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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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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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” 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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As we pass the halfway point of the year one of my most anticipated films for a long time, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood has just opened and I will be watching it sometime this week. The end of the month sees The Avengers universe expand a little further with Guardians of the Galaxy, but what am I looking forward to for the rest of the year. Here are a few:

The Rover: Director: David Michôd: 15 August 2014 – Australia, 10 years after a global economic collapse, a man goes after the people who stole his only possession, his car. A sort of neorealist Mad Max.The Rover

A Most Wanted Man: Director: Anton Corbijn: 12 September 2014 – Political thriller based on a John le Carré’s novel. Sadly one of the last films to star the late Philip Seymour Hoffman.A Most Wanted Man

Kingsman: The Secret Service: Director: Matthew Vaughn: 17th October 2014 – Vaughn and long time collaborator Jane Goldman adapted comic book about a veteran secret agent and a young recruit.Kingsman The Secret Service

Gone Girl: Director David Fincher: 3rd October 2014 – A man reports his wife missing only to become the prime suspect. Adapted from a bestselling novel.Gone Girl

The Homesman: Director Tommy Lee Jones: 3rd October 2014 – A road/trail movie in the old west, Tommy Lee Jones stars as well as directs.The Homesman

Interstellar: Director Christopher Nolan: 7th November 2014 – Space travel and wormholes and things like that, we can’t be sure because its Christopher Nolan, we don’t care because its Christopher Nolan!Interstellar

The Hunger Games Mockingjay: Part 1: Director Francis Lawrence: 21st November 2014 – The first part of the final part of The Hunger Games, the revolution starts here.The Hunger Games Mockingjay

Unbroken: Director: Angelina Jolie: 26 December 2014 – True story of Louis Zamperini, Olympic runner and WWII POW.Unbroken

The Imitation Game: Director: Morten Tyldum: 14 November 2014 – The true and ultimately tragic story of Alan Turing, one of the men responsible for cracking the Enigma code during World War II.??????????????????

Snowpiercer: Director: Joon-ho Bong: Date TBA – The remnants of humanity fight a class war on , a train that travels around the globe. (on my list of anticipated films 18 months ago, I hope to see it this year).Snowpiercer

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You may have noticed that beyond my own awards “The Groovers” I haven’t written about this awards season.  With the 86th Academy Awards taking place tonight it seems like a good time to explain why,  the simple reason apathy.

There are two real contenders for the best picture Oscar with two or three possible contenders.  the rest are making up the numbers.  I would be happy to see any of the four/five contenders win the award.  Similar story with the best director, I would be happy to see four of the five win.  Sandra Bullock is the only person with a realistic chance of beetling Cate Blanchett to the best actress.  Best actor looks like a straight fight between Chiwetel Ejiofor and Matthew McConaughey.  The only category I have any real investment in is best supporting actress, simply because I don’t think my choice of Sally Hawkins will win.blue-jasmine1

The one category I will be looking out for is best adapted screenplay.  I don’t think Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke are going to win, but it is the only category either of my two favorite movies of 2013  is nominated in, Stoker has no nominations.Richard Linklater Julie Delpy Ethan Hawke for Before Midnight

But we do have the one award that is always interesting, Best Foreign Language Film.  unfortunately none of the five contenders made it to my local cinema so I have only seen two of them.  And again, I don’t think either of the ones I have seen will win, so again, little or no investment.  imgres

So I am bitching about the Oscars, not for the first time.  How about BAFTA?  The British awards get it right, don’t they.  Well they kind of did.  I struggle to disagree with any of the awards, but that means there were no surprises.   So whose fault is it?  Film makers for making safe awards bait, the Academy for falling for it, or me for being so cynical.   Probably a combination of all three.  Two movies are likely to clean up, 12 Years a Slave is an important movie with a worthy story, Gravity is technologically brilliant, but it does make the whole awards season a little dull.  Ultimately the problem is awards themselves, like star ratings they are a pointless.  Are the award winners better than the other nominations? No! Are films that don’t win awards worth watching? Yes Do we enjoy a movie more because it has awards? No! Am I answering my own questions? Yes! Awards are great for the industry to pat itself on the back and helps some movies find an audience but I can’t comprehend that one film is better than all others especially when some of my favorite movies, like Stoker don’t get noticed or recognised.  12 Years a Slave

I will be taking note of who wins in morning but I am just not that bothered.  I am more interested I what great movies I will get to see in the next year.  

