Archives for the month of: July, 2014

“Boyhood” is directed and written by Richard Linklater.

Ok.

So, if you haven’t heard about this film, then you need to know that Richard Linklater took 12 years to film this movie, with the same cast. So that little boy who starts the film at 6 is 18 when the film ends. Listening to the audience after it seems like not everyone watching the film knew and understood this and thought the aging of the actors was excellent casting and amazing make-up.

The film follows the growing up of Mason, 6 when the film starts and 18 when the film ends.

I like Richard Linklater, especially when he plays with film and how he explores different ways of making movie. He pushes boundaries and plays with form. And I like that. I’ve skipped many of his films – notably the “Before” triad – really enjoyed “Waking Life”.

I didn’t like it.

I admire the dedication of the actors and director to stick with the project for 12 years. I admire the editor for putting together cohesive performances over a crazy long shooting period.

Bur just because a film is highly innovative or experimental doesn’t mean the end result is good or engaging.

Maybe it is my bias? I wanted the film to reveal some sort of truth about boys, some look into the secret life of boys. But it doesn’t. It does however offer a filtered look at his relationship with women in his life – his mum, his sister, potential love interests – but, to me, he didn’t seem as interesting as the people around him, not an engaging central person to the film.

Of course, the film wasn’t helped along by actors going in and out of style – Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette were very popular and relevant actors when the film started filming, now, not so much and there was nothing in either of those performances that suggests they are about to become popular or relevant again.

I found the film long and just…boring. Which made me think, sometimes I like when nothing much happens in film and there is no clear story. If the characters are interesting and engaging, if the performances are the same, then I’m happy to sit and just enjoy the ride. I don’t need a story, I don’t need dramatics to enjoy a film. I have enjoyed films that are strange and I love documentaries and I don’t need much to happen.

But, even with my tastes of not really needing a story, I didn’t like this film.

It wasn’t boring or anything, I just found myself interested in characters other than the central character – I found the boy’s mother fascinating, as much I didn’t like Patricia Arquette, and his sister was very intriguing on film.

It just felt to me that something was missing from this film. Like…dare I say, like it didn’t have a heart. It wasn’t overly cold but it wasn’t engaging either. I couldn’t figure out if it my interests just diverged from the main character’s or if I was turned off by how the main character expressed his emotions.

It had some great moments of humour – even it was mostly me and one group of friends that laughed – so I’m sure why most of the audience was so silent during the film.

I also felt as if the most interesting part of the main character – his art – was in need of some exploration, he wins a prize and scholarship based on his talent but we never see him creating or his creative process.

I know you will probably end up seeing this film, so let me know what you think.

 

 

 

 

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“Snowpiercer” is directed by Joon-ho Bong, written by Joon-ho Bong (screenplay and screenstory), Kelly Masterson (screenplay), based on “Le Transperceneige” by Jacques Ho, Benjamin Legrand and Jean-Marc Rochette.

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS – I can’t figure out how write this review without them

I found a review of this movie online somewhere and was amused by the premise – in the not too distant future global warming becomes such a problem that governments of the world decide to artificially cool the earth by seeding the clouds with an untested compound, to horrifying results. The compound creates a world-wide ice age and most living dies. Survivors are loaded on a train that circles the world in the continuous loop, with each loop taking one year. The inhabitants of the train are located on the train according to the wealth they possessed at the time of start of the ice age – those with nothing are on the last car, the designer and engineer of the train is at the front. The story takes place 17 years after the start of the ice age and is the story of an uprising where inhabitants at the end of the train fight their way to the front.

I’m not sure even where to start with the film – the premise is a bit ridiculous but the cast is insane – Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Ed Harris, John Hurt…is it any wonder that I wanted to give this movie a try?

The movie is a great example of the sensibility of Korean film, in turns it is deathly serious, campy funny, extremely bloody and violent, grotesque, jarring, disruptive, disturbing, ridiculous and senseless. The characters unfold as the movie and struggle does and, although none of the characters are likeable, you get caught up in the push for survival and potential for freedom.

One of things that I greatly admires (and was sickened by) was the film’s unflinching look at how humans could behave when faced with the end of humanity. It isn’t pretty. (SPOILER: I will never look at Captain America again after Chris Evans’s incredible monologue about cannibalism).

The violence is bloody and gory. If blood splatters turn your tummy, this film is best avoided.

I found the film riveting and tense. There was no guessing what would happen next and what wonders or dangerous the characters would face next.

There was an excellent balance of beauty and horror, of danger and the sublime, of the serious and the ridiculous. The balance was incredible and because of these contrasts there were some truly funny moments. And some truly terrible ones as well…

If you get the chance – see this film. It is highly entertaining and well worth your time.

 

 

 

“How to Train Your Dragon 2” is an animated film directed by Dean DeBlois written by Dean DeBlois and Cressida Cowell (book series).

So, I’m really behind in posting this review. I got so caught up in enjoying my vacation that I stopped writing about it and the things we were doing.

One of the things that we ended up doing during one of our mega walks was see this movie. My friend hadn’t seen the first one, so he had to deal with my very poor description of what happened in the first movie.

So, yeah, another sequel. Have to tell you that even though I’m not a huge fan of sequels, that I really enjoyed this one, it had everything in the first film – dragons, tension between being true to yourself and responsibilities, interesting relationships, engaging characters and a solid story. There are moments of dreamy happiness, danger, sorrow and self-discovery.

The animation, once again, is solid with a unique style.

This was an excellent way to spend some time and see a great movie.

Not a “must see”, but certainly one t enjoy.