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06 Nov 2013

Blu-Ray Review: The Good and Bad Recent Works of Mr. Ethan Hawke

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This week, we’re taking a look at the 2013 works of Mr. Ethan “Consistency Is Not My Forte” Hawke.

Jesse (Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) return for Before Midnight, their third movie after Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, and they remain as interesting as ever. After going to Celine’s apartment nine years ago in Paris, the two hooked up for good, with Jesse’s marriage ending.

This third film in the series starts with an amazing scene between Jesse and his son (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick) in an airport. It builds momentum until an emotionally exhausting ending (in a good way). The movie features Jesse and Celine talking a lot because, well, that’s what they do best.

It also has Jesse and Celine going at each other in a hotel-room argument that’s so vicious, it’s scarier, by far, than anything in Hawke’s recent horror flick, The Purge.

Director Richard Linklater gave us two very romantic movies with the first parts of this trilogy. This one is romantic, too—but it’s romance laced with a harsh dose of reality.

We have been getting a new “Before” movie every nine years. I hope this isn’t the end; whenever these films fade out, I feel like I need another chapter immediately.

Special Features: There’s a fun audio commentary with Linklater, Hawke and Delpy that does the film justice. You also get a question-and-answer session with the trio that suffers from the fact that film-critic Elvis Mitchell is presiding over the event. (I can’t stand that guy!) There is also a short about the revisiting of the characters of Jesse and Celine.


The Purge offers a cool concept … and poor execution.

For 12 hours each year, Americans are allowed to go helter-skelter and commit felonies—including murder—with no legal consequences.

James (Hawke) has made a lot of money by capitalizing on this day and selling-high priced security systems to his neighbors. When he locks down his house on the night of “the purge,” he thinks his home is an impenetrable fortress. Obviously, something is going to go very wrong.

There’s a great idea at this movie’s core, but it degenerates into a home-siege movie in which everybody—and I mean everybody—acts stupidly.

Villains walk around slowly, with guns down and faces up … and the armed people being pursued fail to take them out. It drove me a little crazy—especially when the surprises were not at all surprising.

This premise is ripe for a sequel. I’d like to see a movie in which we are witnessing this fabled purge outside the confines of one house. Hawke gives it a good try, but the film lets him down.

This isn’t even the worst Hawke film of 2013; that honor goes to the horrible Getaway. It’s OK, Ethan: Before Midnight is so damn good that we can forgive the missteps.

Special Features: The only supplement is a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film that is short and uninformative—not that I need to know much else about this stinker.

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