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Dom 5We have had the BAFTA’s, The Globes and the awards for every guild you have heard of (and a few you haven’t), this weekend sees the main event, The Oscars.  But before that we have the Dom’s, The Fourth Annual Groovers Awards.  All awards are chosen by me and the criteria for eligibility is decided by me.  The award, is called the “Dom”, if you understand the relevance you need to watch Fandango. 

Best Movie: Boyhood

Easily my favourite movie of the year. boyhood-poster

Best Director: Richard Linklater

One of my favourite directors for two decades wins his first Dom for his masterpiece  Boyhood.richard linklater boyhood

Best Actor: Ralph Fiennes

Anyone who has seen In Bruges will know that Ralph Fiennes  can be funny but I never imagined that he could be anything like as funny as he is in The Grand Budapest Hotel. ralph fiennes the grand budapest hotel

Best Actress: Patricia Arquette

A supporting role in other awards but the centre and heart of my favourite film of the year, Boyhoodpatricia arquette boyhood

Best Screenplay: Wes Anderson, Hugo Guinness

Funny clever and utterly brilliant, everything that is great about The Grand Budapest Hotel starts with the script. Wes Anderson Hugo Guinness

Best Documentary: 20,000 Days on Earth

Not actually a documentary by traditional definitions but the award winner is the fictionalised account of Nick Cave’s 20,000 days on earth:20,000 Days on Earth poster

Best Looking Movie: The Grand Budapest Hotel

A combination of photography, production design and all the other things that go into putting the directors vision on screen.  The Grand Budapest Hotel is a truly stunning film.  The Grand Budapest Hotel

Movie star of the year: Mia Wasikowska

Returning after appearing in the first Groovers Awards,  movie star of the year goes to Mia Wasikowska: After appearing in Stoker my favourite film of 2013 Mia Wasikowska is rapidly becoming one of my favourite actresses with fantastic performances in Maps to the Stars, The Double, Only Lovers Left Alive and Tracks in 2014.Mia Wasikowska

Fandango Award: Dan Gilroy. 

Fandango was writer/director Kevin Reynolds debut (and best) feature, and the first notable movie for star Kevin Costner. It gives its name to this award for the best breakout film-makers of the year: Dan Gilroy, the younger brother of writer director Tony Gilroy.  Dan Gilroy’s first credit was as a writer on Freejack in 1992.  More than twenty years and a handful of screenplays later he came up with Nightcrawler, a debut feature directed with the swagger and confidence of a veteran director. dan gilroy nightcrawlerDom 5

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The British Academy Film Awards will be awarded on Sunday.  Here are my predictions along with what I would like to see win in the major categories:

Best Film

  • My Choice: Boyhood
  • Prediction: Boyhood
  • Other nominations: The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Theory of Everything, Birdman, The Imitation Gameboyhood-poster

 

David Lean Award for Direction

  • My Choice: Richard Linklater for Boyhood
  • Prediction: Richard Linklater for Boyhood
  • Other nominations: Alejandro González Iñárritu for Birdman, Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel, Damien Chazelle for Whiplash, James Marsh for The Theory of Everything:richard linklater boyhood

 

Best Leading Actor

  • My choice:  Ralph Fiennes for The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Prediction:  Michael Keaton for Birdman
  • Other nominations: Benedict Cumberbatch for The Imitation Game, Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything, Jake Gyllenhaal for Nightcrawler.ralph fiennes the grand budapest hotel

 

Best Leading Actress

  • My Choice: Reese Witherspoon for Wild (I haven’t seen still Alice)
  • Prediction: Julianne Moore for Still Alice
  • Other nominations: Rosamund Pike for Gone Girl, Felicity Jones for The Theory of Everything, Amy Adams for Big Eyes.Wild

 

Best Supporting Actor

  • My Choice: J.K. Simmons for Whiplash
  • Prediction: J.K. Simmons for Whiplash
  • Other nominations: Mark Ruffalo for Foxcatcher, Ethan Hawke for Boyhood, Edward Norton for Birdman, Steve Carell for Foxcatcher.j k simmons whiplash

 

