Tag Archives: Wes Anderson

The best of 2014 (so far)

23 Jun

With June winding down, the year is nearly reaching its halfway point. Now it’s time to sort through the good, the bad, and the ugly, and take a look at my favorite 15 films of the year so far. Keep in mind there are a few films released with a lot of good buzz I have yet to see (Ida, Tom at the Farm, Hellion, Cold in July, Night Moves, Obvious Child and Snowpiercer). Note I am also using the word favorite as opposed to best or greatest – these are simply the ones I enjoyed most. So without further delay:

 

15 – Edge of Tomorrow 

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Why? – I was pleasantly surprised by how tight and free-flowing this film was. It has a great time with the whole time-loop ting but still manages to be kickass.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14 – Grand Piano

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Why? It’s so refreshing to see a “concept horror” that actually knows how to have a good time and not suck. Plus Elijah Wood playing a non-hobbit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13 – The Grand Budapest Hotel 

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 Why? Wes Anderson has outdone himself again and created an enchanting film with an all-star cast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12 – X-Men: Days of Future Past 

Why? –  The action is playful and fun and character dynamic between Magneto, Prof. X, and Mystique is great stuff. Plus – time travel. What could have been a TOTAL mess-up ended up becoming my favorite summer blockbuster.

11 – The Immigrant 

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Why? Great performances all around, but Marion Cotillard absolutely steals the show and gives her finest performance to date.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 – Joe 

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          Why? Because Nic Cage is still a total badass (seriously).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9 – The Babadook 

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Why? Australian horror gets a makeover with a genuinely terrifying film that satisfies with smarts as well as scares.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8-  Infinitely Polar Bear 

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Why? This heartfelt film shows the ups and downs of mental illness and boasts some of the best child acting I have seen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 – Whiplash 

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Why? With great performances from J.K. Simmons and Miles Teller  make this is an absolute must see for music fans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 – The Double 

Why? A clever, dark comedy from Richard Ayode brings an introspective examination of identity, corporatism, and fate.\

5 – Borgman

Why? This weird, surreal tale about a mysterious vagabond probably won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s still an incredibly bold exercise in filmmaking.

 4 – Blue Ruin            

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  Why? A new arthouse take on the homestyle revenge thriller.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 – Enemy

Why? Jake Gyllenhaal stars in this trippy, Freudian story of the dual nature of sexuality and manipulation.

2 – Under The Skin 

Why? A beautifully creepy film featuring aliens, sexual tension, and jaw-dropping cinematography. Oh – and that haunting score by Mica Levi is genius.

1 – Boyhood 

Why? Richard Linklater delivers the year’s best emotional high with his 12-year film which lets us follow a child who literally grows up right before our eyes.

So there ya go. Let me know in the comments of via email what films you think deserve a spot here, as well as any titles I might have missed out on.

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Top 10 Anticipated films of 2014

5 Jan

Well hats off to a new year. In the midst of all this awards season talk (you can catch my top 15 list of 2013 here) I’d like to present the films I’m most looking forward to seeing this next year. If available, I’ve provided the trailers and release dates. Make sure to let me know what films you are looking forward to seeing and if there are any I missed.

10 – Knight of Cups

This one is still a bit of a mystery as director Terrence Malick hasn’t officially said anything about Knight of Cups (or much else about his other projects). What we do know is that is stars Christian Bale, Imogen Poots, Joel Kinnaman, Cate Blanchet, Natalie Portman, Jason Clarke, Wes Bentley, and Antonio Banderas (wow!!). If the cast isn’t enough to get you excited, rumor is that Malick has a few additional films planned (though these are most likely to be pushed back to 2015 and beyond).  No release date yet.

9 – Foxcatcher

Director Bennett Miller made waves a while back with his Oscar-winning film Capote and 2011’s Moneyball. Next year he returns with a film based on Olympic Wrestling Champion Mark Schultz. Originally intended for 2013 (there was even a trailer released last fall), the film was pushed back due to editing issues and concern the awards season would be too crowded. Channing Tatum and Steve Carell (supposedly playing against type) star alongside Mark Ruffalo, Sienna Miller, and Tara Subkoff.  Foxcatcher is rumored to be released in the spring, but could be pushed back to fall.

8 – Boyhood

This mysterious project from Richard Linklater supposedly has been in production for the last 12 years, chronicling the life of Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette’s son. As a huge fan of his Before trilogy, I can’t wait to see what frequent collaborators Linklater and Hawke have in store. No release date yet.

