Showing posts with label matthew mcconaughey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label matthew mcconaughey. Show all posts

9 May 2013

Jeff Nichols' Mud Review

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Jeff Nichols' Mud successfully presents a tale of broken romances and coming of age in a woozy Arkansas Summer, but falls victim to lashings of melodramatic clichés and an overstretched runtime.

The Take Shelter director's latest feature follows two teenage boys Elis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) who encounter Mud (Matthew McCougnahey), a fugitive who hopes to be reunited with his on-off girlfriend, Juniper (Reece Witherspoon).

Nichols' well-crafted sense of Americana and childhood nostalgia immediately suggest parallels to tales like Rob Reiner's Stand By Me - however, Mud feels slightly more contrived and dependent on manipulative melodramatic techniques than Reiner's film. Nichols' narrative is filled with Southern charm and sharply realistic characters, with the director capturing childhood hope and innocence in troubled surroundings. This core essence of Mud is relatively simple, but Nichols' screenplay has a tendency to dwell on elements that do not feel entirely relevant or pressing such as Neckbone's home life or the workings of Elis' parents relationship - resulting in the somewhat intimidating 135 minute run time. Nichols does provide a well-staged and dramatic conclusion to his Southern tale, however, this ultimately appears thirty minutes too late subsequently lessening its impact.

Cinematographer Adam Stone shoots Mud with a hazy gaze - capturing a modern America filled with Walmarts and fast-food places. This provides a modern  glance at youthful innocence in contemporary South - serving as somewhat of a 21st Century re-envisioning of the work of Mark Twain.  Stone has the ability to capture the sun-soaked beauty in anything from a grocery store parking  lot to Mud's island hideaway.  This sense of nostalgia and Americana is heightened by an impeccable soundtrack featuring the likes of The Beach Boy's Help Me Rhonda.

The real driving force behind Mud is the performances by the film's two young leads, Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland - both of which feel utterly genuine. Sheridan in particular pours such natural heart and soul into the role of Elis that it would be a challenge not to be impressed.

McCoughnahey also excels as the smart, chip-toothed  titular character who enchants Elis and Neckbone. However, McCougnahey's performance really reaches its peak in Mud's conclusion when the boys realise Mud's life is not exactly perfect. It would have been nice had Reece Witherspoon been given slightly more to do than play the two-dimensional loose-lipped Southern girl.   Cult favourites Joe Don Baker and Sam Shepard also leave a lasting impact with two smaller roles, alongside magnificent American Horror Story star, Sarah Paulson.

Mud serves as a hazy slice of Americana - ably capturing a changing world seen through the lens of youthful innocence. The impact of the stellar performances and cinematography, however,  is weakened by a over-stretched runtime and melodramatic clichés.


Andrew McArthur

Stars: Matthew McCougnahey, Reece Witherspoon, Sam Shepard, Tye Sheridan
Director: Jeff Nichols
Release: 10th of May 2013
Rating: 12A

27 March 2013

Watch UK Trailer For Richard Linklater's Bernie Starring Jack Black

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Who said age matters or even the fact the pair in love might be a bit 'odd'? Step forward Jack Black and Shirley Mclaine as they star in Bernie, here's the UK trailer.

Bernie sees Black reunite with his School of Rock director Richard Linklater in a dark comedy based on a 'true life' story printed in the Texas Monthly Magazine. Bernie (Black) a funeral director who forms an unlikely relationship with Majorie (McLaine) a sour faced widower  who becomes dependent, whilst nagging and testing his limits. Majorie mysteriously dies leaving Bernie with a massive windfall, a death that leaves the little town they live in, shocked in disbelief and despite his renowned kindness to the locals the local district attorney (Matthew McConaughey) is determined to get to the bottom of Majorie's death.

Bernie is filmed part documentary part drama and it's refreshing to see Jack Black actually attempt to prove he does have some dramatic chops with in him even if this new film does have comedy elements in it. Want to know what we thought of Bernie? You can asThe Peoples Movies  Sophie Stephenson caught the film last month at Glasgow Film Festival, read our review here.

Bernie will be out in UK&Ireland on 26th April.