Best Supporting Actress

  • My Choice: Patricia Arquette for Boyhood
  • Prediction: Patricia Arquette for Boyhood
  • Other nominations: Keira Knightley for The Imitation Game, Emma Stone for Birdman, Imelda Staunton for Pride, Rene Russo for Nightcrawler.patricia arquette boyhood

 

Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer

  • My choice: Stephen Beresford & David Livingstone for Pride (I haven’t seen Kajaki but have heard great things about it)
  • Prediction: Stephen Beresford & David Livingstone for Pride
  • Other nominations: Elaine Constantine for Northern Soul, Yann Demange &Gregory Burke for ’71, Hong Khaou for Lilting, Paul Katis & Andrew de Lotbiniere for Kajaki.Pride

 

Best Original Screenplay

  • My Choice: Richard Linklater for Boyhood
  • Prediction: Richard Linklater for Boyhood
  • Other nominations: Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel, Damien Chazelle for Whiplash, Dan Gilroy for Nightcrawler, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo for Birdman.richard linklater boyhood

 

Best Screenplay (Adapted)

  • My Choice: Gillian Flynn for Gone Girl
  • Prediction:  Graham Moore for The Imitation Game
  • Other nominations: Jason Hall for American Sniper, Graham Moore for The Imitation Game, Anthony McCarten for The Theory of Everything, Paul King for PaddingtonGillian Flynn

 

Best Cinematography

  • My Choice: Emmanuel Lubezki for Birdman
  • Prediction: Dick Pope for Mr. Turner
  • Other nominations: Hoyte Van Hoytema for Interstellar, Robert D. Yeoman for The Grand Budapest Hotel, Ryszard Lenczewski for Ida: Lukasz Zal,emmanuel lubezki birdman

 

Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film

  • My Choice: Pride or Under the Skin
  • Prediction: Paddington
  • Other nominations: ’71, The Imitation Game, The Theory of EverythingUnder The Skin

 

EE Rising Star Award

  • My Choice: Jack O’Connell
  • Prediction: Shailene Woodley
  • Other nominations: Miles Teller, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Margot RobbieJack OConnell

 

Best Film Not in the English Language

  • Unfortunately, being the only one shown at my local cinema Trash is the only film I have seen so have no opinion on this category.  The nominations are: Ida, The Lunchbox, Two Days, One Night, Leviathan, Trash.Trash

 

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This has been the toughest to compile Year End Top Ten list yet.  There are so many great films that only just missed out.  To set the parameters, all my selections are based on UK release dates so no places for: Snowpiercer that I have seen but has not received a UK release or Birdman that came out this week.  For the first time, there is a film so good that it makes the list despite seeing it on DVD not at the cinema.

Boyhood: It’s an obvious choice, but its obvious for a reason, its brilliant.  With a concept that could easily have descended an interesting but forgettable gimmick actually lends the film a unique prospective.  The main reason it works is the honesty that Richard Linklater brings to a movie like few filmmakers, his perfect casting also helps. (July)boyhood

Only Lovers Left Alive: There is so much more to Jim Jarmusch’s hypnotic and haunting vampire movie than the perfect casting of Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston as vampires.  Its warmth and dry humour negates the need for horror or even a great deal of plot.  Like all the best films, you will still be thinking about it for days. (February)Only Lovers Left Alive

The Grand Budapest Hotel: Possibly Wes Anderson’s most Wes Anderson film.  Something between a farce and a caper masquerading as a murder mystery.  Two framing mechanisms, result in a story distorted by two potentially unreliable storytellers giving an almost fairytale feel.  Ralph Fiennes is a revelation, his delivery is deadpan and his timing perfect. (March) GHB_9907 20130130.CR2

Calvary: John Michael McDonagh’s follow up to The Guard reunites him with star Brendan Gleeson. It’s a far darker film, in fact, it is the darkest and bleakest of black comedies but equally liberating and uplifting.  With a narrative that asks more questions of society than it gives answers it is a film to make you think, but you will certainly laugh along the way. I couldn’t find a cinema showing this so saw it on DVD. (April)Kelly Reilly and Brendan Gleeson in Calvary

Edge of Tomorrow: For all the films that are interesting, clever or thought provoking somethimes a movie needs to be fun, and Doug Liman’s time loop, action adventure, alien invasion, war movie is the most fun movie of the year.  (May)edge of tomorrow

