ABOUT ME
Neurotic Visionary with Delusional Aspirations. 08/20/1995. Male. Canada. Or am I?

#MY FACE

#MY ART

#MY REVIEWS
July 19th 2014 11:09 PM  |  9 notes
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Boyhood, dir. Richard Linklater (2014)
Much like the essence of life, Boyhood is a sprawling 12 year story full of little moments—and how fitting that for the audience, this film is but a moment of our lives? Nothing short of immaculate and monumental, Boyhood is an intimate portrait of growing up, growing old, and the ebb and flow of change that transforms us into the people we are in this moment, all in relativity to the grand scheme of moments that make up our lives. Linklater’s trademark naturalism and conversational voyeurism is nowhere more consummate and moving than in Boyhood, a film that captures the culture and history that surrounds the recent decade, because it was filmed gradually throughout the 2000s. Hairstyles change, clothing changes, technology advances, music changes, and those seemingly insignificant, fleeting “things” (more or less), become a signifier and reflection of times. They demarcate moments, events, and cultural shifts, in retrospect. 
And that’s only gazing upon the generality of the overall narrative. Boyhood is a cinematic masterpiece (it truly is) that has so many moments, and has so much to say about life. People enter and leave our lives; our simplest of words can change lives; and throughout our lives we learn from an immeasurable number of experiences, and are influenced by countless people. Every family has their own struggle. And every day is a step toward the future, and then we perish. But before we do, each of our lives is filled with moments, whether we acknowledge them as such or not, whether we remember them or not. Watching this family—a boy, his older sister, and their childhood between divorced parents—mature on screen, physically and emotionally, career wise and in all dimensions of their relationships (with teachers, friends, new families, and new romances), is humbling. In just under three hours, it encapsulates the ephemerality of life. Life moves on no matter what. 
Boyhood is a fascinating study of character and identity, family and life, and it’s a cinematic and narrative achievement that will stand as a remarkable film for generations of audiences.
FILMS IN 2014 for quick reviews and ratings of films, as I watch them!

Boyhood, dir. Richard Linklater (2014)

Much like the essence of life, Boyhood is a sprawling 12 year story full of little moments—and how fitting that for the audience, this film is but a moment of our lives? Nothing short of immaculate and monumental, Boyhood is an intimate portrait of growing up, growing old, and the ebb and flow of change that transforms us into the people we are in this moment, all in relativity to the grand scheme of moments that make up our lives. Linklater’s trademark naturalism and conversational voyeurism is nowhere more consummate and moving than in Boyhood, a film that captures the culture and history that surrounds the recent decade, because it was filmed gradually throughout the 2000s. Hairstyles change, clothing changes, technology advances, music changes, and those seemingly insignificant, fleeting “things” (more or less), become a signifier and reflection of times. They demarcate moments, events, and cultural shifts, in retrospect. 

And that’s only gazing upon the generality of the overall narrative. Boyhood is a cinematic masterpiece (it truly is) that has so many moments, and has so much to say about life. People enter and leave our lives; our simplest of words can change lives; and throughout our lives we learn from an immeasurable number of experiences, and are influenced by countless people. Every family has their own struggle. And every day is a step toward the future, and then we perish. But before we do, each of our lives is filled with moments, whether we acknowledge them as such or not, whether we remember them or not. Watching this family—a boy, his older sister, and their childhood between divorced parents—mature on screen, physically and emotionally, career wise and in all dimensions of their relationships (with teachers, friends, new families, and new romances), is humbling. In just under three hours, it encapsulates the ephemerality of life. Life moves on no matter what. 

Boyhood is a fascinating study of character and identity, family and life, and it’s a cinematic and narrative achievement that will stand as a remarkable film for generations of audiences.

FILMS IN 2014 for quick reviews and ratings of films, as I watch them!

