Film Review: Boyhood

Ellar Coltrane in Boyhood

Groundbreaking. If I had to describe the Richard Linklater-directed film “Boyhood” in one word, that would be the word I would use. Boyhood tells the story about a boy named Mason (Ellar Coltrane) as he ages from 6 to 18 years old. The film examines the relationship he has with his divorced parents (Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke) as he grows into adolescence. We as the viewer literally see Mason and the rest of the cast grow up through our very eyes as the film was shot over the course of 12 years; from 2002 to 2013. Every year during the 12 year period the cast and crew would get together for a few weeks to shoot the story. This movie could have easily ended in a terrible and humiliating way.

But it does just the opposite. Boyhood is a masterful epic depicting the early life of Mason and the personal struggles he goes through. Ellar Coltrane’s performance as Mason is simply mesmerizing. As he grows, he becomes more comfortable and relaxed in front of the camera. He approaches the character of Mason with such delicacy and assurance. Coltrane’s performance is something you’ve never seen from a child actor before in cinematic history. Throughout the film, you could understand that Coltrane cared about Mason throughout the 12 years, and wanted to make sure he was able to create a sense of friendship and warmth between himself and the audience. He makes us care for him as he grows and develops into manhood. One of the greatest child acting performances of all time and one of the best performances of this year.

Mason’s mother, Patricia Arquette, delivers an intimate and caring performance as Olivia. Arquette is able to add the the realism of this epic as she approaches issues in her life such as her marital problems, financial issues, and struggling to go to complete school. We feel we’re right there with Olivia at the table every time she gives a moment to cry as all the problems in her life are of too much stress to her. We feel for her and care about her without her trying to persuade us to feel such a way. Arquette delivers a beautiful performance. It’s time for her to earn her first Oscar nomination.

Ethan Hawke delivers an unforgettable performance as the father of Mason and Samantha. Hawke continues to impress on film after showcasing his amazing talent in the Before series, also directed by Linklater. Hawke is unreserved and intriguing as Mason Sr.. Hawke adds to the realism that is already apparent in the film by delivering his lines so naturally and with ease like in his previous work. Hawke is the heart to this film; sending a message to chase your dreams and to believe in yourself. He gives us an interesting look into being a divorced father and just being a person. His performance in Boyhood proves that he is a reliable, yet under-appreciated, talent in Hollywood. He continues to surprise us with his brilliance.

Then there is Mason’s sister Samantha, played by Lorelei Linklater (daughter of Richard Linklater). You unknowingly fall in love with her character throughout the film as she ages graciously from girl to woman. She provides such comfort, personality and warmth in her performance that you forget that this is a story and not for real. Linklater’s performance is just as outstanding and pitch perfect as the other members of the dynamic cast. She provides a breath of fresh air in this film and in the film industry as a whole. I hope that her performance is one that will be remembered for some time.

Overall, Boyhood is an unbelievable and powerful coming-of-age epic. It’s an epic without trying to be one. The performances are so natural, real, caring and strong. The direction is done with tenderness and love. The script is masterful. Linklater has done great work in the past with Before Surise, Before Sunset, School of Rock, Before Midnight, and Bernie. However, he has now done his best work to date with Boyhood. When the creators of film were alive over a century ago, this was what they had in mind. In Boyhood, we were emotionally invested in these characters. We cared for them, worried for them, laughed for them, and cried for them. You didn’t want the film to end. You wanted it to continue. You wanted to see what new journeys Mason and his family would embark on. I’ve always said that in order for a film to be successful, it needs to have the ability to emotionally attach itself to the audience and it did just that. Boyhood is one of the finest films in the history of cinema. Period. It is an instant American classic.

 

Our Behind the Scenes look at the 86th Annual Academy Awards!

Hey guys! Sorry for the long wait, but we finally uploaded our coverage video of our behind-the-scenes look at the 86th Academy Awards! In the video, my Oscar correspondent Alex gives us a look at the red carpet and the Dolby Theater the day before Oscar Sunday! Please check out the video and be sure to share.

