Tag: Ethan Hawke

MOVIE REVIEW | New York, I Love You (2008)

new-york-i-love-you-1
“But only if you’re comfortable with this, and if you’re not then you can just forget it, and you can quit, but if you are… then open this door.”

Anthology movies never really work.  Very few get good reviews and even less make good box office.  But despite this track record of little to no success, every few years, someone manages to convince another batch of directors and writers to contribute their own short film to something bigger, tackling some sort of common theme.  In the 80s, powerhouses like Francis Ford Coppola, Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese couldn’t make it work with New York Story.  In the 90s, break out rock star film makers like Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez couldn’t make it work with Three Rooms.


Not only do the film makers get tricked into thinking that somehow, this time, it might just work.  But I do as a viewer as well.  Sure, the above geniuses took a big swing and a miss at their own versions of the anthology movie, but surely, the next batch will get it right.  Won’t they?  It’s that optimism that lead to me buying the DVD of New York, I Love You back when it came out.  But it’s the practical part of my brain that has let it sit on my DVD shelf, collecting dust for the six or seven years since.  I want it to be good so much.  But I also know that the odds are against it.  But today, I bit the bullet.  I watched New York, I Love You. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Reality Bites (1994)

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“At the beep, please leave your name, number, and a brief justification for the ontological necessity of modern man’s existential dilemma, and we’ll get back to you.”

I like Lena Dunham’s Girls.  I don’t think it’s some brilliant game changer or masterpiece, but it’s well written, well acted, and tells stories from what seems like a pretty genuine perspective that we don’t see much on telly.  But I spent the first season hate-watching Girls.  How could I be expected to like these entitled, oblivious, arrogant moles?  But during season two, I realised something.  The show wasn’t trying to convince me to like them.  Dunham and her writers knew it was a show about entitled, oblivious, arrogant moles, they were in on it.


Why am I banging on about the TV show Girls in a review for the movie Reality Bites?  Because after re-watching Reality Bites for the first time in 20 years, it makes the characters in Girls look like newly arrived immigrants in the 20s, busting a gut, doing anything to make a better life for themselves than what they had in the old country. (more…)

***2014 RECAP*** MOVIE REVIEW | Boyhood (2014)

Boyhood

“This is the worst day of my life. I knew this day would come, except why is it happening now? First I get married, have kids, end up with two ex-husbands, go back to school, get my degree, get my masters, send both my kids off to college. What’s next? My own fucking funeral?”

23 years ago, Richard Linklater became an indie film darling when he made Slacker. A sprawling, rambling series of monologues, conversations and observations that loosely wove together as his camera ambled through a day in Austin, Texas. No traditional narrative or plot, no main character to focus on, no beginning, middle or end. Just a series of encounters, with each bleeding into the next.


Since then, he’s been nominated for Oscars with the Before series, made audience pleasing hits like School of Rock, hard sci-fi with A Scanner Darkly, genre bending art fare like the pseudo-documentary, pseudo fiction Fast Food Nation, beloved coming of age cult favourite Dazed and Confused, and even a weird, spiritual sequel to Slacker, the half animated / rotoscoped Waking Life. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Boyhood (2014)

Boyhood

“This is the worst day of my life. I knew this day would come, except why is it happening now? First I get married, have kids, end up with two ex-husbands, go back to school, get my degree, get my masters, send both my kids off to college. What’s next? My own fucking funeral?”

23 years ago, Richard Linklater became an indie film darling when he made Slacker. A sprawling, rambling series of monologues, conversations and observations that loosely wove together as his camera ambled through a day in Austin, Texas. No traditional narrative or plot, no main character to focus on, no beginning, middle or end. Just a series of encounters, with each bleeding into the next.


Since then, he’s been nominated for Oscars with the Before series, made audience pleasing hits like School of Rock, hard sci-fi with A Scanner Darkly, genre bending art fare like the pseudo-documentary, pseudo fiction Fast Food Nation, beloved coming of age cult favourite Dazed and Confused, and even a weird, spiritual sequel to Slacker, the half animated / rotoscoped Waking Life. (more…)

***2013 RECAP*** MOVIE REVIEW | Before Midnight

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The 90s gave us a big wave of new, alt film makers who at their core, were massive movie nerds. Nerds like Quentin Tarantino, Steven Soderbergh, Kevin Smith, Robert Rodriguez and Richard Linklater. Tarantino has been able to follow his indulgences to some really great places and is possibly more recognisable than any other director working today. The recently retired-from-film-making Soderbergh is one of the most well respected names of the last two decades. Smith rode his train way past the last stop of relevance and film making creativity long ago, easily distracted by whatever bright, shiny trinket he might see out of the corner of his eye. Rodriguez only gets more and more unpredictable (in good and bad ways) as the years go on. And then there’s Richard Linklater, the quiet achiever.

Linklater is the guy who can make crowd pleasing fluff that’s actually really good, like School of Rock. The guy who can actually come really close to translating Philip K Dick to the screen with A Scanner Darkly. The guy who can make genre pulp like The Newton Boys one minute, then turn around and make an art house, philosophical talk fest like Waking Life the next. All that, plus a movie a lot of people see is an outright modern American classic, Dazed and Confused.

He’s also the bloke who’s made a trilogy out of two people doing nothing more than walking and talking. Sequels are usually reserved for action, sci-fi and the odd comedy. With the just released Before Midnight, Linklater has managed to build a franchise on one compelling relationship.

