Wes Anderson

Megan's Top 15 Movies of 2014

Jan 22 // Megan Porch
15. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 I totally love Suzanne Collins' dystopian trilogy, and even though Mockingjay is my favorite of the books I'll admit the book has a ton of faults. When it was first announced the final book would be split into two movies, I was concerned. Mockingjay isn't a long book and it didn't feel like there was enough material for two movies. But then I went to see the film and it was worlds better than I was expecting. While the novel felt rushed, the movie takes its time to let the story unfold and the audience finally gets to really see all the devastation District 13's rebellion is causing. The actors' performances are great, and it's nice to see the final chapter of the trilogy getting the attention it deserves. Read the review here! 14. The Lego Movie In 2013, my friend and I went to a movie for Valentine's Day. That movie was Dredd. In 2014, the same friend and I wanted to see a movie again for the same holiday, so we ended up at The Lego Movie. Despite sitting through the panel for this movie at San Diego Comic Con in 2013, I knew virtually nothing about it. I just knew it involved Legos and Batman was in it. In the end, I can easily say everything about The Lego Movie was awesome. Read the review here! 13. Edge of Tomorrow Any movie that lets me see Tom Cruise die over and over again is amazing and wonderful. I was skeptical of this film because I really can't stand him, but I ended up seeing it since my friends wanted to go. Edge of Tomorrow ended up being a really fun movie that I didn't totally hate Tom Cruise in, and it goes without saying Emily Blunt was a total badass. It was definitely a very pleasant surprise but I do wish the movie had been a bigger hit than it was. Read the review here! 12. Godzilla My only complaint about Godzilla is that Bryan Cranston should've been in way more of it. Now that I've got that out of the way, let me say that this movie was awesome. I like Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and I especially liked how his character was just trying to get home the whole time, but kept getting swept up in all the kaiju insanity. Maybe Godzilla himself should've been in more of it, too, but the moments that he was on screen were incredible. I know a lot of fans were wanting an old school monster for Godzilla to fight, but I thought the Mutos were unique and still managed to fit nicely into the big fighting monster genre. Read the review here! 11. John Wick The biggest surprise movie of 2014 for me was John Wick. I didn't have any interest in seeing it until my friend told me that the story involved a dog. Being the dog-crazy person I am, after that I decided I had to see it... and I'm definitely glad I did. Keanu Reeves may not be the most versatile actor, but I liked him as Wick and the rest of the cast was full of a lot of unexpected, but awesome actors. The fight scenes were fun and the soundtrack was the perfect icing on this revenge filled cake. Check out the sweet doggy! 10. The Raid 2 - Berandal I'll admit I haven't seen The Raid Redemption, but it's on my to-watch list. I ended up seeing The Raid 2 - Berandal with my friend to kill time on the day of Captain America: The Winter Soldier's theatrical release. The only thing I expected was that there would be martial arts. That was literally all I knew about the first movie, so when this one revealed that it had a pretty good plot AND tons of the best fight choreography I've ever seen, I was sold. Read the review here! 9. The Boxtrolls As the third feature film from Laika Studios, The Boxtrolls may not be the strongest story-wise, but it's got a ton of heart and it's a fun movie for kids and adults. What really impresses me about this studio, though, is the amount of sheer creativity that goes into making their movies. With practically every animated movie coming out now being nothing but computer graphics, it's so refreshing to see stop animation still being used so masterfully. Read the review here! 8. Birdman I think the last movie I saw Michael Keaton in was one where he was Batman. I knew the basic premise of Birdman, and since I love superhero movies I was curious about what seemed like a critique of that genre. Birdman is a great character piece with an incredible cast. Emma Stone is easily one of my favorite leading ladies, and I've always liked Ed Norton, but Michael Keaton shined the brightest in this film. Read the review here! 7. Guardians of the Galaxy I'm a diehard fan of Marvel's movies and comics, but even I was puzzled by their choice to make Guardians of the Galaxy into a film. It seemed like something that was too comic book-ish for general movie audiences to enjoy. Luckily, Guardians turned out to be a smash hit and it was also a much needed break from all the dark and serious superhero movies we've gotten over the past decade. There was nothing about this movie I didn't like, but I think my favorite thing about it was how colorful it was. With bright pink and blue people, a talking raccoon and a loveable tree, Guardians of the Galaxy came out of left field and now is one of my top favorite superhero movies. Read the review here! 6. