Posts Tagged ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’

Fantastic Mr. Fox – Minute Movie Review

Mittwoch, Mai 26th, 2010


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.

Away We Go – Minute Movie Review

Donnerstag, November 19th, 2009


A couple awaiting their first child go on a road trip to find out where they want to live, but also whether they are “fuck-ups” and how they will fare as parents. Seeing different families, they slowly find themselves. The film is a complete departure from director Sam Mendes previous work, often outrageously funny in its portrayal of the characters, yet also deeply poignant about the fear of becoming parents, of growing up and finding ones place in the world. As exaggerated as much of the film is, it is also painfully true to life. No matter if you have children, want children or are children, you should not miss this film.

Random Observations:

Away We Go at the IMDb

Very nice performances all around, but especially by the often overlooked Paul Schneider freaking out about being a single father.

My very favourite scene is the stroller scene. If you have seen the film, you will know why.

The trampoline scene is also very nice, although the last remark was clearly taken from The Royal Tenenbaums.

In my opinion, these kinds of films – comedies that are nevertheless very real and manage to make a significant point – are the pinnacle of film-making. I really wish there were more of them.

Groundhog Day – Minute Movie Review

Sonntag, November 8th, 2009


You haven’t seen Groundhog Day? That is a crass oversight. Go watch it right now. There isn’t a single person alive who doesn’t love this film. It might just be the best thing Bill Murray ever did. And he was in my two favourite films, Lost in Translation and The Royal Tenenbaums. I can’t recommend this film more. Watch it now. You will laugh.

Random Observations:

Groundhog Day at the IMDb

You have seen the film, right? It’s awesome, right?

This might be one of the best romantic comedies of all time, although I have some trouble calling it a romantic comedy because it’s so good. And so different.

My Favourite Contemporary Actors

Freitag, März 27th, 2009

As I said before, everybody loves Top Ten Lists. Especially me. So I thought I’d start a new, sort of regular, feature here, where I make Top Ten Lists of things I like. Now, the usual way to go about that would be to make lists like “The Ten Best Actors Working Today”, but even I don’t consider my opinion so important as to call it objective. So I will make lists like “My Favourite Ten Actors Working Today”, even if that title is a little longer. And so, without further ado, here are the ten actors whose body of work I enjoy so much, that just their participation in a film means that I want to see it, in reverse order. If you know all ten of them, congratulate yourself on having good taste. (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 Royal Tenenbaums

Sonntag, Februar 17th, 2008


When the estranged father of the Tenenbaum family is broke and after decades of neglecting his wife and three children (two sons, one adopted daughter) wants to return to them, all their lives are changed. When all live together under the same roof again, they all learn to forgive and forget – even if it isn’t always easy. A quirky and often absurd comedy (with many dramatic elements) that is at the same time absolutely outlandish and frighteningly realistic, the movie tells the story of what family really means, without ever being preachy.

Random Observations:

The Royal Tenenbaums at

Together with “Lost in Translation”, this is probably the movie that means the most to me, personally.

The first ensemble cast movie of Wes Anderson. With a cast including Gene Hackmann, Anjelica Huston, Bill Murray, Danny Glover, Owen and Luke Wilson, Gwyneth Paltrow and Ben Stiller, every taste should be satisfied.

Probably the first movie to fully show Anderson’s perfectionism and attention to detail.

I can never decide whether this movie is a dramatic comedy or a funny drama. Possible the best genre mix in the history of cinema.

Minute Movie Review – Rushmore

Sonntag, Februar 17th, 2008


Rushmore is an elite school – and everything for Max Fischer, a local barber’s son. He has made the school his life – but neglected to actually study for it, instead focusing on as many extracurricular activities as possible. When he also meets a wealthy businessman and a first grade teacher, many things change – and not always for the better. Rushmore is Wes Anderson’s second movie – and trying to summon up the plot in a few sentences is nearly impossible. The story has so many nuances, that even after repeat viewing one always catches something new. In many ways this movie defined Anderson’s style – and the story of how Max grows up might still be the best he ever wrote (together with Owen Wilson, of course).

Random Observations:

Rushmore at

This is the 100th post on this blog. Woohoo! It’s also, according to the categories, the 65th movie review, which seems much harder to believe.

It’s “Wes Anderson Sunday” at Fabricated Truth! Most likely you will already have noticed since you read the later posted reviews of “The Royal Tenenbaums” and “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” first.

For seven years I’ve been sure that “The Royal Tenenbaums” was the best movie Wes Anderson ever made and ever will make. After seeing these two back to back however, I think I might be wrong. The character development in “Rushmore” is incredible.

Here’s why people living in the US (or Canada) are the luckiest people on earth: As the people with DVD region 1, they have a chance to buy Criterion Collection DVDs – and in that edition many great extras are included. In the case of Rushmore this means for example further plays from the “Max Fischer Players” – and who wouldn’t want to see that? So if you ever wonder what extra-special gift to give me, now you know…

The scene showing all the extracurricular activities Max engages in is the first classical Wes Anderson Montage – and maybe the best to date.

