Among Spielberg’s “important” films, Amistad isn’t the home run that Saving Private Ryan or Schindler’s List is, but it’s still a powerful film and one with an incredible ensemble cast anchored by Anthony Hopkins in an Oscar-nominated performance as former President John Quincy Adams.
In today’s political climate, it’s hard to imagine, but after Adams lost his bid for re-election as President, he ended up running for Congress and returned to the House of Representatives (the only former President to do so) and government service. There, he was enlisted to represent the “cargo” of the slave ship La Amistad before the US Supreme Court. The Africans enslaved by the ship, had escaped the hold and slain their captors before being apprehended when their ship arrived in America. The 1839 case hinged on whether this was a matter of kidnapped human beings rising up and shaking off their chains or human cargo that should be returned to its “owners”. Hopkins arguing on their behalf before the court with a ten-minute dissertation on freedom is one of the most riveting monologues and pieces of acting I’ve ever seen. Hannibal Lecter’s introduction may be the most obvious best scene of Hopkins’ career, but this is every bit as good.
The Wolf of Wall Street is a fascinating film, but I don’t know that I would exactly recommend it to anyone because it’s also kind of reprehensible. THIS IS A RED BAND CLIP, in other words. Not only is Scorcese in his full “F-bomb-as-a-substitute-for-writing-dialogue” mode, but pretty much everyone in the film is on drugs for most of the film. Drugs are BAD! However…..this is too hilarious to not recognize, so that’s my moral equivocation opening. Physical comedy is something that’s not chic right now, but masters of it (ex. Dick Van Dyke) have proven that it can be just as funny and witty as the cleverest retort. When you think “physical comedy”, Leonardo DiCaprio is not a name that springs to the fore. However, DiCaprio’s acrobatics trying to reach and operate his car when a metric ton of quaaludes hit his system is, by far, the film’s best scene. His inchworm contortions are amazing, and this is really only half the performance, because he only degrades when he reaches home and gets in a fight with an equally quaaluded Jonah Hill. Whatever you may think of the film as a whole, this part is brilliant. DRUGS ARE BAD! Ok, think I covered myself there.
Matthew McConaughey has had two phases to his career. Bursting on the scene with 1996’s A Time to Kill, he seemed like the next superstar, but battles with substance abuse and a chronic lack of focus (probably not unconnected) left him nearly written off. However in the last decade McConaughey has climbed back into the top rungs of leading men, culminating in his Oscar for The Dallas Buyers Club and his astonishing performance in HBO’s True Detective’s first season (which would have won him an Emmy any other year than Bryan Cranston’s last on Breaking Bad). Since, he has kept up a steady stream of successes, and is always someone to pay attention to now in whatever projects he chooses to pursue. Continue reading Matthew McConaughey’s 10 Best Movies
Each Thursday we look at what is going to be coming out in theaters this weekend, show you the trailers for the big releases, predict the box office winner and just generally give you enough of a carrot to pull you through the rest of the work week. Well….welcome to August: land of the summer dumping ground. The past few years, studios have been smart enough to schedule a sleeper film here that has a month to go unopposed at the box office like Warner Bros. did last year with Suicide Squad. This year…no one was that smart. Continue reading In Theaters This Week (8/4/2017): Detroit, The Dark Tower, Kidnap
The final blockbuster of summer 2017 to unveil its first trailer is the long-awaited adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower fantasy/western series. Starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey among others, this is an impressive first look at a series that has long been considered to be unadaptable for the big screen. Coming Soon has more below. Roland will follow The Man in Black into theaters on August 4, 2017. Continue reading Trailer Time: The Dark Tower Trailer #1 (2017) “The Man in Black Fled…and the Gunslinger Followed”