REVIEW: Isle of Dogs [2018]

“You’ve heard the rumor, right?” I feel like the twee sensibilities of writer/director Wes Anderson might be catching up to him. Moonrise Kingdom was a sort of rejuvenation proving both exactly like his oeuvre and wholly unique as its child’s perspective lent a fresh voice to his usual brand of artificial melodrama. But rather than propel him forward, it seems it may have pulled him back. The auteur’s follow-up was the hilarious The Grand Budapest—perhaps his funniest tale to-date despite ringing hollow in a way that turned endearing artifice into…

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REVIEW: Hunt for the Wilderpeople [2016]

“Find water. Go to high ground. And don’t get naked.” A Māori boy and a Pākehā man go forth into the New Zealand bush. It sounds like the start to a joke. But while Taika Waititi‘s latest Hunt for the Wilderpeople is hilarious, it’s far from being a trivial lark. There’s some weighty emotion involved as its two loners who never believed they’d truly have anyone in their lives to rely upon gradually bond as family on an impromptu adventure of survival into the unknown. They’re lost boys scooped up…

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REVIEW: The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover [1989]

“The naughty bits and the dirty bits are so close together” The above quote pretty much sums up Peter Greenaway‘s The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover. High society and criminal filth: seemingly disparate sectors of civilization that wouldn’t truly wish to consort together yet constantly overlap through history to almost merge into one. The surface context of the words concerns a conversation about the close proximity between genitals and anuses during dinner as only the boorishly crude gangster Albert Spita (Michael Gambon) could describe, but it also…

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REVIEW: Tabu [2012]

“You will not escape your heart” There are definite thematic similarities between Miguel Gomes‘ Tabu and F.W. Murnau‘s Tabu: A Story of the South Seas from its forbidden love to its descriptions of paradises lost. The structures are even identical—albeit in reverse—showing the joy of romance and the pain of losing it. If I were to compare the black and white Portuguese drama with anything else, however, its predecessor of seventy-years wouldn’t be it. No, the aesthetic my mind kept comparing Gome’s film to was Wes Anderson of all people.…

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Top Ten Films of 2014: A deluge of sci-fi doppelgängers and one-word titles

I don’t want to label 2014 as a good, bad, or average year. I want to call it inventive, original, and delightfully dark. Whether it’s doppelgänger paradoxes leading to murderous rage, the bleak carnage of war, prison violence, or psychologically debilitating struggles to be great, my favorite films had an edge that cut to the bone by credits’ end. The best thing I can say about 2014 is that my top ten (heck, maybe my top twenty-five) could be re-organized and re-listed without making me too angry about what is…

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The 87th Oscars recap through tweets …

I’m not sure why I keep filling myself with false hope that the Oscars will one day be an entertaining show to watch. The optimism is almost completely unfounded by this point. Whether they go weird (Anne Hathaway and James Franco), safe (Billy Crystal), hip (Seth MacFarlane), or try and steal another show’s success (Neil Patrick Harris), the result is the same. NPH should have been the shot of adrenaline the 87th Annual Academy Awards needed—a song and dance guy who’s young, fun, and funny. Sadly—and I do blame the…

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Picking Winners at the 87th Annual Academy Awards

Things look pretty cut and dry where the Academy is concerned in 2015. The Oscars are always a somewhat watered-down look at what really mattered in the past year of cinema and this installment is no exception. In fact, it may be all water at this point. That doesn’t mean there can’t be some intriguing surprises in the second-tier categories like Best Animated Feature (I really hope How to Train Your Dragon 2 loses to one of the other much more aesthetically and conceptually unique nominees) or Short Film Animated…

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REVIEW: Castello Cavalcanti [2013]

“Tarred, feathered, and spit-roasted …” I can get behind Wes Anderson‘s Castello Cavalcanti being considered a short film. Yes, it’s a Prada ad like Candy before it, but this one actually has a story fun enough to make you forget. There is humor in the camera movements (with one pan brilliantly hitching at the scream of a man in the restaurant that the lens was about to pass); fantastic visual comedy thanks to the 1955 Italian setting, destroyed Formula One car, and stone-faced cast devoid of English; and a wonderful…

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REVIEW: Prada: Candy [2013]

“I baked a cake” The message appears to be that Prada will make you irresistible as well as vain enough to yearn for the attention it demands. I guess this means it’s a job well done being that Prada: Candy is a commercial, but as a short film it’s lacking in showing us something other than fun frivolity. It definitely has Wes Anderson‘s visual style and Roman Coppola‘s dry wit, but I don’t think anyone would care if it didn’t involve them. So, in the end, it’s merely a depiction…

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REVIEW: Cousin Ben Troop Screening with Jason Schwartzman [2012]

“Why? Why? I don’t know.” A Funny or Die exclusive promoting the release of Moonrise Kingdom, Cousin Ben Troop Screening with Jason Schwartzman is a two-minute piece directed by the feature’s Wes Anderson with co-writing duties from Roman Coppola. Schwartzman reprises his role as Cousin Ben while the children paying admission to watch his tented screening of the film are all revealed to be familiar faces from it as well. This causes a meta crisis considering they are characters speaking about the very world they exist inside as a fiction…

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REVIEW: Hotel Chevalier [2007]

“I didn’t say you could come here” An unplanned prologue (to his producers) accompanying Wes Anderson‘s fifth film The Darjeeling Limited, Hotel Chevalier tells the story of Jack Whitman’s (Jason Schwartzman) complicated love. You could watch the feature without it and not lose much, but including it in the experience definitely adds something special like every hidden detail inside Anderson’s work. Besides seeing the context surrounding the bottle of perfume Jack finds in his suitcase and understand what Natalie Portman is doing in a blink and you’ll miss her cameo,…

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