalyptic england – and treats it much smarter and more dramatic than you’d expect.

Yeah, this is a movie with computer animated dragons, and a bunch of people fighting them. But the emphasis of the story is not on the fighting. It’s always on the drama. After a prologue and a MAD MAX-like dragons-take-over-the-world explanation montage, you get basically a DAY OF THE DEAD setup. Here is this community of survivors living in spruced up castle ruins using what limited resources they can find to survive. You find out about their whole system – how they eat, their security system, how they use birds for lookout and what they teach their kids to do if they see a dragon. There’s also a little I AM LEGEND in there because they treat the dragons scientifically. They are not magical. They explain how they breathe fire, how they reproduce, the best way to kill them. (read the rest of this shit…)