Tag: Matthew McConaughey

The Gentlemen

Let’s start this review with a little bit of a confession. Later this year we are getting a Kingsman prequel movie called The King’s Man. That makes a lot of sense to be the title of a Kingsmen prequel film. No one should get that confused.

Enter me. Movie reviewer. Reviewer who tries to not watch trailers or too many other notes about films before seeing it. I remember that the Kingsman prequel had a really obvious name for the series, but didn’t remember exactly what.

So, when I saw I had a screening upcoming for The Gentlemen? My mind went only one place. Ah yes, the Kingsman prequel.

And let’s just say, this movie had me pretty confused for about 20 minutes about how the heck this was at all related to those other films. When they started making a lot more modern references and talk about cell phones, I knew I must have just been a dumb fuck at that point. Anyways, that movie comes out in September. This one is an original and it comes out now.

grant
But wait, there’s more!

Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey) is a weed dealer on a grand scale in Great Britain, and he isn’t even a citizen. Damn Americans. He has so much weed, making so much money, no one knows how he does it. Where does he hide his crops?

Well, he wants out of the game. He is getting older, less likely to go killing people and defending his territory. If he can sell out his whole operation to someone else, he will have enough money to retire the rest of his life with his comfy and rich friends.

But a simple idea dealing with illegal things will never be that easy. We have a very good and nosy reporter (Hugh Grant), the owner and operator of a gym for formerly bad people to make them better (Colin Farrell), Pearson’s number 2 man (Charlie Hunnam), and an ambitious Chinese gangster looking to make a break in the business (Henry Golding) that are all going to make things more complicated.

People will turn on everyone if it means survival in the end.

Also starring Jeremy Strong, Michelle Dockerty, Eddie Marsan, and Tom Wu.

swag
Success is always measured in dollars, nothing else.

The Gentlemen is definitely a return to form for Guy Ritchie, and is definitely not a prequel to that one franchise I will stop talking about.

This film felt like his previous great works that people think about when they say Guy Ritchie. Snatch, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, and sure, RocknRolla, This is not like most of his trash from the last decade.

We get twists and turns, hard to understand accents, shocking moments, extra action when necessary, and surprises. A lot of what I said could be considered the same thing, and I don’t care about that.

It was very entertaining, if not hard to follow at the beginning [Editor’s note: That could be because this viewer was a dumbass, see the beginning of the review.] of the film. I did get annoyed at the seemingly excessive racist Asian language that happened at multiple times, although I accept that as bad people going against other bad people, it makes sense for the characters to be…racist. That was hard to type. Still can be frustrating as a viewer.

I give the most praise to Hugh Grant. He went really out of his normal style for this role (except for his general flair for the dramatics that he always carries) and killed it. I also quite enjoyed Farrel and Golding, Golding in particular is on the rise out of seemingly nowhere.

The Gentlemen is just going to be a fun time, with a little bit of death and mayhem.

3 out of 4.

The Dark Tower

Outside of the realm of superheros and already established franchises, The Dark Tower film was probably one of the most hyped and anticipated films to come out for some time.

I first heard about the book series in high school, but it existed long before I was at that level. I never touched it because hey, Steven King does scary things, and I didn’t do scary things. But in recent years I thought about adding it to my list of books to hit in the next few years, as I do love long franchises, especially if they are done, not leaving the reader wondering if the final books will ever happen.

The Dark Tower had years of development hell if I recall, for maybe a decade. Different directors, scripts, actors, whatever. But having it come out finally with two top notch actors at the lead sounded great!

It just started to sound a lot worse when people learned that it was meant as a follow up of the successful franchise, and not the successful franchise itself.

Guns
Initial thoughts? This needs way more guns!

In this section I’d love to tell you about, the film and everything it is about. But it is really hard for me to to describe a plot when the plot itself feels so incomprehensible for most of the film.

I know it starts with a boy, Jake (Tom Taylor), who is young and having weird recurring dreams that make him piss his pants. Not literally. All the people around him say that it is trauma from the death of his dad a year or so ago, but they are consistent, similar, and freaking him out.

They have some dude wearing black (Matthew McConaughey) really wanting to destroy some tower somewhere, and a Gunslinger guy (Idris Elba) not wanting him to do that thing.

And in the simplest way, that is the plot. But it involves a parallel universe or shadow realm, magic stuff, disaster stuff and monster things. And some how the kid is key to it all, because YOLO.

