Director Richard Linklater’s last film, the Oscar wining “Boyhood,” was a slice of life that showcased twelve years in the life of a growing boy. His new movie is also a slice of life but in a much-condensed form, spanning just three days in the life of a college baseball player.
It’s 1980 and when we first meet Jake (Blake Jenner) driving toward the next phase of his life, college. In the backseat are a small bag of clothes and a milk carton filled with his favourite LPs. Arriving just three days before classes start, he bonds with his teammates over KISS pinball machines, longneck Lone Star beers and boings filled with Maui Waui. They party, talk baseball, play a more violent version of Rock! Paper! Scissors! called “knuckles” and try and meet girls as the clock ticks down to the first day of classes.
Largely conflict free, this isn’t a story so much as it is a snapshot of a time and place. It’s a transport back to the time of waterbeds, “My Sharona,” fashionable mullets and trippy Carl Sagan cosmology. Linklater recreates the freewheeling feel of the era and the last blast of childhood before the responsibilities of adulthood. The temptation will be to label this a more innocent time, but that isn’t exactly accurate. These guys are just as interested in scoring with girls as they are soring runs on the field so innocent they are not. At most this is an affectionately nostalgic glimpse back into our recent past.
“Everybody Wants Some!!” is a charming reminiscence. Linklater gets the details right—including a crude warning against the pleasures of waterbed sex—but more importantly populates the film with characters that feel like real people and not stereotypes conjured up by a 1980s way-back machine. It’s troubling that the female characters are given little to do—perhaps Linklater’s next could be from the point of view of the woman’s experience—but the men are entertaining and compelling sorts whose conversations are occasionally inane, occasionally philosophical, just like real life.
In the last shot of “Everybody Wants Some!!”Jake watches his professor scrawl “Frontiers Are Where You Find Them” on the blackboard. The film doesn’t bother with its character’s boundaries, choosing instead to introduce to them as they are beginning the searching for their frontiers. The movie and its characters live in the moment, and that’s a pretty fun place to be.
“Y’all have no idea what you’re dealing with, do you?” asks cult leader Calvin Meyer (Sam Shepard) of his FBI interrogators in “Midnight Special.” They don’t, and for much of the running time of the film, you won’t either. Director Jeff Nichols has made a wilfully obtuse, but fascinating, sci fi drama that will keep you guessing, even after the credits have rolled.
The movie begins as an apparent missing child story. We’ve seen the scene before. A dowdy motel room, armed kidnappers, a child hidden under a sheet. What’s unexpected is how agreeable the eight-year-old Alton Meyers (Jaeden Lieberher) is. He hugs Roy (Michael Shannon) and sits quietly in the backseat as Lucas (Joel Edgerton) drives.
Seems Roy is the boy’s biological father and the men have kidnapped the boy from The Ranch, a cult compound run by Brother Calvin Meyer (Sam Shepard). The goal is to allow the boy to fulfill his destiny, but what exactly is that?
Is he a prophet? A saviour? Or a weapon, as the FBI and NSA officer Paul Sevier (Adam Driver) believe?
The boy has powers. Visible spectrums of light come from his eyes. In other words, the kid has gifts and rays shoot from his eyeballs. While on The Ranch would also speak in tongues. To the cult his is ravings have become scripture, to the FBI they appear to contain highly guarded secrets of national security. The date Friday March 6 looms heavy in the text, and with the date fast approaching the FBI want to know what might happen on the day.
“What do you think will happen on March 6?” they ask one cult member.
“If Alton is with us we will be saved,” she replies.
As the FBI amp up their chase for the boy, Sarah (Kirsten Dunst), Roy’s ex and Alton’s mother, joins in to help her son complete his journey. “The date and place is everything,” says Roy. “It’s all we have.”
“Midnight Special” is a special kind of sci fi film. The story is more about fear of the unknown and belief than flying saucers or little green men. Mulder and Scully would love it. Director Nichols has belief, belief that his audience will stay with a movie that doesn’t make it easy for them, that doesn’t stick to Robert McKee’s golden rules of script writing. Instead it teases out the information but only to a point. We learn enough to stay involved and are treated to several spectacular and exciting scenes along the way, but when it comes time to put a period on the story, Nichols instead uses a an ellipsis in a metaphysical ending that will mean different things to different people.
This is a, “Buy the ticket, take the ride,” movie. Is it satisfying? Yes, if you don’t expect answers to all the questions the film raises. It’s more “2001: A Space Odyssey” than “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” although this movie does share Klaatu’s cool eye lasers. Both are good, interesting pictures, but one is unconventional and brave enough to ask more than it answers.
