Posts Tagged ‘ Matthew McConaughey ’

Interstellar

Interstellar-poster

Interstellar
Release date: November 7, 2014 (India)
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Ellen Burstyn, Matthew McConaughey, John Lithgow, Mackenzie Foy, Timothée Chalamet, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, David Gyasi, Wes Bentley, Jessica Chastain, Casey Affleck, Bill Irwin, Josh Stewart

Christopher Nolan takes his love for intricate human interactions and his inquisition about the space-time continuum and presents a film so big it’s impossible to not be awed by it all. The story is being told via an older Murphy Cooper (Ellen Burstyn) and more senior inhabitants of a futuristic township.

In an agricultural town in the countryside, Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is a widowed father of two who lives with his father-in-law Donald (John Lithgow); Cooper and Donald both agree how the mankind has come down to only sustaining itself by any means possible and how it was different earlier when some invention came out every day. But their local college wants more farmers, and not engineers.

Cooper’s ten year old daughter Murphy (Timothée Chalamet) shares his love for science. Professor Brand (Michael Caine) convinces Cooper into joining a space mission to trace some of their other already intergalactic researchers and also search for more planets where humans can possibly migrate to. To survive, to die or even just suffocate. Cooper is accompanied by Brand’s daughter Amelia (Anne Hathaway), Romilly (David Gyasi) and Doyle (Wes Bentley) along with TARS, a talking robot (voiced by Bill Irwin)

The Nolan brothers take the often raised complaint of being anti-humorous and present us with a robot that has an inherent humor setting of 75 per cent. Yet, humor is not what they aim for. Interstellar is magnanimous in its scale of emotions, breathtaking visuals, and some over-simplified moments of scientific walls being broken.  The dialogues aren’t as remarkable or memorable as most of Nolan’s other creations. The only one without an overbearing sense of existentialism that has stayed with me so far is, “Parents are the ghosts of their children’s futures.”

You don’t have to be a major in science to understand everything that goes on in the space shuttle, and on alien planets, as the characters spell out most of the technical mumbo-jumbo for you. To a point that it becomes irritating by the end. Without a doubt, the sight of space scientists watching videos from their loved ones, sent over the years, will make you weep. I wept! From there on, the makers take the liberty of neglecting such strong exchanges and prefer to stay focused on the juxtaposing stories of general struggle to live on earth and on new planets.

There are minute sub-themes running under the plot to provide more insight into the possible future of the earth, the uncertain utilization of time as a dimension which could be turned back and similar tales of inebriated, vague discussions. For what it’s worth, for great lengths of the film, you will not remember that you’re watching just another movie. And that is what renders an epic feel to the entire endeavor. Hans Zimmer’s score is on point as usual, often creating more of a visual than extensive shots of objects revolving around planets. The wonders of extra-terrestrial bodies are subtle, some cliched and some marvelous. Look out for the giant wave!

McConaughey is sublime in his soon-to-be repetitive purring speech pattern. He displays relative longing and the bravado and survival skills of an explorer extremely well. Hathaway is understated with her anxious Amelia. While Jessica Chastain as the older Murphy is persistently passionate in her performance, no matter how limited her character’s screen space is.

Interstellar gives you hope, makes you ponder why aren’t we thinking of the stars, and why aren’t we looking beyond the usual. For that alone, the film becomes more important than it is.

My rating: ***1/2 (3.5 out of 5)

The Wolf of Wall Street

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The Wolf of Wall Street
Release date: January 3, 2014 (India)
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matthew McConaughey, Jonah Hill, Cristin Milioti, Jon Bernthal, Jean Dujardin, Kenneth Choi, P. J. Byrne, Kyle Chandler, Margot Robbie, Joanna Lumley

Wall Street spells exuberance for some, and misery for some. Not necessarily forming mutually exclusive entities. The Wolf of Wall Street bears similarity in structure with Scorsese’s own Goodfellas and Casino, a formula so potent it won’t let your mind wander outside the ostentatious bounds of its irreverent characters.

Michael Hanna (Matthew McConaughey) is Jordan Belfort’s first employer. He gives him the sound advice of jerking off at least twice a day to cope up with the numbers (In my opinion, everyone should try doing it) He also suggests he loads up on cocaine and hookers. Jordan (Leonardo DiCaprio) starts picking up traits of his manic boss and thus the transformation of a soft-spoken Jewish begins.

Black Monday hits hard and Belfort ends up losing his job in a month. On a chance meeting with Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill) and a few funny anecdotes later, they recruit Belfort’s friends who have been selling marijuana into stockbroking positions. Belfort teaches them the tricks and they start picking up on the bullshit factor and a million dollar firm is floated. They evolve from a shady boiler room to an office on Wall Street. The money flowing in leaves the novice ‘stockbrokers’ are left dumbfounded.

Their pinksheet stocks are a hit and they keep taking hits, drags, lines and hooker fucks almost every time they sell a share. The initial buildup of Jordan’s character appears a tad cheesy, but it doesn’t get slotted. The cocaine snorts inject the adrenaline just before each of his motivational speeches to his staff. The money laundering and all other associated crimes are more or less victim-less. Which means no one is actually shown suffering because of their sham. The boring technicalities of the financial markets are left out smartly, in favor of superbly hilarious drunken/drug-induced/sexual stupors.

The non-fictitious Jordan Belfort’s escapades and scams are presented with an element of fiction. The names of his close associates and wives have been altered, probably just to avoid any defamation lawsuits after the film’s release. (That’s just a rough assumption) Then there are unabashed lines like, “Her pussy was like heroin.”, When you’re sailing a boat built for a Bond villain you’ve got to play the part.”; I laughed, and a lot. It’s a polite “Fuck you” to the idealistic way of living.

The repetitive pattern of the course is avoided by strong writing. For example, when Donnie fucks up one time (Of course I am using the word ‘fuck’ liberally in this review) and he tries to get Jordan high before the news reaches him from outside, Terence Winter turns a possible death-scare into insurmountable comedy. Modern Popeye, the stockbroker man is brilliant. But the film has a foreseeable end, and you are just left waiting for the court of justice’s execution.

Stratton Oakmont, Belfort’s company reaches an unknown conclusion, and when the “chickens come home to roost” the screenplay, acting and direction emerge individually stronger than the film in entirety. The ensemble cast is not just strong in their performances, even their parts have meat in them. The fourth wall breaking isn’t much of a hassle, but the imaginary dialogue between Jean-Jacques Saurel, the Swiss banker played by Jean Dujardin and Belfort is incredibly done.

Belfort gets the title of “wolf” from a magazine interview, and the arc shows him as a wolf. He wants to be the strutting lion, and yet gets subdued by the end. The Wolf of Wall Street is outrageously and unbelievably enjoyable, not just popcorn fluff. No overdrawn moral outtakes here.

My rating: ***1/2 (3.5 out of 5)

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