To all those people who have seen this movie: What (or who) was your Rushmore? Post it in the comments for the chance to win a signed copy of the movie. Limitations may apply.

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.”)

It’s a perfect 10!

Donnerstag, November 8th, 2007

The always great IMDB (Internet Movie Database) offers registered users the chance to rate movies on a scale from 1 to 10. As somebody with a lot of time and even more interest in movies, I have done so (as of November 8th 2007) 342 times. Out of the 342 movies, I rated 12 as 10. Here is, in alphabetical order, the list with short explanations. Please note that I am aware that some of these movies are far from perfect. I nevertheless enjoyed them immensely. It would also be inadvisable to compare these movies to each other – my ratings are more based on what I felt about the film than on objective facts. That is why they are my ratings.

About Schmidt

I see this movie as Jack Nicholson’s best. And considering his life’s work, that is saying something (Chinatown anyone?). It is a nice story of a senior in the United States that is lost after losing his job. Don’t expect great action sequences or special effects from this movie – just a nice story with incredible acting and some extremely funny passages.

Die Brücke

The only German movie on this list and at the same time the oldest. Die Brücke (The Bridge) is an anti-war story of several boys who are charged with defending a bridge at the end of World War II. Never before and never again has a movie so brutally showcased the senselessness of war in general and of the Third Reich in particular.

Brokeback Mountain

To say that Brokeback Mountain is simply the story of two gay cowboys is not enough. The movie is a masterpiece in almost every aspect: A moving, extremely realistic story, superb acting from everyone involved and just beautifully shot. Despite the subject, the movie never gets sappy, preachy or homophobic.

A Clockwork Orange

I watched this movie after I read the book, which is a masterpiece in its own right, and was surprised at just how much better it is. I see this as Stanley Kubrick’s best movie, easily surpassing the usual favourite “2001: A Space Odyssey”. Caution: This is by far the “darkest” movie on this list.

Down by Law

And now we come to one of my favourite filmmakers, the great Jim Jarmusch. As much as I love all of his work, with the possible exception of “Stranger than Paradise”, Down by Law is his best movie. Who could ever forget “I scream, you scream, we all scream – for ice cream.” Possibly the funniest line in movie history.

Fucking Åmål

The second (and last) non-English movie on this list. This Swedish film is a touching love story as well as a nice coming-of-age story. The titular city, Åmål, is small and not exactly exciting for teenagers, so most just want to leave. The twist: the love story is of two girls.

Lost in Translation

My second favourite movie ever. A love story of sorts between a young American philosopher and an aging movie star who are stranded in Tokyo. Slow, character-driven and sometimes extremely (intentionally) awkward, but overall just great. Bill Murray has never acted better and Sofia Coppola proves with this movie, after her promising debut “The Virgin Suicides”, that she has inherited her father’s talent.

Love Actually

Probably the “lightest” movie here. Just a straightforward romantic comedy (British!), with not one but a dozen love stories. It’s funny and always good for Christmas, which is of course all around. The star-studded cast makes this movie even better.

The Matrix

Yes, I still think the Matrix is a great movie. You just have to ignore the two sequels. I think everybody has seen this one, so there really isn’t much to say. It’s a great science fiction story, well made and though-provoking. What else could you ask for?

Million Dollar Baby

Two-thirds in I wondered what the big deal was. Up to that point, Million Dollar Baby is just a usual feel-good sports story which has you cheering for the underdog. It’s nice, with brilliant acting and so on, but nothing special. But the ending changes everything and makes this movie truly unique. It’s the movie I’m most unsure about including in this “elite” company (and incidentally also the latest addition), but the ending deserves it.

The Royal Tenenbaums

This is my favourite movie. It’s a Wes Anderson movie and I like all of his work. But The Royal Tenenbaums is easily the best among them. The story is typical Anderson (and Owen Wilson, his usual co-writer), a unique blend of humour and melancholy. Royal, the father of three brilliant kids, wants to come back to his family after living in a hotel for decades. At first he justs wants to come back because he is broke, but slowly he begins to care for his family and the other members of the family begin to care for each other. If the fact that this is my favourite movie is no reason for you to watch it, just take a look at the cast list: Gene Hackmann, Bill Murray, Owen and Luke Wilson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Anjelica Houston, …

V for Vendetta

Finally, an action movie on this list (apart from Matrix)! Well, true, but also so much more. This comic book adaption, incidentally from the Matrix creators (the movie, not the comic, that’s from Alan Moore), is even better than its source material. In a Britain where a new tyranny is reigning, a single “terrorist” sets out to make things right. The story is very well versed, with many great actors (Hugo Weaving, Stephen Fry, Natalie Portman among others), just the right amount of humour and action sequences to spice up the political story.

Minute Movie Review – Bottle Rocket

Montag, Oktober 29th, 2007


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

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.