Also starring Ben Gavin, Claudia Kim, and Jackie Earle Haley. Other people too, but I think they’d rather I didn’t lump them in this review as well.

Black
Final thoughts: This still didn’t live up to my gun potential.

What a fucking mess. Or a goddamn mess. I am not sure what kind of mess this film ended up being.

If I had read seven or whatever books in this series before watching this movie, would it have been better? I don’t even know. I can’t actually imagine a big budgeted film coming out that requires that much investment in books to understand it. The movie definitely attempted to explain some things. Why else have some kid thrown into the story if not an exposition device for the viewers?

But I still have no earthly idea what I watched. Once it started doing its silly other world stuff, the film just jumped off the rails and my mind was gone. Extremely poor plot and writing aside, it also was very unattractive to look at. The CGI was awful. The movie was loud and tried to fill itself with cool sequences instead of just good movie.

I mean. I am trying really hard to remember cool or especially bad moments in the film. Something that stands out. But when your movie is 100% trash, well, then it just looks like trash.

0 out of 4.

Gold

This is a review of Gold, Jerry! Gold!

Gold is another film that sort of came out of nowhere for me. I might have heard about it once, but I never saw a trailer. The first real moment acknowledging its existence was when it went and got nominated for a Golden Globe award!

Not like, a really good one. Just Best Song, for a song named Gold in the movie Gold. And that on its own didn’t really matter, because everyone knew La La Land would crush that category, guaranteed.

But hey, I watched it anyways. Maybe it would secretly be great, since it is one of those 2016 films that decides to come out awkwardly in January 2017 for most of the American public.

Jungle Love
Must have been some time zone confusion, what with them in an Asian jungle and all.

Technically Gold is inspired by a true story. I say that, because it isn’t at all like the true story. It is the idea of the true story, some parts true, but basically everything changed with some extra story in order to create a bigger complete story. Or at least that is what they want you to believe.

The film is about Kenny Wells (Matthew McConaughey), a man who runs a business about buying up land for its potential of minerals and selling it once they can confirm the minerals are there. His dad (Craig T. Nelson) started it, but after he suddenly passed, the last seven years Kenny has been bringing it down. Heck, the workers now basically make calls and sales over the phone in a bar now. His wife (Bryce Dallas Howard) has been keeping them afloat with her own job, not leaving him despite the promises of an amazing life.

Kenny is down to his last dollars. And he wants to bet it all on a hunch. He wants to talk to Michael Acosta (Edgar Ramirez), a famed geologist who found an incredibly big copper find. But since then, people still have not trusted his different way of thinking. They want to work together, to go to Indonesia, where Acosta believes they could find the biggest gold mine ever.

And when the results eventually start coming in, thinks start to sky rocket. But can their sudden success and amazing luck really all just be good news?

Also staring Toby Kebbell, Rachael Taylor, Bruce Greenwood, Corey Stoll, Bill Camp, and Stacy Keach.

BDH
They took beauty and the beast to a whole new level here.

(Potential spoilers)

Gold has the potential of being a really great film. But what they needed to do was try to take away the big twist in the latter half and spread it out more throughout the film. Because for the most part, this just feels like a rags to riches story. It has some set backs, they overcome it, some set backs, they overcome. And some back and forth business stuff.

But when we finally learn the twist officially, the whole thing feels sort of awkward. We aren’t given enough time to process it, and seeing more of the fallout from said twist would be a lot more entertaining and important than some of the minute details they put into getting the land and making sure they could secure it for a mine. The subplots kill the film and take away focus. Because damn it, the twist and scam IS the focus.

We only get the smallest of bits that it might be a scam for those going in blind based on eventually an FBI agent talking to Kenny, and realizing that Kenny is telling the story of the film. If the goal of the film is to tell the true-ish story of a real life scam, it is just odd to hide the fact that there even is a scam throughout most of the film.

It is just pulled in too many directions, where not enough of the pull is in the correct direction. The acting is fine, McConaughey looks disgusting, and there is a lot more geology in this film than I would have expected. But that alone is not enough for me to like it.

2 out of 4.

The Sea Of Trees

Could it be? Could we have a year with not one but TWO films involving the Aokigahara forest at the base of Mt. Fuji in Japan? The name itself of course means The Sea Of Trees, thus the title of this film.

Normally when you have doppelganger movies they are pretty close in genre. Sure, for example, we might have Olympus Has Fallen vs White House Down, where one is more humorous, but they are both action movies still.