Richard and CJAD Montreal morning show host Andrew Carter kick around the week’s two big releases, the 1980s throwback “Everybody Wants Some!!” and the Michael Shannon sci fi thriller “Midnight Special.” (Starts at 36:57)
After reviewing over one hundred submissions from comedies to thrillers to compelling dramas, Lakeshorts International Short Film Festival will bring the world of cutting-edge independent short filmmaking to Toronto’s Lake Shore. The Festival, produced by Fifth Ground Entertainment Inc. in association with Lakeshore Arts, will celebrate its sixth year at The Assembly Hall at 1 Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive on Friday, May 6 and Saturday, May 7, 2016.
Running for two evenings, the Festival will showcase some of the best independent short films from around the world. On Friday, May 6, the focus will be on the Scotiabank Loved and Local selections, featuring the works of local, emerging filmmakers and hosted by award-winning actor Rick Roberts (Saving Hope, Republic of Doyle, Rookie Blue).
Loved and Local films include: The Offer (10 min, Canada), a quirky story about a door-to-door salesman selling answers to life’s questions in the form of encyclopedias; Zero Recognition (10 min, Canada), starring Lauren Collins (known for her role as Paige Michalcuk in Degrassi: The Next Generation) who decides to brave the world of internet dating and quickly finds her ego and sanity unravelling; and Who Is Hannah? (14 min, Canada), an unlikely coming of age tale based on the true story of co-writer Claire Stollery’s experience of meeting her biological father.
The Gala event on Saturday, May 7 will showcase international and award-winning short films, and will be hosted by renowned film critic Richard Crouse. Blue Carpet arrivals for the Gala will commence at 6:30 p.m. followed by a pre-performance reception, and the screening will begin at 7:45 p.m.
Featured films at the Gala include: Wrinkles, old folk’s tale (12 min, France), a charming tale about four seniors who decide to leave their home; Remembrance Day in a Weapons Factory (7 min, UK), which takes its audience through the practical and psychological aspects of warfare and Avo (9 min, Iran), a story about a young boy who finds a way to stay in touch with his grandfather from beyond the grave.
Lakeshorts is helmed by Artistic Director Michelle Nolden, a recent Canadian Screen Award winner for her ongoing role as Dr. Dawn Bell in CTV’s Saving Hope and soon to be released Prisoner X, and is produced by Fifth Ground Entertainment Inc.’s Chris Szarka.
“Over the past six years, we have watched this Festival grow from a grass-roots initiative to a city-wide favourite event,” said Nolden. “We are honoured to bring our passion for film to our community while making the world aware of our rich artistic life here in Toronto.”
Tickets for The Lakeshorts International Short Film Festival go on sale Friday, April 8 at 9:00am ET. Tickets to the Scotiabank Loved and Local are $40 and Gala tickets are $65, both available for purchase at 416-201-7093, and online at www.lakeshorts.ca. Door prizes offered include Samsung devices, Steam Whistle products and a bicycle from Oxygen Bike Co.
The Lakeshorts International Short Film Festival acknowledges outstanding achievement for featured short films through awards donated by local sponsors Agency 71 Inc., Cinespace Film Studios, City of Toronto, Deluxe Post Production Toronto, Scotiabank, Steam Whistle Brewing, TD Wealth, The Assembly Hall and William F. White International Inc.
For more information, please visit www.lakeshorts.ca or follow @LakeshortsFilm on Twitter.
Welcome to the House of Crouse. This week show runner Glen Mazzara shares secrets about how he made the transition from hospital administrator to Hollywood hotshot and John Lydon talks about… well, just about everything from frozen nipples to Richard III.
Check out the Richard Crouse Show NewsTalk 1010 podcast for March 4, 2016! Richard welcomes Nick Krewen, Roger Costa and John-Angus MacDonald and Jack Syperek of the Trews to talk about the new Jeff Healey CD “Heal My Soul.”
Here’s some info on The Richard Crouse Show!: Each week on The Richard Crouse Show, Canada’s most recognized movie critic brings together some of the most interesting and opinionated people from the movies, television and music to put a fresh spin on news from the world of lifestyle and pop-culture. Tune into this show to find out what’s going on behind the scenes of your favorite shows and movies and get a new take on current trends. Richard also lets you know what movies you’ll want to run to see and which movies you’ll want to wait for DVD release. Click HEREto catch up on shows you might have missed! Read Richard NewsTalk 1010 reviews HERE!
Richard and “Canada AM” host Beverly Thomson have a look at he weekend’s big releases, the bombastic “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2’s” souvlaki slapstick and the terrific tension of thriller “Eye in the Sky.”