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Dom 5As the award season hots up, its time for the third annual groovers awards. All awards are chosen by me and the criteria for eligibility is decided by me. Most of the awards are self explanatory: Best Movie, Best Actor, Best Actor and Actress, Best Screenplay (original or adapted), Best Foreign Language Film. The Best Looking Movie is just as it sounds, the movie that looks best, a combination of design and photography. The Fandango Award; Fandango was writer/director Kevin Reynolds debut (and best) feature, and the first notable movie for star Kevin Costner. The Fandango award goes to a writer, director of star for a debut or breakthrough movie.

Best Movie: StokerStoker

Best Director: Alfonso Cuarón for GravityAlfonso Cuarón for Gravity

Best Actress: Cate Blanchett for Blue JasmineCate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine

Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers ClubMatthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club

Best Screenplay: Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke for Before Midnight Richard Linklater Julie Delpy Ethan Hawke for Before Midnight

Best Foreign Language Film: The Broken Circle BreakdownThe Broken Circle Breakdown

Best Looking Movie: GravityGRAVITY

Fandango Award:  The award goes to Jeremy Lovering and Alice Englert for In Fear. Although his debut movie, Jeremy Lovering has been directing for TV for 20 years. Although this is rising star Alice Englert third movie, it was actually shot before the other two. Jeremy Lovering and Alice Englert for In FearA special mention to Dustin Hoffman who at the age of 75 and after more than 50 years in the business decided to turn his hand to directing with Quartet but he didn’t win.Dom 5

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As previously reported I am struggling to come up with a top ten movies of 2013. The problem, there are four 2012 films that didn’t get a UK release until 2013 that are in contention. There are also half dozen big 2013 movies that haven’t been released here yet. Therefore I am forgoing my top ten in favour of a top five (sort of).

  1. Stoker (dir. Chan-wook Park): Its no secret that Oldboy is one of my all-time favourite movies, it therefore comes as no surprise that I have been eagerly anticipating the English language debut of its director, Chan-wook Park. It isn’t Oldboy but I was far from disappointed. Sumptuous and beautiful to look at and suitably weird and unnerving.stoker
  2. Before Midnight (dir. Richard Linklater): Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy are back for part three of Richard Linklater’s “before” series. Nine years after the events in Paris and the magic is still there. It’s basically more of the same as we saw in the first two movies. In other words it is sensational.Before Midnight
  3. Gravity (dir. Alfonso Cuarón): Generally I hate 3D but once in a while it works, once in a very long while, it really, really works, this is that film. To call it stunning is an understatement. My one reservation, it just won’t be the same on TV as it was in IMAX 3D.GRAVITY
  4. Captain Phillips (dir. Paul Greengrass): Pauld Greengrass lends his signature style and flair to the true story of Somali pirates. Full of visual style and unbelievable tension, Greengrass’ direction is sublime and Tom Hanks gives the performance of his career.Tom Hanks
  5. Rush (dir. Ron Howard): Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl are excellent as James Hunt and Niki Lauda in this true story of their rivalry particularly during the 1976 F1 season. But ultimately it is a story about people not about racing and like the Documentary Senna (2010) it should still hold the interest of audiences who are not racing fans.Rush

Also recommended:

Nebraska
Prisoners
Mud
The EastNebraska Prisoners Mud The East

The best of 2012 released in 2013 in the UK:

Zero Dark Thirty 
Cloud Atlas 
Django Unchained 
Amour Zero Dark Thirty Cloud Atlas Django Unchained Amour

Look out for my redux list later in the year once I have seen all 2013 movies.

Ryan at The Matinee has compiled a list of other bloggers best of lists HERE

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