Reviews

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Step Up 5: All In

  • Currently 1/5 Stars.

STEP UP: ALL IN (USA/PG/112mins)
Directed by: Trish Sie. Starring Allyson Stoner, Ryan Guzman, Izabella Miko.
THE PLOT: 
There's a dance competition and people enter it with the hope of winning, turning their lives around and getting a couple of days in Las Vegas to boot.
THE VERDICT: There has to be a market for the STEP UP movies, seeing as they keep getting made, but the trouble is that they just keep getting worse. The story this time sees people giving up on their dreams and returning home, with one plucky dancer - Sean (Ryan Guzman) - staying behind to work on his dreams. All the stars of the previous movies turn up here for their last dance in the spotlight, so fans will be delighted, but there is really very little on offer here.
There is really very little point in discussing performances, because John Swetnam's script is the typical underdog dancer story with plenty of melodrama and fraught emotion thrown in. The dialogue is overly simple, and the performances are so wooden and filled with ‘ACTING' that they turn unintentionally comedic.
Those waiting for the dancing to redeem the movie can calm down now. There has been way better dancing in earlier instalments in the franchise; the best sequence is a small one between two characters, the group scenes simply fail to impress. As for the 3D, it seems as though we sat through the entire movie with the uncomfortable glasses on, for one scene where some sand is kicked at the audience. As well as this, Las Vegas is completely underused as a setting; we spend much of the time in America's Playground checking out basements, admittedly fancy hotel rooms and a rollercoaster graveyard. There's very little dancing done on The Strip, and what dancing there is, is underwhelming.
In all, STEP UP: ALL IN is a film for the diehard fans of the franchise. The story is predictable, the performances laughable and the dancing disappointing.
RATING: 1/5
Review by Brogen Hayes 

The Nut Job

  • Currently 1/5 Stars.

THE NUT JOB (Canada | South Korea | USA /G/85mins)
Directed by Peter Lepeniotis. Starring Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser, Katherine Heigl, Maya Rudolph.
THE PLOT: Surly (Will Arnett) is a squirrel with dreams of a full belly. Together with his rat pal Buddy, he decides to rob a nut cart. Raccoon (Liam Neeson), the head of the wildlife community in the park is not best pleased when the heist goes wrong and Surly is exiled. It is not long before Surly finds a bigger target, and learns some home truths about himself, Raccoon and the animals he has left behind.
THE VERDICT: Will Arnett seems to have rotten luck when you think about it; ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT ended too soon - and the fourth season was a disappointment - RUNNING WILDE was cancelled - again, too soon - and his smaller comedies never seem to make much of an impact. It's a good job he has THE LEGO MOVIE under his belt already this year, because truth be told, THE NUT JOB is not going to win Arnett any fans. Surly the squirrel is meant to be an anti-hero, but ends up being more a jerk than anything else. Arnett's voice work is good, but the script hampers him. Liam Neeson plays a character with a dark agenda - shocker - and has a companion who looks awfully like an Angry Bird (capital letters intentional). Brendan Fraser, Katherine Heigl, Maya Rudolph and Jeff Dunham suffer from having very little to do, but still, they do what they can.
The real trouble here is the script. Basing the film on a short may have seemed like a good idea, but Surly is not a character that we can root for, and we certainly don't want him to succeed. In fact, the same goes for all the characters, who seem to spend much of their time double crossing each other; so much so that it is often hard to keep track of who is friends with who, and why. As well as this, there is a completely unnecessary storyline involving humans, which just adds to the unlikeable characters, and the confusion.
Peter Lepeniotis directs capably, but never allows the characters to grow on the audience, so while the film is filled with action, slapstick and shouty characters, it turns into a fast paced, confused mess. The animation is perfectly fine, but the use of 3D is unwarranted, as is the liberal use of Psy's Gangnam Style, a year too late.
THE NUT JOB may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but Arnett fails to charm, Neeson plays a character we have seen him play before, the story is a mess and the animation uninspiring. A shame. There is a sequel planned for 2015, but at least we have a second LEGO MOVIE on the cards, and with it, the hope that Arnett will return as Batman. 
Rating: 1/5
Review by Brogen Hayes 

Mood Indigo

  • Currently 2/5 Stars.