If you haven’t see 1994’s Before Sunrise or 2004’s Before Sunset, look out, there will be some spoilers. There’s no way to talk about Before Midnight without getting into the movies that preceded it.

Ethan Hawke is Jesse, Julie Delpie is Celine. They met nineteen years ago in Before Sunrise, on a train in Austria. They spend the night walking around Vienna, talking about life, the universe and everything, and falling in love. With Hawke’s character flying back to America the next morning, they have to say goodbye. Until nine years later, when a book he writes about that night leads to a publicity stop in Paris where Delpie’s character tracks him down in Before Sunset. They spend the day walking around Paris, talking about life, the universe and everything, and realising they have stayed in love this whole time, without ever seeing each other.

Which brings us to today, Before Midnight finds them in Greece and these two crazy kids have finally got it all figured out. They’ve spent the last nine years together, popped out a set of twins and the honeymoon period has long since passed. While the long, single takes are still there, Midnight deviates the most from its predecessors in its reliance on an extended cast. The first two Befores focused purely on Hawke and Delpie, with other roles barely more than extras with a line or two. The first half of Midnight however, has them surrounded by their children, friends and colleagues. And then… Then the second half kicks you right in the guts.

When the two main characters argue it feels so real I got uncomfortable watching it. They have the kind of arguments where they are both completely right, but going about everything completely wrong. So it’s hard to want either to win. While Sunrise and Sunset are all about the unlimited possibilities of love and romance and how ultimately, nothing can get in the way, Midnight is about what happens when you get what you want and the novelty wears off.

I wouldn’t call it cynical, there are still plenty of those little moments that make you think Jesse and Celine are the world’s most perfect couple, Before Midnight is just a little world weary. LIke the two earlier films, Midnight finishes at the perfect moment and if the series ends here, no one could complain. But I don’t think it will end here and can’t wait to see where these two characters are in another nine or ten years. And I can’t wait to see what else Linklater makes in between now and then as well.

Directed By – Richard Linklater
Written By – Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke

MOVIE REVIEW | Before Midnight (2013)

Image

The 90s gave us a big wave of new, alt film makers who at their core, were massive movie nerds.  Nerds like Quentin Tarantino, Steven Soderbergh, Kevin Smith, Robert Rodriguez and Richard Linklater.   Tarantino has been able to follow his indulgences to some really great places and is possibly more recognisable than any other director working today.   The recently retired-from-film-making Soderbergh is one of the most well respected names of the last two decades.  Smith rode his train way past the last stop of relevance and film making creativity long ago, easily distracted by whatever bright, shiny trinket he might see out of the corner of his eye.  Rodriguez only gets more and more unpredictable (in good and bad ways) as the years go on.  And then there’s Richard Linklater, the quiet achiever.

Linklater is the guy who can make crowd pleasing fluff that’s actually really good, like School of Rock.  The guy who can actually come really close to translating Philip K Dick to the screen with A Scanner Darkly.  The guy who can make genre pulp like The Newton Boys one minute, then turn around and make an art house, philosophical talk fest like Waking Life the next.  All that, plus a movie a lot of people see is an outright modern American classic, Dazed and Confused.

He’s also the bloke who’s made a trilogy out of two people doing nothing more than walking and talking.   Sequels are usually reserved for action, sci-fi and the odd comedy.  With the just released Before Midnight, Linklater has managed to build a franchise on one compelling relationship.

If you haven’t see 1994’s Before Sunrise or 2004’s Before Sunset, look out, there will be some spoilers.  There’s no way to talk about Before Midnight without getting into the movies that preceded it.

Ethan Hawke is Jesse, Julie Delpie is Celine.  They met nineteen years ago in Before Sunrise, on a train in Austria.  They spend the night walking around Vienna, talking about life, the universe and everything, and falling in love.  With Hawke’s character flying back to America the next morning, they have to say goodbye.  Until nine years later, when a book he writes about that night leads to a publicity stop in Paris where Delpie’s character tracks him down in Before Sunset.  They spend the day walking around Paris, talking about life, the universe and everything, and realising they have stayed in love this whole time, without  ever seeing each other.

Which brings us to today, Before Midnight finds them in Greece and these two crazy kids have finally got it all figured out.  They’ve spent the last nine years together, popped out a set of twins and the honeymoon period has long since passed.  While the long, single takes are still there, Midnight deviates the most from its predecessors in its reliance on an extended cast.  The first two Befores focused purely on Hawke and Delpie, with other roles barely more than extras with a line or two.  The first half of Midnight however, has them surrounded by their children, friends and colleagues.  And then…  Then the second half kicks you right in the guts.

When the two main characters argue it feels so real I got uncomfortable watching it.  They have the kind of arguments where they are both completely right, but going about everything completely wrong.  So it’s hard to want either to win.  While Sunrise and Sunset are all about the unlimited possibilities of love and romance and how ultimately, nothing can get in the way, Midnight is about what happens when you get what you want and the novelty wears off.

I wouldn’t call it cynical, there are still plenty of those little moments that make you think Jesse and Celine are the world’s most perfect couple, Before Midnight is just a little world weary.  LIke the two earlier films, Midnight finishes at the perfect moment and if the series ends here, no one could complain.  But I don’t think it will end here and can’t wait to see where these two characters are in another nine or ten years. And I can’t wait to see what else Linklater makes in between now and then as well.

Directed By – Richard Linklater
Written By – Richard LinklaterJulie DelpyEthan Hawke