Obvious Child

Obvious Child is a small indie film from 2014, co-written by and directed by Gillian Robespierre and starring Jenny Slate. The story follows Donna, a young comedienne who gets pregnant after a one night stand. As she’s coping with being pregnant and what to do next, the universe seems to be pushing her and her “one night stand” together.

Jenny Slate is primarily known as a comedic actress, she spent one season on Saturday Night Live and had recurring roles on shows like Parks and Recreation and The Kroll Show. However, this film proves that she can do more than just comedy… well, sort of…. even though this film deals with real life topics, Slate plays out those dramatic elements with her own brand of humor. It’s as if the character of Donna was written specifically for Slate.
This film is quite brave, it takes an unfavorable view of abortion that most hollywood movies shy away from.
Movies like Knocked Up and Juno don’t even entertain the idea of an abortion more than just a passing comment. In this film keeping the baby is not even an option for Donna, especially in her current life situation.
Again, this element of the story is very brave considering it would offend the so called moral majority. But the writers and filmmakers took a stance which shows that sometimes people aren’t ready for what life throws at them, and they are forced to make a very hard, real-life decision.
Regardless of the topic or the decision she made, it was a breath of fresh air to see a film where the filmmakers aren’t shy about dealing with such a polarizing issue. Film is a communication medium, and whether you agree with the filmmakers viewpoints or not, more filmmakers shouldn’t be afraid of taking a stance on an issue that’s important to them.
Similar to Mom’s Night Out, which used the medium to communicate their message. It may not have been a message you agree with, but You have to respect them for doing it.
Another stand out in this film was the actor Jake Lacy, who spent a few seasons on The Office, but is largely unknown. Lacy played the “one night stand”, and he was so charming it’s hard not to fall in love with him.
His character was so interested in Donna he would have done anything for her. He was working so hard to get her to reciprocate, but Donna is so preoccupied with her situation she doesn’t notice him (it took her awhile to tell him about the baby).
I personally had been looking forward to this film since I initially heard about it on NPR. Being a fan of Jenny Slate, I was interested to see what she would do in such a dramatic role. Happily I was not disappointed… in fact I loved this movie so much it may have a place on my top 10 list of 2014. And not just because of Jenny Slate. even though she made this movie what it was, it was Jake Lacy, and the films producers that really made this film so special. It was a modern day fairy tale, albeit a not so perfect one.

Leonard Nimoy…

LeonardNimoy-WIDE

Okay, I wanna say something… I am a newcomer to Star Trek, I watched it here and there as a kid, but I appreciate it more as an adult.  But that doesn’t matter, because I’ve always known who Mr. Spock was… I can’t remember ever NOT knowing who he was.  Spock is an icon… Star Trek is an icon.

I have much respect for Leonard Nimoy because of Spock.

It’s really a shame though.  Excuse me as I get on a bandwagon… Leonard Nimoy died as a result of having COPD, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease.  According to a great article I read, COPD is related to emphysema which is the disease most associated with smoking tobacco.

Leonard Nimoy quit smoking 30 years ago, my grandfather quit smoking over 40 years ago… I stopped smoking over 2 years ago… it’s not worth it, the damage is done.

#smokingsucks

Leonard Nimoy 193-2015

https://www.yahoo.com/health/what-killed-star-trek-star-leonard-nimoy-the-112239917382.html

Don't take it from me, take it from the man himself.

Don’t take it from me, take it from the man himself.

 

 

Boyhood

boyhoodIn case you’ve been living under a rock, boyhood is the newest film by Richard Linklater shot over the course of 12 years.

The film mostly follows the story of Mason (played by newcomer Ellar Coltrane) as he navigates life as a adolescent, a teenager, and a young adult. He is surrounded by a loving and supportive family; his sister Samanta (played by Linklaters own daughter Lorelei Linklater), his mother (Patricia Arquette), and his part time father (Ethan Hawke).
Boyhood is getting a lot of hype, especially leading up to the Oscars, partially do to Linklater’s gimmick experiment of shooting it in real time. (I clearly write these reviews in advance)
The film was originally titled 12 Years, perhaps this title is more fitting than the one it ended up with. (The name was changed so as not to be confused with the 2013 Best Picture Winner; 12 Years a Slave). The reason this point is worth mentioning, is because truthfully this movie is more than just a portrait of a young mans life over the course of 12 years, but rather a portrait of his family.
Many critics have said that this film was equally the story of Masons’ Mom than it is about Mason. But I’d take that one step further because his sister Samantha’s life was just as important as Mason and his Mom.
This film suffers from too much story, it felt unbalanced, focusing too much on Mason, regardless of the films title.  The story that Linklater wrote often times feels repetitive and daunting. Many times throughout the film there was this overwhelming sense of doom within particular scenes, this led me to feel like something bad was about to does, but ultimately nothing happens. Not to mention, Linklater loves writing dialog filled with philosophy and life lessons, and ad Mason got older, the audience is presented with more and more life lessons. At a certain point as another teacher, mentor or family member give Mason more advice, it becomes eye rolling, as if everyone in Masons life has the answer, and there’s no opportunity for him to figure it out himself. As a result Mason felt flat and uninteresting, he was just a vehicle, floating aimlessly through the world for Linklater to share his words of wisdom through.
By balancing the story and allowing Mason’s sister and Mother to have more focus would have made this film much better. Of course then the film would have to be called Familyhood instead of Boyhood.
Overall I have never been a fan of Richard Linklater. For every one of his movies I like, there’s two I don’t like. And it seems the ones I do like, are the ones most people don’t. So overall I find him a little overrated, but I appreciate him for not only his love of cinema but also his willingness to experiment and try things no one has done before.
Making a movie with the same actors over the course of 12 years is a very brave move on his part. The need for instant gratification has to be eliminated, and patience has to take over. By doing this he most likely had a huge amount of unknowns… especially when dealing with kids who are constantly changing as they are growing up.
There were a few things that really interested me as a result of this experiment. One that stood out in particular is the technology in the film. If this had been shot in a traditional way with different actors playing the different ages, and sets dressed to look like 2002, (but shot in 2014) there would have been a lot of things done to made to look like its 2002. You would not have seen an iPhone in 2002… but since it was shot as it was, an old iPod to is was a new iPod when they filmed that scene. And to me that made things feel more authentic.
Obviously the story is really what bothered me the most about this film. To me, Linklater is not the best writer, his dialog is more like back and forth monologues than a conversation. Because of that, (as with many of his films) Boyhood failed to impress.
However, that is just one jaded critics opinion, this movie really is the talk of the town. Because of all this hype, I really believe this film could ultimately win the Oscar for Best Picture. It has already been nominated for more awards than any of Linklaters other films, and even one the Golden Globe for Best Picture – Drama. And Linklater himself also won for Best Director.
In closing; I do think this film and its director are very deserving of an Oscar, and despite my feelings I shared above, Linklater really does deserve it.