MOOD INDIGO (France/12A/94mins) 
Directed by Michel Gondry. Starring Audrey Tautou, Romain Duris, Gad Elmaleh, Omar Sy, Aissa Maiga, Charlotte Le Bon, Sacha Bourdo, Michel Gondry.
THE PLOT:
 A wealthy young man-about-Paris, Colin (Duris) spends most of his dapper days coming up with wacky inventions (he's particularly proud of his pianocktail, which makes cocktails from the notes played), listening to Duke Ellington and being fed by his chirpy chef, Nicolas (Sy). The one thing Colin wishes he had in his life is love, and when he sees Chloe (Tautou) across a crowded party, he's instantly smitten. Their courtship is swift, and surreal (floating around Paris in a cloud car being a literal highpoint), and seemingly destined for happy ever after status. Until, that is, Chloe gets water lily growing on her heart. Soon, the dream is over. Very over.
THE VERDICT: 
Somewhat typical of that mad, magical Gondry, you never quite know where you are with Mood Indigo. It swings, to say the least - from PEE WEE'S PLAYHOUSE to ERASERHEAD, ostensibly - becoming a film of two very distinct halves. From bright, happy day to dark, dangerous night. 
Gondry is a man who knows what he's doing when it comes to topsy-turvy worlds, of course, and the cult novel that he's working from here - Boris Vian'sL'Ecume des jours/Froth On The Daydream - would appear, on paper, to be something of a perfect fit for the man who brought us ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND, THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP and, eh, THE GREEN HORNET. Still, the shift from ditzy feelgood to creeping nausea here, as Jeunet gives way to Gilliam, is a little hard to stomach. All that early psychedelic Blue Peter whimsy, with Duris chirpily engaging in all sorts of Hulot-In-A-Hurry shenanigans, slowly and surely drains away to TIDELAND in a beret. 
RATING: 2/5
Review by Paul Byrne 

Guardians of the Galaxy

  • Currently 5/5 Stars.

MOVIES.IE'S ONE TO WATCH!
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (USA/12A/120mins)
Directed by James Gunn. Starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Dave Bautista, Sean Gunn, Michael Rooker, Lee Pace.
THE PLOT: It's Earth, 1988, and little Peter Quill (Wyatt Olef) is sitting anxiously in a hospital corrider, his Walkman blasting out any outside noise. When his grandfather brings him in to say goodbye to his dying mother, Peter can't quite bring himself to hold her outreached hand as she let out her last breath, causing the young boy to flee the hospital. Outside, he's suddenly caught in the beam of a spaceship and lifted upwards...
Cut to 26 years later, and Peter (Pratt) is something of a scavenger-for-hire, dancing his way into nabbing a heavily-guarded orb, and very nearly losing his life in the process. Also looking for this precious little item is Ronan The Accuser (Pace), one of his big boss Thanos' two adopted and adapted killer babes, Gamora (Saldana), offering to go fetch. Also messing up Peter's payday is Yonda Udonta (Rooker), his former mentor-turned-hunter, whilst a price on his head means that this would-be Star-Lord quickly learns he's bitten off far more than he can chew here... 
THE VERDICT: Going well beyond the call of duty, even for a crowd-pleasing Marvel extravaganza, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY is one of those rare beasts where pop culture, a smart bunch of people and a really, really big budget just get it on. Hitting all the traditional space opera notes with relish, Guardians manages to be both true to its origins and cheekily irreverent at the same time.
The clever device of a much-loved 1970s AOR mix being ever present on our leading man's old school Walkman is a real treat too. How could anyone resist hearing Mick Ronson's soaring, searing, spaced-out guitar solo on Bowie's Moonage Daydream as another colourful pulp art sci-fi neighbourhood opens its psychedelic, kaleidoscopic petals?
In many ways, it's all there in leading man Chris Pratt, a hugely likeable comedy doofus who, lo and behold, scrubs up real well. His Peter Quill sparks like a young Han Solo, and certainly the Guardians core crew of beautiful losers neatly fits the original Star Wars blueprint, right down to Saldana's kick-ass Princess Leia-from-another-mothership and unlikely bounty hunter duo Rocket and Groot coming across like steampunk C-3PO and R2D2. As for huggable, sluggable Drax The Destroyer (played beautifully by WWE veteran Dave Bautista), he, The Hulk and The Thing could make an interesting Stooges tribute act.
Who knows where the Marvel Studios juggernaut will end, as they ride high on this current wave of comic book, sci-fi and fantasy role-playing malarkey, but, right here, right now, they would appear to be at the very top of their game. 
RATING: 5/5
Review by Paul Byrne 

Earth to Echo

  • Currently 2/5 Stars.

