Posts Tagged ‘Adrien Brody’

Fantastic Mr. Fox – Minute Movie Review

Mittwoch, Mai 26th, 2010

Review:

Mr. Fox has gone straight since the birth of his son, but he still wants nothing more than one last big heist, taking on the hen houses and cider cellars of his three human neighbours. They, in turn, decide to retaliate, and so the war is on. Based on Roald Dahl’s beloved book, this stop-motion animation by director Wes Anderson is a fun extension of the story, a funny film that is fun to watch. Anderson’s signature style, a combination of a bright palette, a lot of whimsy and something to far removed from words, lends itself perfectly to the animated format. The film doesn’t have the depth that his best works – Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums – have, but it’s simple good family entertainment.

Random Observations:

Fantastic Mr. Fox at the IMDb

Saying “cuss” instead of “fuck” or “shit” might have done wonders for the rating, but is damn annoying. (This post has been rated “R” by the MPAA.)

Some great talent is voicing the characters, including George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman.

Who does Eric Anderson, who voices Kristofferson, sound like? He reminded me of another actor, but for the life of me I can’t figure out who.

The film has only 12 frames per second (compared to the usual) 24 to ensure that everybody recognizes the stop motion technique.

Minute Movie Review – The Thin Red Line

Donnerstag, Mai 21st, 2009

Review:

Set during the battle for Guadalcanal in 1942, the film has little plot but focuses on single scenes to show that war is a very personal experience. It is a very odd film that takes the time for long, almost still, shots of natural beauty or animals as well as repeated flashbacks. Yet it feels also incredibly sloppily cut, with many scenes not allowed to fully play out and many unresolved issues. Add to that voice-over narration straight from a platitude-a-day calendar and all subtlety that the amazing cast introduces is lost.

Random Observations:

The Thin Red Line at imdb.com

If you can trust the internet, the first cut was six hours long. That would certainly explain why so many scenes in the three hour cut seem unfinished and why top talent like George Clooney is on screen for less two minutes while Adrien Brody only has two lines and is seen in the background in a couple of scenes.

The film was released in 1998 and was only ever described as the “other WWII movie”. It may be a mess, but it is an extremely ambitious one and in many ways superior to Saving Private Ryan.

The film has many good ideas, but only uses very few of them. For example, the one guy who has a wife back home and who constantly thinks back to the times they spend together finally gets a letter from her telling him that she fell in love again and wants a divorce. Now this is largely predictable, yet it would still have made for a good chance to examine the nature of war-time relationships or whatever. But no, all we get is three minutes of the guy walking around looking sad (I’m being flip here, the scene is actually quite good), and after that, he acts exactly as he has before, but with a sad gleam in his eye.

The film in many ways is a great character study of different people during war. Combined with great performances from Nick Nolte, Elias Koteas, Sean Penn and the like, it could easily have been a great film. The combat scenes are also extremely well made and while they are not as gruesomely realistic as those of the other 1998 WWII movie, they nevertheless manage to give the viewer a sense of how hard it can be to take a single hill. It’s almost painful to think of the many great aspects of this film, because the overall result is not nearly as good.

The Ten Best Movies of 2008

Mittwoch, Januar 7th, 2009

Everybody loves Top Ten Lists, right? You can never get enough of them, correct? If you read one to the end, you want nothing more than start looking at the next one, or am I wrong? In any case, I like Top Ten (or basically any other number) Lists. I know they are silly and arbitrary and highly subjective, but they are still fun – even if one just reads them to poke fun at the author(s). So to start my own habitual list-making off, I hereby offer you the TEN BEST MOVIES OF 2008!

(weiterlesen …)

The Darjeeling Limited – First Thoughts

Mittwoch, Januar 9th, 2008

Ever since I finally saw “The Darjeeling Limited“, the new Wes Anderson movie, on Sunday, I’ve been wanting to write a short review. But I am simply not able to. I don’t really know what I think of the film yet, so there is little point in writing something as definitive as a review. Instead I am just going to post some of the things the movie made me think, hopefully helping sort out the confusion the movie has caused.

The problem with saying something about Darjeeling Limited is that on the one hand the movie was everything I expected from a Wes Anderson movie and that on the other hand it was everything I expected from a Wes Anderson movie. After “The Royal Tenenbaums” and “The Life Aquatic” it is the third time in a row that Anderson deals largely with an estranged family and while he does so beautifully, moving, sentimental, amusing and touching, you also get a feeling of “same old, same old”. I’ve been a fan of Wes Anderson ever since I first saw “The Royal Tenenbaums” when it was first released and then saw it again and again. I really like his earlier movie “Rushmore” and “Bottle Rocket” (the feature film, I’ve sadly never seen the short). I even learned to love “The Life Aquatic”, which after Tenenbaums was a bit of a disappointment.