June 2nd 2014 5:51 PM  |  0 notes
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Maleficent, dir. Robert Stromberg (2014)
Despite an indulgent, charismatic performance by Angelina Jolie (I can not stop gushing about how magnificent her performance is—I might even go as far as to say it is one of the best this year so far; and if the Academy wasn’t so biased, even an Oscar worthy performance), the writing of Maleficent failed her in its frustrating simplicity. While the film is innocuously funny and sweet, and fulfills its share of magic and violence quota for its genre, I left the theatre unable to quite pinpoint what was lacking from the film, except that I knew it was too simple of a retelling. But to judge a children’s film on complexity was perhaps unfair, so I tried to recall what made great, classic children’s films so impressive for older audiences. I could only reduce my theory to the assemblage of dynamic characters and perceptible morals of the stories.
I came across a WIRED article this morning that expressed what I had been racking my brain around—nuance. If you haven’t seen the film, this quote doesn’t give away too much, but explains what you might expect:

Rather than defining Maleficent as a flawed and complex character, the movie bestows her with the very qualities the Sleeping Beauty tale once reserved for the Princess Aurora: gorgeous, feminine, pure of heart, and beloved by all. By the movie’s denouement, those flighty emotions that set her on a path to revenge have dissolved, a hindrance to her ultimate redemption.

Ultimately, in the kid’s film market, saturated by the likes of brilliant storytelling from Miyazaki and Pixar, Maleficent merely flips an old formula without doing much else to garner praise. However, Jolie’s electrifying performance is enough for me to recommend anyone who’s eager to see the film to view it anyway—Maleficent is still an entertaining movie nonetheless.
FILMS IN 2014 for quick reviews and ratings of films, as I watch them!

Maleficent, dir. Robert Stromberg (2014)

Despite an indulgent, charismatic performance by Angelina Jolie (I can not stop gushing about how magnificent her performance is—I might even go as far as to say it is one of the best this year so far; and if the Academy wasn’t so biased, even an Oscar worthy performance), the writing of Maleficent failed her in its frustrating simplicity. While the film is innocuously funny and sweet, and fulfills its share of magic and violence quota for its genre, I left the theatre unable to quite pinpoint what was lacking from the film, except that I knew it was too simple of a retelling. But to judge a children’s film on complexity was perhaps unfair, so I tried to recall what made great, classic children’s films so impressive for older audiences. I could only reduce my theory to the assemblage of dynamic characters and perceptible morals of the stories.

I came across a WIRED article this morning that expressed what I had been racking my brain around—nuance. If you haven’t seen the film, this quote doesn’t give away too much, but explains what you might expect:

Rather than defining Maleficent as a flawed and complex character, the movie bestows her with the very qualities the Sleeping Beauty tale once reserved for the Princess Aurora: gorgeous, feminine, pure of heart, and beloved by all. By the movie’s denouement, those flighty emotions that set her on a path to revenge have dissolved, a hindrance to her ultimate redemption.

Ultimately, in the kid’s film market, saturated by the likes of brilliant storytelling from Miyazaki and Pixar, Maleficent merely flips an old formula without doing much else to garner praise. However, Jolie’s electrifying performance is enough for me to recommend anyone who’s eager to see the film to view it anyway—Maleficent is still an entertaining movie nonetheless.

FILMS IN 2014 for quick reviews and ratings of films, as I watch them!

May 9th 2014 9:10 PM  |  2 notes
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FILMS IN 2014

25. The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz (2014)

A timely introduction to the quiet influence of a precocious young boy, who grew up to be a maverick of the computer hacktivist movement. As the politics of the internet seek urgent remediation, the resonance of his work is felt ever more after his death. 

26. Ai Weiwei The Fake Case (2014)

Johnsen meanders on the everyday actualites of Weiwei’s restricted life, bordering on voyeuristic, and spends less time on the power of the political, subversive statements underlying his art. 

27. Leon: The Professional (1996)

Incendiary and mature performance by a young Natalie Portman, supported by wonderfully stylized acting all around. An unconventional love story that works due to an undramatic script that makes way for the performance between reserved hitman and feisty New York girl.

28. The Kings of Summer (2013)

Its contrived and cliche script and the multiple montages, The Kings of Summer plays out more like an overdrawn commercial or a nostalgic boy band music video. It’s harmless, but also quite thoughtless. 