EARTH TO ECHO (USA/PG/91mins)
Directed by Dave Green. Starring Teo Halm, Brian ‘Astro' Bradley, Reese Hartwig, Ella Wahlestedt, Jason Gray-Stanford, Alga Smith, Cassisu Willis.
THE PLOT: With their Nevada neighbourhood about to be ripped apart by a highway construction project, best friends Tuck (Bradley), Munch (Hartwig) and Alex (Halm) are getting ready to move on out when they start getting strange signals on their mobile phones. Bringing along their standard issue pretty blonde friend Emma (Wahlestedt), the gang decide to try and source the signal - and they're soon face-to-face with a bargain basement toy from outer space...
THE VERDICT: Hey, welcome to Not-So-Super 8! Although, to be fair, director Dave Green (making his feature debut) isn't shy about revealing his influences here, Earth To Echo being largely a homage to E.T. The Extra Terrestrial right from its storyline and look to its poster and hook. It's just not a very good homage. 
Not that EARTH TO ECHO is a total write-off; there are moments, and the young cast have their charms, whilst Green keeps the overly-familiar plot bouncing along nicely. For those with parents cruel enough not to have shown them E.T., or The Goonies, or any other 1980s kids cult classic, Earth To Echo may even prove a delight. Still, you can see why Disney eventually passed this on to Relativity Media - it's fine, but galaxies away from being magical. 
RATING: 2/5
Review by Paul Byrne

Hercules

  • Currently 1/5 Stars.

HERCULES (USA/12A/98mins)
Directed by Brett Ratner. Starring Dwayne Johnson, Rufus Sewell, John Hurt, Ian McShane.
THE PLOT: Hercules (Dwayne Johnson) is rumoured to be the son of Zeus, and a mortal woman. Famed for his great feats in battle, Hercules faces a new challenge when the King of Thrace (John Hurt) seeks his services as a mercenary for hire, to defeat a dangerous and spreading threat.
THE VERDICT: Dwayne Johnson seems to have been cast for his sheer size, and while there is nothing truly wrong with his performance - he is fine - there is nothing truly right with it either. Ian McShane and Rufus Sewell bring some unnecessary comedy to the proceedings and John Hurt gives the same shouty John Hurt performance we have seen from him before. He's better than this; he knows it and so do we.
The screenplay spends much of its time undermining what we know from Greek legend and the films of Hercules that have gone before. Any trace of magic, godly interference or mystery are stripped away, leaving Hercules simply a man who is good with a club, and the audience wondering why we are watching this particular story, instead of the far more interesting tale of Hercules' 12 Labours.
Hercules is a film based around set pieces, and while these are intense and action packed, they are also supremely silly and - for the most part - unexplained. Why did the villain set a trap if he was not going to be there to see the fun? Why did the King of Thrace go into battle anyway, if the army was going to have to spend most of their time protecting him? What is everyone's end game anyway? The Rock gets some nice shouty motivational speeches, but these actually turn into comedy, since they try to sincerely rip of speeches that have since been parodied.
As well as this, the film - perhaps predictably - is in 3D and, also perhaps predictably, is far too dark. Removing your 3D glasses will give an idea of how the film was supposed to look, but with the glasses on, HERCULES becomes a sea of shadows with a shouty muscly guy in the middle.
Director Brett Ratner seems to have tweeted his directions to his actors - run away #scared - leaving the film feeling generic and pointless. Also, why is the hero called Hercules? The film is set in ancient Greece, and the Greek name for this demigod is Heracles. Sigh.
HERCULES is a dark, 3D, loud mess. The son of Zeus is reduced to a guy with a lion cape, and the rest of the film is uninteresting and ultimately, pointless.
RATING: 1/5
Review by Brogen Hayes 

Norte, The End of History

  • Currently 2/5 Stars.

