How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003) Film Review


Andie Anderson (Kate Hudson) is a journalist who has become famous for her puff pieces despite her intelligence and ambition and is stuck writing a piece in which she intends to act like a crazy woman to end a new relationship. Ben Barry (Matthew McConaughey) is an ad executive who thinks he is better at his job than two women and the way he is going to do this is to make a woman fall in love with him (because that is logical). The two women have heard about Anderson’s piece and so, naturally, make her the mark. Now, can they survive ten days without giving up?

I watched this because I wanted something light and fluffy, that I expected I would get quite annoyed at, and I didn’t have the headspace for much at all. And I got it. It’s pretty appalling. I actually quite like both Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey, so I could bear them. There was also the nice addition of Adam Goldberg, Kathryn Hahn and Bebe Neuwirth to get me through. But really, there is pretty much nothing new in this film at all. If you want a romantic comedy, you could do better, but you could do a lot worse.


Magic Mike (2012) Film Review


Mike (Channing Tatum) is a stripper who secretly dreams of having his own furniture business. Then he befriends an unemployed young man Adam (Alex Pettyfer) and tricks him onstage where he is pressured (by screaming woman and club MC Dallas, played by Matthew McConaughey) into removing his clothes. Then Adam is in despite his sister Brooke (Cody Horn) being unhappy with his choices.

Reverse the roles? This would be a horrifying tale of a woman being led astray by nasties. As it is, well, the male stripping industry is a lot different to the women’s, and this is just like a fun romp that a lot of people really love. I had been told it was a lot better than I’d expect it to be. This pretty much raised me up to the point where I thought it was… ok. The dancing is good (especially Channing Tatum – he has got some good moves), the bodies are very nice to look at, but there were a few things that I found a bit odd. Like, yes, Mike needed an extra guy on stage, but he seemed to readily to become friends with a nineteen-year-old boy who could barely communicate. And why did that hen’s party at the start consist of only two girls – that’s totally tragic! And how is it that all of the women in the audience were beautiful – even the older ones were gorgeous…. Or is that what Florida is like?


The Paperboy (2012) Film Review


This is a tough film… it starts as a film about a couple of hopefuls who are trying to get a possibly innocent criminal out of jail and turns into… well, I don’t really know what. It’s all really tricky.

Zac Efron plays Jack, a young guy in Florida in the 1960s who is dragged into a strange world after his brother Ward (Matthew McConaughey) returns to town to try to expose injustices in relation to a murder conviction. The convicted is Hilary Van Wetter (John Cusack), a repulsive man from the swamps. Ward brings along his writing partner Yardley (David Oyelowo), who creates waves as he is a black man in this racist society, and Charlotte (Nicole Kidman), a racy woman who believes after corresponding with Van Wetter, that not only is he innocent, but that they are in love. Jack is in love with Charlotte in no time. And then things get really horrible. The whole story is told by the family maid, Anita (Macy Gray).

It’s interesting, and then it is creepy, and then it is a bit shocking, and then thing get a bit twisted, and then things get horrible and then more horrible and I am possibly never going to recover. And Nicole Kidman, well, generally I find her very difficult to watch these days, but she it fabulous in this. No wonder she was nominated for both a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance.


Interstellar (2014) Film Review


The world is dying. There is not much food and there is dust everywhere. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is a farmer, but was previously an astronaut. Now, with his father (or father-in-law, I can’t recall if that matters) Donald (John Lithgow), he is raising two children; Murph (Mackenzie Foy, then later Jessica Chastain and still later, Ellen Burtsyn) and Tom (Timothee Chalamet and then later Casey Affleck). Then he ends up stumbling across a NASA station or something and gets roped in to a mission to explore possible inhabitable planets through a wormhole. There is the Professor (Michael Caine), a fellow astronaut, Brand (Anne Hathaway) and later the nice surprise of Mann (Matt Damon. Didn’t know he was in this film!).

Yawn. I just couldn’t get into this film. I couldn’t car about the characters, I didn’t have any particular care about the planet dying. I think it is a really well made film, if about an hour too long (it’s just under three hours). The one standout thing was the soundtrack – amazing, really bringing forth the emotion without being overly annoying or overbearing.

Interstellar was nominated for Oscars for Best Achievement in Production Design, Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score (Hans Zimmer), Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, Best Achievement in Sound Editing and Best Achievement in Visual Effects. It was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Original Score (Hans Zimmer) and BAFTAs for Best Cinematography, Best Original Music (Hans Zimmer), Best Production Design and Best Special Visual Effects

True Detective – TV Review

True Detective

In the mid-1990s, Detectives Ruse Cole (Matthew McConaughey) and Marty Hart (Woody Harrelson) solved the case of a series of ritualistic killings in Louisiana. They are brought back for questioning over fifteen years later when similar events have been discovered. It seems that nothing was ever what it seems.

This was one of the most harrowing and difficult things I’ve sat through. It’s amazing and complex and I marvel at anyone who has been able to watch this as a TV marathon. I found two episodes in a row was the most I could managed at any one time. It was complex and every episode was a journey in itself. Certainly not for those who do not have a strong constitution.


EDtv (1999) Film Review


Ed (Matthew McConaughey) is a normal guy; in his thirties, working in a video shop, hanging out with his family, especially his brother, Ray (Woody Harrelson) and his girlfriend, Shari (Jenna Elfman). Then a television station has a competition to find a face for their new reality television show, and suddenly, they are all on tv, 24-hours-per-day. It’s exciting until it starts to cause some real problems for them all.

