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Posts Tagged ‘Richard Linklater’

Welcome to the Animal House

Welcome to the Animal House

“EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!!” My rating: B 

117 minutes | MPAA rating: R

Nothing much happens in Richard Linklater’s “Everybody Wants Some!!” Nor is the film in any hurry to get there.

But that’s the movie’s charm.

Set in 1980 on the weekend before fall classes begin at the fictional Southeast Texas University, this rollicking comedy envisions how the high school athletes from Linklater’s “Dazed and Confused” might deal with their first college experience.

Our hero is Jake (Blake Jenner), a lanky, smart and just-a-bit naive kid who looks like a young Matt Dillon.  Jake has landed a scholarship to play baseball at SETU. He’s been assigned to live with other players in a ratty, water-stained off-campus residence.

Any resemblance to “Animal House” is not coincidental.

Jake arrives as a couple of the upperclassmen are using a garden hose to fill a waterbed. The added weight threatens to bring down the kitchen ceiling. One resident doesn’t see the point: “It’s like having sex with a girl on top of another really fat girl.”

Jake and the other freshman players are welcomed to the club with good-natured hazing, practical jokes, and much loquacious philosophizing from Finn (Glen Powell), a fabulously entertaining chap who is part intellectual, part standup comic, and mostly party animal.

The older guys show the newbies the campus ropes. They cruise the dorm parking lots where the coeds are moving in.  They sample the night life:  a disco ballroom, a country/western dive, a punk rock club.

Along the way Jake meets a cute performing arts major (Zoey Deutch, daughter of actress Leah Thompson and director Howard Deutch) with whom he begins what might become a monumental romance.

 

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Ellar Coltrane...growing up before our eyes

Ellar Coltrane…growing up before our eyes

“BOYHOOD”  My rating: A (Opening Aug. 1 at the Tivoli, Rio, Glenwood Arts and AMC Town Center)

165 minutes | MPAA rating: R

True originality is rare in the cinema, perhaps the most self-referential and cannibalistic of all the art forms.

But with “Boyhood” Texas auteur Richard Linklater has given us something so fresh and new it boggles the mind.

The gimmick is that Linklater filmed the picture over 12 years, each year shooting a few new scenes featuring the same actors.

His central character, Mason,  is portrayed from age 6 to 18 by Ellar Coltrane, who is as natural in his scenes as a college freshman as he was as a first grader when the movie began almost three hours earlier.

It isn’t just Mason who grows up before our eyes.  Everyone in the cast undergoes the transformation dictated by the passage of time — Lorelei Linklater (the filmmaker’s daughter), who plays Mason’s sassy older sister Samantha, and Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette, who portray their divorced parents. (Hawke, of course, is with Julie Delpy the star of Linklater’s “Before…” series, which to date has produced three movies examining a romantic relationship over two decades.)

Early in this review I called “Boyhood’s” setup a gimmick. Well, if this is a gimmick it is a singularly profound gimmick, one that packs an overwhelming emotional punch. By using the same actors at various stages in their lives Linklater is able to meld the specific with the universal in a way I’ve never before experienced in a fiction film.

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before midnight

“BEFORE MIDNIGHT” My rating: B (Now showing at the Rio)

109 minutes | MPAA rating: R

Think of “Before Midnight” as a romantic bouquet laced with poison ivy.

It is, of course, the third chapter of the long-running exploration of love — from director Richard Linklater and actors Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy — that began with “Before Sunrise” in 1995 and continued with “Before Sunset” in 2004.

Once again Hawke and Delpy reprise their roles of Jesse and Celine.  In the first film, which took place overnight in Vienna, the vacationing young American and the French girl met, walked the city, and had a fling (in a park, as I recall) before parting with the rising of the sun.

The second film, taking place a decade later in Paris, found them both in relationships but thrown together once again when Celine attends a reading of Jesse’s novel…a novel inspired by their long-ago night together. They wander Paris until it is time for Jesse to head to the airport…only to find their love is rekindled in what had to be one of the sexiest moments in movie history.

“Before Midnight” finds Jesse and Celine now a couple (though unmarried). It unfolds on a picturesque Greek Isle where they are vacationing with Jesse’s 13-year-old son (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick) and their twin daughters (Jennifer and Charlotte Prior).

Anyone who’s gone on a family vacation with young children could predict that the eroticism-charged romance of the first two films would be supplanted by a humdrum reality of kids and responsibility. What you might not anticipate is that before it’s over we’ll be questioning whether Jesse and Celine are going to make it as a couple.

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