The Wolf of Wall Street: A three hour movie about a character I don’t, how does it make my top ten?  The genius of Martin Scorsese as a storyteller, and Leonardo DiCaprio on top form.  Scorsese’s best and funniest film in years, possibly DiCaprio’s best performance yet. (January)THE WOLF OF WALL STREET

Nightcrawler: Dan Gilroy’s debut feature (as a director) missed out on movie of the month in October to David Fincher’s Gone Girl but Nighcrawler makes the top ten because I have through more about it since seeing it and am more keen to see it again.  Easily a career best performance from  Jake Gyllenhaal as a totally repugnant character.  (October)Nightcrawler Jake Gyllenhaal

Guardians of the Galaxy: Like Iron Man in 2008 I went into James Gun’s entry into the Marvel Universe with very little expectation but like Iron Man it just hit every mark.  A fun action adventure like the original Star Wars and the best space adventure since Serenity.  (July)Guardians-of-the-Galaxy

Interstellar: Christopher Nolan isn’t just a filmmaker, he is an artist, an artist that paints on the largest possible canvas.  His most ambitious film yet isn’t as perfect as some of his other movies but still stunning.  I haven’ made my mind up about the final act, this does relegate it a little down my list a little.  (November)interstellar

Inside Llewyn Davis: Like so many of Joel Coen and Ethan Coen’s movies a lot rests on the leading actor, Oscar Isaac doesn’t disappoint.  The setting is perfectly realised and the story is sublimely told, the only reason it isn’t higher up the list it the overwhelming sense of melancholy that is holding me back from seeing it again. Inside Llewyn Davis

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AAvengers: Captain America: The Winter Soldier set the Avengers franchise in a new direction and Marvel announced phase Three schedule covering films up to 2019.marvel-avengers

B  – Boyhood: What could have been a gimmick turned out to be the best film of the year.boyhood poster

CNick Cave: 20,000 Days on Earth was neither documentary or a narrative film, but was one of the best movies of the year.20,000 Days on Earth

DDoug Liman: Edge of Tomorrow was the enigma of 2014.  The Doug Liman directed movie received solid reviews and great word of mouth but underperformed at the box-office.edge of tomorrow

EEgypt & Exodus: Gods and Kings – Ridley Scott’s biblical epic was released on Boxing Day in the UK and few weeks earlier in some countries.  The film has been banned in Egypt as the courtiers censors are unhappy with “historical inaccuracies”.Exodus Gods and Kings

FFincher & Flynn: Director David Fincher turned Gillian Flynn’s bestselling Novel Gone Girl into an excellent movie.Gone Girl

GGuardians of the Galaxy –  Made up of a cast of largely unknown characters, it was considered a risk for the franchise.  Not only was the film great fun but was the Highest grossing film at the US box-office (and 2nd highest worldwide) for the year.Guardians-of-the-Galaxy

HThe Hobbit: After more than 20 hours screen time, The Battle of the Five Armies brings Peter Jackson’s time in Middle Earth to an end.Peter_Jackson_Hobbit

IThe Interview:  The release for the movie The interview was cancelled following threats from hackers.  Barack Obama and George Clooney joined the debate and the film received a limited Christmas day release earning $1million from 331 scenes in independent theatres.the-interview-poster

JJennifer Lawrence: With an Oscar win and two other nominations as well as a starring role in two of the biggest movie franchises, Jennifer Lawrence is probably the biggest young star in Hollywood.  She was also the most outspoken victim of hackers who stole nude images and posted them online.jennifer-lawrence

KKickstarter: the big names to come from kickstarter in 2014 were the Veronica Mars movie and Zach Braff’s ;Wish I Was Here.  Blue Ruin and Obvious Child also raised a little to help get them released.veronica-mars-movie

L Luc Besson & Lucy: After numerous movies with his name attached as a writer or producer Besson is back in the director’s chair with the surprise hit Lucy.  Making back its $40million budget back in its opening weekend.Lucy

MMcConaissance: Matthew McConaughey’s resurgence was completed with a best actor Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club.Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club

NNightcrawler: Jake Gyllenhaal gives the performance of his career in Dan Gilroy’s feature debut.Nightcrawler Jake Gyllenhaal