NORTE, THE END OF HISTORY (Philippines/IFI/250mins)
Directed by Lav Diaz. Starring Sid Lucero, Angeli Bayani, Archie Alemania, Archie Alemania, Soiman Cruz, Mailes Kanapi, Hazel Orencio.
THE PLOT: When the brutish, boorish law student Fabian (Lucero) brutally murders moneylender Magda (Mae Paner) and her teenage daughter, the crime - and the punishment - ends up on the shoulders of smalltown nobody Joaquin (Alemania), who was unlucky enough to have dealings with the deceased. Leaving behind his saintly wife (Bayani) and their two young children, Joaquin gets life in a maximum security prison, driving his missus to near-suicide and filicide. As this devastated family's struggle to survive unfolds, we also follow the fate of the narcissistic Fabian, as he becomes ever more psychotic...
THE VERDICT: Once again, Dostoyevsk's Crime And Punishment gets transplanted to another time and place, this time 21st century Philippines - and it would appear to be a smart move, given that Lav Diaz saw his 12th feature film receive ecstatic reviews at Cannes last year. So, why the hell is it so laborious to watch?
Well, the four-hour running time hardly helps, NORTE, THE END OF HISTORY feeling more like a TV box set than a feature film. Diaz is a leading light of slow cinema, having achieved his international breakthrough in 2001 with BATANG WEST SIDE - which ran for a buttock-numbing 315minutes. Still, that's nothing compared to 2004's 643-minute EVOLUTION OF A FILIPINO FAMILY and last year's six-hour FLORENTINA HUBDALO, CTE. 
In the age of ADD filmmaking (take a bow, Michael Bay), it's clearly wonderful to have cinema that takes its sweet time, and I'm sure there are those who will luxuriate in NORTE, THE END OF HISTORY as though they're taking a long, candle-quenching bath. For others - including myself - the last two hours here will feel like sitting in cold water. Trying to get heat from a candle. Still, 95% critical approval on rottentomatoes.com, so, I'm clearly missing something here. Like action. And a pulse. 
RATING: 2/5
Review by Paul Byrne

Joe

  • Currently 3/5 Stars.

JOE (USA/16/117mins)
Directed by David Gordon Green. Starring Nicolas Cage, Tye Sheridan, Gary Poulter, Ronnie Gene Blevins, Adriene Mishler, Sue Rock, Heather Kafka.
THE PLOT: There is a darkness to Joe Ransom (Cage), a man who has trouble controlling his temper. Working for lumber companies poisoning trees, Joe takes on alcoholic Wade (Poulter, who actually passed shortly after filming here) and his 15-year-old son Gary (Sheridan, who played a somewhat similar role in Jeff Nichols' Mud). It's a rough world these guys live in - something that becomes quickly apparent when Willie (Blevins) shoots Joe in retaliation for a bar-room slap, Gary later witnessing the former dumping the gun, their subsequent confrontation leading to a beat-down. From there, life gets a little meaner for everyone involved...
THE VERDICT: Having long ago chewed his way beyond caricature into something approaching Son Of Chuck Norris, there's really very little Nicolas Cage can do these days to make us forget that we're watching Nicolas Cage. We expect the maniacal eye-rolling and those comically OTT Al Pacino shout-outs, and pretty much every film, we get them. Often more, and sometimes, as here, a little less. 
Cage is pretty well cast in the title role here, this adaptation of Larry Brown's novel also proving a good fit for David Gordon Green (GEROGE WASHINGTON, ALL THE REAL GIRLS, PINEAPPLE EXPRESS). That both are somewhat flailing around in the dark and menacing for a shot of career credibility merely lends Joe another layer of twisted bleakness. 
RATING: 3/5
Review by Paul Byrne

Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon

  • Currently 5/5 Stars.

