Boyhood

Boyhood

Boyhood, starring Ellar Coltrane as Mason, along with Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke

Sometimes the only difference between a good movie and a great movie is in how you feel when it’s over. Not only how you feel about just the movie but life in general. A great movie is able to somehow tie itself into your own life and speak to you, give you something to relate to, or provide some new and meaningful perspective.

To say Boyhood has accomplished those attributes would be a fair statement.

The film, directed by Richard Linklater, was created over the course of 12 years as little bits were filmed for a few days every year, showing the growth of Mason (Ellar Coltrane) from a 6-year-old to his completion of high school at 18. So not only do we experience character development in the way of emotional growth and maturity, we also see the physical changes year-by-year as well.

Almost documentary-styled, Boyhood focuses on Mason and his evolving relationships with his older sister Samantha (Lorilei Linklater), mother Olivia (Patricia Arquette), and every-other-weekend visits from his father Mason Sr. (Ethan Hawke), as well as a naturally revolving cast of others who come and go depending on life situations.

One of the truly amazing things about Boyhood was how it actually grabs and maintains attention from start to finish. It’s a story that would never be exciting to follow in any capacity – film, TV series, book, etc – because of how normal it is. I realized quite early on that there wouldn’t be any jumping of the shark here, and if there had been, it would have been a disappointment.

Most of the individual scenes barely tie directly together with the others and in most cases, would be deemed insignificant as part of a greater story, but here the little things are what make the story. The beauty of Boyhood is how the little things are captured. Seemingly mundane things and events that most of us have experienced come together to create a story worth telling, watching and sharing. Simplicity is what makes it shine.

Contributing to the real-life feel is how well the actors interact with each other. Aside from the 12-year commitment of Coltrane, Arquette, Hawke and Linklater, other actors come and go and most stick around for a few years, depending on their relationships. There is a natural connection and progression.

Boyhood presents the growing up of a boy who fails to meet the strict standards of social and sometimes gender expectations. Occasionally we witness the criticism he receives by those he is expected to look up to, some of it subtle in mostly common and expected situations. It’s heartbreaking at times to see how these social standards and expectations can contribute to breaking someone down, all for the sake of normal, even if the intentions are good.

All in all, Boyhood takes our own reflections and memories and places them in a movie for all to see. Even if we don’t relate to Mason, or his mother, or anyone else in the film, we can all relate to some of the situations that are depicted within. And even if for some reason you can’t, you will walk away from this feeling like you have.
Five stars

The Giver

The Giver

The Giver by Lois Lowry was one of the books I read in middle school, and of the stories covered throughout school, it was always one of the ones I remembered. Even though I’ve since forgotten most of the details, including what grade I was even in when I read it, I’ve remembered others. The utopian society, the lack of colour, the escape. Upon hearing about the movie adaptation of it, I thought it was brilliant to be able to re-experience it again.

We start with Jonas (Brenton Thwaites), a teenager who has completed school and is about find out what his career will be as decided by the Elders – and announced by the Chief Elder (Meryl Streep). Obviously, Jonas is chosen for a special job, as the Keeper of Memories, which he receives from The Giver (Jeff Bridges). Continue reading

Taylor Swift’s evolution

Taylor Swift - Shake It Off

On Monday Taylor Swift had a live online chat revealing her brand new single and music video for Shake It Off, the first single from her upcoming album 1989, out October 27. The album is one Taylor is calling her “first pop album”, pretty much sealing the deal on her departure for country music – for now. Continue reading

Jason Mraz – YES!

Jason Mraz - Yes

An acoustic album from Jason Mraz isn’t really that big a stretch from his standard recordings as he’s always been pretty mellow. What makes YES! different from his previous albums is how much the focus is on him, his guitar and the involvement of Raining Jane, an all-female group who co-wrote the album and provide background vocals throughout.

Whether or not he’s ‘sharing the spotlight’, Jason does sound more comfortable and settled on this album. It’s relaxing and soothing to listen to. Continue reading

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

If the internet is to be believed, the movie-going public seems destined to hate the Michael Bay-produced, Jonathan Liebesman-directed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. From the suggestion of the turtles’ alien background, to their new look, to the casting of Megan Fox as April O’Neil, to Bay’s involvement post-Transformers, TMNT faced a near-impossible uphill battle.

Having so many strikes against it probably acted in its favour since it dramatically lowered expectations. Being the self-professed TMNT fan that I am, I expected nothing short of awful yet was pleasantly surprised at how fun it was. Continue reading

Discuss depression

Robin Williams

Earlier today, news broke that Robin Williams had allegedly committed suicide. The actor, known for his comedic films and uplifting roles, had been battling severe depression and had recently entered rehab to battle alcohol addiction.

What makes the passing of this Hollywood legend-to-be so shocking was that the roles he played were often characters who were in a position to offer help and support. He was the quintessential good guy. And for people of our generation, he’s an actor who’s always maintained a presence on the big screen performing those types of roles. Therefore, we naturally assume that as someone associated with providing support to others through his roles, of course he wouldn’t be thought of as being in need of it himself. Continue reading

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