Boyhood Review.

As most film buffs, I grew up imagining what I would direct if I had the opportunity. What kind of genre(s) would I focus on? How realistic would my characters be? Would I make it for the sake of artistic merit or for financial gain? From a ‘bystander’ perspective I gave myself the opportunity to read films in a sort of way that one would shadow someone at their place of work. In essence, I dissected even the near-perfect of films to try and imagine how I would go about fixing those shortcomings. One of those (some might say) nitpicks was the issue of growing older on screen. No matter the quality of what I’d seen, there would always be this confounded irritation at directors casting different actors to play the same character at various stages of their life. At times, the actors even stayed the same. I’m thinking of How Green Was My Valley wherein everyone ages except for Roddy McDowall’s character, which was bizarre to me because children visibly age rapidly. Richard Linklater managed to overcome this roadblock with Boyhood, a study in not just one boy’s childhood life, but also that of everyone around him.

It’s easy to write Boyhood off as a gimmick. That kind of lazy criticism has been circulating the internet film community with more frequency than the word ‘pretentious’ was thrown around when The Tree of Life was released. I admit that I was somewhat nervous about that being the case a few months ago but with word of mouth revealing that there is never a time stamp, my reservations lessened. What Linklater did so brilliantly is that he never once made a big deal out of the fact that everyone on screen was aging. The transitions were so smooth and subtle that only small cues allowed the audience to understand passage of time. Music, hair cuts, voice changes, braces, technology, new relationships, presidential elections, TV shows and even tags on license plates were the only things that ever made reference to the year’s passing. This type of film could have easily made abrupt edits in order to have the audience gasp, but fortunately Linklater felt it was much more necessary to focus on these characters’ lives rather than the fact that Boyhood was shot over a course of 12 years.

One criticism I’ve been seeing and hearing a lot is that Boyhood doesn’t have much of a story. This notion confuses me because the practice of shooting unconventional narrative has been around since 1929’s Un Chien Andalou, and perhaps even before then. Are people really that confused and repulsed by a story that doesn’t feature the 4-step structure? Is the focus on characters, themes and drawing out emotion not important at all? I found this to be much more engaging and emotionally resonant than any movie I’ve seen in the year 2014. In fact, I would even go as far as saying that Boyhood drew out feelings from me that no movie ever has.

Ellar Coltrane leads this fantastic cast as Mason junior, the son of now-divorced high school sweethearts played brilliantly by Patricia Arquette (in my favorite supporting actress turn so far this year) and Linklater favorite, Ethan Hawke. Though at times it’s apparent that Coltrane is not a trained actor (particularly in the early years of the film), both the character and the actor go through some heavy growing up and by the end, he embodies the character of Mason with such precision that it’s difficult to even think about him acting at all. Mason’s sister is Samantha and taking the lengthy task was Linklater’s daughter, Lorelei Linklater. I believe Linklater allowed the kids to improvise as much as possible because when you first see both Samantha and Mason, they feel completely believable as brother and sister. She’s the know-it-all pain in the ass and he’s the timid, adventurous and curious boy. It’s an absolute astonishment to see how these somewhat one-dimensional children turn into fully fleshed out adults. The passage of time and the near 3-hour running time allows everyone on screen to go through complicated arcs that feel every bit as genuine as the story itself.

Patricia Arquette gets, in my opinion, the heaviest character and she pulls it off better than I could have ever imagined. There was one particular scene, about half way through, where she escapes a dangerous situation and takes her children to a safer place. Samantha, confused and angry, asks her mother why she did what she did and how they would survive now that they have nowhere to go. Arquette’s breakdown destroyed me. Even though my parents were never split up I always had friends and family members who were in that situation and everything about her reaction felt so genuine and it completely broke my heart. While the focus is almost completely on Mason, Arquette channels his growth and uses it to flesh out her own character, helping her grow just as much as her children — a life experience almost every mother goes through.

By the end of Boyhood I didn’t feel sad, or nostalgic. Instead, I felt hopeful, happy and as though I wanted to immediately re-watch the whole thing again. It’s how we should all view our own lives: don’t focus on the past and don’t be sad that you’re getting older. Enjoy life one minute at a time, live in the now and make the best of it. You only live once and your life is one of a kind. It may sound like hippie-dippie bullshit but it has to be said. The future is unpredictable and we cannot control what happens to other people, but if we utilize every moment and cherish it, then life really isn’t so bad.



