Monday, October 26, 2015

Some movie reviews: Boyhood, The Mission, Monsters Inc., The Breakfast Club

Boyhood - Richard Linklater, over the course of 12 years, tells the story of a boy growing up. Meeting with his cast each year for a few weeks each time, we see a kid and his relationships with his family, change. An innovative story-telling approach, Linklater relied on his memories and a general outline to frame each year's action. We see the star of the movie, Mason Jr. (Ellar Coltrane) starting in Kindergarten, having to suffer through an embarrassing hair cut in 4th grade, and dealing with peer pressure in high school. Seeing the actors grow older and seeing their characters develop is unlike anything I've ever seen. The kids' growth, both physically and character-wise, is the most amazing part of the movie. It feels so natural and organic. I really loved the movie. It is the least flashy and the most authentic-seeming film about childhood I've ever seen. Linklater's bold choice to commit to a 12 year production and the continued interest of two children is something that never would have happened in a Hollywood movie. Credit to him and his crew for remaining trend-making and original. I don't have kids, but I can't imagine that outside of real life, childhood can seen this real.

The Mission - Heroic, magnanimous men of the cloth, right? That's what you think if you believe this film. A gorgeously shot movie, it depicts the commitment of Jesuit priests to the Guarani natives of South America while Spain and Portugal fought for control over the land. There is some fine acting from Robert DeNiro, Ray McAnally, and Ronald Pickup, but Jeremy Irons seems overly detached and wooden. While the movie is gorgeously shot, the story is largely fictional. The priests followed the orders of the church and did not fight with the Guarani against Spain and Portugal. I enjoyed the film but given that the priests didn't stay heroically with the Guarani, I found it hard to get too excited over a film that is so flattering to them.

The Breakfast Club - Back into the heart of the '80s with this film. It is fabulously written and very well-acted by the whole Brat Pack cast. Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, and Ally Sheedy are totally gnarly particularly noteworthy. It wouldn't work without a fantastic script and Hughes has painted a rich (if all-white) depiction of the cliquishness of high school in suburban Chicago. Dude.

Monsters Inc - Saw this movie again after seeing it initially in the theater and it holds up well as an entertaining movie for kids as well as a wise comment on the importance of laughter. Effortlessly stylish and fantastically voiced by John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Steve Buscemi, Meg Tilly, and James Coburn, it is a film that doesn't set a paw wrong.

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