April 29th 2014 5:37 PM  |  2 notes
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FILMS IN 2014

17. Orlando (1993)

Tilda Swinton gives a stunning performance as the gender bending Orlando, in a magnificent study of gender relations through time and society. FULL REVIEW

18. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

An imaginative caper, rat and cat chase with a hefty, star studded cast of characters, set in a perilous era, that only Anderson could render adorably romantic. FULL REVIEW

19. Magnolia (1999)

A sprawling poetic story of connectedness, paternity, loneliness, loss, and absence. Whether destined, karmic, or purely coincidence, the ending is tremendous. 

20. Doubt (2008)

Brief and ambiguous, Doubt is very much in the nature of the live play it was adapted from—with its engaging dialogue and minimal sets, the performances thrive, but the story leaves a bit more to be desired.

21. This Is The End (2013)

A celebrity satire that isn’t as quick witted or full out crazy as it purports to be.

22. Babel (2006)

Wonderfully told story of families, spanning across the globe, affected by a single shot fired.

23. The Departed (2006)

Intense crime thriller that grips you by the throat through jaw dropping turns until the very satisfying conclusion.

24. 12 Years a Slave (2013)

Moving, haunting performances by Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong’o. The opening scene brilliantly captures the essence of the mental and psychological story untold, then ventures fearlessly into the unfathomable brutality that humanity inflicted upon each other.

April 22nd 2014 8:14 PM  |  19 notes  |  Via
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cinematicshadows:

Richard Linklater’s Boyhood is a tremendous achievement in filmmaking, one of the most intimate studies of childhood I’ve seen. The film, shot since 2002, centers on Mason (Ellar Coltrane), a 5-year old boy at the beginning of the film who ages over the years to be an 18-year old adult by the film’s conclusion. Chronicling his trouble in a divorced home, he lives with his mother, Olivia (Patricia Arquette), and sister, Samantha (Lorelei Linklater), as the former attempts to find a stable home for her children without a father. Their birth father, Mason Sr. (Ethan Hawke), is a fun-loving man who cannot take responsibility for his actions; the details that emerge near the film’s end about the pregnancy that led to the children is natural and believable. These are flawed human beings that grow over the feature, both literally and characteristically, and each are deserving of their own narratives. Yet they all occupy Linklater’s 165-minute film. 
Linklater remains one of the great humanistic voices in modern film, having tackled the greatest romance in the history of the movies with the Before trilogy and mixing independent and mainstream films with ease. What he’s able to do here and done before is address the most relatable issues in life as if they are new and perfectly adjusted to the characters. He has Mason deal with peer pressure and bullying with single scenes, Olivia handle the struggle of children growing up in a broken home along with spouses and their drinking problems, and Mason Sr. with children that he rarely sees and an immaturity that constantly nags at him. The film progresses methodically and at its own whim, and the performances are stellar. Hawke and Arquette look young and vibrant in the beginning and matured and stable by the conclusion. And Coltrane is an astute actor that feels like he sincerely grew up on screen. The film also works as a terrific time capsule of the 2000s, with a soundtrack that hits the right notes of the decade. Boyhood works for me because I feel like I watched some of myself grow up on screen, and it’s a great depiction of maturation.
Grade: ★★★★½ (out of 5)
See my full video review right HERE.

Its limited release is planned for July 11th, so fingers crossed that it’ll play in a theatre near me!

cinematicshadows:

Richard Linklater’s Boyhood is a tremendous achievement in filmmaking, one of the most intimate studies of childhood I’ve seen. The film, shot since 2002, centers on Mason (Ellar Coltrane), a 5-year old boy at the beginning of the film who ages over the years to be an 18-year old adult by the film’s conclusion. Chronicling his trouble in a divorced home, he lives with his mother, Olivia (Patricia Arquette), and sister, Samantha (Lorelei Linklater), as the former attempts to find a stable home for her children without a father. Their birth father, Mason Sr. (Ethan Hawke), is a fun-loving man who cannot take responsibility for his actions; the details that emerge near the film’s end about the pregnancy that led to the children is natural and believable. These are flawed human beings that grow over the feature, both literally and characteristically, and each are deserving of their own narratives. Yet they all occupy Linklater’s 165-minute film. 