OOprah Winfrey: as well as producing two movies: Selma and The Hundred-Foot Journey Winfrey proved her Hollywood power by lending her support to the independent British film Belle.Oprah Winfrey

PPaddington: What could have been a disaster turned out to be charming and funny.paddington

Q – Quvenzhané Wallis: The young star of Beasts of the Southern Wild retuned with a small part in 12 Years a Slave and starring role in the remake of Annie.Quvenzhané Wallis

RThe Rover: After his début feature, Animal Kingdom in 2010 David Michôd is back with The Rover, a movie full of subtext, foreboding and great acting from Guy Pearce, Robert Pattinson and Scoot McNairy. The Rover

SScarlett Johansson: It’s been a busy year for Johansson with the UK release of: Her, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Chef, Under the Skin and the surprise hit of the year Lucy.Scarlett Johansson under the skin

TAlan Turing: The imitation Game finally told the long overdue story of war hero and farther of computing, Alan Turing.the imitation game

UUnreleased: A region 2 DVD of Snowpiercer is available from a well know online retailer but the film is still yet to receive a UK release.Snowpiercer

VVampire: Forget Twilight, with Only Lovers Left Alive and What We Do in the Shadows there are two original ideas to kick-start the genre.Only Lovers Left Alive

W – Mia Wasikowska: After appearing in Stoker my favourite film of 2013 Mia Wasikowska is rapidly becoming one of my favourite actresses with appearances in Maps to the Stars, The Double, Only Lovers Left Alive and Tracks in 2014.Mia Wasikowska

X – X-Men: Days of Future Past: Bryan Singer returned to the X-Men franchise with a seminal story form the 80’s. It beat Captain America: The Winter Soldier at the world box-office, dragging the franchise from the shadow of Marvel Studios.X-Men-Days-of-Future-Past-chess-game

Y – 12 Years A Slave: Winner of Oscars for Best picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and best supporting actress for Lupita Nyong’o in her first feature film.Lupita Nyongo

ZThe Zero Theorem: Terry Gilliam is back after five years, and back to what he does best, making interesting films that look like the cost a lot more to make than they actually did.The Zero Theorem

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When I first watched Boyhood, I found myself looking out for the charges from year to year.  After a couple of transitions I forgot all about it and just watched the film.  On a second viewing I made a mental note of them with a view to this article.  You can plot the passage of time by Ellar Coltrane and Lorelei Linklater’s aging process, or by the changes in Patricia Arquette’s hairstyle and Ethan Hawke’s facial hair.

What I have tried to do is list the key events from each year and put them into context alongside other projects for director Richard Linklater  and stars Arquette and Hawke.  I have also mentioned key world news stories and other significant movies released each year. The dates are based on the start date of 2002 with a few songs and Barack Obama’s 2008 election campaign to check its progress.  All descriptions are from memory of my two viewings of the movie so I cannot guarantee they are totally accurate, the same goes for the dates on the photographs.

boyhood

2002

Introduces Mason Jr. (Ellar Coltrane) his sister Samantha (Lorelei Linklater) and their mother Olivia (Patricia Arquette).  Young Mason sees his mom fighting with her boyfriend.

Other Projects – Ethan Hawke doesn’t appear in the early part of  film, in 2002 he published his second Novel Ash Wednesday.

In the News – In his first State of the Union address President Bush labels Iran, Iraq, and North Korea “an axis of evil”.

Significant film of the year – City of Godboyhood 2002

2003

Olivia moves the family to Houston to be closer to her mother so she can go back to school.

Other Projects – Richard Linklater  looked like he was taking a step towards the mainstream with the Jack Black comedy School of Rock.

In the News – US space shuttle Columbia crashes. The United States launches war on Iraq and Saddam Hussein is captured.

Significant film of the year – Oldboyboyhood 2003

2004

Mason Sr. (Ethan Hawke), the kids farther is introduced when he returns from Alaska.

Other Projects – Ethan Hawke joined the cast and also appeared in Linklater’s Before Sunset, a sequel to Before Sunrise.  Hawke and co-star Julie Delpy both received writing credits on the film, the pair shared the Adapted Screenplay Oscar with Linklater and Kim Krizan. Linklater also make the TV Movie $5.15/Hr.

