20 items from 2014
1. The McConnaissance has officially hit its peak.
It's now belaboring the obvious to state that Matthew McConaughey has morphed into one of the most interesting actors working today — an unpredictable phenomenon that we can carbon-date back to 2011 and his Rockford Files-esque turn in The Lincoln Lawyer. His career-resurgence modus operandi was simple: kiss off the typical leading-man roles that were slowly suffocating him and go moody (Mud), dowdy (Bernie), psycho-ugly (Killer Joe), or campy, where-are-my-bongos batshit-crazy (The Paperboy). Where once his two modes were open-shirted or altogether shirtless, McConaughey started »
Sure, Matthew McConaughey's mom is thrilled her son took home the Best Actor Oscar last Sunday. But in Kay McCabe's book, McConaughey was already a winner. "Matthew makes me proud because he is very humble and sincere and a very thoughtful person," she tells People. "He is just a great son." Not to mention a natural family man. As husband to Camila, 31, and father to their kids Levi, 5½, Vida, 4, and 15-month-old Livingston, Matthew, 44, couldn't have had a better role model than his own dad, James, a gas-station owner who died in 1992, says Kay. "I had no doubt when he decided to marry, »
- Elizabeth Leonard
Gabriel Luna (Bernie) has landed the lead role in the new action drama TV series, Matador. The series was created by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (Alias, Fringe) for Robert Rodriguez’s El Rey Network, and will also feature Nicky Whelan (Hall Pass) as the female lead.
The TV show will follow popular soccer star Antonio ‘Matador’ Bravo (played by Luna), using his successful sports career as a cover for his real role as a skilled CIA operative, expertly executing covert missions for an ultra-secret branch of the intelligence organization. Described as ‘a Latino take on James Bond,’ the show will boast a pilot directed by Robert Rodriguez, and is slated to begin production in Los Angeles in late March.
The El Rey Network, which is set to broadcast the show, was launched by Robert Rodriguez in December 2013 as an English language TV channel whose programming choices target Latino audiences in particular. »
- Sarah Myles
Oscar doesn’t always translate to career gold, but winning an Academy Award can boost reputations, earning power and/or brand value. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, the poster children of Hollywood’s rags-to-riches stories, launched their careers by winning an Oscar for original screenplay in 1997 with “Good Will Hunting.” Since then, the two friends have become bona fide superstars — in Affleck’s case, both in front and behind the camera.
In the past 20 years, Oscar winners such as Quentin Tarantino (“Pulp Fiction”) and Jennifer Lawrence, who was nominated for her third Academy Award in four years, have proved that an Oscar win or even just a nomination can take a showbiz career to a whole new level.
After a four-year acting hiatus, »
- Maane Khatchatourian
Justin Chang: Scott, I know it will come as little surprise to you that when Peter Debruge and I sat down to discuss this year’s Oscar nominees for best supporting actor and supporting actress, we spent almost as much time talking about the performances that should have been nominated as we did talking about the ones that actually were. This is hardly a new ax for any critic to grind, but it bears repeating: Those who vote on the Academy Awards are largely in the business of making movies — not seeing them, thinking about them and writing about them week in and week out. No wonder this organization’s choices often strike us as so pedestrian and provincial, less engaged by the boundary-expanding possibilities of cinema than beholden to the power of hometown hype.
See Also: Oscars Picks: Variety Critics on Who Should Win Best Supporting Actor »
- Justin Chang and Scott Foundas
Digital Release Date: April 1, 2014, Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: April 15, 2014
Price: DVD $29.98, Blu-ray/DVD Combo $39.99
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Based on the classic short story by James Thurber, the movie follows Walter Mitty (Stiller), a timid magazine photo manager whose only adventure comes in his constant daydreamers. But when a negative goes missing, he embarks on a real-life adventure that proves much bigger than anything he could have imagined.
The PG film also stars Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids) as Walter’s love interest, Adam Scott (Friends With Kids) as the work bully, Kathryn Hahn (Wanderlust) as his sister and Shirley MacLaine (Bernie) as his mother.
The Academy doesn’t have the best track record of honoring actors who simultaneously appear in both television and film. The “Last King of Scotland’s” Forest Whitaker won the 2007 Oscar around the same time as his supporting roles on “The Shield” and “ER.” Before that, you’d have to go back to 1998 to find a lead actor winner (Helen Hunt, for “As Good As It Gets”) who also headlined a hit TV series (“Mad About You”).
