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Film released, interviews - Matt Damon News Column
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Film released, interviews
  • Promised Land is now out in limited released, and reviews (as always) are mixed. Here are a few excerpts from reviews at the SF Gate and Richard Roeper at the Chicago Sun-Times.

    San Francisco Gate
    "Promised Land" is a fine place to start appreciating Matt Damon, who always makes it seem as if everybody else is acting and he's just going through the movie being natural. Damon is the actor who leaves no fingerprints, who never calls attention to himself and never, ever screws up, not once in 20 years. Whether playing Jason Bourne or Mr. Ripley, Damon creates an illusion of the familiar, and that familiarity is put to good use in "Promised Land," in which he plays a salesman for a fracking company, trying to talk rural people into leasing their land for natural-gas drilling.

    "Promised Land" is directed by Gus Van Sant, with attention to the performances and real feeling for the environments that rural people inhabit - the open spaces, the quiet, and the tiny downtown with one store that sells everything and one bar where everyone congregates. Even if you've lived in a city your whole life, it's a world that feels like America.

    Written by Damon and John Krasinski, who plays an environmentalist (from a story by Dave Eggers), "Promised Land" is a measured, careful movie that doesn't raise its voice and make broad claims, but quietly expresses concerns.

    In addition to Krasinski and McDormand, who offer playful support, the movie gets boosts from Hal Holbrook, as the town's wise man, and Rosemarie DeWitt, who has never been so appealing - it's a dangerous charm to be able turn it on like that. But in the end this is Damon's movie, in that he's the moral locus, the film's center of meaning. It's about time to consider the possibility that Damon's appearing in so many good movies is no coincidence, that he's a big part of what makes them good.

    Chicago Sun-Times
    We always feel as if we’re in good hands with Matt Damon. Whether he’s playing a coldly efficient killing machine of a secret agent trying to regain his memory in a spy thriller franchise or a grieving widower who actually buys a zoo to cheer up his kids in a winningly gooey Cameron Crowe film, we buy it. Is there a more likable, comfortable actor in movies today?

    That’s why Damon is so perfectly cast in “Promised Land.” Like the townspeople trying to decide if this guy is their new best friend or if he’s bad news hiding behind a smile and a firm handshake, we want to believe he’s a nice guy and he’s doing the right thing. But is he a savior or the devil in blue jeans and beat-up boots?

    “Promised Land” falls squarely into the latter category. It’s a solid, straightforward and balanced take on a controversial issue: the practice known as “fracking” (short for hydraulic fracturing), in which a pressurized mixture of water, sand and chemicals breaks up layers of rock and releases gas or petroleum. The economic benefits can be staggering — but what about the environmental and health concerns?

    Damon is terrific as Steve Butler, an earnest, ambitious rep for a huge natural gas company called Global Crosspower. Steve’s mission is simple and seemingly easy: arrive in a dying farm town and offer big bucks in exchange for the right to drill on the land.

    This is not some anti-fracking lecture from liberal Hollywood. If “Promised Land” doesn’t achieve the emotional resonance of “Erin Brockovich,” that’s in part because the heroes and villains aren’t as clear-cut. Until the final scenes, we’re not entirely sure for whom to root.

    Filled with first-rate performances, most notably Damon’s, “Promised Land” is a solid if at times too conventional tale of a classic moral conflict. If Frank Capra were making movies in the 21st century, you could see him tapping Matt Damon as his go-to guy.

  • An excerpt from an interview with Matt at She Knows and a line from an interview with John:

    Damon and Affleck have both come a long way from their Massachusetts roots. He revealed to us that before the two “made it” with their Oscar-winning screenplay, they had at least one major letdown.

    “In the summer of 1988 Ben and I had both been really close on Dead Poets Society,” said Damon. “We both had been called back. Neither of us, needless to say, got the job. But we ended up working in the theater in our hometown that played one movie the entire summer, which was Dead Poets Society. So we had to sit there and tear tickets and sell popcorn. That was really like salt in a wound for an entire summer.”

    Still, with all his money and success, Damon has not let fame go to his head. The down-to-earth actor told us that all he wants for Christmas this year is to have his whole family together. And he and wife Luciana are raising their kids with the same humble values.

    “Oftentimes we’ll open a bunch of gifts and [the kids] forget about them,” he told SheKnows. “They just like opening gifts. My wife will see it and she’ll set it aside and we donate them all later to other kids who will appreciate them a little more.”

    Mid-interview, Blunt surprised John at his press day at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, and even dragged him into Damon’s interview room for a quick reunion where laughing and shrieking could be heard by all the reporters waiting outside. We’re guessing another double date was being planned, and perhaps reminiscing over past enchanting evenings.

  • Thanks to Greg for some photos of a current exhibition at the ArcLight cinema in Hollywood of costumes from Promised Land. Separately, more photos from the exhibition are available at this site.

