Tag Archives: Ethan Hawke

MAGGIE’S PLAN

Maggie's Plan -second

The engaging Greta Gerwig, who seems to be the manifestation of a child from Alvie Singer out of Annie Hall, headlines another, (let’s face it, it would be coy and disingenuous to deny it), quirky, kooky comedy, MAGGIE’S PLAN. For all that, it is sophisticated quirky comedy, and plays a treat.

Greta Gerwig plays Maggie Hardin, a young woman at a crossroads in her life. She is charming and optimistic, with success in her career in education and wonderful friends, but something is missing. Her sensible nature has led her to decide that without a great love in her life, she is going to have a child on her own.

Maggie has the support of her best friend Tony (Bill Hader), with whom she was previously romantically involved in college, and Tony’s wife Felicia (Maya Rudolph), whom she works with at The New School in New York City. When she runs into an old college acquaintance Guy (Travis Fimmel), a smart, good-natured, although slightly odd pickle entrepreneur, Maggie decides he is the perfect donor for her future child. Maggie’s life is planned, organised and calculated.

Self administering the spermatozoa, Maggie is interrupted by a visit from John Harding (Ethan Hawke) a college professor teaching elaborate anthropological courses such as “Ficto-critical Perspectives of Family Dynamics” and “Masks in the Modern Family from Victorian Times to the Present.”, who professes his passion for her and promptly inveigles himself into her vagina.

John aspires to be a novelist, and has found himself in an unsatisfying marriage to Georgette (Julianne Moore), a competitive and self-absorbed Danish academic, with whom he has two children, and it appears Harding has been harbouring a hard on for Maggie Hardin since they first met, a meeting brought about by the similarity in their surnames.

Falling in love and falling pregnant in one fell swoop, Maggie’s plan doesn’t go to plan, and neither do the ensuing years of blended families, domestic disharmony and creative curve balls.

So Maggie hatches another plan, which just reiterates that nothing in this life ever really goes to plan.

Written for the screen and directed by Rebecca Miller, based on a story by Karen Rinaldi, MAGGIE’S PLAN is a complex mature comedy where the conventional is trumped by the contemporary.

The casting is exemplary with Gerwig again displaying her particular genius as a comedic leading lady. Ethan Hawke revels in another bloke raging against maturity, and Julianne Moore is sensational as the Scandinavian ice queen.

MAGGIE’S PLAN is gorgeous to look at thanks to rising star director of photography Sam Levy, who has shot some of the most innovative films to in recent years. including Noah Baumbach’s Greta Gerwig starrer, FRANCES HA. Here, he renders New York anew, opening the audience’s eyes to different aspects of the city.

Refreshingly unforced, MAGGIE’S PLAN is a sock drawer of a movie – no matter how organised you are, there will always be the odd.

 

Russell Crowe’s ‘The Water Diviner’ receives 8 Australian Academy Award Nominations

4th AACTA Awards Feature Film Nominations

The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) unveiled its nominees for the Australian equivalent to the Oscar and the Emmy this week, with sci-fi thriller PREDESTINATION, leading the pack of feature films at nine nominations. Russell Crowe’s directorial debut, THE WATER DIVINER, received eight nominations including Best Film and Best Actor. Following with seven nominations is David Michôd’s THE ROVER, which will compete in the directing category, as well as in Best Actor for Guy Pearce and Best Supporting Actor for Robert Pattinson.

Continue reading Russell Crowe’s ‘The Water Diviner’ receives 8 Australian Academy Award Nominations

Predestination

Predestination1

Brothers, can you spare a paradigm?

Look, all you zombies, there’s a game changer in the retro time travel movie genre and it’s been made right here.

Written and directed by the Spierig Brothers, Michael and Peter, who freshened up the vampire genre a few years ago with Daybreakers, PREDESTINATION is a marvelous head trip that taunts, intrigues, entertains and thrills.

Continue reading Predestination

boyhood

Ethan Hawke, Lorelei Linklater and Ellar Coltrane in Richard Linklater's BOYHOOD
Ethan Hawke, Lorelei Linklater and Ellar Coltrane in Richard Linklater’s BOYHOOD

Ethan Hawke is the motion picture poster boy de jour starring in both the impressive PREDESTINATION and Richard Linklater’s brilliant BOYHOOD. Both projects are about time travel- the former speculative, the latter real and documented, the cinematic equivalent to time in a bottle, a masterful manipulation of time’s trajectory, its tidal sweep, and the magic in the minutia.

BOYHOOD was shot over 144 months, a 3 -4 day shoot every year, and is a chronicle of a kid, Mason, as he develops from age 6 to 18. Continue reading boyhood

BEFORE MIDNIGHT

Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke shine again in BEFORE MIDNIGHT
Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke shine again in BEFORE MIDNIGHT

Thankfully, Richard Linklater’s third instalment in the “Before” trilogy is a triumph.

It’s hard to believe that it’s eighteen years since we were introduced to Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) at their first meeting on the train hurtling through Austria. BEFORE SUNRISE chronicled their night exploring Vienna and their burgeoning romance.  Nine years later, BEFORE SUNSET witnessed their reunion in Celine’s home town, Paris. Now, we have BEFORE MIDNIGHT, with the couple going through a mid life crisis in Greece.

True to the original template, BEFORE MIDNIGHT is a travelogue talk-fest shot in long takes that serves an inherent honesty and truth in narrative and performance.

Credited as co screenwriters, Hawke and Delpy have coalesced their characters into a compelling coupling that has the verisimilitude that comes with genuine, grounded relationship. It’s like 7UP but polished and honed. Jesse and Celine take us to the coalface of long term  relationships as the mundane mendacity of domesticity assails the ramparts of romance gives it the dramatic frisson. We fell in love with the previous movies as the couple fell in love with each other. Now nine years on, we still love these characters, even though they might not be still in love with each other.

At the film’s beginning, Jesse is farewelling his son from his first marriage, and is considering returning to the States to spend more time with him.

Celine seems to have become shrill, disappointed with how the relationship has panned out, motherhood and marriage having marginalised her career ambitions. Jesse, always the greater romantic, to the point of fashioning a fiction around their lives, turning their love story into a tale for mass consumption, remains the incurable romantic, desperately trying to allay any derailment of their relationship.

Intelligent, mature and funny, boasting the best dialogue from an American picture this year, BEFORE MIDNIGHT nevertheless has the worm of worry built into its title. Will this midnight summer dream turn into a domestic nightmare, growing darker before the dawn, the fairy tale ending faltering and fading?

Here’s hoping there will be BEFORE DAWN  nine years hence, but if not, we’ll always have SUNRISE, SUNSET, MIDNIGHT as one of the great trilogies in movie history. Give me middle age over middle earth any day!