Category Archives: 2014

The reality of it all, “Boyhood,” is a work of art

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Sometimes I walk out of a movie, like the ‘Dallas Buyers Club,’ and go “WOW.” Most of the time I straighten out my legs, stand up and sigh, “Oh, well.” Then there was my surprise reaction to last year’s SDFF Starz Denver Film Festival Belgian movie, “Broken Circle Breakdown.”  When the movie was over and without warning, I broke into sobs. Then I pulled myself together to get out of the theater and cried all the way home in my car. Last night I walked out of the movie, ‘Boyhood‘ and simply went, “Ah.” I didn’t want to leave and I wanted to hug everyone in the movie. It felt really good.

Richard Linklater‘s newest creation (director of Dazed & Confused, 1993) has taken film to a new moment with Boyhood. The story line is about family. The who & what characteristics of a family and how time marks its growth. The fictional drama (as it is being called) is infiltrated with overwhelming, engaging elements of reality.  Ultimately gifting the audience with real-time changes (braces, baby fat, long hair, short hair) of the entire cast. Filmed for several days each year over a twelve year period the audience becomes totally mesmerized with the characters. There’s only one you’ll really hate and I’ll let you figure that out. The son, (Mason) Ellar Coltrane, is the obvious break-out star of this epic reality drama who is so endearing and interesting, even at six years old, you hope and pray throughout the movie that he is always ok. His sister Lorelie Linklater (Samantha) is the quintessential ‘it’ little girl. She’s the tiny, sassy Britney Spears brat-fan of 14 years ago and, before our very eyes grows into a beautiful young college student. Mother, Patricia Arquette and father, Ethan Hawke, are equally compelling.  They masterfully depict ongoing, every day life everyone can identify with at some age and period of adulthood and parenting. Boyhood proves that they are two of the best actors of our time and definitely adept at being in the moment.

Filmed in Texas, where director Linklater lives, the movie reverberates with memories.  Anyone who has ever gone to school there, lived there or visited Houston or Austin enough, will feel instantly at home and a little homesick. You even get to peek inside The Continental Club and Antone’s, Austin’s still hottest spots. Linklater knows what’s important to a Texan.

I would love to go on & on about this masterpiece. But, you need to see it. You will leave the theater reluctantly, but visually and emotionally content. Orson Welles had his ‘Citizen Kane.’ This is the era of Richard Linklater.

I sort of dread the for certain, poor copycat ‘fictional dramas’ that will surely follow but more of this good fictional drama is something to look forward to.  I am hoping it will evolve into other wonderful dramas that satisfy as this one did. But for this movie season, it’s ‘Boyhood,’ the movie. It will remain a work of art throughout movie history.

It’s playing at The Mayan Theater on Broadway.

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‘Finding Vivian Maier’

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Can’t get enough of Vivian?

I’ve been obsessed with the mystery of photographer Vivian Maier since I first read about her, probably a year ago. The documentary is now showing in Denver at the Esquire Theater.

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Thank God, John Maloof bid on a box of negatives at a Chicago storage unit. He casually sifted through them but was hoping to find historical references for the book he was writing. Once he determined there was nothing of significant historical value he put the box back in the closet. Curiosity forced him to open the box a second time and scan some images. What he found were hundreds, thousands of photos that suddenly seemed to be not only great photography but a treasure trove of art snapped by an absolutely unknown person, Vivian Maier.

The mystery expanded as her art unfolded, her photos and life story loosely pieced together. The woman behind the camera was a secretive person who took care of other people’s children and entertained herself and her charges by trekking through the worst parts of Chicago, her camera around her neck.

The results are astonishing, fascinating and beautiful. Vivian Maier, (b. 1926-2009) was an artist. Unraveling her story is part of the art and mystery of this strange and lonely woman. The documentary sheds light on a small piece of the puzzle. The questions asked like who was she, why did she take so many photos and never develop them, who was this woman who gave her name as V. Smith, among other aliases, inferring at times that she was ‘sort of a spy;’ she was born in NYC but had a noticeable French accent, who was she?

Finding Vivian Maier‘ is captivating. I still can’t get enough of Vivan. Fortunate for people like me who love stories like this, and thanks to John Maloof the world is still developing hundreds of thousands of her photographs. She was a curious soul who found art in the down and out back streets of Chicago. Her camera focused on people living through a bad day or a woman out on the town. Through her camera she was passionate, stylish, compassionate, friendly, social, happy.  Vivian more than any one, was aware her subjects had a story that was far more interesting than the one she could tell. She didn’t need words.

Now, we get to piece together her photos and the woman who lived through her Rolleiflex lens. Vivian Maier, a 20th century artist with the eye of an Otto Dix, Diane Arbus, Rembrandt, Nan Goldin. Her photos tell us what she knew. We’ll never know all we want to know about Vivian Maier.

 

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