DVDs: How Good Is Matt Damon? Damn Good
TRUE GRIT ($39.99 BluRay or $29.99 regular DVD; Paramount) — The Coen Brothers movie is solid fun that’s better than the original and more true to the terrific novel by Charles Portis. Hailee Steinfeld gives a funny but very particular performance that could be the sign of a singular talent or a one-off stunt. Josh Brolin is hissable as the villain. Jeff Bridges shamelessly chews the scenery in the hammy role made famous by John Wayne. But I want to talk about Matt Damon.
He gives the best performance of the film as the over-confident Texas Ranger LaBoeuf. The character is nominally comic relief, but Damon makes him the heart of the movie. The little girl is preternaturally calm and mature. Bounty hunter Cogburn is a caricature of the hard-drinking frontierman. Only LaBoeuf is a recognizable human being, a man who is a tad vain but at heart a decent person. Damon gets all the humor out of this easily offended young man but he also makes you care about LaBoeuf and consequently about the film as a whole. If anyone might die in this enterprise you fear it would be LaBoeuf, so all the suspense and drama centers on whether he’ll make it home alive or at least redeem himself as a brave and valued companion. With his accustomed ease, Damon steals the show by playing a supporting role that other movie stars might not deign to accept.
It’s just the latest achievement by one of the best actors working today. Damon’s looks always promise the square-jawed decency of a 1950s leading man. But his talent often lies in subverting our expectations. He broke through as the math whiz in Good Will Hunting of course. Then came Saving Private Ryan, with Damon as every mother’s son caught in the dangers of war. His career seemed set as a traditional hero. But Damon followed that immediately with one of his best and most underrated turns. He became almost invisible in The Talented Mr. Ripley, a mousy killer who subsumes the identity of the people he destroys. Look at the way Damon maintains the anonymous demeanor of a servant in the opening scenes and you’ll see a movie star choosing to become an actor.
He showed he had charisma to burn in the Ocean’s Eleven movies. But it’s the Bourne trilogy that has truly vaulted Damon to the top. If comedies get little respect, even they receive more critical attention than the performances in action films. Damon’s work in the Bourne movies constitutes one of the best action performances on film, equal to Harrison Ford’s work in the early Indiana Jones movies and easily one of the most complex achievements in the genre. Damon delivers the confusion and apprehension of a man who finds a terrified release in the violence he is so clearly capable of achieving, a violence that both thrills and disturbs him. With a minimum of dialogue and often through his face and body movements alone, Damon creates a man audiences live vicariously through but also pity in his desperate desire to know exactly who he is. Best of all, Damon showed the rare restraint of walking away from the franchise before it became repetitive and dumb.
The smart choices continued: the CIA agent in The Good Shepherd, the gangster turned cop in The Departed (proving again how good Damon is at internal conflict) and the hilariously inept stool pigeon in The Informant!. That’s a very funny movie but Damon’s gifts as a comic haven’t been fully exploited yet (despite his amusing work on 30 Rock), any more than his ability to be a romantic lead. Presumably that just doesn’t interest him since he’s barely assayed such a common, almost inevitable role. Politics interests him more, from the complex Syriana to The Green Zone to his work as the narrator of the best documentary of 2010, Inside Job.
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of Damon’s talent is that he’s only seemed to scratch the surface of what he’s capable of doing. The older he gets, the more interesting and varied the roles he should be able to tackle. Damon’s never been trapped by leading man status but growing more mature will only play into his natural instinct for the interesting and off-beat. Unquestionably, the best is yet to come.
The keen card player was spotted meeting Harvey Weinstein and Ocean’s 13 screenwriters Brian Koppelman and David Levien at New York restaurant Cipriani Downtown to begin work on the script to Rounders 2, the New York Post reports.
Edward Norton, who appeared in the first movie, will reportedly reprise his role in the sequel.
In Rounders Matt played a law student who was lured back into gambling by his old friend, an ex-convict, played by Ed.
The 1998 film flopped at the box office but became a cult hit on DVD
Damon to start work on what is believed to be Father Daughter Time early next year.
Matt Damon is moving ahead with his directorial debut, and has offered the name of one of his stars.
Speaking to Vulture, he said: “I’ve got a few things that I really want to direct, and one I’m actually going to start at the first quarter of next year.”
It’s thought to be Father Daughter Time: A Tale of Armed Robbery and Eskimo Kisses, a script from Matthew Aldrich picked up by Warner Bros. as a starring vehicle for Damon. The plotline has a “man who goes on the lam with his daughter, his accomplice on a three-state crime spree.” Aldrich described it as “a smallish, very personal, dark but playful road movie about a father and daughter.”
It’s been rumoured that Damon will direct, as he had been planning to get behind the camera for The Trade, a true wife-swapping baseball movie that was set to star him and best mate Ben Affleck. That project is now on hold my legal reasons.
Damon wouldn’t confirm if Father Daughter Time is in fact the film he will direct, but did mention that John Krasinski would be in it.
