Film Review: Boyhood — 4.5 stars


SUMMARY: Boyhood captures the growing up years of Mason Evans, Jr. and shows us how messy life can be… in a whole new way.

DETAILS: Boyhood is a coming of age story that is told in a whole new manner. One of the beautiful elements of this film is that it was shot over a twelve year period using the same actors throughout, so literally we watch our protagonist age before our very eyes. The film begins when Mason Evans, Jr. (Ellar Coltrane) is six and ends on his first day of college life. In those growing up years we see divorces, remarriages, family moves, the loss of friends and the making of new ones, teenage struggles, and the guts of what blended families can look like. It’s a sad story on many levels as father figures come and go from Mason’s life and yet his real father (Ethan Hawke) is always there for weekend visits, regardless of what disaster is going on in Mason’s homelife. Mason’s mother (Patricia Arquette – Academy Award Winner for Best Actress in a Supporting Role) does her best to better herself along the way through education and trying to marry good men, but the baggage they bring is always a new form of disfunction; drinking, rage, intolerance, control, etc. The film shows the ugly side of divorce, failed marriages, blended families, and broken homes in a powerful way and yet it also shows us that the bloodline that runs from mother and father to son is often the only thing that can hold us together. Nominated for 6 Academy Awards including Best Picture, the film is 2 hours and 45 minutes, but it didn’t feel long. We get to know our characters in ways that traditional motion pictures can only attempt to do through makeup and the artificial aging of characters. Boyhood shows hairstyles, weight gains, weight losses, growth spurts, pimples, and facial hair like no other film has ever done… because it’s what the actors brought with them to the set year after year of production on this epic film. Written and Directed by Richard Linklater, Boyhood is a well done, unique film that is truly one of a kind and worthy of viewing.

SCORE: 4.5 out of 5 stars
ACADEMY AWARD – Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Patricia Arquette)

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Film Review: Raiders of the Lost Ark — 4.5 stars


SUMMARY: Archaeologist Indiana Jones races to find and secure the lost ark of the covenant before the Nazi’s use it to conquer the world.

DETAILS: This film in many ways is timeless. Although it was originally released in 1981 the story and the storytelling still hold up amazingly well. Harrison Ford plays Henry Walton Jones, Jr. (aka Indiana Jones) in this film that re-defined adventure films for a new generation. Indiana Jones is a tireless, adventure seeking archaeologist who is deathly afraid of snakes and who only wants his discoveries to benefit his university’s museum. Jones learns of a search in Egypt for the lost ark of the covenant. This ark is the Biblically described, gold-plated, acacia wood chest that held the stone tablets of the 10 commandments, Aaron’s rod (that continually budded), a jar of manna (the daily food God provided for the Israelite’s in the wilderness), and the first Torah scroll that was written by Moses (the first five books of the Old Testament). The only thing standing between Jones and the ark is an army of Nazi’s that are trying to find it first in an attempt to secure victory for Hitler. This film is a fantastic Steven Spielberg and George Lucas collaboration and Harrison Ford does an amazing job creating adventure character that will out live all of us. Raiders of the Lost Ark was nominated for 9 Academy Awards in 1982 including Best Picture and it won 4 (Best Art Direction, Best Film Editing, Best Sound, Best Visual Effects). One of the reasons this film is timeless is that it was created as a period piece set in the 1930’s and as such it didn’t suffer from the stylistic and musical trappings of 1980’s filmmaking. The only piece of this film that screams 1980’s are the melting effects of the evil characters at the end of the story. Although they were brilliantly created and amazingly well done, the effects available today certainly make these appear dated. Regardless, this classic is definitely worth watching. Introduce it to your teenagers. You won’t regret it. By the way, this film was originally released as Raiders of the Lost Ark and then as the franchise took off it was later re-released as Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.

SCORE: 4.5 out of 5

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