7- Transcendence

Wally Pfister, who is mostly known for his cinematography work with Christopher Nolan, makes his directorial debut next year with a mind-bending sci-fi about artificial intelligence. This looks like it has all the right ingredients to be the next Minority Report, and I’m excited to see Johnny Depp actually using his talent. Depp stars alongside Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy, Kate Mara, Paul Bettany and Rebecca Hall. In theaters April 14.

6 – The Grand Budapest Hotel

Boasting an amazing all-star lineup of Saoirse Ronan, Ralph Fiennes, Lea Seydoux, Jude Law, Edwards Norton, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, F. Murray Abraham, and Harvey Keitel (!!!), the film from Wes Anderson promises mystery, laughs, drama, superb music and Helvetica font. In theaters March 7.

5 – Enemy

After filming the Oscar-nominated Incendies, and last years incredible Prisoners, Denis Villeneuve is making a name for himself and this year he agian reunited with Jake Gyllenhaal in Enemy. The thriller is supposedly about a man who goes after his look-alike after seeing him in a movie. I’m intrigued. In theaters March 14.

4 – Gone Girl

One of my favorite directors, David Fincher, gives us a film about a man whose wife mysteriously disappears while on honeymoon, starring Ben Affleck. Based on the best-selling novel of the same name, Gone Girl could become this year’s Girl With The Dragon Tatoo. In theaters October 8.

3 – Noah

Yes, you are familiar with the biblical story, but director Darren Aronofsky is sure to put a new spin on the tale. Staring Russel Crowe, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Jennifer Connelly and Anthony Hopkins, and supposedly boasting some of the best digital effects ever to be done by Industrial Light and Magic, Noah arrives March 28.

2 – Interstellar

Christopher Nolan is back in action with a story about wormholes, space travel, and corn shortages. Yup. Staring Anne Hathaway, Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Casey Affleck, Wes Bentley, Topher Grace, and Ellen Burstyn, the film is out November 7.

1 – Inherent Vice

My most anticipated film of 2014 brings back Joaquin Phoenix and Paul Thomas Anderson into a thriller/comedy/crime story about a detective investigating the disappearance of an ex-lover.  Jena Malone, Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, and Maya Rudolph star. No release date yet.

The Squid and the Whale (2005)

15 Jun

The Squid and the Whale is the third film from writer/director Noah Baumbach, who has mostly been known for his collaborations with fellow filmmaker Wes Anderson.  Like Anderson’s films, The Squid and the Whale is a dark comedy of sorts but one with a truly unique and cynical outlook on divorce, sexuality and family life.  What makes this film so great is the superb writing.  The characters are multilayerd and complex, brought to life by an amazing cast (Jeff Daniels, Jesse Eisenberg, Laura Linney, Owen Kline, William Baldwin and Anna Paquin), and the story is rich and engaging. The film’s unique style, production design and soundtrack creates a vivid image of a moving New York during the 1980’s and the editing is fast paced, which constantly keeps the audience on-edge.

The way this film builds tension is incredible. What starts out as a seemingly simple premise quickly escalates into an unpredictable and deeply-moving drama that reaches an emotionally human core.  I was surprised at how much I laughed during this movie considering how terribly depressing it really is. The film is also loaded with carefully-placed subtleties that give new insights into the characters, making repeated viewings a must.  Independent film really doesn’t get much better than this.

 

rating 9/10

Similar to: Synecdoche New York, Blue Valentine, Happiness

2012 film categories

27 Dec

here are my votes for this year in film (films that had their widespread theatrical run from jan-dec 2012) 

 

Best Achievement in Directing:

Lynne Ramsey, We Need To Talk About Kevin

Runner Up: Wes Anderson, Moonrise Kingdom

 

Best Lead Performance by an Actor:

Joaquin Phoenix, The Master

Runner Up: Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook

 

Best Lead Performance by an Actress:

Tilda Swinton, We Need To Talk About Kevin

Runner Up: Noomi Rapace, Prometheus

 

Best Supporting Performance by an Actor:

Emile Hirsch, Killer Joe

Runner Up: Leonardo Dicaprio, Django Unchained

 

Best Supporting Performance by an Actress:

Ann Dowd, Compliance

Runner Up: Amy Adams, The Master

 

