But the moral universe of Mud is settled. The parallels between young Ellis and young-at-heart Mud are tidy, and when the film introduces Mud’s ex-military father figure Blankenship (Sam Shepard) and the old man tells Mud he’ll have to dig himself out of his own mess this time, you kinda-sorta know Blankenship will come back into the picture the way similar patriarchs do in the bonehead action movies that Mud suddenly looks like. (A posse of bad guys comes to town led by Joe Don Baker, whose character Mud likens to “Old Scratch.”)
The two things that ought to be remembered come Oscar time are probably the standout writing of Jeff Nichols as an American original, and the performance of Matthew McConaughey.
The New York Times’ AO Scott makes it a “Critic’s Pick,” writing:
The central image in “Mud,” Jeff Nichols’s deft and absorbing third feature, is of a boat in a tree. It’s the kind of phenomenon — a caprice of nature that is absurd but also wondrous — designed to enchant adventurous children like Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland), two Arkansas boys who discover the boat on an overgrown island in the Mississippi River. They also discover the fellow who claims to own, or at least inhabit, the vessel, a leathery loner whose name is Mud.
Mud is played by Matthew McConaughey in the latest in a series of surprising, intense and often very funny performances following his escape from the commercial romantic-comedy penal colony. “Magic Mike,” “The Paperboy,” “The Lincoln Lawyer” and “Bernie” are all very different (and differently imperfect) movies, but in all of them, and in “Mud,” Mr. McConaughey commands attention with a variation on a certain kind of Southern character: handsome but battered, charming but also sinister, his self-confidence masking a history of bad luck and trouble.
The year of the McConaughey continues with this news that:
Dallas Buyers Club, currently in post-production, has been acquired by Focus Features for domestic theatrical release in the second half of 2013. The company has also acquired Latin American rights to the feature. Focus CEO James Schamus and Focus president Andrew Karpen made the announcement today.
A Truth Entertainment production, Dallas Buyers Club is produced by Robbie Brenner and Rachel Winter. Spirit Award winner Matthew McConaughey stars in the fact-based drama for director Jean-Marc Vallée (The Young Victoria). The film’s original screenplay is by Craig Borten and Melissa Wallack.
In Dallas Buyers Club, Mr. McConaughey portrays real-life Texas electrician Ron Woodroof, an ordinary man who found himself in a life-or-death battle with the medical establishment and pharmaceutical companies. In 1986, Ron was blindsided by being diagnosed as HIV-positive and given 30 days to live. With the U.S. still internally divided over how to combat the virus and restricting medications, Ron grabbed hold of non-toxic alternative treatments from all over the world by means both legal and illegal. Seeking to avoid government sanctions against selling non-approved medicines and supplements, he established a “buyers club,” which fellow HIV-positive people could join for access to his supplies.
Mud is getting good early word of mouth, but specifically for Matthew McConoughey. The actor came close to getting an Oscar nod for last year’s trio of great performances – stealing the show in Bernie, Magic Mike and Killer Joe – but this year he looks to be up for lead for Mud. There doesn’t seem to be any good reason why McConoughey has been continually overlooked for a single oscar nod. When he first burst onto the scene he was hailed as the new Paul Newman. Perhaps that early praise made it harder for him to overcome the hype. Maybe all of those romantic comedies made it harder for voters to take him seriously. That should not be a problem after last year’s work, and despite having a career for decades now his star is yet again on the rise with the upcoming films Wolf of Wall Street and Intersteller. And then there’s Dallas Buyers Club where McConaughey plays Ron Woodroof, a homophobic man who ends up dying of full blown AIDS. The actor’s startling weight loss will not be ignored.
Perhaps this is finally the moment when Oscar voters will catch up to what critics have known for some time about what McConoughey can do.
