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: Gosford Park [2001]

“I’m the perfect servant: I have no life” Watching Gosford Park again conjured thoughts about it being quintessential Robert Altman, thoughts I couldn’t conjure in 2001 considering it was my first true experience watching one of his films. It proves the perfect evolutionary end to a way of filmmaking he began over twenty years previous with A Wedding‘s sprawling cast, overlapping dialogue, and class strife. Its Agatha Christie-type whodunit conceit lends itself perfectly to his sensibilities and aesthetic, but we can thank Bob Balaban for enthusiastically asking to collaborate for…

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REVIEW: The Grand Budapest Hotel [2014]

“Who’s got the throat-slitter?” The films of Wes Anderson have always resided in some sort of parallel universe full of stylistic flights of fancy, but never has one been so completely defined by its fantasy than The Grand Budapest Hotel. His previous work exists to pay homage with stories filled to the brim by aesthetic flourishes and meticulously detailed set dressings that transport us into his familiar yet unfamiliar worlds. Rather than start with story as usual, however, his latest seems to have sprung out from its environment. This shouldn’t…

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REVIEW: The Monuments Men [2014]

“Present company expected” There was real potential for George Clooney‘s The Monuments Men to turn into a broad comedy about a hapless band of seven working their way through Europe in search of the stolen masterpieces Adolf Hitler hid away for his own personal collection of greed. It had the hokey score sounding like a vintage WWII newsreel, threatening to show each actor mugging for the camera while looking just beyond the lens with a huge, infectious smile; over-the-top performances straight out of the 50s complete with dated cadence; jokey…

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REVIEW: Moonrise Kingdom [2012]

“He left me a letter of resignation” Five years removed from his last foray into live action filmmaking—although Fantastic Mr. Fox is much more akin to his sensibilities than a normal animated children’s movie should be—writer/director Wes Anderson returns with what could be his most storybook piece yet. So far removed from our reality, Moonrise Kingdom fits firmly into the auteur’s world of meticulously detailed constructions and manufactured quirk. Subtly surreal in its tale of lost innocence, the characters populating the small island of New Penzance exist on the fringes…

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TIFF11 REVIEW: A Monster in Paris [2011]

“Our own monster. It has your eyes and my hairy legs.” After a decade in the Hollywood system directing the likes of The Road to El Dorado and Shark Tale, Bibo Bergeron decided to return home to his native France and embark on a passion project. Titled A Monster in Paris and seeing its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, this children’s tale has more in common with a Sylvain Chomet than his Dreamworks past. Not as stylized as The Triplets of Belleville, Bergeron still infuses a flavor…

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REVIEW: Lady in the Water [2006]

“Man has forgotten how to listen” M. Night Shyamalan has really matured as a filmmaker the past few years. After an auspicious beginning with the much-adored Sixth Sense, he followed with a slow, poorly paced Unbreakable and the not quite sure what it wanted to be Signs. At this point I pretty much wrote him off, except for the brilliance in marketing that seems to make his trailers must sees. I grudgingly went to The Village in 2004 and to my surprise loved it. Everything that didn’t work in his…

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