In the tiny, rural town of Carthage, TX, assistant funeral director Bernie Tiede was one of the town’s most beloved residents.  He taught Sunday school, sang in the church choir and was always willing to lend a helping hand. Everyone loved and appreciated Bernie, so it came as no surprise when he befriended Marjorie Nugent, an affluent widow who was as well known for her sour attitude as her fortune. Bernie frequently traveled with Marjorie and even managed her banking affairs. Marjorie quickly became fully dependant on Bernie and his generosity and Bernie struggled to meet her increasing demands. Bernie continued to handle her affairs, and the townspeople went months without seeing Marjorie. The people of Carthage were shocked when it was reported that Marjorie Nugent had been dead for some time, and Bernie Tiede was being charged with the murder. source:Empire

23 February 2013

GFF 2013 Review: The Paperboy

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After a rough reception from critics at Cannes in May 2012, The Paperboy finally makes its way to the UK. Even before its general release, The Paperboy has become something of a modern trash classic thanks to director Lee Daniel's pulpy direction and eye for a scantily-clad Zac Efron.

Based on the 1995 novel by Pete Dexter, The Paperboy follows Miami Times reporter, Ward Jansen as he returns to his home of South Florida to exonerate innocent death row hick, Hilary Van Wetter (John Cussack). Alongside his younger brother, Jack (Zac Efron) and Hilary's fiancé, trashy femme fatale Charlotte Bless (Nicole Kidman), Ward sets out to prove the condemned man's innocence.

Lee Daniels is truly a man with a vision, The Paperboy is the film that he set out to make. Filled with a darkly Gothic Southern charm, Daniels' feature is chock-full of rich atmosphere - fully transporting us to the hot, sweaty world of 1960s Florida. This swampy, heat-soaked atmosphere feels like an apt backdrop for Daniels' themes of primal desires like lust and violence to play out. These run their course through Dexters' rich palette of characters from perpetually horny teen, Jack, to over-sexed Barbie doll, Charlotte Bless.

Fans of the book may feel that Dexter's narrative structure and character development have suffered through Daniels' artistic flourishes. Dexter's novel was a brooding read with a natural narrative structure, something that sometimes feels lacking from Daniels' adaptation. On occasion, The Paperboy feels like a disjointed, patchwork of loosely connected sequences which is likely to hamper your emotional investment in the narrative and characters. This lack of emotional investment, is not to say that The Paperboy is not enjoyable, it is a lot of fun.

Daniels' feature is filled with an endearing trashy-charm from the loud aesthetics to the kitsch soundtrack. This charm carries on into the performances too. Nicole Kidman is the clear standout, bringing a large helping of Southern gumption and lashings of trashy sex-appeal to the role of Charlotte Bless. However, there is also an a sense of vulnerability in Kidman's performance - Charlotte's blatant over-sexed demeanour works as a means of masking her insecurities, allowing the actress to give one of her strongest performances in recent years.

The role of Jack also allows Zac Efron to shine, with the actor finally being given the opportunity to showcase his talents in a darker, less-family friendly role. Daniel's voyeuristic gaze of the handsome, lust-filled Jack further thrusts into the sweaty, pulpy atmosphere of The Paperboy. Praise must also go to the wonderful Macy Gray, for a stellar comic turn which also brings themes of 1960s race relations into The Paperboy's frame.

The Paperboy is a thrilling, sweat soaked Southern-Noir, rich in atmosphere and directorial vision. The varying tone, camp aesthetics and powerful performances from Kidman and Efron completely overshadow any of the narrative inconsistencies. The Paperboy is a must-see.

Andrew McArthur


Stars: Nicole Kidman, Zac Efron, Matthew McConaughey
Director: Lee Daniels
Certificate: 15 (UK)
Release: 18th February 2013(Glasgow Film Festival) 15th March 2013 (UK)

16 February 2013

GFF 2013 - Bernie Review

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In a small town in Texas lives Bernie (Jack Black), a popular mortician who befriends the lonely, rich Marjorie Nugent (Shirley MacLaine). The pair do everything together, however Marjorie eventually becomes abusive, and after one demand too many Bernie makes a fatal decision. The film is presented in a documentary style, with the story told by residents of the town in interviews which flash back to the events, some of whom are in fact real-life Texan’s who took part in the real case.

Richard Linklater has assembled a great cast for his latest offering. Matthew McConaughey stands out as the district attorney, while this is Jack Black’s best role for a long time, and shows he has a wider range of ability than his usual performances would have you believe. The problem however lies in the narrative: it is just not engaging enough to care about the characters. There is no build-up of events, just a meandering plod from start to finish. While displaying moments of quirkiness and charm, the script does not contain enough humour for it to deliver as a comedy. It is difficult to guess what Linklater’s intentions were, as the light-hearted tone of the film persists from start to finish, despite the turn of events. Bernie is an enjoyable watch, just not satisfactory, and may leave you wondering: what was the point?

