Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Tag: Matthew McConaughey

Free State of Jones (2016)

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Title: Free State of Jones
Rating: R
Directed by: Gary Ross
Written by: Leonard Hartman and Gary Ross
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mahershala Ali and Keri Russell
Release Date: 6/24/2016
Running Time: 139 minutes

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Free State of Jones is an epic action-drama set during the Civil War, and tells the story of defiant Southern farmer, Newt Knight, and his extraordinary armed rebellion against the Confederacy.

Banding together with other small farmers and local slaves, Knight launched an uprising that led Jones County, Mississippi to secede from the Confederacy, creating a Free State of Jones.

Knight continued his struggle into Reconstruction, distinguishing him as a compelling, if controversial, figure of defiance long beyond the War.


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Interstellar (2014)

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TITLE: Interstellar (aka. Interstellar: IMAX)

RELEASE DATE: 11/7/2014

RATING: PG-13

A group of explorers make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage.

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After Credits? No

Special thanks to Frank S. for this submission

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Interstellar Review – 4 out of 5 Stars

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Interstellar feels like one of those movies that’s going to get a distinct fan base over time. It certainly has people who hate it and people who love it. I think though that overtime most people will come to respect Interstellar for the beautiful, ambitious vision that it is. I actually kind of loved this movie, flaws and all, for its scope in writing and visuals. So much happens on this near three hour ride that you have to at least see it to believe it.

In the future, drought and dust storms are making it impossible to survive on earth. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a former NASA pilot is recruited to go on a mission to find new planets that humanity can live on. To do this mission, he will hold on to the love of his daughter (Jessica Chastain) and son (Casey Affleck) and will go through many life or death struggles.

Regardless of how successful the end product is to you, you have to admit the concepts and ideas presented here are incredible especially for a big budget blockbuster. There is so much in the story that has to do with fascinating concepts like wormholes, new planets, gravity that it seems like something that deserves to be rewatched and paid attention to for the things it tries to get across. You can tell that director and writer Christopher Nolan spent years working on every detail of the story and because of that there are points where my breath was taken away how many levels and ambition there was to what he is attempting to achieve here. He takes all of these different things and he brings them to life with visual effects. Interstellar becomes not just a testament to the advances of modern cinema but also a testament to the advances in science and technology. With these things, Nolan creates a world that is entirely believable and filled with fascinating points that feel daring, intelligent and exciting. For 2 hours and 45 minutes, we are on a journey of discovery that all feels oddly realistic thanks to Christopher Nolan’s passion for modern advances.

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The core of the movie was definitely between Cooper and his daughter. They are both extremely intelligent and imaginative and they have a clear love for each other. When Cooper leaves earth, despite there being world changing things going on, the real thing you care about is whether they will be able to see each other. While Cooper is finding a new planet, his daughter Murphy is looking for the answer to an equation that could help bring humanity beyond as well. Both are millions upon millions of miles apart and are fighting in different dimensions but the love they have for each other is so huge that it not only survives over decades but manages to become the key to saving the human species. There love is so powerful that they both are big forces in each other’s lives even when they can’t see or communicate to the other. The climax is actually Cooper becoming a massive presence covering and protecting Murphy even when he can’t be there with her. The people who are the villains in the movie are those who are lost and alone, those who have given up in the survival of humanity or the good that we can do. And yes, our love and need to nurture can get in the way at many times but in the end, it will be the thing that will keep us moving and it will be our compassion that allows to survive continuously. Many will complain that Interstellar is a movie of ideas without character or heart. On the contrary, this is a movie of ambitious ideas and a fascinating, new view of the world and all of this comes back to people and our deep love for each other. It’s this simple, heartfelt, beautiful message that makes Interstellar so amazing to me. This is a piece of science fiction that manages to be both layered with ambitious things and driven by a large amount of human warmth.

Do I even have to tell you how the movie is technically? The visual effects are the work of a master artist; there is a beautiful, vision to them and the way that they are used that hasn’t been seen in a very long time. Here, visual effects are more than just a cool gimmick; it’s a filmmaker’s way to show us bold, new ideas that haven’t been seen before on film, at least on this scope. Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack is dreamlike and it creates a mysterious, moving atmosphere that surrounds a lot of scenes, it’s filled with emotions and feelings that make it feel alive. The editing is fantastic, I was never bored and it did a decent enough job going over a lot of things in a story that could probably be stretched to a ten part mini-series.