SUPERMENSCH: THE LEGEND OF SHEP GORDON (USA/IFII/85mins)
Directed by Mike Myers. Starring Shep Gordon, Mike Myers, Michael Douglas, Alice Cooper, Willie Nelson
THE PLOT: 
Shep Gordon is something of a legend on the music and movie scenes, but while he is well known to those in the know, not many actually know the story of the man behind the management. Mike Myers - yes, that Mike Myers - directs a documentary about a man who singlehandedly brought the world Alice Cooper, celebrity chefs and Teddy Pendergrass, and has proven himself, time and again, to be one of the good guys.
THE VERDICT: Through the eyes of Gordon's celebrity pals and clients - Michael Douglas, Sylvester Stallone, Alice Cooper, Anne Murray, Myers himself and many more - as well as the man himself, Gordon's story is told. From humble beginnings as a man with a sociology degree who found himself being punched by Janis Joplin, Gordon made famous friends, and found a way to deal pot; by posing as a manager. Before long, fiction became reality - when the cops clamped down - and Shep found himself managing Alice Cooper, and finding a way to make the schlock rocker a household name.
The story told is a fascinating and funny one; Myers allows the people in Gordon's life to speak for themselves, and what emerges is the story of a man with a big heart and the desire to protect the people that he cares for. That's where the title of the film comes from; mensch is a Yiddish word that means ‘person of integrity', and from paying hotel bills that he ran out on, to finding a way for people to be paid a fair wage for their work, Gordon has proven himself worthy of the title.
Of course, being a friend of Gordon, director Myers rarely touches on the darker side of this Hollywood good guy, but then perhaps there is no dark side to explore. Myers weaves together the stories of those who have worked with, crossed paths with and admire Gordon - and those that he admires, namely His Holiness the Dalai Lama - including members of the paparazzi who Gordon has formed a relationship with. There are hints at the notion that Gordon's womanising ways may have got him into trouble at some point, but then surely this balances out when you take into consideration the fact that he took care of his ex-girlfriend's daughter's family?
Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon proves that nice guys do not always finish last, and sometimes the word legend is not just hyperbole. Myers has crafted an elegant, funny and touching documentary about one of the big-hearted greats behind the scenes, that is uplifting, engaging, funny and touching. Is this the new Mike Myers? We can only hope.
RATING: 5/5
Review by Brogen Hayes 

I Am Divine

  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

I AM DIVINE (USA/IFI/90mins)
Directed by Jeffrey Schwarz. Starring Divine, John Waters, Michael Musto, Mark Payne, Greg Gorman, Mink Stole, Susan Lowe.
THE PLOT: Born in Maryland, Baltimore to conservative, middle-class parents, the young Harris Glen Milstead - everyone called him Glen - was your typical bullied, overweight only child. And then he met the budding young filmmaker John Waters, and realised that, despite having a girlfriend for the past two years, deep, deep down, Glen wanted to be Liz Taylor. And so Divine, a brazen grotesque of a drag queen, was born, a growing cult status as the leading lady in Waters' early outings finally breaking both of them into the mainstream with 1972's Pink Flamingos - in which, famously, Divine ate a fresh-out-of-the-oven dog poo. It did the trick, launching Divine as a star, the growing movie fanbase leading to theatre hits, and an unlikely sideline into disco diva with a string of dancefloor hits. Not that it was all fun and dames, weight and drug problems never quite numbing the pain of being rejected by his parents as soon as he came out as a teenager. Determined to be accepted outside of his Divine persona, Glen's career finally hit the mainstream in 1988 with critical acclaim for Hairspray (Waters' and Divine's Love Shack) and a role on the hot TV sitcom Married With Children, all not long after a tender reconciliation with his mother Frances (who died in 2009) and father Harris (who had passed in 1993)...
THE VERDICT: A life story that John Waters has gleefully and eloquently recounted through many a stage show and DVD commentary, it's still something of a treat to see the awkward, likeable, round-faced Baltimore teen here become the foulmouthed, hip-shaking, lobster-shagging Hitchcock-in-drag Queen of Trash. Hinting at the pain behind all the gleeful madness every now and then, director Jeffrey Schwarz is far more interested in inviting us to celebrate and enjoy this wild party of a life than to go through the past darkly. That Glen had deep wounds and high goals meant Divine was no crash-and-burn Warholian pony, the quality of the work growing steadily better and better.
Besides Waters and Glen's mum, there are, as expected, some beautiful freaks and chics on parade here, with the likes of Mink Stole and Glenn's late stage co-star Helen Hanft offering up some sweet, chucklesome memories. 
RATING: 4/5
Review by Paul Byrne 