In the news – Al Qaeda takes responsibility for terrorist attacks in Spain that keeled more than 200 people.

Significant film of the year – Million Dollar Babyboyhood 2004

2005

We and Mason Jr. are introduced to Olivia’s professor and future husband, Bill Welbrock (Marco Perella).

Other Projects – Patricia Arquette started a six year run on the TV show Medium (2005–2011). Director Richard Linklater  remade the kids baseball movie Bad News Bears with Billy Bob Thornton in the Walter Matthau role.

In the News – Hurricane Katrina  devastated America’s Gulf Coast. The 7/7 terrorist attacks killed 52 people the day after London had won the bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games.

Significant film of the year – Sin Cityboyhood 2005

2006

Olivia and Bill marry, we are introduced to Bill’s kids Randy (Andrew Villarreal) and Mindy (Jamie Howard). We learn Bill is a dick!

Other Projects – Ethan Hawke directed The Hottest State based on his own novel of the same name. Richard Linklater released two films, A Scanner Darkly and Fast Food Nation.  The latter features both Patricia Arquette and Ellar Coltrane.

In the News – Tony Blair announced that he would step down as prime minister the following year.

Significant film of the year – Pan’s Labyrinthboyhood 2006

2007

Bill’s  alcoholism becomes clear.  Bill forces Mason Jr. to get a severe haircut.

Other Projects – Ethan Hawke appeared in Sidney Lumet’s final film Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead while Patricia Arquette was busy with season three of Medium.

In the News – The credit crunch begins.  Tony Blair steps down as British prime minister as planned.  Gordon Brown takes over. Madeleine McCann disappeared from her family’s holiday apartment in Portugal, she is still missing.

Significant film of the year – No Country for Old MenBoyhood 2007

2008

Bill becomes violent and abusive.  Olivia leaves and takes Mason and Samantha and but can’t take Bills kids.

Other Projects – Richard Linklater  made two films, Inning by Inning: A Portrait of a Coach, Documentary about University of Texas baseball coach Augie Garrido.  Me and Orson Welles is a fictionalised version of Orson Welles’ 1937 stage production of Julius Caesar.  Notable as Zac Efron’s first grownup role.

In the News – Barack Obama elected US president.

Significant film of the year – The Dark Knightboyhood 2008

2009

Mason Sr. takes Mason Jr. on a camping trip.  We discover Samantha has a boyfriend resulting in a awkward but amusing conversation about contraception.

Other Projects – Patricia Arquette was still busy with Medium now in its fifth season.  Ethan Hawke appeared in three movies, the most significant being original vampire movie Daybreakers.

In the News – Barack Obama sworn in as America’s 44th President. A pilot landed an airliner on New York’s Hudson River after birds disabled its engines, all 155 passengers and crew were rescued. Fandango Groovers Movie Blog goes live.

Significant film of the year – Inglourious Basterdsboyhood 2009

2010

After another move Olivia now teaches psychology at a local college.  At a Thanksgiving party we meet Jim (Brad Hawkins) and first learn of Mason’s artistic side when he talks to one of his moms students about graffiti.

Other Projects – Patricia Arquette’s time was still taken up by her TV work, no one else released anything significant.

In the News – An earthquake hit Haiti killing approximately a quarter of a million people.  The worst oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry  hit the Gulf of Mexico.

Significant film of the year – Inceptionboyhood 2010

2011

Mason Sr., now married to Annie (Jenni Tooley)with a new baby and having sold his Pontiac GTO, picks up the kids and takes them to visit Annie s parents.  Mason receives various birthday gifts and we learn of his interest in photography.

Other Projects – Richard Linklater reteamed with School of Rock’s Jack Black for the true story Bernie.  In an interesting post script to the story, the real life Bernie Tiede is currently out of prison, and living in an apartment above Linklater’s garage.

In the News – US forces kill the al-Qaida leader, Osama bin Laden in a raid on the house in Pakistan where he had been hiding. Future monarch Prince William marries Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey.

Significant film of the year – Driveboyhood 2011

2012

Mason meets future girlfriend Sheena (Zoe Graham).  When Mason arrives home late he is confronted by a drunk Jim.

Other Projects – Richard Linklater made a six part TV show, Up to Speed.

