10 items from 2014
When accepting his Best Actor Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club, Matthew McConaughey delivered a heartfelt speech in which he took us through his lifetime formula for naming his own hero: Hero = Mm + 10. To translate for the non-mathematically inclined, his hero is always himself, but in ten years — an unreachable goal that gives him "somebody to keep on chasing." (Also, 1997's Amistad-era McConaughey might be disappointed to find out that 2007 McConaughey had just signed on for Fool's Gold.) It was a speech that, like most of his, could be translated into an inspirational video for others, but, by adding fellow Oscar-stage dominator Bette Midler's most famous hero song, "Wind Beneath My Wings," it can become a video that McConaughey himself can play to get himself motivated every morning.Feel free to copy the following shots to always inspire you to just keep livin'! »
- Abraham Riesman,Josh Wolk
Matthew McConaughey is being hailed for his role as an HIV sufferer in Dallas Buyers Club and for his part in HBO's acclaimed series True Detective. He has escaped his romcom image and is tipped to take the best actor award tonight
By the end of the night, west coast time, it could all have been worth it for Matthew McConaughey. If he nets the best actor Oscar for his portrayal of the Aids sufferer Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club, then his dramatic weight loss, his bold choices and the careful repositioning of his screen talent will have paid off.
Many of the stars lining up with him outside the Dolby Theatre, following their annual red carpet stroll down Hollywood Boulevard, will have nothing more to worry about than the forecast of heavy rain. But for those in the running for a major prize at the academy's 86th awards, »
- Vanessa Thorpe
The idea that only a British director such as Steve McQueen with British stars could have made Hollywood confront America's slavery legacy is a popular one with fans of UK cinema. But is there any foundation for it?
The bookies, at least, are of one mind: Sunday's Oscars victor will be either Gravity or 12 Years a Slave. The space spectacular must surely rank as the greatest-ever achievement of British film craftsmanship; the Louisiana-set drama doesn't even qualify as a UK film. Nonetheless, Britain's cinema chauvinists aren't all rooting for Gravity. There is something about its rival that inspires yet fiercer patriotism.
Of course, unlike Gravity, Slave features British stars. But that doesn't fully explain its hold on British hearts. Something else is involved: after decades of guilty silence from Hollywood, many believe, a British director has laid bare America's historic shame. Steve McQueen's feat is thus a rare transatlantic putdown of the swaggering yanks. »
- David Cox
By Mark Pinkert
In less than a week, the Academy will crown its 2013 Best Picture and, soon after, we’ll all move on to 2014. But which of the current films will stand the test of time? Which ones will we re-watch, now and later, despite massive influxes of new movies? Some of this year’s films, we’ll find, are “re-watchable,” while others fill us up after one viewing. Here’s my look at the nine Best Picture contenders and how I think they’ll fare down the road.
12 Years a Slave
This is a film that needs to–and will–stand the test of time. The source of its longevity, years later, will be the poignant performances and powerful scenes that burn into our memories, as when Solomon Northrup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) clings barely to life from a noose on the plantation. But the film is difficult to watch, »
- Mark Pinkert
It may not be to most actors’ tastes, but Matthew McConaughey is sounding oddly happy about his smaller paydays.
“For the first time in my career, I lost money! No joke!” the actor says.
Then again, McConaughey has reason to smile; his choice to reject big mainstream movies, ultimately in favor of gritty roles in independent films, represents a dramatic career shift –— and has garnered widespread recognition — for the 44-year-old Texas-born father of three.
His performance in “Dallas Buyers Club,” as the real-life Ron Woodroof, a homophobic good ol’ boy who became a health crusader after being diagnosed with AIDS, smuggling life-saving drugs into the U.S. for himself and fellow patients, has earned him top honors at the Golden Globes and SAG awards, and brought him his first Oscar nomination.
It is one of several complicated characters that McConaughey has boldly portrayed recently — from the hard-edged drifter in “Mud »
- Jenelle Riley
Ah, our favorite magazine tradition. Vanity Fair's 20th Annual Hollywood Issue is upon us and the dozen stars selected they've selected are very carefully placed (they've read their own reviews). Instead of an all white lineup with a person of color shoved onto the back fold, this is an extremely careful, as if everything has been weighed on a scale: 12 actors, exactly equally split between both men and women, and skin color.
Of course both of those 50/50 visual situations are grossly unreflective of the actual business of Hollywood movies but we're not here to complain but to praise, it's fun to see the cover shaken up ever so slightly. If we were here to complain we'd probably say something about the lack of Asian actors (they never get their due here in America) but no one has ever asked The Film Experience to guest art-direct a cover.
If they did »
- NATHANIEL R
Hmmmmm... You think 12 Years A Slave might have had had something with this? I mean, Paramount deciding to release Steven Spielberg’s Amistad on blu-ray? I can’t be the only one thinking that.Especially since, a few months ago, there were news articles that Paramount actually considered threatening Brad Pitt and his production company Plan B with a lawsuit for breach of contract since Plan B had a “first look” option with the studio, which means what it says: that Paramount had the exclusive right to first look at and decide on any project Pitt and Plan B were developing before anyone else could look at it.But the production company instead bypassed Paramount, and took the »
Steve McQueen deserves every gong going for his unflinching portrayal of slavery
While it is not the role of critics to tell people which films to see and which to avoid (audiences make those decisions for themselves), let me begin by saying that if you have any interest in cinema – or, for that matter, in art, economics, politics, drama, literature or history – then you need to watch 12 Years a Slave. If, as now seems possible, this very powerful film from British director Steve McQueen achieves a clean sweep in the forthcoming best picture categories, it will be a rare example of awards ceremonies getting it right.
That McQueen may be on the verge of becoming not only the first black film-maker to win an Oscar for best director, but the first to do so while in possession of a Turner prize, lends enough historical precedent to merit your attention. But »
- Mark Kermode
After parallel successes on stage and screen, the Londoner is being lauded as one of the greatest actors of his generation
However good they are, actors always need a defining role to transform them into a film star, and as the kidnap victim Solomon Northup in the Steve McQueen-directed 12 Years a Slave, Chiwetel Ejiofor has found his.
Always an impressive performer on screen – certainly since his breakthrough role as a refugee doctor opposite Audrey Tautou in 2002's Dirty Pretty Things – Ejiofor is now on the cusp of joining the global film-acting elite. He has already been the recipient of scores of year-end critics' awards for 12 Years a Slave, as well as Golden Globe and Bafta nominations – and the industry will view it a significant scandal if an Oscar nomination doesn't materialise on 16 January.
Northup is the central figure in McQueen's project to confront the Us with its slavery past. »
- Andrew Pulver
Directed by the British artist and film-maker Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave has gained almost universal critical praise. In his review for the New Yorker, David Denby echoed the consensus opinion when he described it as "easily the greatest feature film ever made about American slavery".
But in America many people have asked why it has taken so long for a film to do justice to the appalling plight of African America's slave ancestors and why no Us film-makers have succeeded before in confronting their country's shameful past with such unflinching power and historical accuracy. Variety said it was a "disgrace" that, after so long, it has taken "a British director to stare the issue in its face".
By turns visually beautiful and viscerally brutal, »
- Andrew Anthony
10 items from 2014
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