Boyhood (2014) dir. Richard Linklater

At least we could use the bumpers.
You don’t want the bumpers. Life doesn’t give you bumpers.

First TIFF Movies Announced (Special Presentations and GALA)


Black and White (Mike Binder) Kevin Costner, Octavia Spencer,

Anthony Mackie, Jennifer Ehle, Gillian Jacobs, Bill Burr, Andre Holland and Jillian Estell.

The Equalizer (Antoine Fuqua)

Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas, Chloë Grace Moretz, David Harbour, Bill Pullman and Melissa Leo.

Foxcatcher (Bennett Miller)

Anthony Michael Hall, Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Vanessa Redgrave, Mark Ruffalo and Sienna Miller.

Haemoo (Shim Sung-bo)

Kim Yoon-seok and Park Yoo- chun.

The Judge (David Dobkin)

Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong, Dax Shepard and Billy Bob Thornton.Closing Night Fil

A Little Chaos (Alan Rickman)

 Kate Winslet, Stanley Tucci, Alan Rickman and Matthias Schoenaerts.

Maps to the Stars (David Cronenberg)

Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, Olivia Williams, Sarah Gadon, John Cusack and Robert Pattinson.

The New Girlfriend (Une nouvelle amie) (François Ozon)

Romain Duris, Anaïs Demoustier and Raphaël Personnaz.

Pawn Sacrifice (Ed Zwick)

Tobey Maguire, Peter Sarsgaard and Liev Schreiber.

The Riot Club (Lone Scherfig)

Natalie Dormer, Max Irons, Sam Clafin, Jessica Brown Findlay and Douglas Booth.

Samba (Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano)

Charlotte Gainsbourg, Omar Sy and Tamar Rahim.

This is Where I Leave You (Shawn Levy)

Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Corey Stoll and Kathryn Hahn.

Wild (Jean-Marc Vallée)

Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Thomas Sadoski, Michiel Huisman, Gaby Hoffmann and Kevin Rankin.


99 Homes (Ramin Bahrani)

Andrew Garfield, Laura Dern and Michael Shannon.

American Heist (Sarik Andreasyan)

Adrien Brody, Hayden Christensen, Jordana Brewster and Akon.

Before We Go (Chris Evans)

Chris Evans and Alice Eve.

Breakup Buddies (Ning Hao) 

No Information Yet.

Cake (Daniel Barnz)

Jennifer Aniston, Anna Kendrick, William H. Macy, Felicity Huffman and Sam Worthington.

Coming Home (Zhang Yimou)

Chen Daoming and Gong Li.

The Dead Lands (Hautoa) (Toa Fraser)

Xavier Horan, Raukura Turei, Rena Owen, James Rolleston, Lawrence Makoare and Te Kohe Tuhaka.

Dearest Peter (Ho-Sun Chan)

Huang Bo, Zhao Wei

The Drop (Michael R. Roskam)

 Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini, Matthias Schoenaerts and John Ortiz.

Eden (Mia Hansen-Løve)

Félix de Givry, Pauline Etienne, Vincent Macaigne, Greta Gerwig, Golshifteh Farahani, Laura Smet and Vincent Lacoste.

Far From Men (Loin des Hommes) (David Oelhoffe)

Viggo Mortensen and Reda Kateb.

Force Majeure (Ruben Östlund)

 Johannes Bah Kuhnke, Lisa Loven Kongsli, Clara Wettergren, Vincent Wettergren, Kristofer Hivju and Fanni Metelius.

The Gate (Régis Wargnier) 

No Information Yet.

Good Kill (Andrew Niccol)

Ethan Hawke and January Jones.

The Good Lie (Philippe Falardeau)

Reese Witherspoon, Corey Stoll, Arnold Oceng, Kuoth Wiel, Ger Duany, Emmauel Jal and Femi Oguns.

Hector and the Search for Happiness (Peter Chelsom)

Rosamund Pike, Toni Collette, Christopher Plummer, Simon Pegg, Stellan Skarsgård and Jean Reno.

The Humbling (Barry Levinson)

Al Pacino, Mandy Patinkin, Dianne Wiest and Greta Gerwig.

