Category Archives: Drama

BOYHOOD (2014): A Different Kind Of ‘Coming Of Age’ Film

Boyhood (2014), EllarColtrane
Boyhood (2014), EllarColtrane

Incase you weren’t already sure of what Richard Linklater’s Oscar winning film is about, It’s all in the title. To clarify, the audience is essentially invited to witness the life of an American family over 12 years and through the eyes of a young boy.

The story begins from childhood and continues to the point said boy, Mason – played by Ellar Coltrane, becomes a college student. Unsurprisingly, the film is nearly 3 hours long. The only time the length bothered me was within the first 30 minutes – the point after which things did become more interesting.

As a result of the movie being filmed over the extended period of 12 years and with the same actors, the technical and narrative achievement is notable. Additionally, the profound sense of realism – the kind not often found on screen is one of the key reasons Boyhood is quite celebrated.

What is also refreshing  about Linklater’s movie and style is the nuanced performances. There is no over explanation of everything. The audience is trusted to think and reach their own conclusions.

Boyhood (2014), Ethan Hawke, Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater
Boyhood (2014), Ethan Hawke, Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater

What I enjoyed most about Boyhood is the relationship the two main siblings have with their parents, particularly Mason’s interactions with his father (Ethan Hawke). The conversations they have and the father’s responses are just the kind of thing one would hope for.

Watch it because even though the title is Boyhood, the film also has something to say about motherhood, fatherhood, family and life in general.

Happy Film Loving  

G

BIRDMAN 2014): Dark And Different

Birdman (2014), Zack Galifianakis, Michael Keaton
Birdman (2014), Zack Galifianakis, Michael Keaton

My favourite thing about Birdman is the pleasant surprise of Zach Galifianakis in a serious dramatic role. Though not a particularly sizeable one, he does a brilliant job.

Directed by the apparently unpronounceably named Alejandro González Iñárritu, the acting, dialogue and distinct style of shooting are impressive.

It’s clear why critics love Birdman and equally so, why some of the general film watching public don’t. Something to do with the film not being quite ‘traditional.’

Birdman (2014), Michael Keaton
Birdman (2014), Michael Keaton

Regret about familial relationships and difficulty adapting to the changing environment are two of the key themes Iñárritu’s Oscar winning film explores.

The film is dark, both thematically and aesthetically. As such, cheered up is unlikely to be how you feel as you watch. That said however, you’ll be entertained because all the Actors deliver very noteworthy performances that result in Oscar nominations for Michael Keaton, Emma Stone and Edward Norton.

Audiences will get insight into what it can be like behind the scenes of a highly anticipated theatre production. Especially how peculiar things can become when said production is the responsibility of a formerly successful Actor who also happens to be extremely desperate for a comeback.

I particularly love the Time Square scene. Not because of its comedic value, but as commentary on how even when things still continue to go wrong after a long obstacle-filled struggle, you can find a way for the show to go on.

Happy Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) 🙂

G

THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING (2014): Watch For Eddie Redmayne’s Award Worthy Transformation

The Theory of Everything is the love story of acclaimed theoretical physicist and cosmologist Professor Stephen Hawking and his wife, Jane.

The Theory Of Everything (2014), Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones
The Theory Of Everything (2014), Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones

For those hoping that The Theory of Everything will delve deeply into the science Hawkings is famous for, that’s not the emphasis here.

High quality performances are seen all round including the portrayal of Jane by Felicity Jones. However, it’s Eddie Redmayne’s incredible 2015 Best Actor Oscar winning turn as Hawking that generates nothing if not the utmost respect for his talents and handwork.

Redmayne manages to expertly embody Hawking’s physicality, emotions and famously mischievous sense of humour through the various stages of his life before and from the onset of motor neurone disorder.

The Theory Of Everything (2014), Eddie Redmayne
The Theory Of Everything (2014), Eddie Redmayne

Directed by James Marsh, this biography / drama for me, is about the beauty of friendship, love and most of all, what is possible with the human spirit.

As Hawking put it himself:

“There should be no boundary to human endeavour. We are all different. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. While there is life, there is hope’.

Happy The Theory Of Everything 🙂

G

WHIPLASH (2014): Does Far More Than Help You Reconsider Jazz

Whiplash (2014), Miles Teller
Whiplash (2014), Miles Teller

Coaxing out such stellar performances from his lead Actors, writer/ director, Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash tells the story of a young gifted drummer (Miles Teller) on his journey to greatness.

Shot in just 19 days, Whiplash is brilliantly edited and focuses on the relationship between Teller’s musician and his hugely demanding instructor (J.K.Simmons).

Whiplash (2014), J.K. Simmons
Whiplash (2014), J.K. Simmons

Along with Teller’s finely realised portrayal, Simmons is an actor who had mainly been known to me for his comedic work in the great movie, I Love You Man (2009) and he does a great job as the cold and twisted instructor, Fletcher. So much so that he was blessed with the Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

Coming from a background in jazz drumming himself, Chazelle gives us a memorable film with a fantastic ending you really won’t want to miss. Thanks to Whiplash, I officially have an even greater respect for the creative talents of the one, Miles Teller and an increase in my appreciation of jazz. I said it!