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night I used to live in a town that barely ever got foreign films. Now that I live in Los Angeles there's so many that I don't have time or money to see them all, but when I heard about this movie, I was intrigued. Ana Lily Amirpour's directorial debut, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a must-see for anyone who considers him/herself a movie buff. It's a quiet, simple film, but it also packs a lot of heavy punches in the form of great acting and beautiful storytelling. Read the review here! 5. The Grand Budapest Hotel I can't say enough how much I love Wes Anderson movies, and The Grand Budapest Hotel seems like a love letter to all his fans. It still doesn't beat The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou as my favorite, but it's a close second. Everything about this movie is beautiful, charming, and a little bit disturbing (the cat's fate still makes me cringe). Also, if anyone thinks Ralph Fiennes didn't do his best performance of his career in this movie, I will fight you. Read the review here! 4. Song of the Sea Technically I saw Song of the Sea this year, but its official release date was in December of 2014, so I'm counting it. Cartoon Saloon already made me a fan of their work with their first feature, Secret of Kells, but this movie was something truly special. Maybe I'm a little biased because I think seals are the best animals in the world, but the story of Song of the Sea is truly touching and the craftsmanship that went into creating it is just extraordinary. Read the review here! 3. Under the Skin I read Michel Faber's novel this movie is based on a few weeks before I went to see it in the theater. The novel was weird and cool, but I couldn't imagine how it'd translate into a film. It turns out that Jonathan Glazer was not trying to make a literal adaptation of the book, and that's okay with me. Under the Skin doesn't improve on the novel because it's a completely separate entity. Yeah, there are similarities, but overall the movie is a bizarre journey into femininity and the search for companionship. It's also apparent after watching it that Jonathan Glazer is the closest we are to a modern day Stanley Kubrick. 2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier There won't be any Best Picture nomination for Captain America, but in my mind, it's a masterpiece. The Winter Soldier was my most anticipated movie since the second it was announced at San Diego Comic Con in 2012. As an interpretation of my favorite comic story ever, this movie could not have been more perfect. It wasn't exactly the same, but it didn't matter. All that mattered to me was that I was seeing my favorite characters come to life in a way that was interesting unlike any other superhero movie. I hope Marvel continues with these genre films, since it gives superheroes a cool twist they didn't have before. Read the review here! 1. Interstellar I get pretty emotional during movies, especially the ones that are as emotionally charged as Interstellar was. Christopher Nolan is one of my favorite directors, so I'm always eager to see what he's up to. This movie felt different from all his others. It certainly had a lot of big ideas, but when it boiled down to its core, Interstellar was about family. So I pretty much spent the entire movie sobbing because it was just so darn beautiful. The story, the cinematography, the special effects... everything was perfect. I wasn't sure anything could top how much I loved The Winter Soldier (because I'm horribly biased), but Interstellar went above and beyond anything I saw last year. Read the review here! So here's hoping 2015 is full of awesome movies, too! What were some of your favorites from last year?
Megan's Top 15 photo
Lots of these movies involve adorable animals. Others are gratuitiously violent. One has both!
2014 was a pretty great year for movies, so coming up with a year end list was pretty tough for me. Originally I thought I'd just do top 5, and then top 10... but no. It had to be top 15 because I saw so many awesome films last year, and it just wouldn't be fair to ignore the movies in the 11 through 15 slots.  So let's get the ball rolling...  