Matthew McConaughey’s performance is amazing here as Cooper. With a lesser actor, Cooper could’ve just proved a prop to move the story forward. McConaughey’s performance here is what makes Interstellar feel sincere and touching. He gives this movie the human aspect and he had me pretty close to tearing up in a lot of scenes. You can feel the complete love that he has for his daughter and it’s the thing that drives him to change the world, it’s very personal and raw and it might be my favorite Nolan performance since Ledger in The Dark Knight. Jessica Chastain is great Murphy, Cooper’s daughter. Chastain is one of the most capable actresses working in film today and here she gets a lot of scenes to show how talented she really is. It’s the great performances of her and McConaughey that creates the beautiful, universal relationship between father and daughter that becomes the heart of the movie. Anne Hathaway is very likable in the role, I though Matt Damon was successfully creepy, Casey Affleck as always is awesome and for his first real breakthrough role, David Gyasi did great work as one of the scientists aboard the spaceship. This is one of the most impressive casts of the year and Nolan uses it to bring humanity to this very concept heavy movie.

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I’m not going to come here and tell you that this is a perfect movie. There are a lot of times where you can probably ask about plot holes and if you wanted to you could nitpick this movie until there’s nothing left. But if you were to do that you would have to disregard all of the work that went into the screenplay, the direction, the themes and the cast. I’m not asking you to turn off your brain but I am asking you to consider the boundaries Nolan attempted or even succeeded at breaking to give you this movie. There are so many things you can dissect and explore factually and thematically and even if it doesn’t all come apart and sometimes it’s a bit rushed, so what? You’re still paying to see something that is challenging and clearly meaningful to everybody who was working on it.

Interstellar is the most ambitious movie so far in 2014 and it’s one of the first true spectacles we’ve gotten all year. This is something that deserves to be watched on the biggest theater screen possible. The cast is great, the scientific concepts are used ingeniously and the themes Nolan gets across here are satisfying and moving. Much like the characters in its movie, Interstellar attempts to accomplish big things and take you on a journey like no other out right now.

Rating:(4/5)

Review by: Ryan M.

Release Date: 4/4/2014

Rating: PG-13

Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Casey Affleck, Mackenzie Foy, John Lithgow, Bill Irwin, Michael Caine, Topher Grace and Matt Damon

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Screenplay by: Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan

Dallas Buyers Club Review – 3 out of 5 stars

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Article By: Dan Clark

Having death at your door can change a person. Certain priorities go by the way side, while others are quickly brought to the forefront. This exact phenomenon occurs in Jean-Marc Vallée’s latest film Dallas Buyers Club, where Ron Woodroof a full-blooded hard-living Texan and part-time rodeo bull rider has to deal with the devastating effects of the HIV virus. Inherently this based on a true story is full of sentimental drama and intricate conflicts. The issue remains how to handle all these multifaceted parts, and it is that question which consistently impedes the film. A little bit of focus would have gone a long way in collectively bringing everything together. Dallas Buyers Club is unquestionably a film worth seeing. The performances alone make it a must watch for any award season bucket list. If it was only able to be more cohesive it could have made better use of those performances.

One thing you must consider is where the world was when this movie took place. Today many if not all the myths associated with HIV and AIDS have long been forgotten. During the mid-80’s we will still yearningdallas-buyers-club-movie-wallpaper-2 to understand the disease. Most of the world was plagued with misinformation. Woodroof, like many at the time, assumed it was segregated to only homosexuals and would not touch a man of his caliber. Slowly he begins to accept his fate, but he is not willing to go away silently. Working out of a room at a sleazy motel he creates an international network of unapproved medical drugs. A network he uses to sell the drugs the hospital is unable and unwilling to prescribe. What starts as a fight to save his own life morphs into a brutal battle against the FDA.

What will garner the most attention is the physical transformation Matthew McConaughey underwent to star in the role. Transforming your body to extreme conditions is not new for Hollywood actors. Christian Bale seemingly does it every other week. The question is within that change do we see a performance that stands on its own, or are we just crediting actors for their dietetic choices? McConaughey could have the physique of a chiseled Greek god and this performance would be nearly just as effective. He meshes his rebellious country attitude with a deeply hidden shattered soul. His portrayal of this character is the epitome of authenticity. Woodroof is a man’s man who lives a lower echelon rock-and-roll lifestyle full of sex, drugs, and fast-moving money. Likely due to that reckless lifestyle he contracts the HIV virus.

After contracting the virus he reluctantly becomes a major player in the homosexual community he once shunned. The handling of this moralistic change is one of the big difficulties I had with the movie. His change is drastic and without strong evidence. You can understand why he would take advantage of these people, but his deep concern comes off as false. Most of that issue is due to fragmented editing. Intertwined throughout are titles cards that chronologically spout off how much time has passed. This technique is nothing new for cinema, but it is not used with great effect. In a way it felt like an excuse to explain the disconnected flow of the story. I found myself playing way too much catch-up trying figure out where we were.