In this case, we have The Sea Of Trees as a serious drama film vs The Forest, a horror movie. Not just a horror movie, a JANUARY horror film, the worst of the bunch usually.

And The Forest was bad, but not worst of the year bad. Just really bad and not worth further discussion. So it should be easy to actually make a good drama film about this subject. It should be.

Trees
Oh no, look at all these talented actors.

The film begins with Arthur Brennan (Matthew McConaughey), looking disheveled with no carry on, buying a ticket to Tokyo without a return flight planned. A very dialogue light beginning, he makes his way in the city, and heads of course to the suicide forest. A camera shows him enter the entrance, many signs in English and Japanese telling him to think of what to live for. Eventually he sees the many strings from the path, picks a direction and finds a place to kill himself.

He is making it simple. He has some water, some pills, and he will do it that way. But while taking the pills, he hears a voice. It belongs to Takumi Nakamura (Ken Watanabe), a businessman lost. Sure, he has cuts on his arms, but he changed his mind while in the forest and just wants to find a way out. He was dishonored at work (classic Japanese way to die), but realized he cannot leave his wife and kids. Arthur agrees to help him find the path back of course, and in doing so they get more and more lost together.

Speaking of wives, Arthur has one, Joan (Naomi Watts). Their relationship is difficult at times, but don’t worry, we will get flashbacks of events while they are wandering the forest, looking for help, to see just why Arthur came here in the first place. And yes, it is the obvious reasons.

Marriage
Because they look so uncomfortable together in sweaters.

Well, it happened. At almost two hours long, they did the unthinkable. They made a film about a famous suicide location worse than the horror film about the same location. The Forest wasn’t good, but it had its moments, some decent lines, and at least I was interested in it every once in awhile.

The Sea Of Trees is drawn out and melodramatic. It tells the story in the longest way possible. Most of it can be figured out early in the film, so when the film finally reveals all of its twists, it does nothing for the viewer. You can imagine the movie being some pompass ass, standing over you, proud of what it achieved, not realizing it achieved shit.

Watanabe’s character is unfortunately a stereotype. There is no saving it, but they should have done something better than suicidal Japanese businessman. It is almost insulting. By dragging out McConaughey’s story too, the viewer is left assuming he is there for mostly superficial reasons. But in the end once we see his whole back story, we see that he is actually there for indeed, superficial reasons.

None of the critically acclaimed actors in this film give a strong performance. It takes a serious subject but doesn’t seem to be handled with actual caring hands. The entire thing feels like a long drawn out shallow story, meant to be something significant, but really being worse than most other films this year.

0 out of 4.

Sing

Sing is the last animated film I need to review that is a major US release!

I will be honest that I wasn’t really looking forward to Sing at all. It is the fourth anthropomorphic animals major release this YEAR (After Kung Fu Panda 3, Zootopia, and The Angry Birds Movie), in a year where we also had regular talking animal movies as well (Finding Dory, Storks, Ice Age: Collision Course, Norm of the North, The Secret Life of Pets). Fuck.

Basically everything is about talking animals this year. Moana and Kubo and the Two Strings aren’t fully about that, and that might be why they are my favorite two of the year. The only really big animated films I can think of are Trolls (talking magic things) and Sausage Party (talking food). 2016 wasn’t the most creative film year, and it is sort of a huge let down for animated films.

Oh but wait! This isn’t a talking animal movie! This is a singing animal movie. With a lot of popular songs being sung by animals, reminding me of recent very bad animated jukebox musicals. Please be better to me 2017.

Disappointment
The face you make when your realize Cars 3 is coming out in 2017.

Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) is a koala bear who fell in love with the theater as a kid. With the help of his father, he earned enough money to buy the theater and produce shows for hundreds more to fall in love with! But now, years later, he is far in the red, unable to pay his crew, or the bills, or his loans. He is friends with Eddie (John C. Reilly), a lamb son of a rich family, but even they won’t bail him out now.

But he has an idea! Singing competitions are all the rage, so he wants to host a local one, only featuring regular people that they all know and want to show off their talents. He will give the winner a $1,000 prize and hopefully get enough money to get back in the black. But his assistant (Garth Jennings) accidentally puts a $100,000 prize, putting the whole town into a frenzy and driving up expectations through the roof.

