RSS feed for Matt

Matt has written 45 reviews for films rated ★★★½ during 2013.

  • Spring Breakers

    Spring Breakers

    ★★★½

    Getting the sneaking spicion I will be quoting this movie for a long time.

  • American Hustle

    American Hustle

    ★★★½

    This is to Martin Scorsese's great '70s movies as the McRib is to authentic Memphis barbecue: you know it's a pale imitation of the real thing, but you enjoy it while you're in the middle of it. But then again the whole film is about con men, bullshit, fakery, and people pretending to be something they're not. So maybe that's not entirely a bad thing.

    I did like this movie, but if I had to give it "one big note"…

  • The Grandmaster

    The Grandmaster

    ★★★½

    You don't need to know anything about Harvey Weinstein, Wong Kar-wai, or even this movie's history of multiple cuts to sense that *something* strange went on in the editing room here. No movie this rigorously composed has subtitles this artlessly expository by choice. There are stretches of this movie that are like the worst Hollywood biopic -- "And then this happened, and then this happened, and then this happened..." and a lot of its happened-ing in intertitles, not even onscreen.…

  • The Conjuring

    The Conjuring

    ★★★½

    I'm not sure there's anything here beyond the scares. Then again, there might be, because I WAS TOO GODDAMN ANXIOUS TO THINK ABOUT ANYTHING. In the immortal words of Dr. Egon Spengler, I was terrified beyond the capacity for rational thought.

  • Dallas Buyers Club

    Dallas Buyers Club

    ★★★½

    Two thoughts:

    1) This is an incredible performance by McConaughey, and one that makes smart use of his existing star text in new, interesting ways; Wooderson gone to seed. Jared Leto is excellent as well.

    2) These incredible performances are in a movie that lives into every negative stereotype of Hollywood filmmakers examining a minority issue--in this case the impact of the HIV virus on the gay community in the 1980s, and the FDA's lethargic response to it--from the perspective of a heroic straight white dude. It's not necessarily a bad version of that kind of movie. But it's still that kind of movie.

  • In a World...

    In a World...

    ★★★½

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    The last scene is a big misstep; it not only announces the movie's major theme, it actually has the lead character say the phrase "Let's make a statement." It's not only clunky, it's totally unnecessary; even without it, it's perfectly clear what the film is about. This female voiceover artist (writer/director Lake Bell) who can't get work in a male-dominated industry is a stand-in for gender inequality in *all* of Hollywood. For a while, her voice is literally silenced. To…

  • Twixt

    Twixt

    ★★★½

    Francis Ford Coppola makes his Roger Corman Poe movie, a deeply personal tale about writing and regret. Messy but lovely.

  • Blue Is the Warmest Color

    Blue Is the Warmest Color

    ★★★½

    On second view I liked this... less.

  • Nighthawks

    Nighthawks

    ★★★½

    Rutger Hauer's terrorist is, for all his supposed brilliance at changing identities and evading police detection, a complete idiot. Wulfgar my man, you don't need to be Sherlock Holmes to connect the dots between you and the dead woman in the apartment full of terror weapons (and a map with the place you just bombed circled!). That kind of thing is sort of a red flag.

    Nonetheless, there's great stuff here including some of the best New York City location…

  • Paradise Alley

    Paradise Alley

    ★★★½

    Although it bears plenty of similarities to ROCKY (wrestling in place of boxing tied to working class dreams; a storyline that builds to a big fight where the outcome is much less important than the personal stakes for the characters) this is very different from Stallone's other movies of the period (or his whole career, frankly). Almost qualifies as a candidate for my boss Scott Tobias' Departures column.

    I'm not sure the wrestling component is entirely successful, and holy lord the Sylvester Stallone sung theme song is hilariously bad. But otherwise this a very solid period drama. A nice surprise.

  • Rocky II

    Rocky II

    ★★★½

    Maybe I'm getting soft in my old age, but I found the Rocky and Adrian stuff very affecting tonight. When she gets ill and he starts a bedside vigil, and then he says "I knew you'd come back" when she wakes up, it might have gotten a little dusty in the apartment.

    This one focuses more on the boxing than the first one, which is much more love story and slice of working class Philadeliphia life, and the series is already at this early date becoming a cartoon of itself. But it still has some really good moments, and more than I remembered.

  • Escape Plan

    Escape Plan

    ★★★½

    I shall name my first-born son Emil Rottmayer.

    Or first-born daughter.

    Also I'm calling my wife Emil Rottmayer now.

    In conclusion, a masterpiece.