Nick's Top 15 Movies of 2014

Jan 16 // Nick Valdez
30-16: The Lego Movie, The Babadook, 22 Jump Street, The Purge: Anarchy, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Maleficent, Mr. Peabody and Sherman, Snowpiercer, Frank, Top Five, Gone Girl, Pride, The Drop, Nymphomaniac Vol 1, A Most Violent Year 15. Locke  I nearly missed out on Locke. With the smallest of small releases, I didn't see this until it was recommended by a friend a few weeks ago. I'm super glad I finally took the plunge. It's got the weirdest barrier of entry (it's better if you see it at night, you have to be in the right mindset), but it's totally worth the trouble. In a year full of bloated blockbusters, Locke is the concise breath of fresh air that reminds you what cinema is capable of. In the length of a Sunday night drive, Tom Hardy goes through so many complicated emotions. Enclosed, intimate, and fantastic.  14. Nightcrawler Nightcrawler (and Enemy, in fact) proved Jake Gyllenhaal still has some sides of his acting talent hidden away. With a strikingly dark, yet practical performance, he sells the film's dissection of sensationalist journalism. Literally crawling through the muck, Nightcrawler portrays the opposite end of ambition. When ambition morphs into an unhealthy aggression, one of the best films of 2014 was born.  Read our review of Nightcrawler here. 13. John Wick John Wick was an utter surprise and delight. Literally coming out of nowhere with a generic trailer that made the film seem like nothing more than a direct to home video action film mistakenly released to theaters, John Wick has a fantastic setting (I want another movie of just interactions within the assassin hotel hideout), wonderfully choreographed action (Keanu Reeves is really Neo at this point, which made the fantastical nature of the fights even more believable), and a story with so many cheesy twists and turns I fell in love instantly. Oh and the dog, Daisy! Oh. My. God. 12. Boyhood Filmed over the course of twelve years, it sort of makes sense to put Boyhood here. Both as a little dig, and because while I love what it did for cinema (and how much I enjoyed it directly afterward), I'm not as fond of it as I thought I was. While some of Mason's life speaks to me (I too had a drunk and abusive parent, was also directionless for the majority of life), a lot of it glazed over what my life was really like. Yeah, I know Boyhood won't be a depiction of my life, but it kind of stung to see someone live a happier life than mine. I don't hold it against the film critically (that's why it's here), but I'll never truly connect with it the way I think I'm supposed to.  Read our review of Boyhood here. 11. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes APEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is what we get for not hailing to the chimp. A summer blockbuster that was not only intelligent, well paced, and full of stunning visuals, but made me expect more out of my popcorn flicks. Bad action and explosions just aren't going to cut it anymore. Dawn says we can have both AND be a successful prequel/sequel at the same time. It doesn't get any better. This is what blockbusters should strive to.  Read our review of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes here. 10. The Guest The Guest is a film that will forever be welcome in my home. Before my screening, I knew nothing of it other than it was a follow up from the You're Next (which is also a film you need to see someday) duo of Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett. Figuring they were kind of a one trick pony (sorry, guys), I expected a run of the mill thriller with a genre twist at the end. But that's nowhere near the case with Guest. Completely confident in its lead Dan Stevens (with good reason), the film is full throttle from beginning to end. Its tone is never once tiring. With its homages to older horror films, a groovy synth inspired soundtrack, stylistic filming (there's a great use of light throughout) and fantastically staged finale, The Guest was one of my favorite movie going experiences last year. Read our review of The Guest here. 9. Joe Wow, so where has THIS Nicolas Cage been? We make fun of the guy for signing up for everything and anything, but he's some kind of wicked genius. It's when we forget how talented of an actor he can be that he decides to come out with a legitimately gripping performance. That's the heart of Joe. Three great performances (from Cage, Tye Sheridan, and the now passed Gary Poulter) root this tale in the South with the most human characters I saw last year. Remember Your Highness? This is from the same director. I just can't believe that.  Read our review of Joe here. 8. Edge of Tomorrow Just like with Nic Cage, Tom Cruise always has a surprise up his sleeve for when we forget how talented he is. It appears that both actors can truly surprise given the right material. Edge of Tomorrow (or whatever the hell it's named now) is a science fiction story about how some nerdy, cowardly man transforms into action star Tom Cruise after dying a thousand times. In the most unique premise of any science fiction film in recent memory (which is saying quite a bit as you can allude to sources like videogames), a man's life gets a reset button every time he's killed in a battle leading to some of the best and hilarious editing of 2014. And you know what else? Emily Blunt is a killer viking goddess badass and I wouldn't have it any other way.  