And our contestants are of course all over the map. There is Rosita (Reese Witherspoon), a stay at home pig mom of 25 kids with a husband who is overworked. Johnny (Taron Egerton), a gorilla from a crime family who doesn’t really want to steal. Meena (Tori Kelly), a young elephant who has extreme stage fright. Mike (Seth MacFarlane), a old timey street musician mouse who just wants money and fame. Ash (Scarlett Johansson) and Lance (Beck Bennett), a hedgehog teenage rock duo, but Lance doesn’t want to share the singing spotlight. And of course Gunter (Nick Kroll), a German pig who has no fears when it comes to his body.

Who will win? Who will get screwed over? Who will die?!

Also featuring the voices of Nick Offerman, Peter Serafinowicz, and Rhea Perlman.

Pigs
Pigs are people too, and are tired of being dance shamed.

Sing is the type of film that will give you exactly what you expect. Animals, being human like, and singing pop songs. And if that is all you need to go on to enjoy a film, then you will be in for a treat. If you want something with a bit of more substance to its plot, you will be saddened and only a little bit toe-tappy.

The lessons of the film tell us to follow our dreams, no matter how many bills you wrack up, loved ones you hurt, and lives you ruin. It will all hopefully work out in the end.

McConaughey’s character seems to be a sort of more family friendly and desperate version of his character in Magic Mike. MacFarlane plays a rat who is so annoying right off the bat that I have no remorse for his character at any point in the movie. On top of that, they never resolve that characters plot line at the end. I assumed it would be an after credits scene but we were left with nothing.

Johansson as a hedgehog, Witherspoon as a pig, and Egerton as a gorilla all worked (but it took me awhile to accept the last one, because the gorilla look and clothing just felt off). I was most surprised by Egerton’s singing voice, but it isn’t the first time he impressed me this year.

Music wise, it didn’t seem to click or work until the end. And it damn well better by that point, when they put on their show and resolve all of their issues through the power of singing in public. Everyone feels like a winner. At the same time, I wonder what the entire purpose of the film was. A small story, no real steaks or issues to worry about, Sing becomes an easy movie to make on account of how easy it can merchandise.

A few of the trailers really gave away most of the bigger moments. I am most annoyed by the teaser trailer though, that decided to showcase a ton of different animals singing different songs. That is basically directly out of the film, with little editing and no more substance. We only get to see a lot of diversity for a little amount of time. And the worst part about that scene, the try outs, is they didn’t even try to make it seem realistic by having different people sing the songs. Instead it was jut playing the actual songs over their quick and quirky cast. What a let down.

If you give me an animal singing song, I want a unique voice singing that song, damn it. If I wanted to actually hear the song, I could always just use the internet myself. No amount of scantly dressed rabbit will make up for it.

2 out of 4.

Kubo and the Two Strings

Technically, yes, I have a few biases going into watching Kubo and the Two Strings. But for plenty of good reasons.

Laika, the makers of this film, have a pretty damn solid track record. Coraline, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls, these guys are stop motion geniuses and their name means quality.

The Boxtrolls also had the best trailers of any film that year. Kubo and the Two Strings? The first and only trailer I watched was decent. It wasn’t as creatively done, but the story itself felt original, large scaled, and awesome awesome.

So yeah, I’ve been excited to see this movie for over a year. This has been my most anticipated animated film all year, even more so than Moana. I am only human, let me be excited.

Kubo!
Shit, this kid is so bad ass he only needs one eye.

Kubo (Art Parkinson) is a 10 or 11 year old boy, and yeah, he is missing an eye. He lives with his mother (Brenda Vaccaro) in a cave by a village. She is out of it, as she had a head injury when Kubo was just a baby, escaping from a threat. A lot of her day is spent staring out in the sea, but sometimes she remembers and tells him stories of his father, a great samurai.

His dad apparently died when he was a baby protecting him. From who? From his grandfather (mom’s dad), the Moon King (Ralph Fiennes) and her sisters (Rooney Mara). The Moon King took Kubo’s eye for reasons and he wanted the other eye as well. So they have been in hiding, Kubo has not been allowed out at night or else he would be discovered. During the day he would love to tell stories in the village, using a magical shamisen to bring origami and paper to life to create wonderful visuals.

Well, as we all know, eventually he is discovered. And a lot of bad things happen. But now Kubo finds himself in the middle of nowhere, with a talking monkey by his side. A talking monkey?! Yes, a toy he always carried was brought to life to protect him, named Monkey (Charlize Theron). And eventually, also a great samurai turned beetle samurai named Beetle (Matthew McConaughey). Kubo can tell a tale, but he is not a namer.

