CINEMA

This week’s movie releases

Shot over 11 years, Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ charts its hero’s path from first grade to manhood

Looking to the future: Ellar Coltrane in Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood.’
Looking to the future: Ellar Coltrane in Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood.’

Much has already been made about Boyhood’s unorthodox 11-year gestation: how director Richard Linklater picked out star Ellar Coltrane at the age of seven in 2002 and then revisited him and the rest of the cast each year up to 2013 to film the scenes that make up this masterful, fictional portrait of growing up. But the film itself couldn’t make less of a show of its big innovation, simply slotting all the footage together as Mason Jr. journeys from first grade to first drink, job, kiss, love, while his mom (Patricia Arquette) hauls the family round Texas to attain a better life – and escape a string of unsuitable partners – and his estranged dad (Ethan Hawke) struggles to grow up himself. So subtle are the changes, in fact, that it’s often only a different hairstyle or conversational aside that makes you realize time has passed. But it’s this laid-back realism – recognizable to those familiar with Linklater’s Before… trilogy – that give the film its cumulative power, each truthfully portrayed milestone stitching together to create something that, like our own lives, may never be entirely clear but is nonetheless meaningful, often magical and ripe with possibility. It’s all too easy to label any decent new film a masterpiece, but revisiting this over the coming years may well confirm it as the real deal.

Also out this week, John le Carré adaptation A Most Wanted Man stars the late Philip Seymour Hoffman as a wrecked German espionage agent in Hamburg on the trail of a Chechen refugee (Russian actor Grigoriy Dobryginin), who may also be a terrorist. As immigration lawyer Rachel McAdams goes about helping him recover his father’s fortune from banker Willem Dafoe, should he be arrested, followed, or helped out? Robin Wright and Daniel Brühl also feature in this thriller directed by Dutch rock photographer-turned-filmmaker Anton Corbijn (Control, The American).

Ten years after Garden State, Scrubs star Zach Braff goes back behind the camera for crowdfunded comedy drama Wish I Was Here. Braff stars (he also co-wrote the script with brother Adam) as a 35-year-old struggling actor in L.A. whose life comes to a head when his cancer-stricken father (Homeland’s Mandy Patinkin) says he can no longer afford to send his two grandkids to private school as he needs the money for treatment. Kate Hudson plays Braff’s put-upon wife and Josh Gad his oddball brother.

I Give It A Year is a British comedy starring Rose Byrne and Rafe Spall as a couple struggling to get through their first 12 months of marriage after everyone writes their union off. Borat and Brüno co-writer Dan Mazer’s directorial debut also features Anna Faris, Simon Baker, Stephen Merchant, Minnie Driver, Jason Flemyng and Olivia Colman.

Last writes

From Argentina, thriller Betibú stars Alberto Ammann and José Coronado in a story of a writer (Mercedes Morán) commissioned to write a series of newspaper articles about the death of a leading Buenos Aires businessman. But as she delves further into the case, she realizes that the murder is only the first in a series of killings of powerful men with a common past.

Another thriller, Spanish flick Tres mentiras, is centered on the stolen-baby cases of the Franco era. Based on a true story, it features Nora Navas as a woman investigating a Bilbao apartment where, between the 1970s and 1990, hundreds of unmarried pregnant women were taken to hide their shame and later forced to give up their children to a mysterious organization.

Finally, Gabor is a Spanish documentary about filmmaker Sebastián Alfie’s attempts to make a movie about blindness in the Bolivian Andes with a visually impaired cinematographer.

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