Sophie Stephenson


Rating: 15
Release Date: 15th February 2013 (Glasgow Film Festival) 26th April 2013 (UK&Ireland)

4 November 2012

Killer Joe DVD Review

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It opened the 65th Edinburgh International Film Festival ,iconic director William Friedkin's lastest feature, Killer Joe giving another meaning to the Colenel's Finger Licking Good! Friedkin has arguably never made a bad film (let's just pretend Cruising never happened) and the seventy-six year old proves that he is still at the top of his game with his latest opus.

This pulpy Texan-noir follows the financially struggle, Chris Smith (Emile Hirsch) who plots to have his mother murdered, in a harebrained scheme to collect $50,000 insurance money. After confessing the plan to his father (Thomas Haden Church), sister (Juno Temple) and step-mother (Gina Gershon), the family seek out the services of lawman-meets-hired killer, Joe Cooper (Matthew McConaughey).

Friedkin manages to capture the nerve shredding intensity (similar to that of his previous film, Bug) through his bold, atmospheric direction. From the onset, Friedkin hits us with the ominous sound of Joe's carefully timed lighter clicks, followed by shots of a rain-drenched, derelict trailer park and prescient lighting strikes. This gives us an early impression of the tense and brutal tale that is about to unfold. Friedkin does not hold back when it comes to depicting raw portrayals of violence and dark characters - possibly a device that may leave some viewers feeling somewhat alienated.

Fortunately, between these moments of intensity, Tracy Letts' screenplay presents us with several wonderful moments of darkly comic humour. These perfectly executed moments of deadpan humour and awkward fun provides light relief from the Killer Joe's dark subject matter, proving to be an unforgettable combination. Letts' screenplay may begin with a simple premise, but Killer Joe soon proves to be a highly original and often unexpected and frenzied ride. This is perfectly summed up in the films' outrageous, near-genius conclusion which proves to be both shocking and riotously humorous.

It is particularly nice to see that Matthew McConaughey has escaped from the world of romantic comedies and is once again proving what a wonderful actor he is. His underplayed portrayal of the sardonically smooth, Joe Cooper, is a career best and one of the sheer delights of Friedkin's film. Gina Gershon proves to be on fine form as Chris' trashy, no-nonsense step-mother bringing a convincing slice of Southern gumption to the role. Thomas Haden Church's deadpan comic skills also prove to be a highlight with the star excelling as the bumbling, beer-guzzling patriarch. Younger actors Juno Temple and Emile Hirsch are equally well cast with the pair both able to shine alongside the likes of McConaughey and Gershon.

Killer Joe is a magnificent example of modern-noir, with Friedkin proving to still be one of the most exciting figures in modern cinema. The director's latest feature proves to be one of the most energetic, brutal, tense and darkly comic pictures of the year, featuring an unforgettable career best performance from Matthew McConaughey.

Andrew McArthur


Rating: 18 (UK)
UK DVD/BD Release Date: 5th November 2012 (UK)
Director: William Friedkin
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Gina Gershon, Thomas Haden Church , Juno Temple

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2 October 2012

Finger Licking Killer Joe Coming To DVD& BluRay November!

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When Killer Joe arrived in UK&Irish cinemas it left some cinephiles feeling finger licking good for some of the colonel's favourite recipe and in November you will be able to bring home a box that's a DVD or Bluray box of the film.In Killer Joe Matthew McConaughey delivers what many are calling a career-best performance in this violent and darkly comic neo-noir thriller that marks a blistering return to form for “The Exorcist” and “The French Connection” director William Friedkin.

When small-time drug dealer Chris Smith finds himself seriously in debt to his supplier, he hatches a plan to have his estranged mother killed in order to claim the $50,000 life insurance due to be paid to his younger sister, Dottie. To do the job, he hires Killer Joe Cooper, a creepy, corrupt and crazy Dallas cop who Chris is informed moonlights as a professional hit man. Unable to pay Joe’s fee upfront, Chris agrees to provide a “retainer” in the form of Dottie, with whom Joe has immediately become besotted. However, following the murder of his mother, Chris’ plan begins to unravel in a series of unexpected twists involving the interference of his father’s new wife, Sharla, and the development of an unlikely bond between Joe and Dottie.

As pure, unadulterated entertainment Friedkin’s second collaboration with writer Tracy Letts (following 2006’s “Bug”) has it all – steamy sexuality, shocking violence, a compelling storyline, lashings of black humour and, most of all, a killer cast of actors all at the top of their game. McConaughey effectively shakes off his rom-com shackles once and for all, while Juno Temple delivers a scene-stealing performance in a movie likely to leave viewers both exhilarated and shaken at the same time.

Killer Joe is due out in UK&Ireland on November 5th, starring Emile Hirsh, Juno Temple, Thomas Haden Church and Gina Gershon.
Pre-Order/Buy Killer Joe On: DVD / Blu-ray