Kubo and the gang have to find three parts of a legendary armor, heard only in stories. They are the only things that might be able to protect him from his grandfather and protect his remaining eye. Oh, and sure, George Takei voices a villager, and I am 90% certain he says “Oh My” at some point.

Scary
Holy shit, the moon sisters are straight out of my nightmares.

Kubo and the Two Strings exceeded all of my expectations and gave me a tale for the ages. Laika, known for their stop animation films, still keep up with the design, but also use a lot of CGI for building backgrounds and certain special effects. Despite the CGI, the world is still incredibly immersive and easy to get lost in.

I unfortunately didn’t get to see the movie in 3D, but even without it, I felt like I was almost a part of their world with the large movie screen. Every character was rich and unique, the colors vivid, and of course the dialogue was amusing and dark intertwined.

Kubo goes to some scary places and deals with a lot of real and scary situations. They deal with death, being alone, mystery, and more death. They really went hard on those “thematic elements” in its PG rating. But it of course also deals with friendship, family (in the positive way), memories, and coping with loss. Some more heavy subjects, but more positive.

The voice acting was also better than I expected. Seeing the big names, I rolled my eyes, but McConaughey, Theron, and Fiennes all did amazing jobs.

Do yourself a favor. See Kubo and see him in theaters. Go on the adventure to hear and see his story. I for one want to see the adventure again and again.

4 out of 4.

Free State of Jones

I love period piece films as long as that period isn’t Victorian-era England. Those ones aren’t necessary bad, they just feel overdone to me and now I have developed a slight bias against them. Sorry, not sorry.

Civil War era films usually get me all excited though. Or just pre-Civil War slavery films. I don’t even need them to be based on real events, which is the recent trend. Just give me a movie with brothers killing brothers and morals on the line. I wanna tear up at the hardships of war and get mad at something that happened 150+ years ago.

So the Free State of Jones is based on real events? Cool, whatever. I accidentally saw a trailer a few months ago before another screening and it looked pretty interesting. I know it was originally supposed to come out in March but got pushed back to Summer for reasons. Doesn’t matter, still excited to watch it.

Stare
“Oh, sup prof. Just chillin'”

In October, 1862, Newton Knight (Matthew McConaughey), up for the sweetest name award, was also serving in the Confederate Army. For whatever reason he was given nurse duty, so he used that status to save his friends from the battlefield and getting them to doctors quickly. Then his son, Daniel (Jacob Lofland) appears, saying that their farm animals were taken and crops to feed the army. Newt agrees to escape with his son and take him home, but tragedy occurs and Newt is forced to just bring home a body.

Newton came from a small farm in Jones Count, Mississippi. He has been poor and kind of pissed off at the rich. Pissed that their sons don’t have to fight in the war, when he feels the entire war is them fighting for slaves that only the rich have. So he decides to stay home with his wife (Keri Russell) and young boy. He becomes a protector of all the homes in the area from Confederate troops looking to take more than the 10% allowed.

They quickly turn on him and he has to go into hiding in the swamp. There he joins a camp with Moses (Mahershala Ali) and four other runaway slaves. They hide together, work together, and eventually get guns to protect themselves. Overtime, more and more Confederate deserters are on the run and end up at this camp until they have over 100 members. Newt has developed a relation with a House slave Rachel (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) who has been secretly helping their group.

Anyways, short story long, they eventually set out to take their land back from the Confederate soldiers that are trying to take their crops and resources. They get three counties to their name before resistance starts and decide to start their own Nation, a Free State of Jones, to like, grow their own crops and have equality and all. Fun times.

Donald Watkins and Troy Hogan play two other slaves, Bill Tangradi and Thomas Francis Murphy play our confederate leaders trying to stop this group, and a whole lot of other white people, played by Sean Bridgers, Joe Chrest, Brian Lee Franklin, Kerry Cahill, and Christopher Berry.

Burn
The way to prevent your stuff from getting stolen is to burn it all down.

Never before in a movie have I seen a drop in quality so much as Free State of Jones. At the beginning we are dropped right in the middle of a random Civil War fight. It showed that the Civil War was brutal, people died and marched on and died some more. Newt escapes, quite easily apparently and continues to be mad at the rich for not fighting their own fights and his friends losing their livliehoods over it. Sure, makes sense. Newt doesn’t care about Slave rights or anything, he has none. It isn’t until a Slave helps save his sick son.

