Category Archives: Ethan Hawke

Strange Way of Life-2023

Strange Way of Life-2023

Director Pedro Almodóvar

Starring Ethan Hawke, Pedro Pascal

Scott’s Review #1,425

Reviewed April 22, 2024

Grade: A-

Pedro Almodóvar is a unique film director. Spanish, his films are flavorful, saucy, and unpredictable. He tends to mix melodrama, wacky humor, and a colorful landscape frequently sprinkling LGBTQ+ elements even if they are not classified with that specific genre.

I adore his films though they frequently blur together for me.

Though a Spanish film, Strange Way of Life (2023) is only Almodóvar’s second English language film and to my knowledge his first short feature film.

Watching the brief thirty-one-minute offering I fantasized about a full-length feature or even a television series based on the story and characters.

Since it’s short we get right down to business quickly.

One day Silva (Pedro Pascal) rides a horse across the desert to Bitter Creek to visit Sheriff Jake (Ethan Hawke). It is quickly revealed that twenty-five years earlier, the sheriff and Silva, worked together as hired gunmen.

They fell in love during a passionate encounter with three whores and barrels of wine who ditched the men when they realized they were not valued.

Silva provides Jake with the excuse that the reason for his trip is not to go down the memory lane of their old friendship but rather to rescue his son Joe (George Steane) from persecution for being suspected of killing Jake’s late brother’s wife, also a whore.

After Jake and Silva sip wine and enjoy a lovely meal they quickly engage in animalistic sex and reignite their long-dormant passion.

While Silva is gung-ho about reuniting Jake has reservations.

Pascal, who is everywhere due to the success of his television series The Last of Us is fabulous to watch. His sexy machismo pairs well with his passion for his soulmate. Because his character of Silva intends for him and Jake to live out their days running a ranch he is a more inspiring character than Jake.

This point is a nod to the groundbreaking Brokeback Mountain (2006) whose characters also flirted with running a ranch together during a time when any gay relations were forbidden territory.

Hawke is quite good too though I’m partial to Pascal. Buttoned up and law-abiding he rebuffs Silva’s advances, at first.

It’s nice to see Hawke in a gay role. Both characters are masculine thereby dismissing silly LGBTQ+ stereotypes that too often appear in cinema.

It also doesn’t hurt to get a glimpse of Pascal’s bare butt or Hawke’s buff physique as they while away time in the bedroom.

I love the sweaty and muscular Western genre being the backdrop of an LGBTQ+ film and tipped upside down. Not to reduce it to a tepid John Wayne film cliche there exists a gorgeous and melodic fado singer throughout the film.

It is performed by Manu Ríos.

This counterbalances the Quentin Tarantino-ish blood and violence with lovely music.

The film is titled after a 1960s Portuguese fado song by Amália Rodrigues

Since Strange Way of Life is a brief experience many facets could have been explored. Why did Silva leave Jake in the first place? What made him suddenly have a realization after twenty-five years? Were there other men at that time?

Being critical that the film is short and deserves full-length feature status it nonetheless deserves to be towards the top of Almodóvar’s catalog a testament to its power.

Strange Way of Life (2023) successfully takes a macho genre like the Western and lights it on fire proving that two men can be tough and tenderly love each other.



Director Richard Linklater

Starring Ellar Coltrane, Ethan Hawke

Scott’s Review #217


Reviewed January 19, 2015

Grade: A

Boyhood (2014) is a family drama directed by Richard Linklater that tells the story of a family’s trials and tribulations over twelve years, ranging from approximately 2002-2013.

The film uses the same actors over the entire period, enabling the viewer to see the characters change. What a novel idea! In this day and age of special effects, superheroes, and animated animals, how refreshing to see a simple tale of a family told over a while.

The film’s main character is Mason Evans, Jr. played by Ellar Coltrane.

We are introduced to Mason when he is six years old and in the first grade. He lives with his older sister Samantha, played by the director’s daughter Lorelei Linklater, and his mother Olivia, played by Patricia Arquette, in Texas.

Ethan Hawke, divorced from Olivia plays Mason’s father (Mason Sr.).

As the years go by we see situations arise and the characters grow and develop like real life.

After the film, Mason Jr. is headed off to college following years of life experience including his first relationship. The other characters develop and we see Olivia and Mason Sr. delve into relationships with partners, some successful, others less successful.

Boyhood succeeds because it is a film about real life that feels like a slice of Americana.

It’s a wonderful film.

The audience invests in the characters because we grow to love and care about their lives. It is comparable to seeing cousins or friends once a year and seeing what becomes of their lives over time.

This film fascinates me because it is so basic and real that it does not need contrived dramatic situations to warrant attention. It is simply authentic and that is what makes a great film.

The film is left-leaning politically speaking and I love that current events are brought up throughout the years by the family members.

As the film progresses we are treated to Mason Sr. commenting on his distaste of the Iraq war, the children’s anticipation of the new Harry Potter film, Mason Sr. taking the kids to a Houston Astros game, and The Beatles and Star Wars are mentioned.

Another scene sadly focuses on a returning soldier from Iraq who suffers from Post-traumatic stress disorder. These nuances make the film seem so authentic and rich.

As wonderful a job as Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke did neither of them had a huge, bombastic, emotional scene which would have been splendid given the talents of each, but this is a small criticism.

Both are superb as struggling parents trying to do the right thing for their children and carve out a life for themselves.

Boyhood redefines realism in the film as we see a family unit hope, struggle, and dream as it’s played out before our eyes.

The film does not need overwrought dramatics as it is simply a slice of the life of a group of people we come to know and love.

Everyone can relate to Boyhood (2014).

Oscar Nominations: 1 win-Best Picture, Best Director-Richard Linklater, Best Supporting Actor-Ethan Hawke, Best Supporting Actress-Patricia Arquette (won), Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing

Independent Spirit Award Nominations: 2 wins-Best Feature, Best Director-Richard Linklater (won), Best Supporting Male-Ethan Hawke, Best Supporting Female-Patricia Arquette (won), Best Editing

The Purge-2013

The Purge-2013

Director James DeMonaco

Starring Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey

Scott’s Review #128


Reviewed July 23, 2014

Grade: A-

On paper, the premise of the film The Purge (2013) is very intriguing. It immediately caught my attention and I was compelled to see it.

The government, fed up with the overwhelming crime and prison overcrowding, decides to initiate a once-a-year purge, where anything goes.

It’s like Christmas for the criminals and the insane.

All emergency and police will shut down on this night and citizens are left to their own devices as a way to purge the violent and aggressive instincts from human systems.

An affluent family, led by a security systems genius (Ethan Hawke), nestles in their lavish home.

Of course, events go awry and chaos ensues.

The film contains suspense, thrills, frights, and a bit of humor, containing questions of class distinction and raises societal questions- Why are the wealthy better off than the poor? Do they deserve to be?

I enjoyed the setting of the wealthy, gated Los Angeles community and the eerily Stepford wife-like atmosphere of the neighborhood where housewives delivered casseroles and other dishes to each other for the big night.

Throughout this sunny environment, the viewer could sense a too-good-to-be-true cheerfulness and the darkness to follow anticipated as sunset emerged.

I found this film to be unpredictable and the edge of your seat and the film delved into a home invasion thriller, which was effective.

I could not predict what might happen next and that is incredibly entertaining.

I am unsure if some of the humor in the film was intentional or not- some of the kills were over the top and contained one-liners, but The Purge (2013) is a crisp, fun, summer popcorn horror film.