Best Original Screenplay:

Moonrise Kingdom

Runner up: Silver Linings Playbook

 

Best Adapted Screenplay:

We Need To Talk About Kevin

Runner Up: Killer Joe

 

Best Cinematography:

We Need To Talk About Kevin

Runner up: The Master

 

Best Film Editing:

Cloud Atlas

Runner Up: We Need To Talk About Kevin

 

Best Make-up and Hairstyling:

Cloud Atlas

Runner Up: Hitchcock

 

Best Sound Mixing & Editing:

Prometheus

Runner Up: Looper

 

Best Score:

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Runner Up: Moonrise Kingdom

 

Best Production Design:

Moonrise Kingdom

Runner Up: Prometheus

 

 

Best Non-English Film:

Holy Motors

Runner Up: Headhunters

 

Best Documentary:

The Imposter

Runner Up: Chasing Ice

 

Best Visual Effects:

Prometheus

Runner Up: The Dark Knight Rises

Best films of 2012

27 Dec

2012 was a great year for film-lovers.

With a slew of veteran directors including Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarantino, Steven Spielberg, Wes Anderson, Ridley Scott, Ang Lee, Peter Jackson, Robert Zemeckis, Tom Tykwer, The Wachowski siblings, Rian Johnson, P.T. Anderson, Ben Affleck, Sam Mendes, David O. Russell, and Tom Hooper all releasing films this year, there was no shortage of high-quality movies to choose from. Heck Steven Soderbergh, Tim Burton, and Joss Whedon each had two 2012 films.

This is why making a “best-of” list was no easy task, but after some thought here are my personal picks for the top 25 films of 2012 (meaning they had a widespread theatrical release from jan-dec).

25- Cabin In The Woods 

As cliche’ as it might seem, there is a subtle mix of playfulness and horror throughout Cabin In The Woods that makes it such a fun ride ride to see over and over again.

24 – Les Miserables 

The music, acting, and look of the film all work nicely together to create one of the most powerful musical adaptations I have seen in recent years.

23- The Dark Knight Rises

While it doesn’t quite have the thrills of it’s predecessor, Christopher Nolan’s third and final installment into the Dark Knight franchise is emotionally satisfying and clever with all the twists and turns that make the franchise unique among super-hero films. Even if they don’t make any logical sense.

 

22 – Cloud Atlas 

From the costumes to the cast to the six interwoven stories, everything about Cloud Atlas begs to be called epic.  While the first third of the film is a confusing mess of ideas and characters, things get straightened out nicely in the end once you figure out who is playing who and what planet they are on.  With such an ambitious project as this, it is really, really easy for things to go wrong. Miraculously, Cloud Atlas gets everything right.

21 – Skyfall 

Bond is back and better than ever in this wonderful addition to the 007 franchise.  Hopefully Daniel Craig will not hang up the suit quite yet…

21 – Compliance  

A simple concept brought to life with amazing performances with an even better nail-biter of a script.  This is the stuff great indie flicks are made from.

20- Chasing Ice 

The single most gorgeous-looking documentary I have ever seen.

19- Argo 

Great screenwriting and cinematography create a well-balanced political thriller. The great cast was the icing on the cake.

18- Carnage 

Four people arguing in a living room for hours might not seem like much, but when those four people are John C. Reilly, Christoph Waltz, Jodie Foster, and Kate Winslet…….   things get interesting and dramatically hilarious.

17- Looper

Good movies are usually either intellectually, sensually or emotionally stimulating.  Looper manages to be all three at the same time.

End of Watch

While it might seem like a feature film about the TV show COPS, End of Watch is actually one of the most emotional movies I have seen all year.  Great chemistry from Gyllenhaal and Pena.

16- Seven Psychopaths 

An amazing cast mixed with an ever-unpredictable story makes for an offensively wild film. From the writer/director of the cult-favourite In Bruges.

15- Prometheus 

The epic and visually stunning prequel to Alien, Ridley Scott’s Prometheus proves you can reach the end of a journey looking for answers, only to have more questions that when you first started. The film’s many mysteries had Alien fans scratching their heads for ages, and left me wanting a sequel.

 

14- Headhunters 

Part heist-flick, part survival-drama, Headhunters tells the story of one man’s quest to steal a million-dollar painting. And what ultimately happens when things go sour.  If you are a fan of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series, don’t miss out on this.

