The Wolf of Wall Street is a fascinating film, but I don’t know that I would exactly recommend it to anyone because it’s also kind of reprehensible. THIS IS A RED BAND CLIP, in other words. Not only is Scorcese in his full “F-bomb-as-a-substitute-for-writing-dialogue” mode, but pretty much everyone in the film is on drugs for most of the film. Drugs are BAD! However…..this is too hilarious to not recognize, so that’s my moral equivocation opening. Physical comedy is something that’s not chic right now, but masters of it (ex. Dick Van Dyke) have proven that it can be just as funny and witty as the cleverest retort. When you think “physical comedy”, Leonardo DiCaprio is not a name that springs to the fore. However, DiCaprio’s acrobatics trying to reach and operate his car when a metric ton of quaaludes hit his system is, by far, the film’s best scene. His inchworm contortions are amazing, and this is really only half the performance, because he only degrades when he reaches home and gets in a fight with an equally quaaluded Jonah Hill. Whatever you may think of the film as a whole, this part is brilliant. DRUGS ARE BAD! Ok, think I covered myself there.
What Culture put together a great list that I never would have thought of on my own, but is so true: the best performances by actors who just gave up. Sometimes you can tell, clearly, that an actor is not at all pleased to be in a film and the performance comes across (Marlon Brando in Superman; Brando appears TWICE in a nine person list). Sometimes, the actor knows the movie is truly awful and decides to steal it with a legendarily good performance in a legendarily bad film (Alan Rickman in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves). Sometimes a great performance comes across despite an actor being miserable on-set (Chevy Chase in Community or Robert Shaw in Jaws), but whatever the reason, it’s always interesting to get a behind-the-scenes peak into what made a memorable performance so memorable.
Matthew McConaughey has had two phases to his career. Bursting on the scene with 1996’s A Time to Kill, he seemed like the next superstar, but battles with substance abuse and a chronic lack of focus (probably not unconnected) left him nearly written off. However in the last decade McConaughey has climbed back into the top rungs of leading men, culminating in his Oscar for The Dallas Buyers Club and his astonishing performance in HBO’s True Detective’s first season (which would have won him an Emmy any other year than Bryan Cranston’s last on Breaking Bad). Since, he has kept up a steady stream of successes, and is always someone to pay attention to now in whatever projects he chooses to pursue. Continue reading Matthew McConaughey’s 10 Best Movies
Last week, we took an in-depth look at Inception (click here to read), one of my favorite films of all-time, and timely since Inception’s director, Christopher Nolan, just turned in the best movie I’ve seen this year thus far in Dunkirk. In my article, I mentioned Nolan’s preference for doing any kind of F/X practically rather than with CGI if it can be humanly done (even when it’s flipping a tractor trailer in The Dark Knight). CineFix, who should be paying me to hype them at this point, doesn’t just make great movie lists, it also has a feature called “The Art of the Scene” where they dissect an amazing scene, show you how it was done and why it works in the film. I almost included this behind-the-scenes piece in my article, but it’s a fascinating look at the rotating hallway fight from Inception. Whereas most directors would have inserted the actors into a CGI environment, Nolan went a very different route. It’s a fascinating look at an amazing scene.
This fight uses no CGI other than to remove the wires Joseph Gordon Levitt and the other actors are wearing. A full-scale hallway was built and then put on a giant gimbal which rotated the room. The fight takes place in a critical moment in the final job, when the van that’s carrying the team around has gone off a bridge, creating a zero-G effect that ripples down the various levels of the dreamworld you see in the map. For Arthur (Levitt), who is in the shallowest level, he loses gravity entirely and the result is an amazing fight scene, made all the more amazing when you know how Nolan and Pfister shot it.
This is just breaking from The Hollywood Reporter and I’m going to paste Coming Soon’s thoughts below, but it appears that 2020’s Star Wars film will focus on Obi-Wan Kenobi. The third “Star Wars Story” film was supposed to have been announced back in June, but when the chaos of the director transition for Han Solo hit, that obviously pushed things back. We don’t have many immediate details, nor do we have a confirmation that Ewan McGregor is coming back, though he has actively lobbied for an Obi-Wan film and it would seem the obvious place to put one is in the 20 years he spent watching Luke on Tatooine between Episodes III and IV. Stephen Daldry is set to direct. I’m not a huge fan of Daldry’s, but if they are indeed going to examine Obi-Wan’s time in the desert and McGregor will return (even prequel haters mostly laud McGregor’s Obi-Wan), then this is something perfect for the anthology films. Expect follow-ups on this as more details are released. May 2020 already has a release date (Memorial Day weekend) set for this film. Continue reading The Third Star Wars Spin-Off Will Be Obi-Wan!!!