Anderson always manages to get a lot of brilliant actors to appear in his movies and Darjeeling is no exception. With Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman and Owen Wilson in the lead roles, Anjelica Huston in a supporting role and the likes of Bill Murray and Natalie Portman (who flew to India for 3o minutes of filming) in bit parts, the acting is great as always. Taking everything to such an exotic place as India (for us Westerners) was something new and certainly added to the flavour of the movie. The cinematography was beautiful as usual and the score, made up of songs composed for Indian movies, was, as usual, a great add-on to the movie. But still, something was missing. Or at least I feel that something was missing. Maybe it was due to the fact that for some obscure reason the short “Hotel Chevalier”, which is a sort of prelude to the movie was not shown when I saw the film. I’ve seen it before, but I certainly missed seeing it on the big screen. Not just because Natalie Portman gets naked in it (something which every geek, dork and nerd (Not Even Remotely Dorky, thank you Professor Frink!) has been talking about on the internet for month), but because it really adds background to the story of the three estranged brothers that travel through India together to… And here the problems really start: To do what?. In typical Anderson fashion, we don’t really know why they are taking the journey. Francis, the oldest, is responsible for organizing it, but why the other two came along is completely unclear. It’s a spiritual journey and while some mystery about the character’s motivations is certainly allowable and even necessary, it bothered me a little here. Why did Peter leave his 7-month pregnant wife to go on a spiritual journey through India? Certainly he needs and wants to figure some things out, but is that really enough of an explanation?

And problems like that continue. I’m not sure why many of the events in the movie took place – and usually I’m quite attentive when watching a movie and certainly when finally watching the movie I have been looking forward to for months. But even though I really liked the parts the film was made of, I somehow didn’t really like the overall picture. And I can’t really explain why, which annoys me. So the only solution is to see the movie again. And again. And again.

(This sentence is only added because I already finished a recent entry with “And again. And again.”)

My Top Movies of 2007

Mittwoch, Januar 9th, 2008

For a long time, I have been a reader of the website of the A.V. Club. As far as popular culture is concerned, there is no site on the great world wide interweb that I like more. And now for the third year running, they have asked readers to submit their Top Five Movies of the past year, which I of course dutifully did. I also wrote some short comments about those movies and since I feel disinclined to just let them get lost in the internetz and I also like reusing things to make it appear that I am creative or something like that, they are now also posted here. So here are my personal favourite movies of 2007:

1. Atonement

In a wonderful adaptation of a brilliant novel, Joe Wright almost manages to tell a better story than Ian McEwan. Beautifully shot and excellently acted (especially by Saoirse Ronan), the movie is a true gem. Combined with the great story and the surprisingly fitting soundtrack/score, this is easily the best film I’ve seen in 2007.

2. Gone Baby Gone

Ben Affleck should never have tried acting. He belongs behind the camera and he demonstrates it with his directorial debut. A good movie is made great by the twist at the end that makes a typical thriller into a morality tale, which makes you wonder what you would have done.

3. The Simpsons Movie

After 18 years, the Simpsons moved to the big screen and they did so in a fashion that surprised everybody. For 90 minutes, this movie is just pure brilliant entertainment. Maybe there were more meaningful movies in 2007, but there wasn’t a funnier one.

4. The Darjeeling Limited

Wes Anderson makes another movie that is so typically Wes Anderson that after 10 minutes you start to wonder whether he can only make one kind of movie. But you’ll soon stop, because the typically melodramatic comedy of Anderson, combined with beautiful imagery, great acting and music leaves you wanting more. It’s not The Royal Tenenbaums, but it’s still a brilliant movie.

5. Juno

I haven’t actually seen Juno, because it hasn’t yet been released in the backwater country where I live (it’s called Germany). But what I’ve heard is so great, that I’m sure I will love this movie. People might say that it was Ellen Page’s breakthrough performance, but everybody who has seen her in Hard Candy knows that she knows what she is doing.

I’d love to say something about how great a year 2007 was, but due to the fact that studios insist on releasing movies months later in Germany, I haven’t yet seen many hyped movies, such as There Will Be Blood or No Country for Old Men. But considering that I can’t remember the last time I was looking forward to movies that are released here in February, 2007 must have been a great year.