David Edelstein writes:
On the inevitability of his winning an Oscar: “I, personally, would be shocked if we went to the end of the tape now and I didn’t have at least one. …Because I’m young enough, and I’m running down being occupied with these kind of genre movies, close enough. Even the next thing we’re doing with [my wife], I’m so confident about it. It’s the best script the studio has; it’s the best thing I’ve read in years. You know, honestly, my real answer to that is: I don’t care. I used to think I cared, and I couldn’t care less. Now, I’m not saying I wouldn’t get a little choked up, but it is amazing to see how people are literally hyperventilating when they get up there, because they have such an attachment to this outcome. I mean, it’s not like we’re at the f–king Olympics or something. …Look, even if I don’t get one directly, eventually they’re just going to have to give me one when I get old. So no matter how you slice it, I’m getting one.”
The Great Gatsby:
01 Jay-Z: “100$ Bill”
02 Beyoncé and André 3000: Back to Black”
03 will.i.am: “Bang Bang”
04 Fergie, Q-Tip and GoonRock: “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got)”
05 Lana Del Rey: “Young and Beautiful”
06 Bryan Ferry Woth the Bryan Ferry Orchestra: “Love Is the Drug”
07 Florence and the Machine: “Over the Love”
08 Coco O of Quadron: “Where The Wind Blows”
09 Emeli Sandé and the Bryan Ferry Orchestra: “Crazy in Love”
10 The xx: “Together”
11 Gotye: “Hearts a Mess”
12 Jack White: “Love Is Blindness”
13 Nero: “Into the Past”
14 Sia: “Kill and Run”
Read more at ONTD: http://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/#ixzz2PVez8PnU
Take some big guns and hand them to people who know a little something about sharp aim and hitting hard targets. Earlier today Fox Searchlight announced via Twitter that they have acquired 12 Years a Slave and plan to position Steve McQueen’s film for the final week of awards season. That’s not to say that nobody will get a look until then. We can expect the 12 Years a Slave to make its first appearance on the festival circuit — possibly as soon as May at Cannes.
Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master will be released on Blu-ray and DVD February 26th. Anchor Bay Home Entertainment and The Weinstein Company have offered us 2 copies to give to Awards Daily readers. All you need to do to qualify is leave a comment with a few lines about why you think The Master is one of the best films of 2012.
Haunted by his past, WW-II veteran and drifter Freddie Quell crosses paths with a mysterious movement called The Cause, led by Lancaster Dodd aka “The Master” and his wife Peggy. Their twisted relationship is the core of this film that is “a glorious and haunting symphony of color, emotion and sound with camera movements that elicit an involuntary gasp and feats of acting that defy comprehension (A.O Scott, The New York Times).”
- “Back Beyond” Outtakes – Additional Scenes Music by Jonny Greenwood (20 min)
- “Unguided Message” – 8 Minute Short
- Behind the Scenes Featurette
- “Let There Be Light” (1946) – John Huston’s landmark documentary about WWII veterans (58 Minutes)
- Digital Copy
Beautiful shot. Kent Jones’ article isn’t online but it’s reportedly worth the $5.95 newsstand price of admission all by itself.
60 Minutes tonight explores the depth of detail that Spielberg and his collaborators put into recreating Lincoln’s world of 1864. Here’s the complete 12-minute segment featuring extended interviews with Doris Kearns Goodwin, Daniel Day-Lewis and Spielberg himself. Want more? Check out the 3 “web extras” after the cut.
Whenever I see that beautiful afro on Viola Davis I am reminded of her subtle rebellion against the need to blend in to appeal to industry voters who really only see one kind of woman. She did it at the Oscars and she’s done it again last night. Also, Daniel Day-Lewis. His performance, along with Kushner’s script and Spielberg’s subtle direction, are the essential forces that build Lincoln’s foundation:
After the cut, video of Daniel Day-Lewis from the Santa Barbara film festival.
Mia Farrow announced on Twitter “like my buddy Leo I will be retiring from acting indefinitely.” DiCaprio just said he was taking a break from acting. But Farrow appears to be done for good.
