Tag: Texas


July 21st, 2014 — 5:57pm

****Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 12.46.50 AM

Boyhood-rm– If you are any kind of a movie fan you will not want to miss this film. Buy a large bag of popcorn and settle in for a 2 hour and 40 minutes historic experience. You are going to see perhaps the birth of a new genre in filmmaking. This is the story of a young boy from the age of 6 through 18. The name of the character is Mason and he is played by one actor (Ellar Coltrane) who ages before you along with his divorced parents (Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawkes and his sister Samantha (Lorelei Linklater, the director’s own daughter). This film is the brilliant brain child of veteran film director Richard Linklater who convinced IFC Films to pony up $200,000 in 2002 which is probably the equivalent of over 2 million dollars today for a film project which would shoot Linklater’s screenplay for one week each year for 12 years. It follows the young boy and his family through his high school graduation. The mother, Oliva (Arquettte) is divorced from her first husband, a well meaning but immature Mason Senior (Hawkes). She struggles and puts herself through college while she is going through two more marriages to alcoholic husbands while trying to raise her two children. Hawkes portrays the biological father trying during his periodic visits to be a good dad and wants especially to teach his son the things he believes it is his job to pass on. It is quite dramatic to see both parents (and both actors) age and mature during the time of the film. Both Hawkes and Arquette turned in outstanding acting performances. However, the main focus of the movie is on young Mason. You have to give Linklater full credit for choosing this particular 6 year old child (Coltrane) and taking the chance that not only would he pull off the movie but that this growing child would stay with the project. It worked and we watch Mason grow to be a sensitive and in many ways a typical teenage kid growing up in Texas. We see the pain he experiences from his broken home but also the teenage angst that many in the audience of all ages will understand. The movie flows extremely well as the participants seamlessly age before our eyes. This required outstanding editing by the director and editor Sandra Adair. It would not surprise us if Linklater and this film receive several Academy Award nominations. However, we suggest that you don’t wait for Oscar season to see this outstanding film. (2014)

Comment » | 5 Stars, Drama

All She Can

June 9th, 2011 — 7:42pm


All She Can (previously named Benavides Born) –sp  When a movie can target a contemporary social issue in human terms with a fresh approach, it deserves attention. Young people growing up in South Texas, despite many of their families having lived there for several generations, have very few options for breaking out of poverty and achieving the American dream. Husband and wife filmmakers Amy Wendel and Daniel Meisel  looking to write their screenplay and make their first feature film were drawn to this area and wanted to tell this story. They spent a great deal of time in and around Benavides Texas where they came to understand the plight of a number of young people in this community. The main character of their screenplay is Luz (Corina Calderon) a high school senior and a competitive weight lifter who sees the possibility of winning the state championship as the road to a college scholarship which will pay for her college education. In reality, other sports provide the more likely avenue for college scholarships although the introduction of this mostly unknown high school competition is part of the attraction and fascination of this movie. In Texas the top 8% of any high school class is accepted to the University of Texas but they have to come up with the money to pay for tuition. Perhaps this is why this film also showed the friendly military recruiters in the halls of the high school and also why a disproportionate number of our combat soldiers come from rural areas such as the one shown in this film. This also accounts for the desperation that we see in Luz and the extremes to which she is willing to go to win her weight lifting championship and achieve her goal of getting a college education. This is not your typical “ Rockyesk “ movie where the hero or heroine is shown delivering their triumph in the end. In fact, despite the difficulty and hardships of the struggling high school students, the film reminds us that this is nothing compared to the desperation of the people risking their lives and the lives of their children as they sneak across the border. This determination becomes the inspiration of the main character and of this movie. This film will touch your emotions as well as educate you about some painful realities in this country. It merited being selected for the Sundance Film Festival this year and we highly recommend it.

Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama


March 3rd, 2011 — 6:24pm



Skateland sp- Anthony Burns along with Brandon and Heath Freeman wanted to write and make their first movie about East Texas in the early 1980s where they grew up. The tag line of the movie expresses what they were trying to capture, “ It was a time when life was easy …in a place they though would never change.”  Skateland was the town roller rink where the young people gathered and some hung around or returned there even after graduating High School. The film focuses on  a crowd where everyone smoked, drank beer and jockeyed for their boy girl relationships. The two main characters are Brent Burkam  (Health Freeman) slightly older than the rest who unsuccessfully raced motorcycles for a few years and comes back to town to hang around with buddies such as Ritchie Wheeler (Shiloh Fernandez)  who is about to graduate high school. He is the assistant manager of the roller rink and can’t decide what to do with his life. There are shades of  young Ron Howard and Richard Dreyfus, playing characters trying to figure out their lives in American Graffiti with the 1970s take on that decade. Jump forward ten years and we have the constant music beat of the 80s setting the background for the young peoples angst, mixed with drinking, parties, cars and some violence. While the story is about the guys, there is an interesting influence of the women. Ritchie’s younger sister Mary(Haley Romm) and his girl friend Michelle(Ashley Greene) are the strong characters of the movie perhaps reflecting the women’s movement as did the actions of Richies Mom (Melinda McGraw). While the setting and life style may not quite be the early 80s of the northeast where our kids grew up, this young movie team has created an enduring period piece. The photography, setting and the direction is definitely first rate . We may look back on this film and realize that it was a breakout for several of the actors who were excellent.  The movie earned a slot at the Sundance Film Festival which is not an easy accomplishment for an Indie low budget film which was a first time effort for  the Director and writers. It will have distribution and will open in late March- early April in NY and LA. (2011)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Drama

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