Boyhood

My Top Ten Films of 2014

This past year I’ve been to the cinema 63 times so narrowing all what I’ve seen to my top ten has been a bit difficult to say the least. When I first went through my Films of 2014 list I narrowed it down to 16 – getting rid of six films from this list was hard so they are my honourable mentions.

Honourable mentions:
12 Years a Slave
Don’t get me wrong this film is amazing but I saw it January, it really affected me then but I have never felt like I wanted to see it again.
Locke
Tom Hardy is incredibly in Locke but it is a slow moving film.
The Purge: Anarchy
Frank Grillo is totally badass and awesome in this and it was the perfect audition to play The Punisher… if he wasn’t already Crossbones in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that is
Lilting
Lilting is such a sweet yet heart-breaking film and both Ben Whishaw and Pei-pei Cheng are brilliant.
Fruitvale Station
It starts like a punch to the gut with the real footage of the incident on the station platform. Michael B. Jordan’s performance is brilliant and Fruitvale Station is all the more important and sad because what happened to Oscar Grant is still happening today in America.
Begin Again
The music’s wonderful (listening to the soundtrack on repeat got me through my dissertation), the characters are all flawed but ultimately likeable.

Now for the top ten, these are all very close and really they could probably be in any order but here we go!

10. Belle
Belle is a brilliant period drama that’s led by Gugu Mbatha-Raw who gives a great performance as a woman born into wealth and status but isn’t seen as one of the elite due to the colour of her skin. The supporting cast is also great and it’s a beautiful film.

9. 22 Jump Street
It’s very rare that a sequel is better than the first film, especially when it comes to comedy sequels, but 22 Jump Street is brilliant. I love the meta and how self-aware it is and Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are the perfect duo.

8. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
It’s political, it’s a family drama, it’s about survival and the performances and animation are incredible. (more…)

REVIEW: Boyhood

boyhood-teaser-posterBoyhood is written and directed by Richard Linklater and stars Particia Arquette, Ellar Cotrane, Lorelei Linklater and Ethan Hawke. Boyhood is the story of Mason (Ellar Coltrane) from the age 5 to age 18, and you see how he grows up and the different people who enter and exit his life and you also see how his family grows and changes too.

Boyhood is a fascinating film as you see all the characters grow up in a matter of hours, in many ways it’s like watching a family’s home video collection. There is no real huge catastrophe or huge event that changes everything about the film, it is a child’s life and it is very relatable. Particia Arquette plays Mason’s mother who goes back to school in order to better herself and make it easier to provide for her and her two children Mason and Samatha (Lorelei Linklater). It was great seeing a single mother on screen that does make mistakes but is always trying to do the best for her children and is not judged for it.

Ethan Hawke plays Mason and Samatha’s dad and he does an amazing job. At the start of the story he is an absent father and the children haven’t seen him for a year and a half, but how his relationship grows with his kids is great to see and is very believable. He went from an unlikable character to one of the most interesting and likable characters – which is true to life as people (and our perceptions of them) change over time.

Both Ellar Coltrane and Lorelei Linklater are great actors which in a way was pure chance as they were young children at the start of the production. Coltrane especially was brilliant as the thoughtful Mason who isn’t sure about love and what the point to life is. When it comes to the end of the film you can clearly see how all the events and people in his life have shaped him into the young man he is.

The fact that Boyhood was filmed over 12 years really brings in an element of nostalgia. There are so many events referenced that I remember when growing up; queuing up for the latest Harry Potter book at midnight, the evolution of games, playing with a Gameboy SP and a Wii, and characters debating Star Wars. With the nostalgia comes the amazement of how a film like this was made.

I was lucky enough to see a preview screening of Boyhood at Universal Studios HQ in London on Tuesday and the film is still sticking with me. It is a phenomenal film that is clever, witty and pure brilliance. It is honestly my favourite film of the year so far and I urge everyone to go see it when it is released next week on July 11th.

Boyhood is a cinematic masterpiece and a once-in-a-lifetime kind of film – 5/5