Read our review of Edge of Tomorrow/All You Need is Kill/Live.Die.Repeat here. 7. Birdman Speaking of actors we've forgotten about, out comes Michael Keaton reminding us how much of a juggernaut he is. Sure he's had some subversive turns in films like The Other Guys, Toy Story 3 and RoboCop recently, but I haven't seen him challenged like this in a long time. Birdman breaks down Keaton and builds him back up again. A heartbreaking, absurd, hilarious, soul crushing, wonderfully shot film, Birdman is truly the peak of artistic creativity. Too bad Keaton overshadowed everyone else. But is that such a bad problem to have?  Read our review of Birdman here. 6. The Grand Budapest Hotel Budapest was my very first Wes Anderson film experience, and I'm so glad I finally took the plunge. Budapest is a film full of so much love, hard work, and time that it could only be put together after as long career. With one of the most outstanding casts (each utilized to the fullest, even in the smaller roles), a vignette style story, and an amazing performance from Ralph Fiennes, Budapest had my attention from beginning to end. The reason it's not higher on this list is because there were a few that had my attention a little bit more. And that's definitely tough in this case.  Read our review of The Grand Budapest Hotel here. 5. The Interview Say what you will about whether or not The Interview "deserved" all of the problems it caused, or whether or not it's some stupid exercise of free speech, underneath all of the drama, The Interview was the funnest experience I had last year. It's not some grand satire of North Korea's politics, nor is it your patriotic duty to witness it unfold, but you'd do yourself a disservice by missing out. Well tuned humor, great performances (with some of the best James Franco faces) led by Randall Park, and an explosive finale you're sure to remember. The Interview is a firework. Boom, boom, boom.  Read our review of The Interview here. 4. Whiplash On the opposite end of the spectrum is Whiplash. A film I had no idea existed full of darkness. Yet, that darkness is truly compelling. J.K. Simmons is a fantastic lead (if you tell me Miles Teller is the lead, I will politely ask you to leave) with a performance that's striking, violent, and full of the best kind of black humor. Imagine if his turn as J. Jonah Jameson in Spider-Man was even more aggressive, and you've got Whiplash. Backing up Simmons is a truly great film that's more about a bloody need to prove you're the best. Intense, rich, and has an a different kind of explosive finale.  Read our review of Whiplash here. 3. Obvious Child  Within a year so full of men that even the cartoons resemble our landscape, Obvious Child stood out from the outset. I've always loved comedienne Jenny Slate as she's great at creating tragically trashy characters,  but I was just waiting for her to break out. And the wait's been worth it. Based off a short film of the same name, Obvious Child tackles not often spoken topics like womanhood, abortion, and late twenties uncertainty with not only tact, but a sophisticated and illuminating point of view with often hilarious results. Jenny Slate is a dynamo as Donna Stern, and the film ending's blend of awkwardness and hope still gives me chills.  2. Palo Alto As James Franco continues to branch out, some of his projects don't go over so well but are nonetheless interesting. His collection of short stories, Palo Alto, and its adaptation got some attention a few months back because Franco himself inadvertently hit on an underage girl on Instagram. That's the only reason I knew about the project, and now I realize how wrong I was. Palo Alto is f**king fantastic for all involved. A well realized weave of stories helped established a broken, and compelling world. I was so invested, I couldn't help but want more. Yet, we're given just the right amount of story thanks to Gia Coppola's outstanding direction.  Featuring an eclectic cast with Franco as a creepy teacher, Emma Roberts as a misguided teen, Jack (and to a lesser extent, Val) Kilmer as a lost kid, and Nat Wolff with the most emotionally charged performance of the year. Seriously, I could not believe that the kid from The Naked Brothers Band had some talent. The final scene of the film where he charges into the night has stuck with me to this day.  1. Fury With how much Obvious Child and Palo Alto stuck with me, only one film did much more. As a fan of David Ayer's career, I was on top of Fury from day one. Though my anticipation sort of wavered in the middle thanks to some bad trailer editing, and I didn't think Logan Lerman was going to be an effective lead, once I sat down with the film all of that faded away. Fury is magnificent. Five terrific performances anchor the film's small story within this admittedly overwrought setting. Fury isn't a typical WWII film, and it delivers with a not so typical emotionally charged finale.  And Shia LaBeouf? Thank you for giving up all of that Transformers trash. This is what you're meant to do.  Read our review of Fury here.  What are your favorite movies from 2014? Did I miss any of your favorites? Leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter! While you're at it, why not check out my Top 5 Animated Movies of 2014, Top 5 Sequels, Top 10 Movie Music Moments, and 2014's Best Dog in Film lists too!
Nick's Top 15 of 2014 photo
I have seen 107 films released in 2014. Here are 15 of the best ones
It was the best of films, it was the blurst of films. Hey everyone I'm Nick Valdez, News Editor here for Flixist and you've probably seen my name on a good chunk of the stuff written here. If not, then I'll tell you a bit abo...

