Brief comments on film by Amy.
Some old, some new. Domestic films and foreign too.
Boyhood — I forced Jim to take a break from all his kitchen renovating and watch this one with me. We both considered it time well spent. Jim was so impressed he watched it again the next day. There is patient character development, and then there is Boyhood. Filmed over the course of 12 years using the same actors, Boyhood is a fascinating window into the life of a boy and his family. The viewer not only watches the character of Mason grow and mature but also watches Ellar Coltrane, who plays Mason, grow and mature as an actor. Written and directed by Richard Linklater of Before Sunrise, etc, Boyhood’s strengths are its weaknesses.
Using the same actors over more than a decade not only adds to the realism of the film, it also endears the characters to the viewer in a completely unique way. Additionally, I think the relationships these actors have with one another must have developed over that time, adding to their onscreen chemistry. That being said, it also creates an unevenness to the performances as the actors, especially the children, hone their craft. Boyhood is definitely more successful than Before Sunrise and its sequels in drawing you in. It’s worthy of the award attention it is getting and well worth the watch.
Night at the Museum 3 — I love movies that I can watch with the kids—lighthearted and kid-oriented—but during which I don’t have to fake laugh or fight off the temptation to catch a quick nap. The first two films in the Night at the Museum series were two such movies and #3 did not disappoint. Thank you, Ben Stiller, for not thinking yourself above simply entertaining us.
The Maze Runner — I am up for a good dystopian young adult flick as much as the next gal. The key word being “good.” Don’t think it is worth wasting any more space on this one than I already have.
Neighbors — I have no problem checking out films from the library when I know they will probably be bad. It’s free and, hey, you never know. This one wasn’t worth the effort it took to swipe my library card. Despite fast-forwarding many of the more graphic scenes of this “comedy,” I still felt like I needed a long shower and several hours of soul cleansing viewing to recover from this one. The fact that there are people out there who would find anything about this movie humorous is just plain tragic.
Honorable and not so Honorable Mentions — This is my favorite time of the year for television viewing, when all the good BBC stuff comes out to tide us over till baseball season starts. Here are a few I recommend, or don’t.
Downton Abbey (Season 5): This should have ended it when they had the chance to wrap it up on a high note. The episodes feel crowded with storylines and several of the actors feel like caricatures of themselves, simply going through the motions. I still love to hear Maggie Smith’s flawless one-liners but otherwise its a bit like meeting a high school crush years later only to see he’s got a beer belly and ear hair.
Grantchester — The real star of Masterpiece this season. Love this series thus far. The protagonist, Sydney Chambers, is a delightful combination of Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, only most haunted and better looking.
Broadchurch — Watched the first five minutes of the American version of this series and turned it off after having seen more than enough. Watched the British version in its entirety and wished there was more. The finale was disappointing but worth the ride.
The Fall (Series 2) — Gillian Anderson is amazing as always but this season lacked the tension of the first and fell flat for me.
The Honorable Woman — Maggie Gyllenhaal annoys me. Maggie Gyllenhaal with a stuck-up ice queen British accent is almost more than I can take.
Case Histories (Series 2) — Pure guilty pleasure, crime solving goodness.