Matthew McConaughey, this year’s lead actor frontrunner, could end that streak if he wins for “Dallas Buyers Club,” since the Oscars coincide with his recent turn in “True Detective.” Of course, McConaughey isn’t a TV star — he’s a movie star moonlighting in an HBO mini-series, but “True Detective” caps three years of tantalizing performances in films like Richard Linklater’s “Bernie,” William Friedkin’s “Killer Joe,” and Steven Soderbergh’s “Magic Mike” where Matthew McConaughey, »
- Ramin Setoodeh
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
Kind of a good news/bad news situation this week. Bad news for those of us who like to watch sitcoms of 30 minutes in length whilst we eat dinner during the week, Channel 4 has decided to remove most of its good content including Peep Show, The It Crowd and Black Books from Netflix and Lovefilm as of February 15th. You can still watch these online but you have to go through their frankly useless 4Od app which I have never managed to watch a full episode of anything on without it crashing at the bloody adverts. Whilst its admirable that Channel 4 are taking things back in-house, they really need to improve their software first, or maybe they already have because I gave up on it back in 2012 and never finished season two of The Killing.
The good news is that Netflix have debuted season two of political drama House of Cards, »
- Chris Holt
Jack Black delivers his finest performance yet as small-town Texas mortician Bernie Tiede, a dapper and precise singleton who strikes up an unlikely friendship with a rich but mean-spirited widow (Shirley Maclaine). As his relationship with her intensifies from companion to chattel, he begins to resent her possessive nature until he can take no more. Black fruitfully re-teams with his School of Rock director Richard Linklater for this darkly funny comedy drama based on a true story. »
Black will star as a high school reunion committee chairman still searching for acceptance who has to do whatever it takes to get the most popular guy from high school (Marsden) to show up to the 20 year reunion. Screenwriter Mike White will also star alongside Nat Faxon (The Way Way Back).
Why not head on over to our newly-launched Flickering Myth Forum to discuss this story, or anything else that takes your fancy »
- Gary Collinson
“The Brink" dark comedy has been given a series order from HBO, reports Variety. Jay Roach directed the pilot, which stars Jack Black and Tim Robins. Kim and Roberto Benabib write with Black playing Alex Coppins, a Foreign Service officer who gets caught in the middle of everything. Robbins plays U.S. Secretary of State Walter Hollander who has no patience for warmongers. Roberto Benabib is also serving as executive producer alongside Jerry Weintraub and Jay Roach. Black was in the effective "Bernie" comedy drama / crime flick of 2011, as well as "The Big Year" bird watching comedy (which wasn't half bad actually). He's up next in "Sex Tape" from director Jake Kasdan, which opens July 25th, 2014, and also includes Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, Rob Corddry, Ellie Kemper and Rob Lowe. »
For a while, it seemed as though Jack Black was becoming the premier comic leading man of his generation, and with a couple of more hits that coronation would have been complete. Instead, Black stumbled with Gulliver.s Travels and subsequently disappeared from leading man roles. He was excellent in 2011.s little-seen Bernie but that wasn.t much of a hit, and Black has busied himself since then with television appearances and voice work. Even if you were growing tired of his schtick, you might have missed him a little. Fortunately, it looks like Black is about to return, collaborating with his School Of Rock and Nacho Libre mate Mike White for The D-Train. According to THR, Black will play a sadsack high school reunion chairman tasked with finding the most popular guy from his graduating class and bring him back to his hometown. Presumably that.s the character in »
Some day, a very wise Hollywood type will make a movie about the rise of Matthew McConaughey. Out of all the actors and actresses currently atop the A-list, he’s had one of the most fascinating career resurgences I’ve ever come across. When he first arrived on the scene back in the 1990s with A Time to Kill, we saw a talented fresh face, one full of promise. Then, the Hollywood money machine snatched him up, plastering his handsome features onto forgettable (at best) romantic comedies like The Wedding Planner, How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days and Failure to Launch. Need we revisit the Sahara era? Finally, after the paltry Ghosts of Girlfriends Past in 2009, McConaughey took a step back, and boy am I grateful he did. Two years later, when the actor returned with terrific performances in The Lincoln Lawyer and Bernie, he was better than ever. »
- Isaac Feldberg
Richard Linklater is a hard director to pin down. Just when you think you've got him figured out, he makes something completely different to his last project. His last five movies have been Boyhood (Ellar Coltrane, Particia Arquette), Before Midnight (Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy), Bernie (Jack Black, Matthew McConaughey), Me and Orson Welles (Zac Efron, Christian McKay) and A Scanner Darkly (Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr.).
