Okay, I know you’re getting tired of this. Obligatory back-link: https://wetellatale.wordpress.com/?p=135&preview=true&preview_id=135. Proceed to reviews of Boyhood and Whiplash…
Boyhood- Best Actress in a Supporting Role
This one was tipped off to be the Best Picture winner, but lost out to Birdman. It’s based on a brilliant gimmick- the movie was shot over a period of 12 years, allowing us to see the protagonist, Mason, grow from a cute six year old to a moody college student.
Spoiler Alert: Nothing actually happens in this movie. Mason dresses as Harry Potter, gets a haircut, smokes pot, gets interested in photography, has a breakup, and moves away to college. There is no concrete plot, and the movie just fades out towards the end, rather than concluding. But the subtlety makes it charming, rather than boring.
Patricia Arquette won the Oscar for her performance as Mason’s mother. Her acting is understated but good, just like the rest of the movie. It’s been ages since I saw a fictional character so… realistically sane. When her husband descends to drunken violence, she leaves him in a dignified, legal manner. Most stories would have had the family becoming more and more dysfunctional, but she is truly a good mother and role model.
Watch this if you’re a real film connoisseur, and can appreciate good filmmaking. If not, well, it’ll bore you to tears.
Whiplash- Best Film Editing, Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Sound Mixing
Wow. This movie is the polar opposite of Boyhood, but amazing in it’s own way. A scary, strong performance by JK Simmons as an abusive music teacher forms the crux of the movie and makes it stand out.
Andrew Neiman is a jazz drum student at a prestigious music school in New York. He is motivated and dreams of making it big someday. He lands a part in a prestigious band, and works his ass off to make sure he meets expectations. The band teacher, however, is extremely harsh and a real slave driver. After several face-offs, Andrew snaps and gets into a physical fight with him. He’s expelled from school, but he’s taking the teacher down with him…
I’m not too familiar with jazz, but the music in the movie is excellent! Watch it if you like intensely dramatic movies with character driven plots.