Anne Thompson posted the winners of the London Film Critics awards and Joaquin Phoenix does a funny thing there at the end:
“I struggle with the idea of winning awards for acting. Stating I’m Best Actor for something as subjective as film seems strange to me. To the uninitiated it implies I’m solely responsible for the creation and implementation of the character. I am not. I suppose that’s why we thank our colleagues. There are those who you all know such as Paul Thomas Anderson, to whom I am eternally grateful – a man who has persistently searched for the truth. I am fortunate to have been under his guidance. Philip Seymour Hoffman for his patience and advice. Amy Adams for being angry. Megan Ellison and everyone at Annapurna for their support of the film and ensuring that I was able to cover my mortgage. But there are many others who you do not know by name such as Mike Kenna, who I believe was the grip but he did 20 different jobs so I can’t be sure; Adam Somner, the first assistant director; Karen Ramirez in the office; Tommy – I don’t know your last name… there are too many to list. The truth is, you cannot separate my work from their’s. We were a unit bolstered by the same goal: to do our part in helping Paul to achieve his vision. I view this award as recognition of all of our work. I am very cognisant of the fact that for me this award is an encouragement to continue my lifelong passion of being an actor. I will not squander this high regard. P.S. There’s an up-and-coming actor named Daniel who’s in a movie called Lincoln. You should check it out.”
Nov. 15, 2012
“We had just watched the movie ‘Lincoln’ in the White House theatre with the director, screenwriter and many of the actors attending. Later, the President invited Daniel Day-Lewis upstairs to see the Lincoln Bedroom in the private residence. Here is Day-Lewis, who had just come to life as Abraham Lincoln, viewing the Gettysburg Address.” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Full-size after the cut.
The festival, in its 28th year, has also announced today that it will honor Academy Award® nominated actor Leonardo DiCaprio with the American Riviera Award. DiCaprio, whose latest film Django Unchained was released to critical acclaim and box office success this Christmas, will be honored on Friday, February 1 at the Arlington Theatre.
“We are thrilled to be honoring Leonardo DiCaprio with the American Riviera Award, in a year where he has shown us another layer of his immeasurable talent” commented Durling. “His performance in Django Unchained reaffirms that he is the most relevant actor of this generation.”
As person of the year, President Obama was asked about the film, Lincoln:
I wanted to ask you, Mr. President, about the film Lincoln. We know that you gathered a group to see it here. And for me watching that movie, it was as if I had spent three hours with Lincoln. And I wondered how— it was a very emotional experience. And I wondered how you felt watching that movie. What was it like for you to spend that time with Lincoln?
Well, first of all, Daniel Day-Lewis was sitting next to me, or right behind me. (Laughter.) And so, even after the movie, I felt like I was still hanging out with Lincoln. He was masterful in that role. I think it’s well publicized that Lincoln is my favorite President, and so to see an intimate depiction of him in his work and the challenges that faced him even in a relatively compressed period of time was incredibly powerful.
I think it’s generally a good idea for any President not to compare himself to Lincoln. (Laughter.) And so the magnitude of his challenges and the magnitude of his gifts are of a different scope and scale of any subsequent President.
I do think that there are lessons to be drawn. Part of what Lincoln teaches us is that to pursue the highest ideals and a deeply moral cause requires you also engage and get your hands dirty. And there are trade-offs and there are compromises. And what made him such a remarkable individual, as well as a remarkable President, was his capacity to balance the idea that there are some eternal truths with the fact that we live in the here and now, and the here and now is messy and difficult. And anything we do is going to be somewhat imperfect. And so what we try to do is just tack in the right direction.
And you do understand that as President of the United States, the amount of power you have is overstated in some ways, but what you do have the capacity to do is to set a direction. And you recognize you’re not going to arrive with — you’ll never arrive at that promised land, and whatever seeds you plant now may bear fruit many years later.
So being able to project across a very long timeline while still being focused on the immediate tug and pull of politics I think is a useful lesson, and an accurate portrayal of how I think about my work day to day.
Lincoln is now officially the highest grossing film of Daniel Day-Lewis’ career. If you adjust for inflation, it comes in second.
Now, the Santa Barbara Film Fest will honor him with the Montecito Award, which I will hopefully witness in person.
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival is proud to announce that it will
be garnering two-time Academy Award® winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis with the prestigious
Montecito Award at the 28th edition of the Festival on behalf of his inspirational performance in the title role of Lincoln, and as a celebration of his overall career. The Tribute will take place on Saturday, January 26, 2013 at the historic Arlington Theatre and is sponsored by Bridlewood Estate Winery.