Sometimes in culture, zeitgeist throws up things that are similar yet still different. In the late nineties, it was reality TV, with this coming up only a year after The Truman Show. Yes, there are similarities, and in their own way, both of these films work. EDtv is fun. Fun characters, tough decisions, great gags. I felt the need to watch this after recently watching the disturbing and difficult True Detective series, and really wanted to see Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson having fun. It’s not rocket science, but it is ace fun. And Jenna Elfman? Come back. I miss you.

Dallas Buyers Club (2013) Film Review

Dallas 1985. Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) is a hard-living man, drinking, cocaine and having sex with any lady that stands still long enough. Then he gets sick, and the doctor diagnoses AIDS, giving him thirty days to live. After a brief moment of denial, Ron does some investigating and discovers Dr Vass (Griffin Dunne), an ex-US ex-doctor who is using alternative medications in Mexico. Ron has some success with these and decides to bring them back to Dallas, starting up a business known as a buyers club. Prior to getting ill, Ron was extremely homophobic, but now he finds most of his business is with the gay community. He strikes up an unlikely friendship with cross-dressing Rayon (Jared Leto) to try to fight the system and keep himself and many others alive, regardless of how the government tried to fight him.

It’s not an easy film to watch. McConaughey looks extremely ill for much of the film, and the politics of the situation are horrible. (A few years ago, I watched several documentaries, notably How to Survive a Plague, and cannot believe the attitudes of the US government. Although I believe that, should a similar situation happen now, it probably wouldn’t be that different. There might just be more people with a louder voice fighting).

I feel that the true-life story of Woodroof is an excellent story to tell. It shows a number of sides, although it should always be recognised that it is a fictionalised version of the truth, so it should not be treated as a documentary. It’s not an easy film to watch, but it is good in an almost sadtacular fashion.

Dallas Buyers Club won Oscars for Best Performance by an actor in a Leading Role (Matthew McConaughey), Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Jared Leto) and Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling and was nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Achievement in Film Editing and Best Writing, Original Screenplay. It also won Golden Globes for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture (Matthew McConaughey) and Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Jared Leto).

Mud (2012) Film Review


I’ve started on my awards season film watching again, and this is pretty much the only reason I watched Mud. Turns out, this makes me an idiot. Matthew McConaughey was indeed nominated (and indeed won) a Golden Globe and an Oscar, but not for this film. Phew, I say, because he’s just fine in this, but I wouldn’t have thought it was award-worthy.

Mud is set in the deep south and follows a fourteen-year-old boy and his mate who have discovered a boat in a  tree on an island in the middle of the swamps. When they return to it, they discover Mud, a strange character who is living a strange existence, and before they know it, they are assisting him in his endeavours.

Tye Sheridan was marvellous as the main character; a boy who, despite his rough exterior, believes in love and will do anything for it; for his own love and for that which he sees in others. This belief leads to him getting hurt; both physically and emotionally, and you can see in his face that this hurt is so real.

Overall, I didn’t think it was a totally brilliant film, but it is worth watching just for the performances of the teenagers.


Failure to Launch (2006) Film Review



A romantic comedy with Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew McConaughey – what could go wrong? Well, with my cynicism, I expected this would be awful. I was pleasantly surprised.

McConaughey plays Tripp, a thirty-something guy who, like all his close friends, still lives at home with his parents. Parker plays Paula, a girl who has made a business becoming romantically involved with guys who are stuck in this situation and giving them the confidence to move on out into the real world. However, despite her plans seeming to go well, everything turns bad, and it is up to the parents and friends to save the couple.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; I’m not a massive fan of romantic comedies. But, when they work for me, they really work, and this one worked. Why? I’m not sure. It surprised me. I’ve always liked Sarah Jessica Parker and I think she worked extremely well in this role. Plus Zooey Deschanel played her housemate, and was not bright and perky as usual, but dark and moody, and I liked that too.

Look, if you don’t like Hollywood romantic comedies, don’t try this one, it won’t be worth your time. But if you don’t mind them, give it a go. Just try to ignore the stupid animal attacks scenes. They were crap.

Bernie (2011) Film Review


There’s a small town in East Texas called Carthage where, in 1996, a local funeral director murdered a widow and covered up her death for nine-months. However, the funeral director was so loved in the community that, even when he confessed to the crime, citizens petitioned for his release. This much is true.

In the film, Bernie (the funeral director) is portrayed by the versatile Jack Black in a surprisingly understated performance. The character is quirky, but not unbelievably so, especially alongside the regular residents of the town. He’s joined by a handful of other actors including the marvelous Shirly MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey, with the rest of the townsfolk playing themselves. And this is where I think the film fell down in quite a major way. It’s like it isn’t quite sure of what it is – is it a fiction based on truth or is it a documentary with reenactments? If it is a documentary, then it is not clear that the reenactments are just that – it would seem to be presenting it all as fact. Having the townspeople who have been vox popped throughout the film within reenactment scenes is confusing. On the other hand, if it is a fiction, it really didn’t need to have such reliance on the interviews.

I think it would have been fantastic either way, but as it is, it feels a bit like an amazing story that hasn’t been told as well as it could have.

Jack Black was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy of Musical.