Screen Savors: Catch them at home

The year’s top movies come to the small screen.

‘Wild’ movie (photo credit: PR)
‘Wild’ movie
(photo credit: PR)
Some of the year’s most celebrated – and infamous – movies are playing now on television.
In Boyhood, which will be shown on HOT Gold tonight at 10 p.m., Richard Linklater found an extraordinary way to tell the coming-of-age story of a fairly ordinary American kid – by filming the same actors for 12 years.
Mason (Ellar Coltrane) starts out at six, the son of a struggling single mother (Patricia Arquette, who won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar) in a small town in Texas.
The movie takes him up the age of 18 as he heads off to college. It shows him grow in maturity and confidence as he copes with a drunken stepfather, an often distracted mother, unrequited love, and a father (Ethan Hawke) who grows very slowly into a responsible man late. Some have criticized the 12-year shoot as a gimmick, but watching this sweet young boy grow into a cynical young man is like that time-lapse photography that shows a flower bloom.
In the end, Boyhood was edged out in the Best Picture race by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), which is currently showing on YES VOD. It’s a showy, special effects-laden story about a washed-up action star (Michael Keaton) trying to make a theatrical comeback. Entertaining and fast paced, it takes place mostly indoors and should play well on the small screen.
If you missed (or were too embarrassed to see) Fifty Shades of Grey in the theater, here’s your chance to see it in the privacy of your own home – it’s now on YES VOD. The movie didn’t get great reviews, but as a film made by professionals, it’s at least marginally better than the novel, which started out as fan fiction about characters in the Twilight series.
Now, after 100 million copies of the book and its sequels have been sold, the rest is pop-culture history.
Dakota Johnson, the daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson and granddaughter of Tippi Hedren (the terrorized woman in Hitchcock’s The Birds), is bland but endearing as the clueless Anastasia Steele, who falls under the spell of the emotionally stunted 27-yearold billionaire with abs of steel, Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan).
Although the film may not move you artistically, as a business model the whole Fifty Shades franchise is fascinating.
Also on YES VOD, Reese Witherspoon gives an appealing performance in Wild, a movie directed by Jean-Marc Vallee. Based on a memoir by Cheryl Strayed, it’s the story of a young woman, reeling from the loss of her mother and a foray into hard drugs that ruined her marriage, who finds herself by hiking 1,000 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail.
On the face of it, this may sound like an overly pat TV-movie drama, but the screenplay by novelist Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, Juliet Naked, About a Boy) creates many moments of suspense, as well as some very moving scenes of Strayed overcoming challenges.
Witherspoon, who has sometimes seemed a bit too cutesy, gives a wonderful performance. All the elements come together into a movie that is engrossing and touching.
If you’ve been missing the lovers of Showtime’s The Affair, which aired on HOT, you can start counting down to October. The series, which was created by Hagai Levy (who made Be’Tipul and its American version, In Treatment) and Sarah Treem, tells the story of a married writer, Noah (Dominic West), who seems to be happily married to his college sweetheart, Helen (Maura Tierney). While on vacation at his in-laws’ spectacular beach home, he embarks on a passionate affair with Allison (Ruth Wilson, who will be starring in Avi Nesher’s next film, which will be shot in Jerusalem), a waitress/ nurse, also married, who lost her young son in a drowning accident.
Each episode covers the same time frame, but the first half is told from Noah’s point of view and the second half from Allison’s.
In interviews, the cast and crew revealed that the new season will feature two new points of view: Noah’s wife and Allison’s husband.
Two new trailers have been released recently.