Friday, April 01, 2011

"As we were saying yesterday..."

I see from my previous post that I promised to add new material to ZONE the weekend of August 1-2, 2009.

That didn't happen.

And despite a 20-month hiatus, I still don't have anything interesting to post!

But I may start putting up some short pieces now and then.

For now, a film recommendation: The Lincoln Lawyer. Matthew McConaghey finally lands a good role in this gritty, 1970s-flavored trial-mystery thing based on Michael Connelly's book. With Marisa Tomei. Directed by Brad Furman, who I didn't know before this.

Andrew O'Hehir, from Salon, my new favorite film critic, says this:
Furman's film has a funk 'n' soul late-'70s feeling with a dynamite soundtrack to match, as if it were a forgotten West Coast project from early in Martin Scorsese's career. . . . Furman fills up the movie with delicious supporting characters and a baked-L.A. vibe so strong you can almost smell the weed, smog and hot asphalt. . . . It's rare enough to see a Hollywood movie made with this much attention and personality, let alone one that balances comedy and darkness as well as this one does. Not everybody makes it out of "The Lincoln Lawyer" alive, but this is a colorful and generous entertainment, not a plunge into the abyss. If its charming, roguish and not-quite-depraved hero can be redeemed, there may be hope for the rest of us.
Read his full review.

Connelly's a very good writer, the real heir, in my eyes, to Hammett, Chandler and Ross Macdonald. I'm glad to see one of his books and characters treated well by Hollywood. The last attempt (Blood Work) was a mixed bag.


Jeff said...

Hey, William. It's great to see you get past those gold teeth with a new blog post. FINALLY! :-D

So, Matthew McConaghey is an Austin homeboy? You know something? I've haven't actually seen a Matthew McConaghey movie yet, but I understand Matt Damon does a pretty good impression.

It looks pretty good. Having watched the trailer, I don't pick up much of a true '70s feel, but I love the car! Remember those big old boats with rotten suspensions, careening and bouncing around corners in shows like Kojak and Mannix? The lousy handling of those vehicles could make the most mundane of driving sequences into nail-biting action sequences.

A classic '70s throwback movie is dying to be made. Pulp Fiction had some elements of that with the hairstyles and the soundtrack, but what really needs to be made is something reminiscent of Robert Mitchum in The Friends of Eddie Coyle.

cowboyangel said...

Hey, Jeff. The Damon impression is right on. You haven't seen any movies McConaghey's been in? He's done some good ones - and some real dogs (the romantic comedies.) Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused was his first real role. If you haven't seen that, I think you would like it. Speakling of 1970s films. It's about high school graduation night around 1975. REALLY captures the era well. And, for me, of course, it's very personal, since it takes place in Austin. But it's a well done film. Not your typical high school movie. For just a fun ride, we really enjoyed Sahara. It's a silly action flick/comedy thing with Penelope Cruz and Steve Zahn, who's just hilarious, and William Macy. But it holds up. My wife shows it in her film class for international students and they always seem to enjoy it. Matthew definitely has his shirt off in that one. Lone Star is excellent. One of the best films about Texas ever (along with No Country for Old Men and The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada) - with Chris Cooper and Kris Kristofferson in maybe his best role. McConaghey's role is smaller in that. A Time to Kill was pretty good, with Sandra Bullock, Samuel Jackson and Kevin Sapcey. And We Are Marshall got good reviews, but I haven't seen that. Would like to.

I loved Mannix! And the Streets of San Francisco.

I'm embarassed to say, because I love Mitchum, but I've never seen the Friends of Eddie Coyle. Will have to look for that.

Jeff said...

I really do need to get out more and see more recent stuff.

Of course, the best Austin-based movie of all time was Slacker. Do you agree?

Matt Damon does do a good impression. The talent for mimicry is one that I admire very much in an actor. In There Will Be Blood, I loved the way Daniel Day-Lewis modelled his accent and speaking cadence after the director John Huston's.

You should check out The Friends of Eddie Coyle sometime. It captures the essence of Bostons's Winter Hill Gang thugs much better than say, more recent films like The Departed (Scorcese understands Italian-American quite well.... The Irish, not so much). There was a classic line delivered by one of the protagonists that captures the spirit of those guys very well - "This life is hard, man, but it's harder if you're stupid."