But even then, it is extremely awkward in this movie, even when he is living with just runaways. They never get close. When it is a giant army of Confederates and the few slaves, people are still dicks to slaves. It isn’t until one of the more cringey movie moments that I have ever seen that things start to change. When Newt’s character gives a speech about how basically everyone there is someone’s slave, no matter the color and they shouldn’t be jerks. He used a bit more “colorful” language, but that speech helped change everyone’s mind, albeit temporarily, to work together towards a goal.

In terms of modern comparisons, it reminded me of the All Lives Matter backlash to Black Lives Matter. This movie argues that the poor southern farmers were treated just as bad as slaves, but then goes on to show that technically the slaves still have it worse. I don’t know if the Moses character is real at all, but they put all of the slavery baggage on him, as the other members of the camp apparently don’t have lines and I barely heard two of their names mentioned. It was such a shit way of trying to get us emotionally invested in the slavery story, when they only put personality in him and Rachel. We also find out he has a wife and kid somewhere in “Texas” (again, we are in Mississippi), yet they are able to reconnect extremely easy post war with zero explanation as to how.

Son
This kid is killed off in the first 10 minutes and gets more promo pictures than other people in teh film.

There are more problems with this movie outside of making it super white focused. I can’t remember when, but early on in the movie, we get a title card that says 85 YEARS LATER… and we are shown a court room setting where the whiteness of a person is being put on trial, because his great grandmother might have been Rachel, making him part black, and thus his marriage illegal. This was a real trial and actually true, but HOLY CRAP, this has no reason to be in this movie at all.

The “future” scenes do nothing for the rest of the film and they keep coming back, breaking up the plot and slowing it even more down. Whoever decided to add this constantly interrupting subplot/finale to the film should be fired from whatever future film jobs they have, because it was such a poor choice.

The Confederate “bad guys” and post War bad dude are basically cartoon villains, just missing some finger twirling of their mustaches. The film is especially insulting over the “peanut scenes” in the last twenty minutes.

Oh, and guess what. The film doesn’t end with the end of their rebellion or the end of the civil war. It goes over another year or so after the fact, during early KKK period and reconstruction. Why? Because they feel like it. Because the ending drags on and on, for over thirty minutes. The filmmakers had no idea how to end this film and practically none of it matter for the overall story they were trying to tell.

Fuck, Free State of Jones. I can’t believe it ended up being so blah. There were good moments in there and with 45 or so less minutes, plus more character development for some other characters, and this would have been fantastic. This film makes me less excited for The Birth of a Nation, which is stupid, I know.

I’m not angry at your Free State of Jones. I’m just really disappointed.

1 out of 4.

RUN

Oh sorry, here is an extra picture. It is really hard to find any of Moses or Rachel, let alone any of the other black characters in the film. This is basically the best I can do (without huge watermarks), even by googling the movie title with actor names. Shit, if you google the movie and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, the main love interest, you will find barely anything from the actual film and some pictures of her from Belle.

The director was Gary Ross, an old white guy who has only directed a handful of films. His first one was Pleasantville, which I love and adore, but I guess it makes sense. In that movie, he told the problem of Racism in America using only white people. In Free State of Jones, he basically just does that again, but in a more insulting way.

Interstellar

The Interstellar hype train is so hot right now, you could light a candle off of its ass. That might not make a lot of sense, but it sounds like something Matthew McConaughey could say really sweet in his voice, so I ran with it.

But seriously. Christopher Nolan is one of the more well liked directors today. The movie has had wonderful trailers. It has the capability of being as beautiful as last years Gravity, especially in an IMAX 3D setting.

But wait. Controversy! It turns out Nolan doesn’t like the fancy IMAX digital camera nonsense. No, that man likes himself good old fashioned film and filmed a lot of movie that way. Most filmmakers prefer digital cameras, as they are actually cheaper and easier to get 3D/CGI stuff with them. But a few others think that digital film making makes the movie lose a certain artistic touch.

So it turns out Nolan has released his film in two ways. In an actual film reel, which a lot of theaters have gone away with, and digitally. Not only can you watch the film in 35 MM like normal, but he also has a 70 MM version meant for IMAX screens. Nolan wanted that reel touch to his movie, given some of the themes in it, so I can tell you the movie version I watched was film. Just didn’t get to see the film IMAX version.

Space People
Enough talk about specifications, let’s talk about space people!

This film is set in the future, where things are not looking so great. The Earth has gotten kind of pissy with the wastefulness of its citizens. Tech went too hard too fast and well, a lot of people died. Now most of their crops don’t work due to diseases, all they have left is corn.