  • 18 comments or Leave a comment
    Comments
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: December 30th, 2012 12:46 am (UTC) (Link)

    Kevin Smith

    Kevin Smith on working with Matt, calling him one of the greats, and True Grit:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_1hl-OqEMM

    NPR interview (mentions Liberace):

    http://www.npr.org/2012/12/29/167983989/matt-damon-on-his-promising-new-film

    Edited at 2012-12-30 02:08 am (UTC)
    From: (Anonymous) Date: December 30th, 2012 11:45 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Promised Land

    Did anyone see the movie already? Any Comments? (I still don't know when I can see it)
    From: (Anonymous) Date: January 2nd, 2013 07:31 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Promised Land/:e

    All I want to say is that I'm upset that the movie it's supposed to be out now January 2 and it's not playing at the major movie theatre here in the town that I live in Lancaster PA...I checked one other theatre near by and it wasn't playing there either?!!! This happened before too with some of his movies it's making me mad. BUT I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE IT BECAUSE ANYTHING THAT'S STARRING MATT DAMON IT'S WORTH SEEING TO ME.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: January 2nd, 2013 09:34 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Promised Land/:e

    It's in wide release 4 January.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: January 5th, 2013 02:59 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Promised Land/:e

    I saw it and I'm not upset anymore :) I liked it and it wasn't too 'harsh' for the anti-fracking people I would say, so good job! I only wish that the story lasted longer. Just how do you do it Matt Damon, making me love you more each time that I see you?!! That place was like the lands around here without Matt--sigh--and I liked the natural feel to it. It didn't even seemed like I was watching a movie seriously. John plaid a good bad guy LOL. Matt plaid an awesome humble sales boy. The way he looked the night after he drank with the teacher made me quietly drool and want to be in her place (yummy Matt). What else? I wish I knew if the brown shoes are really his grandfathers (that made me almost cry and wonder)...and I liked the ending too but I won't say it for someone who reads and might have not seen it yet. I heart you Matt Damon.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: December 31st, 2012 01:51 am (UTC) (Link)

    tsgpink

    I sure hope that the movie will play in the town i live at Essex 5 Cinamas,lol!
    From: (Anonymous) Date: December 31st, 2012 12:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
    Sounds great, recovering stollen art, masterpieces, end of WWII.
    I love the ingredients. And the actors.

    Good pictures! I want a Brokeback Mountain moment with that jacket!

    I wish you all a magnificient year!!

    Ceci
    4mattdamon From: 4mattdamon Date: December 31st, 2012 01:32 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Reviews

    I've seen it twice and enjoyed it! Once at the LA Times screening that Matt attended and once at the midnight screening of the film Dec 28.

    My own review on Flixster:
    Social commentary about community, place, identity, and taking care of something. On the opposite side of corporate American lies democracy and the lives of people who are affected. A man who says he was one of them faces himself and realizes he's "not a bad guy" being one of them. A+ acting, storytelling, music. 5 out of 5 stars

    {I realize I'm biased a bit cause it's Matt, but I really liked the characters, the setting, and the protagonist's character arc.}


    Some other positive reviews!
    http://www.npr.org/2012/12/22/167867139/promised-land-a-folksy-take-on-fracking?ft=1&f=1045

    http://www.filmschoolrejects.com/reviews/review-promised-land-2012.php

    Greg

    Edited at 2012-12-31 01:37 pm (UTC)
    From: (Anonymous) Date: December 31st, 2012 08:00 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Thanks for everything!

    I just wanted to say a BIG thank you for the amazing work you've done through the year. I've loved the updates, pics and comments from everyone, and I'm glad you are getting so many comments from Matt's fans all over the world. Still 2012 here for a few more hours. Have a great 2013. Marcia
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: January 1st, 2013 08:53 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Thanks for everything!

    Thanks Marcia, and to everyone for commenting and contributing to the site. With three movies expected in 2013, it should be a busy year.

    I've seen Promised Land on one best of 2012 list and one worst of 2012 list. Matt said he didn't want his films to be average, and he wanted them to provoke comment, so that's probably a good result.

    A few more interviews with new quotes:

    http://www.newsday.com/news/matt-damon-on-promised-land-fracking-1.4392009

    http://www.examiner.com/article/what-the-frack-is-up-with-matt-damon
    From: (Anonymous) Date: January 1st, 2013 02:26 am (UTC) (Link)

    tsgpink

    I've been a fan of Matt and loving him for four years now!
    From: (Anonymous) Date: January 3rd, 2013 07:27 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: tsgpink/:e

    I've been loving him NONESTOP since I discovered him for like...about 14 years(counting this new year) now and it's been great except for the fact that he's not really 'real' and he doesn't 'talk back' or 'takes me out on dates' like a boyfriend should LOL!!!
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: January 2nd, 2013 02:26 am (UTC) (Link)

    TCA winter tour

    Matt may attend the TCA press tour in LA to promote the Liberace movie - HBO is scheduled for Friday or Saturday this week.

    http://tvcritics.org/press-tour-schedule-overview/

    Edited at 2013-01-02 02:31 am (UTC)
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