The star of the US version of The Office is married to Damon’s Adjustment Bureau co-star Emily Blunt, and has popped up on the big screen in Something Borrowed, It’s Complicated, License To Wed and Away We Go. He’ll next be seen in The Muppets and Everybody Loves Whales. Krasinski himself made his directorial debut in 2009 with Brief Interviews with Hideous Men.
Meanwhile, Damon is having a busy 2011 in his day job as actor, starring in Neill Blompkamp’s Elysium, Steven Soderbergh’s Liberace and Contagion, and Cameron Crowe’s We Bought a Zoo.
MALONE — Academy Award-winning screenwriter and actor Matt Damon was in Malone Wednesday, apparently learning more about wind farms.
The star of “Good Will Hunting” and “The Bourne Identity” franchise could also be gathering information for a film he is rumored to be making for his directorial debut.
The lunch crowd at Jon’s Family Restaurant on Finney Boulevard was abuzz with people getting their picture taken with Damon and actor John Krasinski, who plays Jim Halpert on the NBC sitcom “The Office.”
One of the fans who got close Wednesday was Katie Nason, who works at Giggles and Wiggles child-care center in Malone.
“It was pretty exciting. I was there with my husband, and my in-laws were arriving,” she said.
There was a lot of commotion at a table behind them, with the waitresses and restaurant staff crowding around and taking pictures with a man in a hat and glasses.
“My husband said, ‘It must be somebody famous,'” Nason said.
She said she got a look at who it was causing the excitement, “and I lost my breath. It took me 10 minutes to go over there and talk to him.
“I was like, ‘I can’t not get this.’ My mother-in-law took the picture on her iPod.
“He was very polite and just as cute in person,” Nason said. “You could tell he was used to it.”
The actors were apparently in the area to learn more about wind farms for a future movie and were accompanied by Town Council member Jack Sullivan, a vocal wind-farm opponent.
Sullivan could not be immediately reached for comment.
Damon is the co-founder of H2O Africa and Water.org, which work to improve living conditions in developing countries through clean water.
The film Damon might direct and star in is tentatively called “Father and Daughter,” according to a website entry for New York Magazine.
“I’ve got a few things that I really want to direct, and one I’m actually going to start at the first quarter of next year,” he said in the article.
He would play a criminal on the run with his daughter.
Damon would not say much about the film but did tell the magazine, “John Krasinski is in it.”
Sony has moved the release date for District 9 director Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium one week to March 1st, 2013, per Box Office Mojo. The film was originally set to open on the 8th, the same day as Disney’s Oz: The Great and Powerful directed by Sam Raimi. This seems like a smart move, as the burgeoning cast of Raimi’s fantasy prequel to The Wizard of Oz will most likely do some serious business. Elysium stars Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, William Fichtner, Wagner Moura, and Sharlto Copley. Details on the plot are very much under wraps, but it’s said to take place in the future on another planet, and will be in the social allegory vein much like District 9. Foster plays the head of the alien planet.
VANCOUVER — Hollywood superstars Matt Damon and Jodie Foster will be calling Vancouver home this summer while filming blockbuster alien flick, Elysium.
Foster, whose resume of big-screen hits includes Panic Room, Nell and Silence of the Lambs, will join thrill-chaser Damon (The Adjustment Bureau, The Bourne Identity) for filming in B.C., which is scheduled to take place from July 25 to Sept. 27.
According to internet movie database IMDB, the plot of Elysium goes like this: “Aliens come to earth to do battle with man kind so they find peace on earth and live like human beings.”
Foster is said to play the head of the alien planet.
The movie, directed by District 9 director Neill Blomkamp, is scheduled to be released in 2013.
Remember George Miller? Dr. (as in physician) George Miller, the director who brought you ‘Mad Max,’ ‘Babe,’ ‘Lorenzo’s Oil’ and ‘Happy Feet’? Well, five years after he introduced dancing penguins to the world, he’s back with a ‘Happy Feet’ sequel titled, appropriately enough, ‘Happy Feet 2 in 3D.’ Set for a November 18 release, the film uses the voice talent of Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Hank Azaria, Alecia Moore (Pink) and Sofia Vergara. ‘Happy Feet’ charmed audiences of all ages with its story about the world of the Emperor Penguins — who find their soul mates through song — into which a penguin is born who cannot sing … But he could tap dance something fierce. The sequel takes the next logical step — the hero of the first film has a son who is dance shy. Warner Bros. has just released a teaser trailer — to coincide with the release of ‘Kung Fu Panda 2.’
The eagerly anticipated sequel to the Oscar-winning hit Happy Feet Two finds tap-dancing penguin Mumble and his pals using their smooth moves to save the penguin nation. Mumble and Gloria (voice of Pink) have started a family of their own. Mumble, The Master of Tap, has a problem because tiny son Erik is choreo-phobic. Reluctant to dance, Erik runs away and encounters The Mighty Sven — a penguin who can fly!! Mumble has no hope of competing with this charismatic new role model. But things get worse when the world is shaken by powerful forces. Erik learns of his father’s “guts and grit” as Mumble brings together the penguin nations and all manner of fabulous creatures — from tiny Krill to giant Elephant Seals – to put things right.