Image: Fox Searchlight Pictures
There are three cinematic masters in today’s reigning generation of directors, who each rarely ever fail to produce masterpiece after masterpiece. Along with Quentin Tarantino and Christopher Nolan, Wes Anderson is one of those elite few who seem to just churn out brilliance without having to even try.
When the idiosyncratic director of Rushmore tackled stop-motion animation with 2009’s Fantastic Mr. Fox, he found his truest calling. In the wake of his Oscar-nominated Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel, Anderson has now returned to the same arena of animation and it’s a masterpiece even when stacked against his best.
Photo: Twentieth Century Fox
Since it became feasible thanks to CGI ten or fifteen years ago, one of the most common trends in family movies has become inserted a CGI animal into a live-action film.
Two of the most notable were Garfield: The Movie and Garfield: A Tail of Two Cities, featuring Bill Murray as the voice of the lethargic cat with a love for lasagna and a disdain of Mondays. Continue reading
Photo: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Less than a decade ago, “live-action Disney” meant The Game Plan, College Road Trip, and Beverly Hills Chihuahua. Then the success of 2010’s Alice in Wonderland taught the studio they could dust off an animated classic, give it the live-action treatment modern CGI afforded, and rake it the big bucks. The six years since have brought about live-action adaptations of Fantasia, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and now, 1967’s The Jungle Book.
Of course, long before The Jungle Book was Disney’s nineteenth “Animated Classic,” it was a cherished collection of stories by Rudyard Kipling. To its credit, Jon Favreau’s take on Kipling’s tales mostly goes the latter as its source whenever a choice is called for, resulting in a tale with a more suitably dark tone. Unfortunately, rather than be allowed to become its own creation, The Jungle Book too often gets needlessly muffled by paying tribute to its animated forebear. Continue reading
Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Wes Anderson is the most visually distinctive film director since Stanley Kubrick. Other than his first film, the six that followed — Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Darjeeling Limited, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Moonrise Kingdom — all looked similarly idiosyncratic to the point of being immediately identifiable, even just by a still frame, as “Andersonian.” His eighth feature, The Grand Budapest Hotel, is at once a typical Wes Anderson movie and also something much more.
Photo: Buena Vista Pictures
With the visually distinctive writer-director’s The Grand Budapest Hotel in the midst of opening wide into theatres, you may have noticed some familiar faces in the movie’s ubiquitous ads. If you’ve seen any Wes Anderson movie, then you’ll already recognize some of the cast, as Anderson has a habit of recasting the same actors in different films he makes.
Photo: Columbia Pictures
As a director, George Clooney tends to alternate between making alright movies and making excellent movies. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind was okay, but Good Night, and Good Luck was fantastic. Leatherheads was fine, but The Ides of March was terrific. Unfortunately, the pendulum’s swung back toward just good with his fifth movie, The Monuments Men.