Before Sunrise (1995) Film Review

before_sunrise

An American tourist, Jesse (Ethan Hawke) is returning to Vienna for his flight home. He meets a Parisian, Celine (Julie Delpy) on the train and convinces her to stay in Vienna and hang out with him until he flies the next day. And here is the start of a 105 minute conversation, the conversation of two people who are attracted but expect this is the only time they will have together.

It’s one of those films where nothing much happens, but it is delightful to watch. I don’t particularly like either character; two twenty-somethings who have the arrogance to judge everything around, and the candour to say it to each other. And it is a beautiful setting. Not sure I’m clamouring to watch the two sequels, but I know I will at some time.

Before Sunrise was nominated for an Oscar for Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay (Richard Linklater, Julie Delphy, Ethan Hawke, Kim Krizan)

Boyhood (2014) Film Review

11189929_ori

Mason (Ellar Coltrane) is just your average kid, fights with his sister, Samantha (Lorelei Linklater), his single mother (Patricia Arquette)is struggling with life and studying to make a better life for themselves and his absent father (Ethan Hawke) suddenly appears. And then over the next couple of hours, we see him grow from a small child to a teenager, heading to college.

This film was taped over twelve years, using the same actors. Some people have criticised it as being just an experiment, but I don’t think that is a bad thing at all. What I found was that it was a long view into the ordinary lives of people. At times, it seemed far too long, but that didn’t bother me all that much. Mostly, I just really enjoyed the trip. I enjoyed the way time was represented, that before you knew it, one whole period of time was gone, that relationships developed and disappeared with little explanation. Essentially, the whole film really captured that feeling that life disappears before you know it. And I liked it.

Boyhood won an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Patricia Arquette) and was nominated for Best Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Ethan Hawke), Best Achievement in Directing (Richard Linklater), Best Writing, Original Screenplay (Richard Linklater) and Best Achievement in Film Editing. It won Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture –Drama, Best Director – Motion Picture (Richard Linklater) and Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Patricia Arquette) and was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supprting Role (Ethan Hawke) and Best Screenplay – Motion Picture (Richard Linklater). It won a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress (Patricia Arquette), the David Lean Award for Direction (Richard Linklater), BAFTA Film Award and was nominated for Best Supporting Actor (Ethan Hawke) and Best Original Screenplay (Richard Linklater).

 

Bernie (2011) Film Review

images-1

There’s a small town in East Texas called Carthage where, in 1996, a local funeral director murdered a widow and covered up her death for nine-months. However, the funeral director was so loved in the community that, even when he confessed to the crime, citizens petitioned for his release. This much is true.

In the film, Bernie (the funeral director) is portrayed by the versatile Jack Black in a surprisingly understated performance. The character is quirky, but not unbelievably so, especially alongside the regular residents of the town. He’s joined by a handful of other actors including the marvelous Shirly MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey, with the rest of the townsfolk playing themselves. And this is where I think the film fell down in quite a major way. It’s like it isn’t quite sure of what it is – is it a fiction based on truth or is it a documentary with reenactments? If it is a documentary, then it is not clear that the reenactments are just that – it would seem to be presenting it all as fact. Having the townspeople who have been vox popped throughout the film within reenactment scenes is confusing. On the other hand, if it is a fiction, it really didn’t need to have such reliance on the interviews.

I think it would have been fantastic either way, but as it is, it feels a bit like an amazing story that hasn’t been told as well as it could have.

Jack Black was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy of Musical.