Happy Film Loving 🙂

G

THE INTOUCHABLES (2011): A Beautiful Friendship & Laughter, Naturally

Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 03.20.40

I’ll start by saying I’m glad this is the first movie I’ve seen starring Omar Sy. A truly brilliant introduction and first impression. If you didn’t already know of him or his equally talented costar, Francois Cluzet, you won’t forget either of them after this.

The Intouchables (2011), Omar Sy, Francois Cluzet
The Intouchables (2011), Omar Sy, Francois Cluzet

The Intouchables is a true story about the friendship between two very different people, a wealthy quadriplegic and his far from wealthy caregiver.

Written and Directed by Olivier Nakache plus Eric Toledano and highlighting the pricelessness of true friendship, this well paced French drama / comedy will have you smiling and laughing more times than you can count.

If you thought all that was enough things to love in one movie… there’s also the music.

Happy The Intouchables 🙂

G

FOXCATCHER (2014): Steve Carell And Channing Tatum’s Tense And Dramatic Best

Foxcatcher (2014) Steve Carell
Foxcatcher (2014) Steve Carell

Familial discontent, jealousy and the challenges / blessings that come with sibling relationships are some of the themes explored in Director, Bennet Miller’s award winning Foxcatcher.

Based on the true story of Olympic wrestling, gold medalist siblings, David and Mark Schultz , Foxcatcher follows the story of how the brother’s lives are altered with the arrival of wealthy and socially maladjusted wrestling enthusiast, Jon Du Pont (Steve Carell).

Carell’s Du Pont embodies an uncomfortable presence which acts as the catalyst for much of the dramatic tension in Foxcatcher and subsequently guarantees that the viewer is never allowed to relax – for good reason.

Further discomfort comes from Miller’s close focus on the stressful and painful realities of a character’s experience, making for a documentary feel.

Assuming that all the mention of discomfort hasn’t desuaded you from making time for Director Bennet Miller’s latest, let Carell’s stellar transformation into the certainly unbalanced Du Pont and Tatum’s troubled Mark Schultz be enough to convince you. 

At the very least, both Actor’s performances will go some way to silencing any possible doubters of their acting talents.

Foxcatcher (2014), Channing Tatum
Foxcatcher (2014), Channing Tatum

Watch it to see Carell and Tatum do their best work.

Happy Foxcatcher 🙂

G

NIGHTCRAWLER (2014): Jake Gyllenhaal At His Darkest & Creepiest Yet

Nightcrawler (2014), Jake Gyllenhaal, Bill Paxton
Nightcrawler (2014), Jake Gyllenhaal, Bill Paxton

This is no horror movie but in the role of Lou Bloom, an L.A. Crime Journalist, Jake Gyllenhaal has never been more gaunt and terrifying.

It’s not just his deep, dark and sunken eyes that might give you nightmares. The audience learns rather quickly that not only is Lou smarter than the average person, he’s also, definitely a sociopath.

Nightcrawler (2014), Jake Gyllenhaal
Nightcrawler (2014), Jake Gyllenhaal

The tensions in this great work, written and directed by Dan Gilroy exist because the audience realises rather quickly that Lou is a little more than just a tad unhinged – which of course, can only mean bad things for all who establish any kind of relationship with him.

Nightcrawler is good and it’s dark, both thematically and aesthetically. There’s some brilliant dialogue here. My favourite moment being Lou Bloom’s parting line in one of his last exchanges with Bill Paxton’s character – as seen in the first picture above.

Besides Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo and Bill Paxton’s great work, the character of Rick is a great turn for British Actor Riz Ahmed.

Nightcrawler does a good job of highlighting the kind of world we live in today and the characters it produces; as well as the danger in the vulnerability of the truly desperate.

Happy Nightcrawler 🙂

G

THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY (2013): Inspiration For Living

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013), Ben Stiller
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013), Ben Stiller


Walter Mitty is a man who has numerous vivid day dreams about everything he wishes he could be at a given moment but never is.

Directed by funny man, Ben Stiller, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty takes you along on a journey that leads to a point where Walter, as the movie poster suggests, stops dreaming and starts living.

This is definitely an entertaining watch and becomes most interesting and fun from the moment Walter meets the bearded and intoxicated giant (one of my favourite characters). It makes sense that the film becomes very interesting at this point because it’s soon after Walter decides to be adventurous, brave and start living.

For those who realise / feel like they haven’t done much that’s considered noteworthy and want to change that, Stiller’s movie is great inspiration to formulate a plan and take action

You’ll laugh as you watch this fun adventure / drama with several humorous characters to enjoy particularly my personal favourite, the bearded and intoxicated giant.

One of my own personal day (and night) dreams was about going to New York. I’ve been forever curious, so finally  making that particular day – and night dream come true was super.

Happy The Secret Life of Walter Mitty 🙂

G