Watch the whole thing HERE!
Posts Tagged ‘Boychoir’
Watch the whole thing HERE!
Recently “Whiplash” studied the student-mentor relationship as it applied to a drummer and his teacher. It painted a brutal picture of the ruthless search for perfection but the dynamic between the two fed the drama and made the extended drum solo at the end of the film as exciting as any action flick set piece.
“Boychoir” breathes similar air but is much lighter in its approach.
Stet (Garrett Wareing) is a rebellious Texas tween from a rough neighbourhood. He’s a troubled orphan with the proverbial voice of an angel given the chance to improve his life and voice by earning a spot at the Boychoir boarding school. Under the tutelage of the demanding Master Carvelle (Dustin Hoffman) Stet travels the world, sublimating his anger with music and creativity.
“Boychoir” will please people who found “Whiplash” too harsh. It’s the kinder, gentler version of the student-mentor tale that places the music in the forefront. The choral arrangements are stirring but the story could have benefitted from taking a chance or two.
Director François Girard does a nice job of moving the plot from A to B but, like the beautiful music featured on the soundtrack, is a bit too harmonious, too conventional in the telling of the story. Hoffman brings a sense of melancholy to a character who has given his life to music and left room for very little else. That would have been worth exploring, but “Boychoir” is content to smooth over the rough bits in favour of being a crowd-pleaser.
As an actor two time Academy Award winner Dustin Hoffman has created some indelible characters—Midnight Cowboy’s Ratso Rizzo and Tootsie to name a couple—but from an early age he dreamed of being a professional pianist.
“I wanted to be a musician but I was never talented enough,” he says, “so I’m not a musician. I have small hands—and by the way there is no correlation to your hands and personal parts—so I can’t reach much more than an octave.”
In the new film Boychoir he shows his musical side playing a choirmaster to a group of talented youngsters. During the film’s making he tinkled the ivories on screen and off, spending his downtime duetting with director François Girard.
“As far as François and I noodling on the piano,” he says, “I would have preferred it was only me. He was busy lining up the shots, but he did noodle, so there was a bit of competitive noodling.”
As a young man he studied classical piano but when it became apparent he’d never turn pro, he tried his hand at acting. “I had been flunking out of junior college and somebody said, ‘Try acting. Nobody flunks acting.’”
Enrolling at the Pasadena Playhouse, he shared a room with Robert Duvall and studied with Gene Hackman.
“No one told me I was a good actor,” he says. “No one told Gene and there was a third person, Duvall, and we hung out together. They are both much, much older than me. If someone was to say to the three of us in those early days that we were going to be successful, forget about being movie stars, everyone would have laughed. It’s kind of a freak accident that it happened to all three of us.”
Hoffman’s big break came in the form of Benjamin Braddock in The Graduate. Robert Redford was considered for the part but director Mike Nichols rejected the traditionally handsome actor—“ You can’t play it,” he told Redford. “You can never play a loser.”—in favour of the unknown Hoffman. The Graduate made him a star and is now considered a classic, but almost fifty years later he remembers how the critics savaged his performance.
The barbs hurt at the time, but he doesn’t let them get under his skin any more. “Critics are… I shouldn’t say,” he laughs, “I don’t know if anyone grows up saying, ‘When I grow up I want to be a critic.’”
Appearing in one of the movies! I was in Red Alert, a short that played before the movie Wet Bum. IT’s not enough that I cover 100 movies during the fest, now I have to be in them too! I even got a review. “@richardcrouse is great in Red Alert…” Mike Bullard wrote on twitter. “I’d like to tell you I didn’t know he was a redhead but I knew… I just knew ok.”
In person Benedict Cumberbatch’s voice sounds like hot melting wax. I liked Sherlock well enough and have seen him in several movies, but for me, and I know I’m the last to get it, his performance in The Imitation Game is a game changer. He plays real-life character Alan Turing, a Cambridge mathematician who volunteers to help break Germany’s most devastating WWII weapon of war, the Enigma machine. It was a top-secret operation, classified for more than 50 years, but that wasn’t Turing’s only secret. Gay at a time when homosexuality was illegal, punishable by jail or chemical castration, he was forced to live a world of secrets, both personal and professional.
Robert Pattinson telling me about how Hollywood was before camera phones: “When I first started going to LA everyone was underage and if you were a famous actor the rules did not apply. You could be a sixteen-year-old and go into a club but now that there are camera phones everywhere that doesn’t exist anymore. That period was so weird. You’d see a fourteen-year-old actor wasted, doing lines of blow on the table. It was crazy. Now they just do it at their parent’s house.”
Julie Taymore telling me that A Midsummer Night’s Dream “It was the first play I ever saw. I saw it here in Canada at the Stratford Festival…”
Michael Moore’s answer to my question about his reaction to all the celebrity he gained after appearing at TIFF 25 years ago with Roger and Me: Asked what was going through his head while all this was swirling around him, Moore says: “Why didn’t I go to Jenny Craig three months ago?”
“I don’t know where they are,” Kingsley says about his characters, “if they’re inside me waiting to come out or whether they are outside of me. Are they hunting me or am I hunting them? I don’t know.”
Repairing Dustin Hoffman’s watch. During a roundtable interview the alarm on his watch went off several times. He gave it to me and I looked up the instructions on how to fix it on Google. “How did it you look it up on line? They have instructions to fix Timexes on line? I don’t automatically go to those things,” he said. During the interview he said: “I was told to take acting. Nobody flunks acting.” Later he said that it wasn’t such a bad choice because, for instance, “No one ever says, ‘I want to be a critic when I grow up.’”
Lowlight… waiting for BIll Murray for seven hours. (Although I love this from @ZeitchikLAT: Bill Murray, offering implicit proof on the merits of Bill Murray Day: “If this is really my day, why do I have to do so much work?”)
Sitting next to next to Boo Radley, Bill Kilgore and Tom Hagan. (Robert Duvall!)
Most quotable actors of the festival? Robert Duvall who said, about acting, “There’s no right or wrong just truthful or untruthful.” He calls Billy Bob Thornton “The hillbilly Orson Welles…” and said “Brando used to watch Candid Camera.” Jane Fonda was a close second when she said acting is great for the heart but terrible for the nerves… “Butts have become more in fashion… (since Barbarella) and “Television is forgiving to older women and making it possible for us to have longer careers.”
“I have distilled socialism in this box and am taking it back to America.” – Robert Downey Jr in my roundtable interview.
#TIFF14 socks day 3. Chris O’Dowd called them “powerful.” and Rosamund Pike said, “I’m enjoying your socks. They make me happy.”
Watching “Whiplash” knock the socks off an audience at an IMAX P&! screening. It is part musical—the big band jazz numbers are exhilarating—and part psychological study of the tense dynamics between mentor and protégée in the pursuit of excellence. The pair is a match made in hell. Teacher Fletcher, played by J.K. Simmons is a vain, driven man given to throwing chairs at his students if they dare hit a wring note. He’s an exacting hardliner who teaches by humiliation and fear. This movie doesn’t miss a beat.
Love this quote: “Being in the military,” said Adam Driver of This Is Where I Leave You, “believe it or not, is very different than being in an acting school.”