While some of the year’s best films haven’t even been released yet, new awesome sounding projects for 2014 are already shaping up, like Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. The sure to be quirky comedy/drama about a hotel concierge (Ralph Fiennes) and his friendship with one of his younger employees will surely delight fans of the director. The film is written and directed by Anderson and set in 1920s France. Alexandre Desplat, who composed the music for Anderson’s last hit indie Moonrise Kingdom, will be returning to score the film shot by Wes’ long time cinematographer and collaborator Robert Yeoman. The editing however will be taken over by Barney Pilling (Never Let Me Go) who will work with Anderson for the first time.
Also new to a Wes Anderson film are cast members such as Jude Law, Lea Seydoux, Saoirse Ronan and the aforementioned Ralph Fiennes. Returning actors are Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Jason Schwartzman, Willem Dafoe, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Owen Wilson and, of course, Bill Murray. The first poster for the film clearly echoes Wes’ aesthetic and his passion for center shots, detailed set designs and minutia. Usually the posters for his films are also indicative of the color palette of the “final product”. Once again he seems to have something very specific in mind and a pink-brownish tone seem to be what he’s going for. I love the poster because it just shows the hotel, which seems to be a “main character” of the film and lists all the talent involved. It’s also great for indicating a time (the 1920s) and place (Europe), by simply evoking the hand-painted early 20th century marketing billboards.
Howdy. It’s been a while. I’ve been
busy lazy. Sorry. For some odd reason I also didn’t watch a great deal of movies last week. Only four to be exact. Luckily, all four were home runs. Well, two I had already seen, so I knew they were good (or to my liking) but still, I’ve had some bad surprises re-watching movies. That wasn’t the case however. Moving on, here are a couple of thoughts on the movies I watched this past week.
Love Exposure (2008) – 9 (IMDb 7.8) – Action, Comedy, Drama, Romance (Japan)
Sono Sion is probably my favorite Japanese director. His movies are always very violent, but also very dramatic and deliberately paced. This film however moves at a brisk pace, probably because it’s four hours long. It doesn’t feel four hours long however. It’s very entertaining and there’s not a single dull or boring moment, if you can believe it. I’ve seen it a while back now and it was due for a re-watch. It did not disappoint. The film is about a young man (Yu played by Nishijima Takahiro) whose father becomes a catholic priest. It all starts to become crazy when his father asks him to confess his sins every single day, but he has nothing to confess. So he joins a gang of misfits and starts getting into a life of crime to “connect” with his father. Meanwhile an evil cult is planning some evil shit and out main character is falling in love with a girl who is very distrusting of men. Wonderfully acted, great soundtrack and fun story. The humor is a bit “Japanese” and results “weird” for a Western audience, but other than that I have no complaints. My favorite scene is still when Yoko (the main female character played by Mitsushima Hikari) recites Corinthians 13.
Pain & Gain (2013) – 7.5 (IMDb 6.7) – Comedy, Crime, Thriller (USA)
I enjoy Michael Bay’s films and it’s no secret/mystery/shame for me. Some people believe in guilty pleasures, I believe in watching whatever you like and stand by it. Pain & Gain might just be Michael Bay’s masterpiece. It’s his “fuck you” to everyone who said he can’t do a film about characters, although it’s still not quite satisfying in that respect. What Bay really excels at is the visuals. His films are insane in that regard and he is a true innovator and the most copied action auteur (along with Tony Scott, may he rest in peace). What’s baffling about this film is that it’s based on true events. It’s played as a dark comedy, which is an interesting thing to do, especially if you know how serious some of the things in the film are and how everyone else would have gone the serious route to be “respectful”. Bay doesn’t care. He shoots the story of three bodybuilders kidnapping a rich guy, just as he would have done with any other picture, only his budget is considerably smaller this time. It feels a bit like we’re back to Bad Boys. What really stood out in this film for me were the performances, especially Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson’s. This really is the year for films about the American Dream, and Pain & Gain‘s take is just as interesting as the ones that are going to win a ton of Oscar gold.
‘PICK OF THE WEEK’
Into the Abyss (2011) – 9 (IMDb 7.3) – Documentary (USA)
Moonrise Kingdom (2012) – 8 (IMDb 7.8) – Comedy, Drama, Romance (USA)
I liked Wes Anderson’s film the first time I’ve seen it, but revisiting it I felt like I really got it. I might just have to write an analysis of it at some point, but I’m too tired to do so right now. Anyway, Moonrise Kingdom is about two young kids falling in love and escaping together. It’s about boy-scouts and broken families, flawed, lonely individuals and lush visuals: Basically it’s a Wes Anderson film. It feels like a very personal and important story for him and it’s also one of his best (my favorites still remain The Royal Tenenbaums and the very underrated Darjeling Limited). The two kid actors do a fine job for their first film, I liked them a lot more rewatching it and the supporting cast is great, but of course that’s to be expected with big names such as Bruce Willis, Ed Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Bob Balaban, Jason Schwartzman and other great performers. Also very noteworthy: Alexandre Desplat’s score, boy was he on a roll lately. Roman Coppola co-wrote the screenplay, and I feel that I need to remind people of that, because they tend to underestimate him and his collaborations with Anderson. Not much to add, very sweet and romantic and of course one of my favorites of last year.
That’s it for this week. Hopefully I get to see more movies next week, but then I’ll also have more to write, but hey. I know I’m getting to see my most anticipated of the year (
which you should know by now you’re sick and tired of hearing me talk about) in two days, so expect a review on The Bling Ring soon!