Tag Archives: Woody Harrelson

Surfer, Dude

Laid-back Steve Addington (Matthew McConaughey) lives his dream life as he tours the globe, catching the best waves in every hemisphere. But when he returns to Malibu, things change: The good waves have disappeared, and to his great dismay, they don’t return all summer! Soon, Steve begins to question his existence, searching for meaning in his life with no waves to ride. Woody Harrelson and Willie Nelson co-star in this comic romp.

Lauren
Rating: 1 out of 10

Matthew McConaughey should have been thrown out of Hollywood for making “Surfer, Dude.”

I don’t even know where to start with how awful this movie is. The story centers around an aging surfer name Steve, played by McConaughey, who has no idea why people pay him to surf. He doesn’t realize he is advertising their clothes and surfboards. And, when he somehow gets himself signed up to live in an MTV Real World-style house for famous surfers, he decides he can’t handle the commercialization. For some reason at this point the waves stop coming and Steve takes off in frustration.

Everything about this movie is bad. Even appearances from McConaughey’s friends Willie Nelson and Woody Harrelson couldn’t help.

Zombieland 2


matt

Zombieland was an enjoyable flick — a treat to zombie movie lovers everywhere. Two Academy Award-nominated actors, Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg, had great chemistry in a movie that balanced humor and levity with horror and action. Bill Murray’s cameo was fantastic and really made the movie. Having Emma Stone to look at didn’t hurt, either.

So why not a sequel? This has the makings to be a fun franchise. It’s not like there hasn’t been zombie sequels before.

Eisenberg told MovieWeb.com that Zombieland 2 is being scripted and will likely be in 3D. I hate 3-D, but a zombie flick could be fun. Here what Eisenberg said: “I believe they are going to shoot it in 3D. If they do it. Which will be interesting for the glasses industry. They are just starting to write the script. Maybe they haven’t even started that yet. I don’t know where my character will go. The first movie was fun, though. I can’t imagine the second one won’t be good.”

However, co-star Harrelson told TotalFilm.com he’s not sure making a sequel is the “right thing to do.”

On the first movie, he said: “I didn’t even want to read the script… Then as it turns out, I read the script and I thought it was phenomenal, really funny…” he said. “Usually, if I theoretically reject it, I’m right, but this one I was dead wrong. And it might be the first movie I do a sequel to.”

When we asked if the follow-up is definitely happening, Harrelson said: “I’m sure it will happen if everyone does it, but I’m not sure it’s the right thing to do. … It’s one thing to do it when it came out real good and it made a lot of people laugh, but then to do a sequel… 99 out of 100 are worse by a lot. So I don’t know. … “I don’t feel like a sequels guy.”

The Messenger

While on a recent deployment to Iraq, US Army Staff Sergeant Will Montgomery (Ben Foster) is injured when an improvised explosive device goes off within close proximity to him. He is back in the States recovering from the more serious of those injuries, including one to his eye and leg. He has resumed a sexual relationship with his long time girlfriend Kelly (Jena Malone), despite the fact that she is now engaged to another man. With the few months Will has left in his enlistment, the army assigns him to the Casualty Notification Team in his area. Not having a background in counseling, psychology or grief management, he is unsure if he is well suited to this job. He is partnered with a career soldier, Captain Tony Stone (Woody Harrelson), who teaches Will the precise protocol involved in the job. As Will learns to adapt to the range of emotions of the next of kin, he is unprepared for the reaction of Olivia Pitterson (Samantha Morton), whose husband was killed in Iraq. His initial encounter with Olivia leads to him wanting to get to know her better, which may not be in either her or his best interest. Despite being a recovering alcoholic, the more experienced Tony tries to guide Will as best he can under their collective circumstances. The film is made by first-time director Oren Moverman, who also co-wrote.

Matt
Rating: 8 out of 10

This film is full of writing and characters, emotional scenes, cinematography and settings that make us think while not answering questions or taking sides. This is no easy task for any director, but Moverman helped create a beautiful script that is thoughtful, and a style of direction that flows with ease, but challenges the viewer.

Harrelson and Foster deliver two of the best performances of 2009, the former getting a worthy Oscar nomination for best supporting actor. Tony and Will are full of contradiction and their character development is smart. Will keeps people at bay, including his ex-girlfriend who he still sleeps with, despite her being engaged. He doesn’t own a computer, so he can’t e-mail or instant message. He turns his phone off and listens to loud heavy metal when he’s alone in his largely empty home. Tony is a recovering alcoholic who hangs out in bars and drinks water with lemon, can’t keep a relationship, is competely insensitive but has to be for his job.

