At the end of our interview, I had a chance to talk to Matthew McConaughey for a few moments with the camera off, and I told him how I tend to judge his movies first and foremost on the inclusion of a whole-hearted "Alright, alright, alright." When I hear that, I know I'm in for something special, and hearing it in "Magic Mike" earlier this summer almost made me applaud in the theater.
"I only use it when I feel it's appropriate," he said. "Sometimes I only manage to work in an 'alright,' and I have to be content with that. But going back to 'Dazed and Confused,' that has always been something that feels right for certain characters, and I do… I like to break it out."
He must be walking around the house repeating it over and over and over this year, then, because McConaughey is having one of the very best years he's ever had as an actor. His work in Richard Linklater's "Bernie" earlier this year not only reunited him with a director he loves, but it also gave him a great eccentric supporting role to play.
In Soderbergh's "Magic Mike," he turned up the sleaze and it paid off in spades. It's one of his most indelible roles, a predatory club owner who knows exactly how to string the talent along, taking advantage of their dreams to fuel his own.
Finally, with William Friedkin's "Killer Joe," he's given one of the scariest performances of his career, and it feels like we're still just learning what he's capable of almost 20 years into his life in the public eye.
It sounds like this shift in focus was a conscious decision on McConaughey's part. He evidently made a decision that he wanted to find projects that didn't feel like something he'd already done, and that's led to him picking the things he's picked this year. It's exciting to see someone reinvent themselves mid-stream, and talking to him, it sounds like we're seeing the beginning of a whole new wave of roles for him that should, if they're anything like what he's done this year, be wildly exciting.
Alright, alright, alright.
"Killer Joe" is now playing in NY and will open in more cities starting this weekend.
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by. It has deep soul, a wicked sense of humor, and Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Pam Grier, and Robert Forster.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
2001 | Documentary | NRSummary: Heartfelt documentary about three players on a high-school football team in a blue-collar Ohio town, which acts as a great follow-up to Friday Night Lights.Director: Kenneth A. Carlson
Cast: Dave Irwin, Ellery Moore, Joe Paterno
1954 | Thriller | NRSummary: Shadowy film noir featuring a murdered G-man and the FBI agent who takes on the murdered man’s unsolved cases -- which may just be related.Director: Arnold Laven
Cast: Broderick Crawford, Ruth Roman, Martha Hyer
1950 | Drama | NRSummary: A small-time screenwriter is drawn into the life of a fading silent film goddess like a fly in a spider's web. Murder and madness await within her gloomy old Hollywood home.Director: Billy Wilder
Cast: William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim
2011 | Drama | RSummary: The Cold War comes back to life in this impeccably designed spy story in which disgraced former spy George Smiley (Gary Oldman) returns to his old agency to ferret out a mole.Director: Tomas Alfredson
Cast: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy
2008 | Drama | NRSummary: An inside look at Italy's modern-day crime families, the Camorra in Naples and Caserta. Based on a book by Roberto Saviano. Power, money and blood: these are the "values" that the residents of the Province of Naples and Caserta, have to face every day. They hardly ever have a choice, and are forc...Director: Matteo Garrone
Cast: Salvatore Abruzzese, Simone Sacchettino, Salvatore Ruocco, Vincenzo Fabricino
1994 | Drama | NRSummary: Terrific under-the-radar story of a pre-teen chess player who supports himself and his family by working for local drug dealers, until a murder changes his approach to surviving in his neighborhood. Samuel L. Jackson and Giancarlo Esposito give solid support to the young star Sean Nelson.Director: Boaz Yakin
Cast: Sean Nelson, Giancarlo Esposito, Samuel L. Jackson
1995 | Adventure | GSummary: History comes gloriously to life in Disney's epic animated tale about love and adventure in the New World. Pocahontas is a Native American woman whose father has arranged for her to marry her village's best warrior. But a vision tells her change is coming, and soon she comes face to face with it ...Director: Mike Gabriel, Eric Goldberg
Cast: Irene Bedard, Mel Gibson, David Ogden Stiers, John Kassir
2001 | Drama | RSummary: A powerful and disturbing story of intolerance featuring Ryan Gosling as a young Jewish man in New York City who joins a Neo-Nazi group.Director: Henry Bean
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Summer Phoenix, Peter Meadows
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