Boyhood is a film that thrives on personal reaction. Its attention to detail in cataloguing the last decade sent eerie shivers up my spine. Mason (Ellar Coltrane) dressing up as Harry Potter for the midnight release of The Half Blood Prince blew me right back into my baby-years. The film begins just after his parents’ divorce, and follows Mason and his family through a variety of friends, schools, stepfathers, and seminal moments for twelve years. However, despite how it may seem on the surface, I don’t believe that this film really is the ‘coming-of-age’ epic as it has been described. If anything, it is a journey through arrested emotional development and trauma, while dealing with never having quite enough. Detailed, sweeping, and hypnotizing, Boyhood connects across the emotional spectrum, and though it occasionally loses focus, it never becomes boring. In a project whose scope seems unwieldy, Linklater manages to pull off his usual filmmaking magic, sculpting and nudging reality into narrative form.
In one of the finest episodes of Futurama, Bender is told by the voice of God that ‘when you do things right, people won’t be sure you’ve done anything at all’. This is a quote that can be leveled at the genuinely phenomenal technology powering Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – sequel to 2011’s surprisingly good reboot/prequel for a previously sullied franchise – as eventually you will stop noticing just how real the titular primates look and then have to remind yourself that they were not, in fact, a physical part of the splendid world created by director Matt Reeves and the team at Weta Digital. Never before has a film integrated its effects so brilliantly, and yet non-flashily, into its story, and that alone is a staggering achievement. No expense or effort was spared in making believable environments, with the film combining mo-cap, location shooting and hand-built sets in a way that has never before been attempted by film-makers. (more…)