Wait! That's it! His last three movies all began with the letter 'B'. So that's what sort of a director he is. He transcends traditional...huh? His next film is The Incredible Mr Limpet? Which is about a man who can turn into a fish? Auteur theory, be damned.
Linklater will remake the 1964 live-action/animation hybrid. At least there's a small bit of consistency with the director's filmography. Femke Wolting and Tommy Pallotta are onboard, who are the filmmakers responsible for the rotoscoping work »
- Oliver Davis
Five days into the festival, Scott Davis has a look at some of the early Us films garnering both praise and distributors at the famous festival, and what to look out for in 2014.…
It’s Sundance time again in the Us. 30 years since it’s inception by screen legend Robert Redford, Sundance has been responsible for helping the indie scene from across the globe get exposure and on their way into the public domain. Last year, it helped films find distributors, such as The Way, Way Back, Prince Avalanche, Don Jon, Fruitvale Station and The Spectacular Now (the latter two still to see releases in the UK.) This year is no different, and the line-up has the potential to be one of the best it has seen. Five days into proceedings, and many films have already worked up some steam, some finding distributors, others still to be picked up. Below »
- Gary Collinson
Jackson Ball on the career resurgence of Matthew McConaughey....
Hollywood is often painted as a cruel, unforgiving place. A place where second chances are few and far-between and if you blow your ‘big break’, you are forgotten instantaneously. It sounds like quite a bleak environment to be around, so it’s always reassuring when someone comes along and breaks the trend, seizing hold of a second chance with both hands. One such person is Mr. Matthew McConaughey.
Cast your minds back to 2009; McConaughey had just released the rather abysmal rom-com Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. This shocker capped off a good decades-worth of drivel for the actor, who seemed to be singled-handed stocking and restocking DVD bargain-bins the world over. McConaughey’s main offences included barrel-scraping rom-coms (The Wedding Planner, Failure to Launch), unenjoyable ‘adventure’ films (Reign of Fire, Fool’s Gold), and a variety of other flops (Two for the Money, »
- Gary Collinson
“Movie Houses of Worship” is a regular feature spotlighting our favorite movie theaters around the world, those temples of cinema catering to the most religious-like film geeks. If you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email our weekend editor. The Violet Crown Cinema Location: 434 West 2nd St. Austin, TX Date Opened: April 29, 2011 No. of Screens: 4 Current First-Run Titles: Her, 12 Years a Slave, August: Osage County, Inside Llewyn Davis, American Hustle Repertory Programming: While there are no repertory screenings currently being exhibited at the Vcc, the theater has hosted repertory programming in conjunction with Janus Films and The Criterion Collection, typically before Criterion’s release of new or upgraded titles. Special Events: Besides showing first-run arthouse, independent and documentary works, the Vcc has often provided a special showcase for local talent, hosting (for example) an advance screening party for Richard Linklater’s Bernie, Q »
- Landon Palmer
Hollywood’s highest-profile producers showered gratitude on stars like Tom Hanks, Matthew McConaughey and Brad Pitt at the annual Producers Guild of America breakfast panel on January 18 at the Landmark Theatre in West La.
Moderated by Gary Lucchesi and occurring a day before the PGA Awards at the Beverly Hilton, the panel of 10 producers — one from each film nominated for the PGA’s Darryl F. Zanuck Award — offered insight as to why his or her film succeeded.
- Dave McNary
This later chunk of Richard Linklater.s career is marked by films that have something going for them beyond just the story being told, from the animation style of A Scanner Darkly to the faux documentary about real events of Bernie. Almost topping the nine-year gaps between the films of his Before trilogy is the production story behind Boyhood, his coming of age drama twelve years in the making. The film will be making its debut in the most natural place imaginable, at this year.s Sundance Film Festival. We.re assuming they.re showing the entire film, and not just the first of 12 annual ten minute chunks. Those attending Sundance can catch the film.s special preview screenings starting next Sunday, January 19 at the Eccles Theater. To mark the announcement, Sundance released two new stills from the film. This isn.t the kind of movie that revolves around some »
20 items from 2014