2016 Film Festival - Everybody Wants Some!!

Named after Van Halen song, Everybody Wants Some!!, Richard Linklater's follow up to Boy is equally as personal to him as it is an exploration of his college years in the 1980s. 

This film has divided audiences. Some completely reject the young jocks at college story, with its posturing and drive to get drunk and sleep with as many girls as they can. Others just went along for the ride, enjoying the ride and watching the freshers at college try on different personas. We have all been there. I think we have expected our stories about the high school or college experience to be wrapped in a genre - a gross out sex comedy, a romance, an acapella competition. What they forget is that it is a time when people talk rubbish, try on new clothes, and in some cases, even learn something. Linklater shows this time and also adds on a layer of commentary about masculinity. He also uses some of the most awesome music to go with it.

Sydney Film Festival 2014 - Boyhood

This film is unique because of its structure. It is a fictional account of young boy, Mason, growing up over 12 years, using the same actors in real time. Yes, the film took 12 years to make, and not because of development hell, but because of life. We are introduced to six year old Mason (Ellar Coltrane), his mother, played by Patricia Arquette, his older sister (Lorelei Linklater) and his father (Ethan Hawke) and through vignettes from mainly Mason's point of view, we watch him grow up and go to college. All of this feels natural and compelling eskewing the traditional plot structures of fictional film making in favour of a more documentary style akin to the 7 up series, but without the interviews.  

The everyday life, the recognition of familiarity of the conversations between characters draw you in. There is no authorial judgement, just subtle story telling that allows the moment to breathe. Richard Linklater set out to make a movie about childhood (here is an interview about the making of the film), but what he also captures is the life, dream, expectations, responsibilities and adults as well, as we see his parents repeating mistakes, gaining some wisdom, settling on choices and not really changing, no matter how old you get. Patricia Arquette shines as Mason's mother as her story as an adult from a 30 year old to early 40s is just as compelling as Mason's childhood. Ellar Coltrane is wonderful as Mason, his soulful truthfulness inhabits the movie as you see him inhabit this character and you cannot help wonder how blurred the line between Mason and Ellar became over the years. Go and immerse yourself in this film and enjoy. Watch the Q&A with Linklater and the cast at Sundance 2014 below.

Sydney Film Festival - Day 4, Before Midnight

I watched Before Midnight back in February at SXSW in Austin, with a talk from director Richard Linklater after the viewing.  Austin is Linklater's hometown and there was a lot of love in the room for him and the movie.  I must say, I was one of those showing the love.  Before Midnight is really great. The film picks up nine years on from the last time we saw Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) in an apartment in Paris. They are in Greece, where Jesse and Celine are spending the summer.  They are now married with twin daughters.     

So I felt a sense of triumph of the romantic to see that the ambiguous ending of Before Sunset ended they way I had hoped.  I rested on my laurels for the first 15 minutes of the film, and that is when you realise that like the first two movies, this was a slice of life, or should I say a very well written, carefully crafted dialogue between a couple in their early 40s feeling the strains of everyday life, choices they have made, and the days after happily ever after.  I will not say anything more as it would ruin the movie.

If you are a fan of Before Sunrise and Before Sunset (which were both shown today as part of the Sydney Festival program) you will also love Before Midnight.  I for one cannot wait for the next film in the series, in nine years time.


As an added bonus check out the Public Service Announcement done by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy did for The Alamo Movie Houses in the USA.  Love it.