In the News – Barack Obama is elected for a second term, the Supreme Court upheld the key elements of his health care overhaul.  The London Olympics are hailed a huge success.

Significant film of the year – Skyfallboyhood 2012

2013

Mason and Sheena drive to Austin to visit Samantha who is attending collage there. The pair intend to go there the following year.  It also becomes clear that Olivia and Jim have separated.

Other Projects – Hawke and Linklater made the third part of the “before” series Before Midnight, one of my favourite movies of the year.

In the News – NSA-contractor Edward Snowden leaked hundreds of thousands of documents containing classified intelligence resulting in a debate over modern communication and the boundaries of surveillance.

Significant film of the year – Stokerboyhood 2013

2014

Mason graduates from high school, by this time he has broken up with Sheena who cheated on him.  Olivia sells the family home and moves to a small apartment.  Mason leaves for college having been awarded a scholarship for his photography.  Mason has his life in front of him, but Olivia feels she has nothing left to look forward to.  Like so many Linklater movies the final scene is perfect.

In the News – Renewed unrest in Iraq, crisis in Ukraine, Ebola virus ravaging West Africa.  The world sometimes feels like it is on the brink, if history and these stories have taught us anything, humanity’s ability to survive has thus far been the only thing that out-ways our ability to fuck things up.

Significant film of the year – Boyhood is the most significant movie of the year so far.boyhood 2014boyhood 2014

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I haven’t seen many movies this month but with just one exception I have liked them all, I have also seen my favourite movie of the year so far.

Transformers: Age Of Extinction – Michael Bay has replaced Shia LaBeouf with Mark Wahlberg, he has also changed most of the robot characters.  In the process he has failed to deliver anything we haven’t seen in the previous movies, and it is soooooo long.   Stanley Tucci’s comic relief is the only bright spot in the movie.Transformers Age Of Extinction

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Ten years after the events of the previous movie.  A well told story that is elevated by the stunning effects and use of motion capture.Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Boyhood –  Richard Linklater not only set his coming of age story over twelve years, he shot it over twelve years.  Nothing out the ordinary happens, it is all the better for this. It’s about the same length as Transformers but never feels long.Boyhood

Begin Again – Treads a similar path to writer/director John Carney’s earlier film Once.  It isn’t as engaging or endearing as Once but is well worth watching largely for likeable leads Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo.Begin Again with Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley

The Purge: Anarchy – Sequel  to last years The Purge takes the story from the confines of a house and moves thinks onto the streets.  As much a satire as a horror thriller, they wear their B movie credentials with pride.  While the first film owes a debt to John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) this sequel has more in common with Walter Hill’s The Warriors (1979).The Purge Anarchy

Hercules: Starring the actor formally known as The Rock, this sword and sandals movie attempts to strip away the fantasy and mythology.  On the whole it works, the movie is dumb, but lots of fun and surprisingly entertaining.Hercules

Guardians of the Galaxy: If you have seen the previous Marvel/Avengers movies you will be familiar with the Infinity Stones, the items that are shaping up to be the central MacGuffin of the series.  A disparate group of outlaws, The Collector (as seen in Thor: The Dark World) and a new “big bad” are all after said macguffin.  Reminicent of 70’s and 80’s sci-fi, it’s the best space adventure since Serenity (2005).Guardians of the Galaxy

Not only Movie of the Month, but my favourite movie of the year so far:boyhood-poster

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” But all the clocks in the city begin to whirr and chime:
‘O let not Time deceive you, You cannot conquer Time”.
W. H. Auden

For people who are obsessed with film (and to start and write a movie blog for over five years I must be pretty obsessive about film) there are directors that you feel belong to you. When I was a student and completely immersed in film the big name to break through was Quentin Tarantino, I love most of his films, but he was never “mine”. When Pulp Fiction opened in 1994 the queue was round the block, Tarantino was everyone’s director. But Richard Linklater always felt like my director. I didn’t see his early films in the cinema, but watched Slacker (1991), Dazed and Confused, (1993), Before Sunrise (1995) when they first came out on video and have seen the second two countless times since. Dazed and Confused is one of my most watched films even making it onto my Desert Island DVDs list ahead of Fandango. As a student none of my contemporaries at university were aware of Dazed and Confused, or Before Sunrise until I recommended them. They are both films I have always been happy to recommend as I am yet to find anyone who hasn’t at least enjoyed them. Film snobs can be a little sniffy about Dazed and Confused but were won over by Before Sunrise (1995). Richard Linklater’s new film Boyhood potentially eclipses all his previous work.boyhood poster