Hungry Hearts (Saverio Costanz)

Adam Driver, Alba Rohrwacher and Roberta Maxwell.

The Imitation Game (Morten Tyldum)

Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Charles Dance and Mark Strong

Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, (Roger Allers, Gaëtan Brizzi, Paul Brizzi, Joan C. Gratz,Mohammed Saeed Harib, Tomm Moore, Nina Paley, Bill Plympton, Joann Sfar and Michal Socha)

Liam Neeson, Salma Hayek-Pinault, John Krasinski, Frank Langella, Alfred Molina, John Rhys-Davies and Quvenzhané Wallis.

The Keeping Room (Daniel Barber)

Brit Marling, Hailee Steinfeld, Sam Worthington, Muna Otaru and Kyle Soller.

The Last Five Years (Richard LaGravenese)

Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan.

Learning to Drive (Isabel Coixet)

Patricia Clarkson and Ben Kingsley.

Love & Mercy (Bill Pohlad)

 Paul Dano, Elizabeth Banks, John Cusack and Paul Giamatti.

Manglehorn (David Gordon Green)

Al Pacino, Holly Hunter and Chris Messina.

Mary Kom (Omung Kumar)

Priyanka Chopra 

Men, Women and Children (Jason Reitman)

 Jennifer Garner, Adam Sandler and Judy Greer.

Miss Julie (Liv Ullmann)

 Jessica Chastain, Colin Farrell and Samantha Morton.

Mr. Turner (Mike Leigh)

Timothy Spall, Dorothy Atkinson, Marion Bailey, Paul Jesson, Lesley Manville, Martin Savage, Joshua McGuire, Ruth Sheen, David Horovitch and Karl Johnson.

My Old Lady (Israel Horovitz)

Maggie Smith, Kevin Kline and Kristin Scott Thomas.

Ned Rifle (Hal Hartley) 

No Information Yet.

Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy)

Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed and Bill Paxton.

Pasolini (Abel Ferrara)

Willem Dafoe.

Phoenix (Christian Petzold)

Nina Hoss.

The Reach (Jean-Baptiste Leonetti)

Michael Douglas, Jeremy Irvine, Hannah Mangan, Lawrence and Ronny Cox.

Red Amnesia (Chuangru Zhe) (Wang Xiaoshuai)

Lü Zhong, Shi Liu, Feng Yuanzheng, Qin Hao and Amanda Qin.

Return to Ithaca (Laurent Cantet)

No Information Yet.

Rosewater (Jon Stewart)

Gael García Bernal

A Second Chance (En chance til) (Susanne Bier)

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Ulrich Thomsen, Maria Bonnevie, Nikolaj Lie Kaas and Lykke May Andersen.

Still Alice (Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland)

Kristen Stewart, Alec Baldwin, Kate Bosworth and Julianne Moore.

The Theory of Everything (James Marsh)

Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, David Thewlis and Emily Watson.

Time Out of Mind (Oren Moverman)

Richard Gere, Ben Vereen, Jena Malone, Kyra Sedgwick, Jeremy Strong, Yul Vasquez, Coleman Domingo, Geraldine Hughes, Michael Kenneth Williams and Steve Buscemi.

Top Five (Chris Rock)

Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, Smoove, Gabrielle Union, Tracy Morgan, Cedric the Entertainer, Kevin Hart, Jerry Seinfeld, Adam Sandler, Whoopi Goldberg, Sherri Shepherd, Jay Pharoah, Anders Holm and Michael Che. And featuring music by Questlove.

While We’re Young (Noah Baumbach)

Amanda Seyfried, Adam Driver, Charles Grodin, Maria Dizzia and Adam Horovitz.

Whiplash (Damien Chazelle)

Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Melissa Benoist, Paul Reiser, Austin Stowell, Nate Lang, Max Kasch and Damon Gupton.

Wild Tales (Relatos salvajes) (Damian Szifron)

Ricardo Darin, Oscar Martinez, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Erica Rivas, Rita Cortese, Julieta Zylberberg and Dario Grandinetti.