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (USA/12A/130mins) 
Directed by Matt Reeves. Starring Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Toby Kebbell, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Kirk Acevedo, Nick Thurston.
THE PLOT: As the opening apocalyptic TV news montage explains, it's been 10 years since the outbreak of the Simian Flu at the end of Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, and king of the swingers Caesar (Serkis) and his ever-evolving primate pals have set up their new colony in the woods on the outskirts of San Francisco. When not mentoring his son, Blue Eyes (Thurston), and getting ready for the arrival of a new sprog, Caesar is busy making sure that this nascent civilisation is that little bit more civilised than the one they ran away from. Only trouble is, man is still around, a scouting party led by the wide-eyed and compassionate Malcolm (Clarke) proving unwelcome guests as they set out to repair an old damn generator. Told in no uncertain terms to "Go!", the fact that these apes can talk fascinates Malcolm. And sends a chill up the spine of Dreyfus (Oldman) back at base, pushing his determination to help this small human colony thrive, no matter what the cost...
THE VERDICT: It says a lot about how far motion capture has come that you never once pause to think about the technology involved in Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes. When Caesar goes head to head with a rebel in his ranks, or those pesky humans, it's all about the performance, not the strings. Of course, it helps when that performance is attached to a good script, and director Matt Reeves (coming off of Cloverfield and that solid Let The Right One In remake, Let Me In) is a very steady hand for what could have been a very rocky ship. A solid franchise relaunch in 2011 (with the $481m-earning Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes) exited with an apocalypse, as the apes revolted and bolted and the human race battled against that deadly Simian Flu. How to follow that without going full Bay bombastic? Well, here's how. Dawn is lush, serene, mean, moody and often magnificent - thanks in part to veteran cinematographer Michael Seresin (Midnight Express, The Prisoner of Azkaban, Gravity), and the innovation of taking motion-capture outside the studio - and it's definitely one for the big screen. 
RATING: 4/5
Review by Paul Byrne

Boyhood

  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

BOYHOOD (USA/15A/165mins)
Directed by Richard Linklater. Starring Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Lorelei Linklater, Elijah Smith, Steven Chester Prince, Bonnie Cross, Libby Villari, Marco Perella.
THE PLOT: Charting 12 years in the life of Mason Evans Jr. (Coltrane), from the age of 6 to 18, we meet our daydreaming protagonist staring up at the blue sky, Coldplay's 'Yellow' blasting on the soundtrack. Mason lives with his single mum (a powerful Arquette) and his smartass little sister, Samantha (a sparkling Linklater), whilst dad (Hawke) hasn't been around for a year and a half. When Mason Evans Sr finally arrives on their doorstep, mum isn't all that impressed. A move to Houston sparks a whole new chapter in the kids' lives, especially when mum marries her fun-but-strict professor (Perella). The initial security, and joy of having a new brother and sister, turns sour for Mason and Samantha though when proceedings turn into This Boy's Life. And that's when those difficult teen years kick in...
THE VERDICT: It must have been hard not to lean towards the epic here, given the 12-year shoot and the task of charting a real coming-of-age, but Linklater knows that it's the small details and apparently incidental moments that really tell a story. As with life itself, BOYHOOD feels endless and yet, there's a sense that it could also end at any given moment. The boy doesn't have to get the girl here. The separated parents don't have to kiss and play happy families before the closing credits. Everything here isn't leading up to the group hug.
There's joy and there's pain, there are little victories and embarrassing defeats, there's the magic and the mundane, the indifference and the ecstasy - all the yin and yangs that make up this glorious, bastard life. And BOYHOOD is not just all about this boy's life either - each of the four members of this broken family has a story to tell. Sister Samantha (Linklater's own daughter, Lorelei) goes from cheeky, pint-sized, Gertie-esque comic relief to self-conscious, awkward, sarcastic teen; dad goes from James Dean to Ned Flanders, from his slick, sick GTO to a grey, spayed minivan; mum survives a poisoned relationship or two, unwittingly putting her kids in the line of fire along the way as she progresses from dazed and confused single mum to, as all good mums do, something approaching mother earth.
There's truth, both painful and uplifting, running all the way through BOYHOOD, the early novelty of the Michael Apted ...Up approach giving way to something far closer to the fine American film tradition of capturing everyday modern families, a la Noah Baumbach's THE SQUID AND THE WHALE. With 12 years of material, perhaps it's understandable that the film edges towards the three-hour mark, but, for once, the buttock-numbing is worth it. 
RATING: 4/5
Review by Paul Byrne

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