Tag Archives: Patricia Arquette

Bringing Out the Dead (1999) Review

Time: 121 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1]
Cast:
Nicolas Cage as Frank Pierce
Patricia Arquette as Mary Burke
John Goodman as Larry
Ving Rhames as Marcus
Tom Sizemore as Tom Wolls
Marc Anthony as Noel
Cliff Curtis as Cy Coates
Director: Martin Scorsese

Frank (Nicolas Cage), a mentally strained and overworked paramedic from Manhattan, tries to maintain his sanity as he tends to various emergencies and hallucinates about all the people whose lives he could not save.

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I watched Bringing Out the Dead some years ago for the first time. I remembered it involving paramedics, Nicolas Cage and it was directed by Martin Scorsese, and I recall liking it. Of course, with The Irishman coming out, it was only appropriate that I check it out again, I wanted to be sure of what I thought about it. Watching it again, I not only consider this to be one of his most underrated movies, it could be among his best films as well.

Paul Schrader wrote Bringing Out the Dead, with this being the last collaboration between him and Scorsese. With that fact, there are comparisons with this movie to Taxi Driver, and indeed this movie is a bit of a companion piece, following a troubled protagonist who narrates the story. It really conveys the strain that someone has in the line of work as an EMT. It also doesn’t have much of structure and mostly focuses on the main character as a character study, I can get that a bunch of people would find it to stretch on for too long with not much happening. However I was both riveted and entertained throughout. One of the biggest surprises on this repeat viewing was the dark comedy, I don’t remember this movie being as funny as it was, and it’s definitely intentional and works with the very off kilter and strange tone throughout. Nonetheless it is effectively off putting and exhausting at times, just as the main character feels over the course of the plot. Whenever something really horrific and graphic happens, you really feel it. Despite it possibly being one of Scorsese’s darkest movies, it’s also strangely one of his most empathetic.

Nicolas Cage gives one of his best and underrated performances as lead character Frank Pierce. This movie surrounds this character, and he absolutely delivers and convinces in his role. So much of it is in the eyes, every time you look at him, he just looks tired, burnt out and exhausted, on the edge of sanity. Frank is haunted by the people that he’s failed to save, and partway into the movie he realises that his job is less about saving lives, and more about bearing witness to their deaths. He occasionally slips into some crazy moments that Cage is known for, but it actually really worked for the character. Having seen him here, I can’t see anyone else in this role. He’s definitely the star of the show but the supporting performances shouldn’t be overlooked, especially considering the number of memorable characters that Pierce encounters. Frank’s partners are played by John Goodman, Ving Rhames and Tom Sizemore, and they share great chemistry with Cage. Rhames is particularly a scene stealer and is hilarious. Other performers like Patricia Arquette and Cliff Curtis also do solid work in their roles. Scorsese himself also provides his voice for the dispatcher and he really fitted the role.

Martin Scorsese directs this and it’s no surprise that he does some great work here. Like with Taxi Driver it’s set in a very dark and grimy city, however here it feels even more unsettling and haunting. He does a good job at getting you in the head of Cage’s character. Robert Richardson’s cinematography is stunning, there’s a desaturated dull look to it that works oddly perfectly for the movie, the use of colour was quite effective. The soundtrack was great, with a solid lineup of songs that accompany the film perfectly.

Bringing Out the Dead is haunting, disturbing, darkly comedic, and all around fantastic, one of Martin Scorsese’s most underrated movies. Scorsese directs this with just the right amount of style, the character’s journey was a journey I liked being on, and the acting is great from everyone, especially from Nicolas Cage who does some outstanding work here. Definitely not one to miss.

Boyhood (2014) Review

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Boyhood

Time: 165 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Offensive language
Cast:
Ellar Coltrane as Mason Evans Jr.
Patricia Arquette as Olivia Evans
Lorelei Linklater as Samantha Evans
Ethan Hawke as Mason Evans Sr.
Director: Richard Linklater

Filmed over 12 years with the same cast, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood is a groundbreaking story of growing up as seen through the eyes of a child named Mason (Ellar Coltrane), who literally grows up on screen before our eyes. Starring Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as Mason’s parents and newcomer Lorelei Linklater as his sister Samantha, Boyhood charts the rocky terrain of childhood like no other film has before and is both a nostalgic time capsule of the recent past and an ode to growing up and parenting.

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Boyhood is an ambitious film, it’s a film that was shot over 12 years with the same actors every year to show the characters growing up without the need for alternate actors or CGI. Richard Linklater did a great job at directing this project, this film could’ve gone wrong in many ways but he keeps it all together with a well written script and a solid cast to deliver an overall great movie. I haven’t seen any of Linklater’s previous films but after watching Boyhood, now I want to.

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The film is shot over 12 years, so the actors in the film are aging, instead of just having different actors in different stages of their lives or using CGI. The 12 years of filming isn’t the only convincing thing, another convincing aspect that makes them look like they are aging is the writing, which is absolutely fantastic. It follows the characters for 12 years and there was not one moment that wasn’t convincing. The movie is 2 hours and 45 minutes but it is surprisingly interesting, it’s really the family scenes that are the most interesting. We really do follow the family on their lives, and it’s the little events that are shown. Some of these events appear and never come back to them again or get resolved (without spoiling anything), just like some events in real life. The film doesn’t have too much drama, it is a smaller film and doesn’t have many subplots that continue for the whole movie, but that really worked for the film. The dialogue is also well written for the characters in the different stages of their lives and it feels very natural.

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The great thing about this movie is that Boyhood’s characters are played by the same actors for the 12 years, so we really get to learn about and watch these characters throughout their lives as they grow up. All the actors, Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater, Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette and the rest of the cast are solid. As an audience, we become attached to these characters and they really feel human, and that’s because (along with the writing) of the acting and how genuine they feel.

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The look of the movie is also quite good, it isn’t one of the highlights of Boyhood but nonetheless despite it being nothing special, it is still set up well. Also the soundtrack should be mentioned, it really does fit in well with what was going on. The editing also is quite effective in putting everything in its place.

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Boyhood was one of the best movies of 2014, it’s an impressive and ambitious piece of cinema. Its remarkable 12 years of work on it was great enough to being with, the film also has brilliant writing and very good acting, resulting in my prediction that Boyhood will probably win best picture at the Academy Awards. I probably wouldn’t find myself seeing Boyhood again, the film doesn’t really have much rewatchability in my opinion, unless you are willing to study its many meanings but I think it’s still a necessity for everyone to see this film. See this movie as soon as you can, you won’t be disappointed.