Linklater remains one of the great humanistic voices in modern film, having tackled the greatest romance in the history of the movies with the Before trilogy and mixing independent and mainstream films with ease. What he’s able to do here and done before is address the most relatable issues in life as if they are new and perfectly adjusted to the characters. He has Mason deal with peer pressure and bullying with single scenes, Olivia handle the struggle of children growing up in a broken home along with spouses and their drinking problems, and Mason Sr. with children that he rarely sees and an immaturity that constantly nags at him. The film progresses methodically and at its own whim, and the performances are stellar. Hawke and Arquette look young and vibrant in the beginning and matured and stable by the conclusion. And Coltrane is an astute actor that feels like he sincerely grew up on screen. The film also works as a terrific time capsule of the 2000s, with a soundtrack that hits the right notes of the decade. Boyhood works for me because I feel like I watched some of myself grow up on screen, and it’s a great depiction of maturation.

Grade: ★★★½ (out of 5)

See my full video review right HERE.

Its limited release is planned for July 11th, so fingers crossed that it’ll play in a theatre near me!

March 19th 2014 9:51 PM  |  19 notes  |  Via
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filmhabits:

Peanuts - Teaser Trailer

In theaters November 6, 2015 (US)

On a happier note, this teaser trailer for a far off Peanuts film is absolutely adorable :)

March 14th 2014 11:47 PM  |  20 notes
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The Grand Budapest Hotel, dir. Wes Anderson (2014)
Wes Anderson’s singular vision and stylistic form is in full force and arguably at its best in The Grand Budapest Hotel. Brimming with whimsy and drama, this is no less of a trademark Anderson full-length feature film. A young woman reads the novel of The Grand Budapest Hotel at the foot of the author’s gravestone, and it is the Young Writer (perhaps from beyond the grave) who narrates his encounter with Zero Moustafa, whom consequently retells his young life as lobby boy for the legendary Monsieur Gustave—who leads him on an adventure on the run, testing their loyalty, or more accurately, rather proving their indomitable loyalty.
Amongst this quirky chase is a backdrop of war tensions and immigration policies, but with such an enormous all-star cast and plenty of eccentric characters, the stories of the characters seem to waver, never quite developing strongly, in the midst of the high energy, seemingly endless, criminal pursuit—that is no doubt filled with peculiar Andersonian humour. 
So while The Grand Budapest is visually stunning, cinematically impeccable, and one of Anderson’s more suspense driven films (crime! murder! decapitation! high-speed chases!), it can’t entirely make up for the lack of nuance and emotional sentiment. It is, otherwise, utterly fun and compelling narration on the part of Anderson’s exceptional directorial artistry.
FILMS IN 2014 for quick reviews and ratings of films, as I watch them! 

The Grand Budapest Hotel, dir. Wes Anderson (2014)

Wes Anderson’s singular vision and stylistic form is in full force and arguably at its best in The Grand Budapest Hotel. Brimming with whimsy and drama, this is no less of a trademark Anderson full-length feature film. A young woman reads the novel of The Grand Budapest Hotel at the foot of the author’s gravestone, and it is the Young Writer (perhaps from beyond the grave) who narrates his encounter with Zero Moustafa, whom consequently retells his young life as lobby boy for the legendary Monsieur Gustave—who leads him on an adventure on the run, testing their loyalty, or more accurately, rather proving their indomitable loyalty.

Amongst this quirky chase is a backdrop of war tensions and immigration policies, but with such an enormous all-star cast and plenty of eccentric characters, the stories of the characters seem to waver, never quite developing strongly, in the midst of the high energy, seemingly endless, criminal pursuit—that is no doubt filled with peculiar Andersonian humour. 

