REVIEW: Klaus [2019]

A true act of good will always sparks another. For a figure as ubiquitous as Santa Claus, the myriad ways in which his origin can be reborn, refashioned, and retrofitted seem infinite. Those seeking a new direction generally take the old and filter it through a contemporary generational lens wherein the jolly man’s title is passed down the line either by magic (The Santa Clause) or birthright (Arthur Christmas). Those choosing to start from scratch instead have therefore become a fascinating subsection of the Christmas genre simply by ensuring nothing…

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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: The Overnight [2015]

“Give me twenty minutes and I will give you parental bliss” Writer/director Patrick Brice touches on many relationship aspects beyond attraction with his outrageous sex comedy The Overnight. Most work of this ilk push two couples with differing levels of strife together to see what comes out—swinging, uncoupling, cheating, etc. Brice instead introduces two pairs seemingly in bliss. Alex (Adam Scott) and Emily (Taylor Schilling) have a healthy relationship with each other and their son RJ (R.J. Hermes) while Kurt (Jason Schwartzman) and Charlotte (Judith Godrèche) are in a constant…

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REVIEW: Big Eyes [2014]

“I’m just a Sunday painter” It’s a paint-off. Literally. Will the winner be the charismatic salesman peddling his wife’s art as his own or the soft-spoken woman slaving away in a turpentine-filled room that’s been dominated and belittled into allowing him to do so? Who will earn the right to say they were the creators of an oeuvre simultaneously thought to be worth thousands of dollars and infinite fame by the general populace and conversely less than the canvas they were painted on by New York Times critic John Canaday…

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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: 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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REVIEW: Rushmore [1998]

“I saved Latin. What did you ever do?” Writer/director Wes Anderson‘s style was officially born on his sophomore effort Rushmore. That’s not to say his debut was devoid of the trademarks we associate him with today, it was simply set in a world possessed by more authentic rules. He’s since made a career out of skewed storybooks of selfish characters wandering a landscape they misguidedly feel power over as they take their missteps in stride with over-the-top reactions steeped in a heightened state of the absurd. His stories take upper…

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REVIEW: Saving Mr. Banks [2013]

“A leisurely stroll is a gift” If you thought Mary Poppins couldn’t get more uplifting in its journey towards giving two young children the love they always desired from their downtrodden dad, Saving Mr. Banks will prove you wrong. Utilizing a script by Kelly Marcel (a second credit was later added to Sue Smith) that only lasted one year on the screenplay Black List before being scooped up by the studio prominently featured within it, we’re shown a rather humorous behind-the-scenes look at the culmination of a twenty-year business courtship…

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REVIEW: A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III [2013]

“What are all these shoes?” Yeah, so Roman Coppola definitely threw the kitchen sink in much earlier than the moment he actually put it onscreen at the end of A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III. But I don’t think anyone would expect different from a post-“tiger blood” Charlie Sheen for all intents and purposes playing his own crazy self jumping through a bunch of fever dreams on a broken heart. We’d like to believe the actor’s noggin is filled to the brim with depraved and lecherous fantasies…

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REVIEW: CQ [2002]

“Dazzling! Fascinating!” While there are many cinematic examples of directors taking a behind the scenes look at the process of their craft, few are as sure-handed, personal, and entertaining as Roman Coppola‘s debut CQ. For someone who literally grew up in the movies with father Francis Ford Coppola and American Zoetrope reaching legendary status inside his house, inspiration was readily available through the memories and keepsakes acquired along the way. From the vanity of fame to the technological evolution of the industry to the almost forgotten practice of practical effects,…

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