13- The Master 

P.T. Anderson’s sprawling epic about the life of a  very peculiar WWII veteran. Both Phillip S. Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix give amazing performances and the cinematography is stunning.

12 – The Imposter 

The bizzare-but-true story about a missing Texas boy who winds up in Spain over three years later. This is the WTF documentary everyone will be talking about.

10 – Django Unchained 

Tarantino returns with a revenge/western/drama/shoot-em-up set in the South 2 years prior to the Civil War. It’s long and overly playful, but Django Unchained somehow manages to be one of the year’s most entertaining films (if you can get past the hefty amount of racial slurs and fake blood).

 

9-  The Hunt

8- Holy Motors 

Obscure and senseless, Holy Motors is a collage of surreal scenarios and situations that make up a thought-provoking and mesmerizing piece of cinema.

7 – Frances Ha 

6 – Silver Linings Playbook 

David O Russel cleverly mixes bi-polar disorders with the Philadelphia Eagle’s in this witty romantic comedy.  Bradley Cooper, Robert DeNiro, and Jennifer Lawrence are great, but the real treasure is seeing a chic-flick that is this entertaining without being cliche’.

5 – Killer Joe 

A low-budget crime thriller that hits all the right spots, and then some. Killer Joe boasts some of the best acting of the year, and a script that leaves you on the edge on your seat. You will never look at KFC the same way again.

4 – Moonrise Kingdom 

Wes Anderson’s magnificent drama about a boy and a girl who leave the world behind and set out together for adventure. Not only does the film look amazing, but Anderson has really outdone himself (again) with the set pieces, characters, use of music and brilliant screenplay.  Though it has an all-star cast, Moonrise never lets celebrity get in the way of it’s story and splendor.

3- Beasts of the Southern Wild 

A simple low-budget film that captures the innocence and curiosity of childhood, mixed with the drama and emotion of an entire community. This movie is brilliant, well directed and breathtakingly beautiful from start to finish.

 

2-  We Need To Talk About Kevin 

A powerfully gripping psychological thriller about a child who is…. different. This is one you will want to see a second time around.

1- It’s Such A Beautiful Day 

So there ya go. An honorable mention goes to 21 Jump Street for being the funniest movie of the year.

My picks for film categories can be seen HERE.

Feel free to disagree as there were so many other great films that I didn’t mention, and  if you want to take a look at what i’m most excited about in 2013, click HERE

Amelie (2001)

30 Nov

Amelie tells the story of a French twenty-something year-old girl.  She fantasizes about many things including dipping her hands into a bag of grain and cracking fresh creme’ brûlée’ with a spoon. Trapped somewhere between a naive childhood fantasy and the impending responsibility of adulthood, Amelie’s life takes a turn when she (though rather unknowingly) falls in love.

Amelie, as a film, is a montage of sorts about the small pleasures of life. Like watching a laughing baby or a litter of puppies, the film is an enchanting delight that is easy to get immersed into.  There is something universally charming about Amelie, both her character and the world in which she lives.  The colorful characters and remarkable production design give the film an animated vibrance that was unlike anything I have ever seen.

Some say this is a romance film done in the style of Woody Allen, others will point to the dark comedies reminiscent of Wes Anderson, or John Hughes.

I liked this film best for it’s wonderful use of music, story, cinematography and performances which really leave a lasting impression.  Technically, Amelie is flawless, but it’s the emotions and vibrance of the film which make it a mesmerizing and overall enchanting piece of cinema.  One of my all time favorite French films.

rating 10/10 

Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

20 Sep

You pretty much know what your going to get with a Wes Anderson film these days.

Offbeat situational comedy,

bright colors,

fast-paced dialogue,

romance,

witty characters,

Bill Murray playing “the old man”…

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and an overall quirky tone have become staples of his directing style.

Moonrise Kingdom polishes up everything that makes Wes Anderson great and presents itself in a humorous and charming 95 minutes.

The film takes us on a journey to an unknown island where two lovers happen to cross paths at a church’s stage adaptation of Noah and the ark. Visually, this film is amazing, mostly thanks to Anderson’s clever use of color, mis en scene and deep space. The set pieces are incredibly detailed and work wonders for the film.

Moonrise Kingdom is genuinely funny with an all-star cast, but it doesn’t let humor or celebrity get in the way of it’s real nostalgic and child-like wonder.

rating 9/10 

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