2014 MTV MOVIE AWARDS THIS SUNDAY!

Hello everyone! Its been a while since I’ve posted anything here on MAX ON THE RED CARPET but I’m proud to come to you with great news. MAX ON THE RED CARPET will be reporting from the 2014 MTV Movie Awards this Sunday at the Nokia Theater at LA LIVE! The awards show, hosted by Conan O’Brien, will feature so many Hollywood A-listers expected to walk the red carpet including Seth Rogen, Zac Efrom, Shailene Woodley, Dave Franco, Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, Brooklyn Decker, Emile Hirsch, Mila Kunis and many, many more. The night will honor Channing Tatum with the Trailbrazer Award and Mark Wahlberg with the Generation Award. The show will also feature performances from Ellie Goulding, Twenty One Pilots, and Eminem & Rihanna.
The MTV Movie Awards are sure to be full of surprises, fun and plain old entertainment with Conan O’Brien hosting this year’s show! We look forward to reporting on the red carpet and covering! Stay tuned for more red carpets on our YOUTUBE including from the OSCARS and the MTV Movie Awards in the next week!

Should we count out American Hustle?

The entire awards season has looked like a 12 Years a Slave v Gravity battle. 12 Years a Slave has won Best Picture at the Golden Globes, Critics Choice, and BAFTA. Gravity has swept the Best Director awards at all the major awards shows. Alfonso Cuaron is considered safe to win the directing prize at the Oscars tomorrow, which correlates to the Best Picture award most of the time. Gravity also won Best Picture at the PGA’s, tying with 12 Years a Slave, and Best British Film at the BAFTAs. But is it still possible for the David O. Russell crime comedy to pull out a surprise win tomorrow? The film did pick up the SAG for Best Cast and the Golden Globe for Best Picture – Musical/Comedy. This looks a lot similar to the Best Picture Oscar winning routes that films like Crash and Shakespeare in Love took heading into Oscar Sunday. Crash won not a single major award win before the Oscars except for the SAG Award for Best Cast. By winning the SAG, Crash showed it had huge support among actors, which is the largest branch of the Academy. This helped the film cross the finish line and manage to pull off a surprise win over the heavy favorite Brokeback Mountain. Shakespeare in Love looks even more similar to American Hustle’s award wins. The 1998 British dramedy won SAG’s top prize along with the Globe for Best Picture – Musical/Comedy. With these wins, Shakespeare in Love was able to win the top Oscar over the Steven Spielberg-directed Saving Private Ryan, which had won the Critics’ Choice and Golden Globes for Picture and Director along with raking up at the PGA and DGA Awards. Those wins look pretty similar to what Gravity and 12 Years a Slave are winning. So if the two frontrunners are raking up those big wins, could a split give American Hustle the top prize? American Hustle certainly has a great base of support. It won the SAG so its support among actors is solid. Members may want to finally award David O. Russell after being the loser in directing and screenwriting categories for The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook. Could we envision the film to go the Crash/Shakespeare in Love route on Sunday?
Well to analyze this, let’s look at American Hustle’s other nominations and the chances it has in other categories. Russell is nominated for director, but Cuaron is the favorite for Gravity. Christian Bale is nominated for leading actor, but that nomination alone was seen as a surprise. Amy Adams is nominated for leading actress. She looks like the 2nd place candidate to Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine, but I highly doubt that Adams can gauge enough support to takeover Blanchett’s frontrunner status. Bradley Cooper, nominated for supporting actor, has no chance in his bid against Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club, who has been racking up all the supporting actor prizes at the major awards shows. Perhaps the best chance American Hustle has in the acting categories is Jennifer Lawrence’s nomination for supporting actress. She won the Golden Globe and BAFTA, but does have serious competition with Lupita Nyong’o of 12 Years a Slave, who won the SAG and Critics’ Choice. Its best chance for a win is most likely screenplay where Russell can finally get the Oscar win he deserves. Its film editing and production design nominations doesn’t look likely to be victorious because of its competition with Gravity and The Great Gatsby, respectively. American Hustle has a slightly better chance with its last nomination, Costume Design, with its main competition being The Great Gatsby. It stands a good chance though, based on the film’s glitzy 70’s outfits.
In conclusion, based on its strength in the other categories, American Hustle doesn’t seem likely to pull off a win. It would need strong support in its below-the-line nominations, which it just doesn’t have. American Hustle just has too much strong competition with Gravity and 12 Years a Slave, which are far ahead of the rest of the pack. If, during the ceremony, we see it winning Supporting Actress, Costume Design, and one more surprise win, such as Amy Adams’ nod, then I’d have reason to change my mind. But I just don’t see the likelihood of the film gauging enough support to overcome Gravity AND 12 Years a Slave.

