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Dazed And Confused (#110 of 5)

Berlinale 2014 Boyhood

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Berlinale 2014: Boyhood
Berlinale 2014: Boyhood

Boyhood proves Richard Linklater the nonpareil of carving out small moments of resounding truth in behaviors that are, for lack of any better phrase, made up. As in an early scene where a brother and sister’s quarrelling in the back seats of a car moves beautifully from bickering animus to snickering affection. Or when a mom makes the little “toot, toot” gesture with her thumb and forefinger to ask her teenage son if he’d been smoking weed. Or the father who consoles his kid with the harsh truth that his girlfriend “traded up.”

The film captures the young life of Mason (Ellar Coltrane) from first grade through his move-in day at the University of Texas at Austin. Shot over the course of 12 years with a cast of mostly unprofessional or semi-professional actors, as well as Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette, this remarkably powerful film seems like a stunt only on paper. The span of Linklater’s story, if it can even be called that, allows him the latitude to leisurely explore Mason’s relationships to his mother (Arquette), sometimes-deadbeat dad (Hawke), sister (Lorelei Linklater, the director’s daughter), and a rotating cast of friends, girlfriends, and step-siblings.

An Essential Entry in the Up-All-Night Canon: Dazed and Confused Turns 20

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An Essential Entry in the Up-All-Night Canon: <em>Dazed and Confused</em> Turns 20
An Essential Entry in the Up-All-Night Canon: <em>Dazed and Confused</em> Turns 20

Few directors are as enamored with the passage of time and the preservation of memory as Richard Linklater. From the episodic chronicling of a relationship in the Before trilogy and the real-time unfolding of the chamber play Tape to his upcoming Boyhood, which was filmed in vignettes over the last 12 years to reflect the aging of its protagonist, Linklater is primarily concerned with capturing specific moments of significance and preserving them like celluloid time capsules. To that end, Linklater’s teenage opus Dazed and Confused, a 1970s high-school snapshot that, on Oct. 10, celebrated its 20th birthday at the New York Film Festival, ideally and uniquely lends itself to an anniversary screening. And even if Linklater, who was present at the screening, joked in his intro that the film “never would’ve gotten into” NYFF when it was first released, it also doesn’t hurt that it’s one of the most beloved and influential movies of the 1990s.

SXSW 2013: Before Midnight, Mud, & The Act of Killing

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SXSW 2013: <em>Before Midnight</em>, <em>Mud</em>, & <em>The Act of Killing</em>
SXSW 2013: <em>Before Midnight</em>, <em>Mud</em>, & <em>The Act of Killing</em>

My friend John Morthland, who programmed panels for the South by Southwest film festival in its infancy, says he could only get panelists from Texas and nearby states in those days. The schedule is crammed with panelists and films from all over now, but the festival’s programmers still leave plenty of space for native sons and daughters.

Before Midnight, the latest film by hometown hero Richard Linklater, was one of the festival’s most anticipated features, and it didn’t disappoint. The third in a series of films about Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke), loquacious lovers who meet and spend a memorable day and night together in Before Sunrise, then reunite for another all-nighter years later in Before Sunset, Before Midnight picks up with the two living together, raising twin daughters and sharing custody of Jesse’s son from a previous marriage. Reaching the end of an extended summer vacation in Greece, the couple may also be nearing the end of their time together, as the compulsively truthful Celine keeps upending their cozy life, trying so persistently to figure out what she really wants that she forces even complacent Jesse to do some soul-searching.

15 Famous Movie Bullies

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15 Famous Movie Bullies
15 Famous Movie Bullies

Serving as the latest bit of evidence that a camera, a cause, and a whole lot of headline-friendly promotion can net unwarranted prestige, the Harvey Weinstein-backed Bully begins its nationwide rollout this weekend, its demand to be liked carrying an ironic whiff of oppression. From the schoolyard to the psych ward, the bully was a cinematic staple well before becoming a hot-button news topic, and we’ve got examples to prove it. The meanies in Lee Hirsch’s new doc may commit acts of school-bus terrorism, but they’d cower to these soul-crushing jerks.