Ellar Coltrane stars in “Boyhood.” Photo Credit: IFC Films.
Truly Original Endeavor
Although it’s not unusual for child actors to claim they grew up in front of the nation, few can actually say that they had someone literally documenting their life the way that director Richard Linklater (Before Midnight, 2013) does in his newest film, Boyhood. This drama tells the tale of one boy’s life from age six to age eighteen from 2002 through 2014. The result is truly unique. This fascinating movie that will undoubtedly be a strong contender at the Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director and deservedly so.
The film centers on the childhood of Mason played by the relatively unknown Ellar Coltrane (Hallettsville, 2009) who began filming this movie as a child TV commercial actor after he and his family agreed to this unorthodox filming schedule. Mason grows up alongside his older sister Samantha (played by Lorelei Linklater, the director’s real-life daughter) and their divorced parents, Olivia played by Patricia Arquette, (Boardwalk Empire, 2014) and Mason Sr. played by Ethan Hawke (Before Midnight, 2013). When Mason is little, Olivia decides to move closer to the University of Houston so she can further a career in education to provide for her family. Mason Sr. visits the children, but drifts in and out of the picture. He drives a cool car and has a more carefree lifestyle, but clearly loves his children. Olivia soon remarries a man who has kids of his own and a parenting style that’s very different from Mason Sr. Read more…
Jennifer Aniston stars in “Cake.” Photo credit: Cinelou Films.
Cake Reveals Jennifer Aniston’s Many Layers
Jennifer Aniston has been America’s ‘the girl next door’ thanks to her breakthrough in the universally adored sitcom, “Friends.” Although a title like America’s Sweetheart may seem only complimentary, Aniston has struggled to be taken seriously by film critics throughout her entire career. However, her latest performance in the dark, drama Cake proves that the wait was worth it.
Directed by Daniel Barnz (Beastly, 2011) and written by Patrick Tobin, this film takes the cake for it’s raw, unapologetic look at a woman suffering from debilitating chronic pain and unresolved grief. Claire Bennett (Jennifer Aniston, Horrible Bosses 2, 2014) is sour, sarcastic and, at times, intolerable. She attends a chronic pain support group in which the leader (Felicity Huffman, Rudderless, 2014) suggests that she find a new group that may be more open to her blunt personality and erratic behavior. Her many painkillers are what help Claire get through each day, and she will persuade just about anyone to help her get a hold of more meds to feed her addiction. Despite her crassness, we discover that Claire formed a connection with a 31-year old group member Nina Collins (Anna Kendrick, Into the Woods, 2014). Their relationship was short-lived, however, as audiences find out early on that Nina jumped off of the side of an overpass and killed herself. Although Nina is gone, she still appears…through Claire’s drug-induced hallucinations. Read more…
Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons star in “Whiplash.” Photo Credit: Sony Pictures Classics.
Whiplash Likely to Drum Up Oscar Win for J.K. Simmons
When someone has the potential for brilliance teachers should help them reach their very best. But where do you draw the line between pushing a student to succeed and terrorizing them to be nearly perfect? The latest drama by the young writer-director Damien Chazelle (The Last Exorcism: Part II, 2013) titled Whiplash, explores the relationship between a student and teacher and the desire to be great in a very simple, yet truly compelling story. In fact, this film, which received little marketing, is now nominated for the Academy Award’s Best Picture.
Whiplash dives into the intense, lesser-known world of competitive music and the sacrifices one makes to succeed. Rising star, Miles Teller (Divergent, 2014) plays Andrew Neyman, an ambitious 19-year old jazz drummer, whose one-track mind is constantly vying for a top chair in his elite New York City music school, Schaffer Conservatory. His parent’s unstable relationship growing up, and his father’s failed writing career only fuel Andrew’s motivation to become one of the greats.
One day, Andrew is randomly discovered by the intimidating Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons, Labor Day, 2013), a talented band instructor who is known for training the best, just not in the most conventional manner. Fletcher is known for his terrifying teaching methods, instructing his students using fear, insults and the upmost disrespect. Fletcher notices Andrew’s gift and transfers him into his highly regarded jazz ensemble. Andrew is ecstatic, intimated and rightfully nervous. Those feelings take a drastic turn as soon as the first practice starts. Fletcher lays into Andrew in every way possible, humiliating and threatening him to no end. Although crushed, Andrew took on Fletcher’s drill sergeant-like treatment as a challenge to push himself that much harder, truly enduring blood, sweat, and tears. His determination quickly evolves into an obsession, which spirals into personal destruction.
Sarah Knight Adamson member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association attends the Critics Choice Movie Awards and interviews talent on the Red Carpet January 15, 2015 — Hollywood, CA
What a great year for movies, these are my favorites in order according to my most favorite as #1.
1. Life Itself-Documentary, Based on the life and book of film critic Roger Ebert
2. Birdman-Dark Comedy, Based on the Broadway comeback of a movie superhero
3. The Grand Budapest Hotel-Comedy, Wes Anderson’s latest quirky film
4. Guardians of the Galaxy-Fantasy, Comedy, Comic Books, 80’s soundtrack
5. Selma-Drama, Based on historical facts of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1965
6. The Theory of Everything-Drama, Based on the facts of Stephen Hawking’s life
7. Gone Girl-Mystery, Drama, Based on the bestseller novel in which a husband is a suspect
8. American Sniper-Based on the true story of war hero sniper Chris Kyle
9. Boyhood-Drama, Filmed over a 12-year span, a boy grows up before your eyes
10. Wild- Drama, Based on the true story of Pacific Crest Trail hiker Cheryl Strayed
11. The Imitation Game- Drama, Based on facts of British war hero Alan Turing’s life
12. The Lego Movie- Animation, Family, Based on the brightly colored toys that connect
13. Captain American: Winter Solider- Action and Adventure, Comic Books
14. Chef-Comedy, Family, Road Trip centering on food and a father/son relationship
15. X-Men Days of Future Past- Action and Adventure, Comic Books
16. Godzilla- Science Fiction, Remake, Based on the original story of the famous monster
17. Whiplash-Drama, An intense jazz teacher’s teaching methods dangerously bullies his student
I8. Into the Woods- Fantasy, Remake of the Broadway musical, a mashup of fairy tales
19. 22 Jump Street-Comedy, Sequel, Two undercover cops go to college
20. Nightcrawler- Drama, Over ambitious creeper crime videographer goes over the top
Sarah Knight Adamson’s Film Reviews and Celebrity Interviews can be heard weekly on the internationally syndicated show: Hollywood 360 Radio Network. It airs in New York, LA and 92 stations. In Chicago listen to WINDam560.