I first became aware of Boyhood when it appeared on IMDB as “untitled 12 year project” at first I thought it was the rumoured Before Sunrise sequel but them Before Sunset (2004) was announced and releases. Then I thought it may be part three, wrong again. Then, if not a synopsis, an idea of the mechanics of Boyhood appeared. Since then I have been hearing rumours about the film and finally got to see it this week. With a Runtime of 166 minutes it is almost exactly the same length as Transformers: Age of Extinction, both are long films but very different films. Despite the fact nothing unusual or outstanding really happens in Boyhood it is totally enthralling, captivating and the three hours flew by. Michael Bay’s latest epic instalment of his robots hitting each other is dull despite almost constant action. Boyhood’s budget was about one-hundredth what Bay spent, while Transformers is certain to make infinitely more money, it is disposable at best, Boyhood will be remembered as being as close to perfection as a film can be.boyhood
For those who don’t know, Boyhood is a unique and a uniquely ambitious film. The idea was conceived by Director Richard Linklater around 2001, he started filming the following year. He cast seven year old Ellar Coltrane in the lead role supported by Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as his parents and Lorelei Linklater (Richard Linklater’s Daugter) as his sister. The film was then shot over the next twelve years telling the story of Mason (Coltrane) from the age of six until he leaves for collage at the age of eighteen.boyhood and Patricia Arquette

What could easily have become an interesting gimmick actually transpires to be by far the best film I have seen all year. Throughout the movie nothing out of the ordinary happens, to make this interesting is the sign of true greatness. To attempt to review a film like this could never do it justice; you could call it a document of an age, a character study, a brilliant comedy, a heart-warming drama or a beautiful film; you could comment on the fantastic script or the brilliant natural acting; or even the interesting concept. All of these are true but also miss the point. The film depicts the milestones of Mason’s life but without the grand moments, it concentrates on the simple day to day as much as the big events. Ultimately it is document of a life, it has no great subtext or agenda, it just follows the twists and turns of adolescence. The film is at its best when it is at its most ordinary. To quote Celine and Jesse from Before Sunrise “all those mundane boring things, everybody has to do every day of their fucking life” or “The poetry of day to day life”. Shot over a number of years it can’t help but document the time in which it is set, in an interview with BBC Radio 4 Richard Linklater describes the film as “a period piece in a present tense”. We see advances in technology and document the political landscape of a nation but they are just background. The marvel of this anomaly of the format is that it doesn’t dwell on it. The same is true of the music. From the opening bars of Aerosmith’s Sweet Emotion in Dazed and Confused it was clear that music is an important part of Linklater movies. Without been too overt the film charts the musical landscape of the time with music as varied as Coldplay, The Flaming Lips, Lady Gaga, Sheryl Crow and Bob Dylan.boyhood ethan hawke

Going into the movie knowing the format I could not help but watch for the changes from year to year, looking at how the actors changed, looking out for the songs of the day, but after a while I completely forgot this and enjoyed it for what it was. This suddenly hit me as Mason reached 18 and I suddenly realised the film would be over soon. Having been sat for nearly three hours I found myself wishing the film would go on for longer. There are very few movies that leave this feeling, is it a sign of perfection or manipulation? Interestingly Dazed and Confused leaves the same feeling as we see Wooderson’s car driving off into the distance.Ellar Coltrane

So far the film has made a modest profit, how much money it makes is insignificant, however the more people who see it the better. It isn’t a film that will change the world, but it may just make the people who see it think. Richard Linklater has already received two Oscar nominations, both for “Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay” (Before Midnight (2013) and Before Sunset (2004)). Unless there are some truly amazing films released in the next six months he surly deserves an third nomination along with one for best director. Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette wouldn’t be out of place amongst the supporting actor nominations. Just like the box-office the awards it wins don’t really matter, but if it picks up a few high profile awards it will encourage more people to see it.

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