FX renews 'Louie' for fifth season

My Full Mid-Year Lineup

Note: A bunch of stuff will probably change after tonight because I’m watching Boyhood. I also haven’t had the chance to see (out of those I still want to): 

  • Nymphomaniac
  • The Double
  • Borgman
  • The Rover
  • Edge of Tomorrow
  • Calvary
  • Filth
  • Mood Indigo
  • The Zero Theorem 

#05. Joe 
#04. Only Lovers Left Alive 
#03. Under the Skin 
#02. The Raid 2 
#01. The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them 

#05. Joe 
#04. The Grand Budapest Hotel 
#03. The Immigrant 
#02. Snowpiercer 
#01. Only Lovers Left Alive 

#05. The Immigrant 
#04. The Grand Budapest Hotel 
#03. Only Lovers Left Alive 
#02. Atilla Marcel 
#01. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 

#05. How To Train Your Dragon 2 
#04. Only Lovers Left Alive 
#03. The Raid 2 
#02. Under the Skin 
#01. The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them 

#05. Under the Skin 
#04. Only Lovers Left Alive 
#03. Snowpiercer 
#02. Atilla Marcel 
#01. The Grand Budapest Hotel 

#05. X 
#04. X-Men: Days of Future Past 
#03. Noah 
#02. Under the Skin 
#01. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 

#05. The Grand Budapest Hotel 
#04. The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them 
#03. Tracks 
#02. Joe 
#01. Under the Skin 

#05. X 
#04. X 
#03. X 
#02. “Coming Up Roses” - Begin Again 
#01. “Lost Stars” - Begin Again 

#05. The LEGO Movie 
#04. The Raid 2 
#03. Enemy 
#02. How To Train Your Dragon 2 
#01. Under the Skin 

#05. Begin Again 
#04. The Raid 2 
#03. How To Train Your Dragon 2 
#02. Under the Skin 
#01. Only Lovers Left Alive 

#05. Atilla Marcel 
#04. Begin Again 
#03. Omar 
#02. Only Lovers Left Alive 
#01. The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them 

#05. X 
#04. Snowpiercer 
#03. How To Train Your Dragon 2 
#02. Under the Skin 
#01. Joe 

#05. X 
#04. The Grand Budapest Hotel 
#03. Only Lovers Left Alive 
#02. Joe 
#01. The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them 

#05. Kristen Wiig - How To Train Your Dragon 2 
#04. Cate Blanchett - How To Train Your Dragon 2 
#03. Chris Pratt - The LEGO Movie 
#02. Djimon Honsou - How To Train Your Dragon 2 
#01. Will Ferrell - The LEGO Movie

Haven’t seen any yet 

#05. X 
#04. X 
#03. X 
#02. The LEGO Movie 
#01. How To Train Your Dragon 2 

#05. X 
#04. X 
#03. X 
#02. The Raid 2 (Indonesia) 
#01. Atilla Marcel (France) 

#05. Sarah Gadon - Enemy 
#04. Viola Davis - The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them 
#03. Anne Le Ny - Atilla Marcel 
#02. Tilda Swinton - Snowpiercer 
#01. Piroska Molnar - Le Grand Cahier (The Notebook) 

#05. Richard E. Grant - Dom Hemingway 
#04. Gene Jones - The Sacrament 
#03. William Hurt - The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them 
#02. Matthias Schoenaerts - Blood Ties 
#01. Gary Poulter - Joe 

#05. Mia Wasikowska - Tracks 
#04. Tilda Swinton - Only Lovers Left Alive 
#03. Isabelle Huppert - Abuse of Weakness 
#02. Scarlett Johansson - Under the Skin 
#01. Jessica Chastain - The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them 

#05. Nicolas Cage - Joe 
#04. Tom Hiddleston - Only Lovers Left Alive 
#03. Jake Gyllenhaal - Enemy 
#02. James McAvoy - The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them 
#01. Jude Law - Dom Hemingway 

#05. Darren Aronofsy - Noah 
#04. David Gordon Green - Joe 
#03. Jim Jarmusch - Only Lovers Left Alive 
#02. Ned Benson - The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them 
#01. Jonathan Glazer - Under the Skin 

#10. Noah 
#09. Begin Again 
#08. Dom Hemingway 
#07. Snowpiercer 
#06. How To Train Your Dragon 2 
#05. Omar 
#04. Under the Skin 
#03. Only Lovers Left Alive 
#02. Joe 
#01. The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them 

If I asked Aaron Taylor-Johnson to never act again and then for permission to lick every inch of his body, would that be a thing that could potentially happen?