There are many dramatic and emotional scenes throughout the movie as the two visit the dead soldiers’ family member homes. There’s a great role played by Steve Buscemi (Reservoir Dogs) as a grieving father. Will is torn, trying not to be too sensitive while Tony is icy in his calm delivery of the bad news. This is the military’s toughest job, and this current events picture is honest about that without being preachy, taking sides, or being unfair to the veterans who selflessly serve our country every day. This is one of the best films of last year, and I look forward to seeing more films by Moverman.

Zombieland

The horror comedy Zombieland focuses on two men who have found a way to survive a world overrun by zombies. Columbus, Jesse Eisenberg (Adventureland) is a big wuss — but when you’re afraid of being eaten by zombies, fear can keep you alive. Tallahassee, played by Woody Harrelson (The People vs. Larry Flynt) is an AK-toting, zombie-slaying’ bad ass whose single determination is to get the last Twinkie on earth. As they join forces with Wichita, Emma Stone (Superbad) and Little Rock, Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine), who have also found unique ways to survive the zombie mayhem, will have to determine which is worse: relying on each other or succumbing to the zombies.

Matt
Rating: 6 out of 10

This was a fun film, especially because I love watching zombies getting killed in interesting ways.

We’ve seen the bullet to the brain more often than not. But a banjo decapitating a zombie? That’s pure gold. Or how about snuffing out a zombie clown with a sledge hammer from a carnival game? Just makes me feel warm and tingly all over.

Mind you, I’m rating this as a zombie/comedy. It’s not for everyone, but horror and zombie movie fans will enjoy this. It’s a funny movie with just enough suspense to keep you interested and having fun. There’s also a great cameo by Bill Murray that makes the movie. Harrelson is fun as the bad-ass zombie killer who drives a giant SUV equipped with a zombie-smashing plow, driving the country, mowing down zombies and finding new and interesting ways to slaughter them. Eisenberg plays the eccentric, anal retentive kid who works nicely off of Harrelson’s cocky demeanor. If you enjoyed “Shaun of the Dead,” which I’d say is better than this film, then you’ll want to check this out.

Defendor

A crooked cop (Elias Koteas), a mob boss and the young junky they abuse (Kat Dennings) are the denizens of a city’s criminal underworld. It’s a world that ordinary Arthur Poppington (Woody Harrelson) doesn’t understand and doesn’t belong in, but is committed to fighting for when he changes into vigilante superhero Defendor. With no power other than courage, Defendor takes to the streets to protect the city’s innocent. Peter Stebbings, known more for acting roles in movies, wrote and directed.

Matt
Rating: 8 out of 10

This movie surprised me more than any other in a long time. Of course, like everyone, I underestimate Woody Harrelson.

I rented this to throw in the Blu-ray player while I cleaned, figuring it would be background noise to keep me company while I swept and dusted. Instead, I found myself engaged with an intriguing character in a world that is very real, where people get hurt — a nice sidestep from typical superhero movies. Of course, this is anything but a typical superhero movie.

This is a dromedy, for sure, but it lives within a world that is realistic. What would happen if a mentally handicapped man tried to be a hero? He’d get beat up a lot and have a hard time solving crimes. But to say that is all this movie is would be selling it short. This is a character piece by Harrelson, who adds the humanity and humility needed to prop this picture up beyond being a silly, throw-away hero spoof. It has a sense of humor, for certain, but it’s never cripplingly dumb. This movies was marketed as a goof ball comedy, but it’s not. At it’s core, it’s a drama with a good heart and  some dark story lines and characters. But this movie doesn’t take itself too seriously — which is why it succeeds. It could easily be a foolish movie about a moron who dresses up in tights and gets beat up.

Instead, “Defendor” has a subtlety, taking the time to develop relationships, characters, and back stories. I would say this is a movie for people who loved “Kick Ass” or the classic TV cartoon superhero “The Tick,” and anyone who enjoys comic book movies. I give Harrelson all the credit in the world. This was a $3.5 million passion project shot in 20 days, and Stebbings deserves credit for his directing style and writing, especially since this was his first film.