So while The Grand Budapest is visually stunning, cinematically impeccable, and one of Anderson’s more suspense driven films (crime! murder! decapitation! high-speed chases!), it can’t entirely make up for the lack of nuance and emotional sentiment. It is, otherwise, utterly fun and compelling narration on the part of Anderson’s exceptional directorial artistry.

FILMS IN 2014 for quick reviews and ratings of films, as I watch them! 

March 14th 2014 11:03 PM  |  4 notes
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Orlando, dir. Sally Potter (1992)
“Same person. No difference at all… just a different sex.”
Swinton’s soft spoken, assured deliverance defines a graceful and one-of-a-kind androgynous performance that accentuates the versatility of a truly powerful actress. Orlando is a succinct, beautifully told story, perhaps a quiet epic, of a man who lives for four hundred years, and somewhere along the way, becomes a woman. There are no convoluted technicalities or biological accuracies to scrutinize; Potter’s Orlando is a soulful story that is merely human in nature and peeks through the political, social, and emotional, stained glass of womanhood, and the ways in which society prejudices and distinguishes the sexes. 
Orlando is, at a visceral level, a simple narrative—as well as being aesthetically outstanding, in its ornate costuming and lavish sets—and may seem facile or reductive, but within the parallels lies the complexity and constructed dichotomy of gender in history and today. Potter’s lens is completely unpretentious, and also undoubtedly feminist. Orlando is an understated study of sex and gender.
FILMS IN 2014 for quick reviews and ratings of films, as I watch them!

Orlando, dir. Sally Potter (1992)

Same person. No difference at all… just a different sex.”

Swinton’s soft spoken, assured deliverance defines a graceful and one-of-a-kind androgynous performance that accentuates the versatility of a truly powerful actress. Orlando is a succinct, beautifully told story, perhaps a quiet epic, of a man who lives for four hundred years, and somewhere along the way, becomes a woman. There are no convoluted technicalities or biological accuracies to scrutinize; Potter’s Orlando is a soulful story that is merely human in nature and peeks through the political, social, and emotional, stained glass of womanhood, and the ways in which society prejudices and distinguishes the sexes. 

Orlando is, at a visceral level, a simple narrative—as well as being aesthetically outstanding, in its ornate costuming and lavish sets—and may seem facile or reductive, but within the parallels lies the complexity and constructed dichotomy of gender in history and today. Potter’s lens is completely unpretentious, and also undoubtedly feminist. Orlando is an understated study of sex and gender.

FILMS IN 2014 for quick reviews and ratings of films, as I watch them!

March 8th 2014 12:31 AM  |  3 notes
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FILMS IN 2014

13. Wadjda (2013)

This story of a young girl’s tenacity and determination to ride a bike in her hometown, is a story about the morals that divide women in how they see themselves within their society. It’s perhaps simplistic, but it tells an important story from an important perspective—the child, the girl, who’s burgeoning understanding of the world she lives in is informed by the women around her. 

14. Nebraska (2013)

Sweetly funny film about Woody Grant, an old man who believes he’s won a million dollars—but with or without the money, can’t say no to helping everyone with all of his heart, even if his kindness hides underneath a stoic, old man, exterior. Nebraska has the same sense of familiarity and family values of The Descendants.

15. Rio Bravo (1959)

Although I missed half an hour of the beginning (I’m terribly tired all the time and the dim lights of my cinema class don’t exactly help), this lengthy Western had some comedic highlights in its latter three quarters. We can observe the conventions of the Western that are built and also subverted in this film, but that kind of critical reading still left me mostly unamused. I suppose the Western satisfies a niche audience.  

16. North by Northwest (1959)

Again, I missed the first half an hour of the film, but North by Northwest maintains as a classic spy and chase film by Hitchcock that remains entertaining in the 21st century. Hitchcock’s aesthetic is still iconic and inimitable—the extreme aerial shots, Saul Bass’s illustrious graphic titles, and his mastery of suspense.

February 22nd 2014 12:00 AM  |  19 notes
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"I think deep down inside, people understand how flawed they are. I think the more benign you make somebody, the less truthful it is."

—  Philip Seymour Hoffman