May 24, 2013
Sometimes, getting the cover of Vanity Fair is NOT a good thing.
The buzz surrounding Matthew McConaughey’s debut in 1996’s “A Time to Kill” was pretty damned deafening. The media loves nothing more than a new It guy, and McConaughey was certainly that. Reporters gushed over him (and his resemblance to a young Paul Newman), and Vanity Fair slapped him on its cover, along with the headline “Lone star: Why Hollywood is so hot for Matthew McConaughey.”
Well, you know how these cycles work. Starry-eyed adoration inevitably skids into disparaging disappointment.
So, after McConaughey experienced box-office glory with “The Wedding Planner” and “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” he ended up starring in the underwhelming likes of “Fool’s Gold” (which I actually paid good money to see in the theater — I know!) and “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.”
In the past few years, though, McConaughey has become a text-book lesson in Hollywood career makeovers. He has taken some supporting roles and some indie films — which happen to have offered him rich characters and thus the chance to show that, yes, dammit, he is a good actor. My favorite: his hilariously great turn as a flamboyant Southern prosecutor in “Bernie.”
And the latest: he’s “Mud.” McConaughey delivers as a man nicknamed Mud who is hiding on a deserted island in the Mississippi River, hoping to avoid some men who are chasing him and to reconnect with his love, Juniper (Reese Witherspoon). Conaughey shows paternal warmth to the 14-year-old boy who helps him, and he displays potent romantic angst over the fraught relationship with Juniper. (Spoiler alert: I was disappointed that Witherspoon and McConaughey don’t share a frame of the film.)
McConaughey shows a depth of feeling — and, of course, reserves of easy Southern charm — that gives “Mud” a soulful center.
What can we say? The actor is on quite a roll.
What did you think of “Mud”? What are your favorite McConaughey performances?
May 15, 2013
If this whole film-director thing falls through, Baz Luhrmann could have a second career as a party planner.
The wing-dings he helped whip up for his "Great Gatsby" are roiling, riotous amusements.
May 8, 2013
No, kids, "Iron Man 3" is not as good as the original "Iron Man" —but that shouldn’t be much of a surprise. The original of anything is usually better than any sequel.
May 6, 2013
As I watched "The Big Wedding," I thought to myself, "How did all these good actors end up in this half-baked, shtick-filled movie?"
Sometimes, with a bad movie, you sense there might have been a good script...
May 1, 2013
I understand trying to please your audience, but this takes that notion beyond the norm.
The "Iron Man 3" that you’ll see when it’s released here next Friday will be different...
April 26, 2013
I have never been so happy to see Robert Downey Jr. in my life.
Let’s face it, it’s been an underwhelming few months in terms of movie releases.
But next week begins the full summer...
April 5, 2013
Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel made an indelible impression on me with their "At the Movies" debates. They loved movies, and they relished arguing their merits.
Their passion for the art form...
February 25, 2013
Forget the presenter’s dresses. Forget Seth McFarlane’s jokes. The real reason for all the hoopla, after all, is who gets an Academy Award, and the results Sunday night were a nice mix of expected wins and dramatic...
February 11, 2013
It's deja vu all over again. "Argo" just won another best-picture honor.
This time, on Sunday, it was the British Academy of Film and Television Arts award for best film. Oh, and BAFTA gave Ben Affleck...
January 15, 2013
It’s filmdom’s version of that old Mark Twain quote: "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated."
Every few years, showbiz pundits declare movie musicals dead.
January 10, 2013
The nominations for this year’s Academy Awards were announced this morning, and here’s how it all shakes out:
January 7, 2013
No more Ricky Gervais! What will we do?
The snark that ticked off half of Hollywood will no longer be the Golden Globes emcee when the ceremony returns Sunday. Having Tina Fey and Amy Poehler host is a...
January 2, 2013
Want to see a movie this week? Well, I hope you have a lot of free time.
You plan on catching "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"? Set aside 169 minutes — yes, two hours and 49 minutes. Hoping to...
August 24, 2012
It wasn’t a half-bad summer at the movies. Damning with faint praise, I realize, but every summer that offers more than emptyheaded action flicks comes as a pleasant surprise.
June 27, 2012
There are certain screenwriters and directors whose next film you just naturally look forward to seeing.