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His relationship with Jared Leto’s character Rayon is the best example of this. Rayon embodies nearly everything Woodroof isn’t and does not care for. He is a cross-dresser full of unabashed pride. Due to a series of odd events he becomes the unlikely business partner of Woodroof. There are a great deal of powerful moments between these two characters. From their hospital bedside introduction to a supermarket showdown against Woodroof’s past friend, this relationship gives the film some heart and much-needed levity. The problem resides in its evolution and the lack of reasoning to justify the change. Leto does give a marvelous performance to match that of McConaughey’s. Seeing these two acting titans at the top of their game was a unique experience I was impressed to witness.

On the other hand this is a classic case of trying to do too much. This plot is an amalgamation of a man fighting for his life against a deadly disease, the creation an underground crime syndicate, an avocation of social change, and an examination of the conflict of providing proper medical care while adhering to the law of the land. Considering everything it entails it is not nearly the mess it could have been. Also it brings to light many issues with our medical system that are worth discussing, yet there was never any interconnection between these different parts. Nearly every scene would rapidly shift to different thematic element. One moment Woodroof is fighting prejudice he once took part in, and the next he’s swindling money from one of his suffering patients. Seemingly it was unaware of how it would almost contradict itself at times. I just wanted the movie to figure out what character it was trying to build.

One conflict that stood out above the rest was Woodroof’s fight against the FDA. At nearly every turn Woodroof’s attempt to sell these unapprDALLAS-BUYERS-CLUBoved drugs is met with the FDA creating barrier after barrier. There is no question that during the 80’s the FDA’s practices to combat the HIV and AIDS epidemic where questionable and very often unethical. However, the film is uneven with its approach towards this dispute. It has the guile to depict the FDA and our medical institution as a whole as this group of callous villains consumed with greed, yet it never questioned the ethics of Woodroof. When Woodroof turns away a sick young man who cannot afford his medicine it is treated with a tongue in cheek tone. As if to say; “That’s just Woodroof being Woodroof”. By making what is clearly not a black and white issue into one the final message lands with a dud.

Part of the problem is due to the Jennifer Garner. She was the one person stuck in-between both sides, but her character was so lifeless and her performance so wooden that the struggle had little impact. Compared to the other actors she was out of her league in nearly every scene. Although I may sound overly harsh, Dallas Buyers Club is a movie I recommend. It avoids many of the tropes you find in similar stories that become consumed with tugging at your heartstrings. Thankfully melodrama is nearly nonexistent, and this story is supremely fascinating. Leto and McConaughey’s lead the way with such a force I only wish others would have followed more closely.

Final Rating:

RATINGS - 3.0 STAR

Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

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TITLE: Dallas Buyers Club

RELEASE DATE: 11/1/2013

RATING: R

The story of Texas electrician Ron Woodroof and his battle with the medical establishment and pharmaceutical companies after being diagnosed as HIV-positive in 1986, and his search for alternative treatments that helped established a way in which fellow HIV-positive people could join for access to his supplies.

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During Credits? No

After Credits? No

NOTE: In memory of Arne Robert Frazin 1951 – 1995.


Mud (2012)

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TITLE: Mud

RELEASE DATE: 4/26/2013

RATING: PG-13

Two teenage boys encounter a fugitive and form a pact to help him evade the bounty hunters on his trail and to reunite him with his true love.

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After Credits? No


Paperboy, The (2012)

TITLE: The Paperboy

RELEASE DATE: 10/17/2012

RATING: R

A reporter returns to his Florida hometown to investigate a case involving a death row inmate.

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Killer Joe (2011)

TITLE: Killer Joe

RELEASE DATE: 6/29/2012

RATING: NC-17

When a debt puts a young man’s life in danger, he turns to putting a hit out on his evil mother in order to collect the insurance.

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During Credits? No

After Credits? No


Bernie (2011)*

TITLE: Bernie

RELEASE DATE: 2011

RATING: PG-13

In small-town Texas, the local mortician strikes up a friendship with a wealthy widow, though when he kills her, he goes to great lengths to create the illusion that she’s alive.

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During Credits? Yes

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After Credits? No

Is this stinger worth waiting around for? Vote DownVote Up (+2 rating, 2 votes)

NOTE: In remembrance of Lou Perryman and Eagle Pennell.  “You guys were with us on this one.”.  In loving memory of Richard Dial; 1955-2011.


Wedding Planner, The (2001)

TITLE: The Wedding Planner

RELEASE DATE: 1/26/2001

RATING: PG-13

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During Credits? No

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