Posts Tagged ‘The Darjeeling Limited’

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 Greatest Movie Never Made

Freitag, Mai 2nd, 2008

Three months ago, when the writers’ strike was still in full effect, I wrote a letter to Wes Anderson. Yes, an actual hand-written letter (of 800 words, no less). In it, I proposed to write a screenplay for him that could be turned into a truly terrific film. Sadly, Mr. Anderson hasn’t replied to my letter to this day. Since I’m sick and tired of waiting for him to realize how great this story is, I’m going to post it here. Many other directors, producers and film-makers frequent this site and I’m sure many of them will be interested in picking up this exciting project. Please excuse the fact that the story is still contained inside the letter format, but since I’m not yet getting paid for this, I couldn’t be bothered to remove the parts addressed to Mr. Anderson. I’m sure you understand. (weiterlesen …)

Minute Movie Review – The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Sonntag, Februar 17th, 2008

Review:

The Life Aquatic not only has a ridiculously long title, but is also probably my least favourite Wes Anderson film. It’s still great though: Steve Zissou is a marine researcher that has somehow lost his touch. People aren’t interested in his documentaries anymore and when his best friend is eaten by a shark, nobody takes his hunt for it seriously or is willing to finance it. Only Ned, who may or may not be his son, can help him restore the interest and so the crew set out for one last adventure. The movie balances once more between comedy and drama, but some of the ideas are just a bit too absurd. Nevertheless, the story of an aging man and his ragtag crew is often funny and in the end refreshingly different from most current cinema.

Random Observations:

The Life Aquatic… at imdb.com

Another ensemble cast with a collection of great actors (and many returning Anderson favourites): Bill Murray, Anjelica Huston, Owen Wilson, Cate Blanchett, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum and Michael Gambon. Plus a bunch of other good actors that aren’t nearly as well known as they deserve.

The soundtrack with Portuguese renditions of David Bowie songs (which are often played on screen by Seu Jorge, the musician responsible for them) is great.

I want one of those rainbow seahorses! While I thought the other sea creatures were a bit too strange, I absolutely love that one.

This is the conclusion of “Wes Anderson Sunday”. For more of his work, see my review of Bottle Rocket and my thoughts on The Darjeeling Limited. You can also look forward to soon reading a letter I sent to him…

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.

Minute Movie Review – Bottle Rocket

Montag, Oktober 29th, 2007

Review:

Bottle Rocket deals with the attempts of three friends to become successful thiefs. They are far from being the criminal masterminds they make themselves out to be, but rather three young men that are looking for what they want. The leader of the group, Dignan, is more than a little unhinged while Bob is mostly in because he has a car they can use for their getaways and Anthony just doesn’t know what to do. The movie is a bittersweet comedy that relies on character acting and strong writing more than plot twists, special effects or random gags. It is very typical of the work of director Wes Anderson, though the small budget is visible. While this is certainly no film for the masses, it will entertain everybody who wants to think about what they see.

Random Observations:

Bottle Rocket at imdb.com

Bottle Rocket is the first feature film by director Wes Anderson. It is a 1996 remake of his 1994 short film by the same title.

Owen Wilson, who plays Dignan, looks extremely strange with short hair. No wonder he wears it long nowadays.

I’m a big fan of the work of Wes Anderson and so finally seeing Bottle Rocket was a kind of revelation for me. But as much as I like this movie, I still prefer Rushmore and especially The Royal Tenenbaums, his best movie so far. And from what I’ve heard about his new project, The Darjeeling Limited, so far, it will stay that way.

I think I have never understood a movie character better than I have understood Anthony when he talks to his little sister Grace.

You probably know that Owen and Luke Wilson (who play Dignan and Anthony, respectively) are brothers. But if you think that they don’t look alike, try to spot the third Wilson brother with a part in this movie. I admit to needing the credits to know who it was.