In fact, some tech people are now looked down in disdain. They don’t need fighter pilots, they need farmers and mostly farmers. So NASA has been working in secret, looking for other planets to move to, because Earth kind of sucks. And it has been going poorly. But thanks to worm holes and higher tech, they have 3 planets to check out. They just need a sweet ass pilot.

Oh hey, Cooper (Matthew McConaughey). Now a good farmer, used to be a pilot and all, before the tech haters happened. And well, he is the only guy for the job. He is just going to be gone for a few years, not a high chance of survival, not a high chance of success either. Kind of intense odds. But he has to. But does he?

He does, after all, have family. A son and daughter (Mackenzie Foy, yes she is more important than brother enough to tag). Can he leave them behind? Or can he help save humanity?

Also starring a lot of people! Anne Hathaway, Wes Bentley, Jessica Chastain, Matt Damon, Michael Caine, Casey Affleck, Topher Grace, David Gyasi, and John Lithgow.

Surfers
Oh sweet, and they go surfing. Every movie needs a surfing scene.

Intestellar, if anything, is definitely a visionary achievement. The scope is grand and intense with this movie. It is about 2 hours and 45 minutes long, leaving a lot of room for plot, exploration, and some hopefully good acting.

And there is some good acting! From McConaughey. And from Mackenzie Foy and Jessica Chastain. And uhh. After that it seems to get a bit muddled from what I can tell. Because unfortunately, I had some issues with Interstellar too.

Without going into big details, the last 25 or 30 percent of the movie felt rushed, despite the long run time. The ending was full of explanations, almost pounding your head in the wall to make sure you understood things instead of letting the movie tell the story naturally. Some extremely awkwardly acted moments came out of no where. One conflict scene came near the end seemingly out of nowhere on Earth. A character died in the laziest and most “wat? really?” way possible.

Just a bunch of minor things that ruined a little bit this very very excellent film.

Now, these are the type of minor things that one can probably normally ignore, but only in that I saw so many of them, it just made it a bigger issue. It is a beautiful film, and probably even prettier in IMAX. It tackles some complex subjects in the science field and has nice allusions to the Dust Bowl. It was certainly entertaining. It just wasn’t perfect film for me.

3 out of 4.

Dallas Buyers Club

I am pretty sure since last summer, people have been hyping up Dallas Buyers Club. Basically, right after Mud came out, that is when people started to talk about the revitalization of Matthew McConaughey‘s career. After all, no one thought that in 2008 this RomCom asshole would ever really be a serious or dramatic actor.

But even Magic Mike had its strangely characteristic moments. This year is clearly McConaughey’s best. Besides Mud, he was also in The Wolf Of Wall Street, about to star in an HBO show True Detective, and of course nominated for Best Actor with his role here. Yet all I really knew ahead of time was that he lost some mad weight.

Weight Loss
For comparison, let’s look at him chiseled up and erotic dancing!

Way back in the 1980s lived a man, Ron Woodroof (McConaughey), a man who liked to gamble and ride in rodeos. Then he was diagnosed with AIDS. AIDS? How can that be? He hates the gays, definitely isn’t one himself! Must be a mistake. Fuckin’ doctors.

Well, it wasn’t. Dr. Eve (Jennifer Garner) predicted he would have only 30 days to live. She put him in a trial, where half of the patients would receive ACT and the other half placebo, and he started to feel like shit. Cocaine that he started didn’t help either. Eventually, when he is almost dead, he finds himself at the hands of Dr. Vass (Griffin Dunne) in Mexico, who lost his license. He hooks Ron up with some better drugs than ACT, stuff that actually works, and wouldn’t you know it, three months later, he is still alive and kicking.

After being alive, he realizes that the hospitals suck, and that he could sell these drugs in America for sweet fat cash. You know, saving lives at the same time, but also that cash. The drugs he uses aren’t legal, just not FDA approved, so it is totally doable. With the help of his now transgendered woman fellow AIDS friend, Rayon (Jared Leto), because she has contacts, they set up the Dallas Buyers Club. You just pay for a monthly membership, and the drugs come free.

That’s some straight up U-S-Mother Fucking-A right there, I tell you what.

Denis O’Hare plays another doctor, trying to fuck over Ron for fucking over his tests, and Steve Zahn plays an old friend of Ron’s, pre-AIDS.

Leto
And now for a fun game where we play “Spot the Leto!”

