Now available on Blu-ray and DVD via RLJ Entertainment, The Phenom is a baseball movie that refreshingly breaks convention by not focusing on the sport itself. Instead , this subtly and evocatively rendered drama is a character study of the highest order, focusing on the little details that pushes talented and unassuming pitcher Hopper (Johnny Simmons) in a ton of different directions.
Opening in limited release Friday in New York and Los Angeles, Maggie’s Plan centers on Maggie Hardin (Greta Gerwig), a thirtysomething New Yorker whose plans to have a baby with a sperm donor (Travis Fimmel) takes a left turn after she falls in love with an anthropology professor (Ethan Hawke). Complicating matters is the professor’s seemingly distant Danish wife (Julianne Moore) who still has feelings for her all too distracted spouse.
Movies such as The Others, The Sea Inside, and Open Your Eyes (which was later remade by Cameron Crowe with Vanilla Sky) has showcased the storytelling acumen of filmmaker Alejandro Amenábar, and his latest film Regression hits Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand May 10.
Ethan Hawke takes on one of his most challenging roles to date with Born To Be Blue, a look into the life of famed (and troubled) jazz trumpeter Chet Baker. Also known as for his mesmeric and smooth vocal stylings, Baker was one of the leaders of the West Coast jazz scene, and the film spotlights a pivotal moment of his comeback in the 1960s.
“My ambition and my goal when I’m teaching and with myself is to amalgamate the musician with the person so that they’re one and the same,” says 88-year-old pianist Seymour Bernstein, the subject of Ethan Hawke’sresonant documentary Seymour: An Introduction.
Boyhood, director Richard Linklater’s magnum opus of a young child’s (Ellar Coltrane) subtle journey of self-discovery, was named Best Picture of the Year by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA).
“Originality was honored in this year’s awards from LAFCA, with several prizes going to Richard Linklater’s twelve years in the making Boyhood, and other important awards for the imaginative Grand Budapest Hotel, the groundbreaking cinematography of Birdman, and the tour de force performance by Tom Hardy in Locke,” said LAFCA president Stephen Farber. “Our group again honored a range of films from around the world and an impressive array of emerging and veteran talents.”
The 40th annual Los Angeles Film Critics Association awards takes place Saturday, January 10 at the Intercontinental, Los Angeles.
Below is a list of the winners:
Picture: Boyhood (Runner-up: Grand Budapest Hotel)
Director: Richard Linklater, “Boyhood” (Runner-up: “The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson)
Actor: Tom Hardy, “Locke” (Runner-up: Michael Keaton, “Birdman”)
As one grows and matures into the world, many facets of one’s life is expected to improve. For actors and filmmakers, learning and honing their craft, mixed in with a genuine curiosity, should only deepen their work. During the Boyhood interviews, Ethan Hawke was asked if he’s become a better actor over the years, and his humble response gave an insightful look into the process.
“I would like to think I’m a better actor now,” said Hawke who referenced his work in Joe Dante’s feature Explorers in his response. “But I’m just dealing with the hand that I have now. I’m not a better actor now – I wish I was. It’s a nice idea.”
Check out the audio clip below as Ethan Hawke talks about the difference between acting in film and on stage – and he also explains why he really doesn’t feel that he’s a “better actor” at this moment. Boyhood co-star Patricia Arquette also chimes in on the answer, as she explains the joy and challenge of working with young actors Ellar Coltrane and Lorelei Linklater.
Boyhood is now playing in select theaters, and if you’re a fan of Richard Linklater’s previous work (Before Midnight, Slacker, Waking Life), then this film should be up your alley.
The oft-used term “film gods” blessed the Boyhood production in manifold ways, and considering director Richard Linklater and his crew devoted over 12 years of their lives to this epic storyline, a bit of positive karma was thankfully part of that experience. A portion of that goodwill was also generated by America’s national pastime.
Boyhood centers on a boy named Mason (Ellar Coltrane) as he navigates his way through the pains and joys of childhood to eventually become an introspective and insightful teenager. His path is met with its share of heartache, which includes witnessing the failed relationships of his mom (Patricia Arquette) and the Peter Pan complex ridden behavior of his well intentioned dad (Ethan Hawke). Lorelei Linkater, the director’s daughter, plays Mason’s sister Samantha. Clocking in at 164 minutes, Linklater
During Boyhood’s press conference, Ethan Hawke and Richard Linklater talk about how a bit of luck and good timing aided the production. During one year, Hawke had to catch a plane right after shooting a bowling sequence in Boyhood, and if he missed the flight it would have led to horrible repercussions for another project he was working on.
For Linklater, he was more than thankful when he a Jason Lane homer (while Lane was with the Houston Astros) made it into Boyhood. That father and son baseball bonding moment was turned into a truly exciting turn of events thanks to that fortuitous Astros dinger.
“The biggest luck of all, in a lot of ways, was Lorelei and Ellar,” said Hawke. “Their contribution – we could have never predicted.”
Click on the media bar below to hear Linklater and Ethan Hawke talk about the “film gods” that blessed Boyhood (Arquette is also heard in the clip) .
In anticipation of director Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood,” my neurotic mind drifts to last year’s “Before Midnight” press conference. The “Before” stories, which detail the lifelong romance between Jessie (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) bears a spiritual kinship to “Boyhood,” a project Linklater shot from 2002 to 2013.
Clocking in at 160 minutes, “Boyhood” gives us a peek into the life of Mason (Ellar Coltrane), the son of divorced parents (Hawke and Patricia Arquette). As the trailer suggests, we see Mason (and Coltrane)grow before our very eyes. Although it’s a one shot film and “Before” may be ongoing series, both narratives deal with our relationship to aging.
My favorite Jackson Browne album moniker is “Time the Conqueror,” and such a concept may be applied to Linklater’s work. For better and worse, the years do have an affect on our collective spirits, and it’s what we do with that time that truly matters.
Humanity’s ever expanding scope and reach serves as Richard Linklater’s creative canvas, and don’t expect the director to work with anything less, even if his films don’t pack ’em in like some bloated, nonsensical, summer blockbuster.
“We do have this small audience in mind when we get to a crossroads and we think, ‘Oh well, cinema, storytelling language says if this plus this equals an unlikable character then you just don’t do it,'” said Linklater during the ‘Before Midnight’ interviews. “We think, ‘well that’s a construct, that’s not really real. It’s the narrative, storytelling bubble (that) cinema exists in.'”
Click on the media bar below to hear Linklater explain why movie lovers play an important part in the creative drive behind “Before Midnight,” and it’s a conversation that I’m sure can be applied to the aesthetics behind “Boyhood.”
Director Richard Linklater’s revered Before trilogy (Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight) will be spotlighted at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The screenings, as well as a discussion headed by Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, and Linklater, takes place Sunday, February 9 at the historic Lobero Theatre.
Delpy received a Golden Globe nod for her work in Before Midnight. The actress, Linklater, and Hawke also garnered Oscar nods back in 2005 for Best Adapted Screenplay (Before Sunset).
“This trilogy creates one of the most authentic portrayals of love on the screen,” says SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling. “And it’s an undeniable gift to be able to experience all three movies in one day as well as to host its three talented creators.”