Monday, July 28, 2014
Saturday, July 26, 2014
Friday, July 25, 2014
Thursday, July 24, 2014
It’s amazing what stays with you. Like the way I got to see my favorite movie of the year.
For the past couple weeks, anticipating the premiere of Boyhood, I couldn’t shut up about it, and so I called my friend John Kapelos last week and asked him to see it with me. He said, “Actually, I have an extra ticket to a screening for some movie this weekend. Let’s see..” as he read from an email, “it’s followed by a Q&A with Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette and Ellar Coltrane.”
And so we went. It was a remarkable way to see the film. Here are some of the things discussed:
• To help her bond with the kids who were going to play her son and daughter, Patricia babysat them for a weekend. Richard then asked her to name their characters.
• After the first four years of shooting, Richard’s daughter wanted to drop out, and asked him to kill off her character. But Richard thought that was too momentous a plot shift, and made her finish the next eight years.
• Richard never cheated by shooting footage years later and pretending it was original. Everything was shot chronologically.
• After watching the beginning of the film, Ethan thought he looked handsome, and that this would lead to a few other offers for roles. Then, he got to the end, when he’d aged 12 years, and gave that right up.
• Ethan also had a profound thought about the technique of the film: “Stories in novels progress through years all the time, so this type of storytelling is not unique in that regard. But it’s completely original in a film.” He was genuinely thrilled to be a part of it. He also was kept deflecting attention on him, constantly praising Patricia. He’s a good guy.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Fatherhood and tired moms are a major thread throughout one of the most innovative films of all time: Boyhood.
Writer/director Richard Linklater had an idea for a screenplay in 2001 about a boy growing up in Texas. But rather than use prosthetics to age the characters, he decided to shoot them for a week every year for 12 years.
This could have been simply a gimmick, but this was Richard Linklater, the king of independent film. (Independent = no money. No money = no CGI, no exotic locales, no hefty actor salaries. Dialogue is everything.) So he cast a six-year-old named Ellar Coltrane, who had never acted before, and had faith the kid would able to carry the movie and maintain his skills when he was 18. (He got lucky – Ellar can act and has poise.) Linklater then cast his own daughter (who also had never acted) as Ellar’s sister, and his friends Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke as their mom and dad, because he could rely on them, and they wound up collaborating on the writing as much as they could.
As daunting as this project seems, in some ways Linklater did himself a service. He didn’t have to use makeup to age actors (or cast an older actor to play teenage Eller.) He didn’t have to worry about using period-appropriate hairstyles, wardrobe, cars or props. We used flip-phones in 2001, and smart-phones in 2013. Pop culture has shifted from Britney Spears to Lady Gaga. Roger Clemens is seen in actual footage, pitching at the top of his game in 2005. Nowadays, he’s a steroid-using pariah who hasn’t played in seven years.
It’s fascinating. The film that opened four days ago began shooting before 9/11 happened. And four years before YouTube was launched, and six before the first iPhone. When production began, just about all movies were shot on 35mm; that film stock isn’t even produced anymore.
Linklater managed to keep the story linear and the footage seamless. You only know a year has passed because Ellar has subtly aged or his changed his haircut. I won’t spoil the story, but I will tell you it’s so real and you’ll feel so engaged that even though it’s two hours and 46 minutes long, you’ll want it to continue. It received a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and it’ll get multiple Oscar nominations. You gotta see it.
Monday, July 21, 2014
Melrose Place Farmers’ Market
Chaya, Beverly Hills
Mezzo Mundo, Studio City
Bread and Porridge, Santa Monica
Does Obamacare cover TMJ?