Posts tagged with “Matthew McConaughey”
MUD (2012/In Theaters)
Mud is the third movie written and directed by Jeff Nichols. As with his last feature, the criminally overlooked Take Shelter, I am reluctant to say too much about the details of Mud’s plot here. Nichols makes movies that are authentic and surprising, best enjoyed with no expectations. This one takes place in a small town in Arkansas, where lives are divided between the parking lots and seedy motels of Town and the simplicity and freedom of the River. Two boys, portrayed with incredible depth and nuance by Ty Sheridan and Jacob Lofland (the latter looking like he walked right out of Stand By Me and into this film, Fugazi t-shirt notwithstanding), discover a mysterious stranger named Mud (Matthew McConaughey) and decide to help him in his quest. The adventures that unfold are a window into their families, friendships, homes, youth, and waning innocence.
Again Nichols’ film is gorgeous, favoring dawn and twilight, nature and water. As in Take Shelter, he somehow uses simple, quiet lives to convey more suspense and emotion than any blockbuster thriller or mile-a-minute action flick I’ve seen; in part because his characters are so real and the performances so strong. In addition to the two outstanding young leads, Nichols regulars Ray McKinnon and Michael Shannon (whose broad range continues to astound), and Sam Shepard, Sarah Paulson, and Reese Witherspoon are all excellent. And I won’t ever associate McConaughey with tepid romantic comedies again after this (and Magic Mike, of course). Mud, both the man and the film, is a study in balance: simultaneously ominous and endearing, simple and complex, small and grand. See it.
MAGIC MIKE (2012/In Theaters) So a certain fellow Serious Movie Lover and I found ourselves in a theater full of ladies the other night. There was booze in our soda pop and electricity in the air. We were not disappointed. Magic Mike is hysterical. One hundred and ten minutes of jaw dropping spectacle. Nudity of all types and combinations, drugs, language, sparkly sequined thongs, grinding, gyrating, homo-eroticism, shiny torsos, and countless delightful costume-y hats. The plot, such as it is, revolves around the titular Mike (a surprisingly charming Channing Tatum), a male stripper with higher aspirations who loves a good time, and his protege, The Kid (an unsurprisingly bland Alex Pettyfer, or perhaps you know him as Number Four? No? Just us, then). I won’t spoil the finer details — love story, yada yada, morality tale, blah blah blah. The real reason to see this movie is the gloriously greasy performance by Matthew McConaughey as Dallas, the ring leader of our stripper pals. Dallas is the ultimate realization of the untrustworthy-but-oddly-charismatic-sleazeball persona McConaughey introduced us to in Dazed and Confused. He is a wonder to behold. Tatum really is great too, putting his Step Up moves to good use and showing an appealing sense of humor. The rest of the strippers do pretty well and look respectfully chiseled and shiny. Cody Horn, as The Kid’s protective sister, is impressively terrible, mistaking squinting blankly for “portraying emotion.” But it doesn’t matter. Her role evaporated from my brain the minute I walked out of the theater. We say, go see this and don’t expect anything more than a raucous good time. You will not be sorry.
Grade: A (for Aaaaw yeah)
PS — Here’s an interesting read from The New York Times about McConaughey’s shift from rom-com crap to more interesting roles of late.
LARGER THAN LIFE (1996/DVD) This Bill Murray vehicle—basically Man inherits a circus elephant (from Circus Clown Dad, long thought dead) and a huge bill for damages done by said elephant, Man finds Zoo across the country that will pay for the elephant and said damages, if only Man can get the elephant there within a week, when the Zoo is flying several elephants to Sri Lanka for a breeding study—is an enjoyable ride, for the most part. There’s plenty of funny here for Murray fans as he plays a flawed motivational speaker trying to manage this cross country trek while still retaining his speaker gigs. Sure, it’s C-Grade Murray, and I definitely don’t want oversell this modest flick, but as long as you’re able to withstand straight-faced delivery of lines like “You know, they say an elephant never forgets. But what they don’t tell you is that you never forget an elephant,” then for you there may be a few meager treasures to be plundered therin. Read more »