Does the 2009 Oscar Season Offer a Clue About This Year’s Race?

This Oscar race is in full swing. The best picture category is the closest it has been in years. Will the Academy go for a historic choice and pick the visually dazzling, technically genius sci-fi thriller or keep it safe and go for the important American historical drama on slavery? This race is looking a lot like Avatar vs. The Hurt Locker race in 2010 when the Academy decided to keep it safe and for for the important historical piece over the visually stunning masterpiece. But will the Academy make Oscar history this year by proclaiming Gravity as best picture, making it the first sci-fi and 3D film to win? That’s what Avatar hoped to do. Or will the Academy be conservative and go with 12 Years a Slave, which dramatized an important time in history. That is what The Hurt Locker did.
To figure this all out, lets take a look at the pre-cursor awards. 12 Years A Slave won best picture – drama at the Golden Globes along with best film at the BFCA Awards. They tied with Gravity at the Producers Guild Awards. Gravity is also sweeping the best director category at all the awards shows, including the BFCA, Globes and DGA because of the masterful direction. That could help Gravity cross the finish line since the directing winner mostly aligns with the picture winner. With 10 nominations for Gravity and 9 for 12 Years A Slave, it shows that the Academy’s love for both films are roughly equal which makes this race all the more harder to figure out. 12 Years A Slave‘s 9 nominations however was seen as a bit of a disappoint. many pundits expected roughly a dozen nods for the slavery drama but was snubbed in categories such as Original Score, Sound categories, Cinematography, and Costume Design. The omission of the film in these categories may give a subtle hint that the film is not as well liked as other films such as Gravity, which scored all the nominations in all the categories it was expected. Plus, Gravity is sure to lock up most or all of the technical categories giving the film at least 5 or 6 wins off the bat.
The Academy may be wanting to make some history and I feel this is the year to do it. They didn’t go for it in 2010 with Avatar (rightfully so, in my opinion) but Gravity had the breathtaking visuals and effects along with superb acting, direction, and cinematography, The film was a masterpiece. And I think come Oscar night, as of today, the Academy will give it the top prize. We still do have one more pre-cursor left to see the results of: the BAFTAs. And American Hustle may be this year’s Crash. Hustle won the SAG for ensemble and Golden Globe for best picture – musical or comedy. But that’s a whole other story…

Check it out: My short documentary THE MILK EFFECT

FINAL PREDICTIONS for 86th ACADEMY AWARDS NOMINATIONS

Without further or do, my predictions…

BEST PICTURE
12 Years A Slave
American Hustle
Gravity
Captain Phillips
Nebraska
The Wolf of Wall Street
Saving Mr. Banks
Her
Inside Llewyn Davis
Dallas Buyers Club

Alternate: Blue Jasmine

BEST DIRECTOR
Alfonso Cuaron “Gravity”
Steve McQueen “12 Years a Slave”
David O. Russell “American Hustle
Paul Greengrass “Captain Phillips”
Martin Scorsese “The Wolf of Wall Street”

Alternate: Alexander Payne “Nebraska”

BEST ACTOR
Matthew McConaughey “Dallas Buyers Club”
Chiwetel Ejiofor “12 Years a Slave”
Bruce Dern “Nebraska”
Tom Hanks “Captain Phillips”
Leonardo DiCaprio “The Wolf of Wall Street”

Alternate: Christian Bale “American Hustle

BEST ACTRESS
Cate Blanchett “Blue Jasmine”
Sandra Bullock “Gravity”
Emma Thompson “Saving Mr Banks”
Judi Dench “Philomena”
Amy Adams “American Hustle”

Alternate: Meryl Streep “August: Osage County”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Jared Leto “Dallas Buyers Club”
Michael Fassbender “12 Years a Slave”
Barkhad Abdi “Captain Phillips”
Bradley Cooper “American Hustle”
James Gandolfini “Enough Said”

Alternate: Jonah Hill “The Wolf of Wall Street”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Jennifer Lawrence “American Hustle”
Lupita Nyong’o “12 Years a Slave”
June Squibb “Nebraska”
Oprah Winfrey “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”
Julia Roberts “August: Osage County”

Alternate: Sally Hawkins “Blue Jasmine”

We’ll see if my predictions match the nominations when they are announced tomorrow morning!