Jared Leto hasn’t been in a movie since like, 2009. So he decides to go back into some acting and what do you know, he wins a shit ton of awards. And yet still, that is still not as surprising as McConaughey’s rise to dominance. Much like people are now saying it is weird to say that Jonah Hill is a two time Academy Award nominee, soon we might ignore the fact that McConaughey was in Failure To Launch.

But I talked about that enough.

Yeah, there is some incredible acting in this movie. And it is a fucking good story. True story, sure, but the story itself is a good one. The loopholes, the fights with the FDA, the drug smuggling, the SURVIVING. Ron survived for 7 years after they said he would die, thanks to his actions, which also helped saved the lives of many more people.

The fact that it was nominated for so many things shouldn’t be a surprise I guess. I liked it a lot, and I guess so did the rest of the world. Fantastic performances, did I mention that?

4 out of 4.

The Wolf Of Wall Street

Sometimes, the best publicity for a movie is a battle with the MPAA. Just ask Harvey Weinsten and the movie Bully. That is what (intentionally/unintentionally) happened with The Wolf Of Wall Street. It was supposed to come out on November 15, but after being given an NC-17 rating by the board, Martin Scorsese had to go back and cut some more material out of his three hour biopic of of one Jordan Belfort.

Which is why it was pushed back to Christmas (pushing back Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit to January 17. Same distributor, didn’t want to compete against itself). I couldn’t be happier that it got pushed back, either. Compared to last years Les Miserables and Django Unchained, this year’s releases needed a kick in the butt to be anywhere close as good.

Talk Wolf
A raunchy, naked woman filled hard kick in the butt.

Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), for all intents and purposes, was a self made man. His parents were accountants, and he wanted to go to Wall Street in the late 1980s to become a stock broker. He quickly got a job, became good buddies with the boss (Matthew McConaughey), and was taught all of the ins and outs of the business. Including the not so legal ins and outs.

Well, his first actual day as a stock broker, Black Monday happens, and the firm he works for quickly goes under. Back to being on the bottom, Belfort finds out about “penny stocks,” companies too little to be sold on the actual stock market, where the commission for a broker goes from 1% of the sale to 50% of the sale. If he can land some big fish on these worthless stocks, he could probably make fat cash quickly, with everyone none the wiser.

But that illegal activity is just the tip of the iceberg. Drugs. Money laundering. Drugs. Drugs. Prostitution. Tax fraud. Bribing officials. You name it, this guy did it. With the help of his very awkward buddy, Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill), there ain’t nothing they can’t accomplish, or at least nothing that can’t be bought.

The Wolf Of Wall Street has a huge cast of characters, most of them actually quite important and memorable. Rob Reiner plays his dad, an angry accountant, and Kyle Chandler the FBI agent trying to bring him down. Cristin Milioti plays his original wife, and Margot Robbie plays his new wife. Jon Bernthal plays a drug dealer, and Jon Favreau his lawyer. Finally, last but not least, P.J. ByrneKenneth ChoiHenry ZebrowskiBrian Sacca and Ethan Suplee play his original start up friends and workers who carry him to the top.

DANCE DANCE DANCE DANCE
I don’t think I need to say anything for this one.

The Wolf Of Wall Street can best be summed up by three words: Unforgiving, Real, and Amazing.

I initially groaned at the three hour run time, and although it can be difficult to make it through if you drink a lot of fluids during the movie, the viewings at home when you can pause will be easy peasy. The three hours are full of so much tension and energy (while also constantly moving the story forward) that it all flies by in a jiffy. In the last twenty minutes or so, the extreme length became noticeable as the movie slowed down. But slowing down makes sense at that point in the movie, to fully understand that Belfort’s bubble had finally been burst.

The acting performances by everyone involved was incredible. DiCaprio, despite looking like himself, felt like a completely new man. Every time he got up on the microphone, I was in awe at the intensity and heartfelt that he showed. The second “chest bumping song” scene is unforgettable. On the other side, Hill didn’t look or sound like his normal self at all. Dare I say, he has actual acting talent?

The movie definitely earns its R rating, and it is pretty clear why originally it was given the NC-17. It was incredibly dark and funny, so much that I couldn’t tell if I really wanted to laugh or run and hide from the screen. It is a twisted version of the American Dream, a train wreck that somehow rampaged through the country side, and something that I could not take my eyes off.

Although I doubt it will be considered the best film of 2013, it can certainly be considered the most ambitious.

 

4 out of 4.