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Funko releasing Fantastic Mr. Fox toys


About as charming as the movie
Sep 09
// Matthew Razak
Fantastic Mr. Fox has quite the cult following behind it (as do all Wes Anderson movies) so it probably shouldn't come as a surprise that Funko, the toy makers who make cult following toys, is releasing some new toys for...
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UPDATE: Grand Budapest and LEGO together at last!


Jun 13
// Matthew Razak
UPDATE: We've figured out what the teaser is for! To promote the releases of Grand Budapest Hotel and LEGO Movie on home video, Ryan Ziegelbauer and 8 other artists put together a Grand Budapest made entirely out of LEGO bri...

SXSW Interview: Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

Mar 27 // Nick Valdez
I was interested in how you create a film, whether you start with the visuals or start with the script, or do you just come up with an idea and run with it?  Wes Anderson (WA): With different movies, I have a different order of events. But with [Budapest], I started with this one character, played by Ralph, and think what that character is like, with a little bit of story for that character, and then eventually having an idea of the setting. That is was gonna be this sort of European, war background kind of movie, then making the script. Than all the visual stuff and figure out how to go about making the movie, that all came after the script was finished.  How did you come to Ralph Fiennes? He's not an actor who is considered someone who has a large body of comedy in his resume. What did you see in him that you felt would be right for the role of M. Gustave?  WA: In Bruges is a film I thought of, because he's so funny in it. I then I had seen him in this play God of Carnage that he was very funny in, and especially this movie that Bob Balaban directed called Bernard and Doris. It was a very quiet role he plays. But then also I got to know him personally over the years, quite a bit. And he even knows, the person that this character is inspired by, he knows my friend. So he even had a sense of what the real guy is like, so it was that combination. As much from just being around him a little bit personally as anything else. Where do you get the ideas for character details, such a M. Gustave's collection of perfumes, and how do you make sure they don't retract from the story?  WA: Usually most of the things come from, the thing with the perfume for instance, that's this real person who wears this Versace perfume everyday and he sprays it on. You can't miss it. And he will talk about that freely. Often it's from something in real life. But having said that, I thought the mustache was something he thought up, Tony Revolori, but the other day he denied that when we were doing an interview the other day. Like he didn't want credit for that idea. Some of it is just imagination, and when it's just imagination, it's probably stolen from something that we forgot what it is. But as often it's about somebody in real life. Either someone I'd read about, or the person I'm writing with has read about, or someone we know, or ourselves.  Speaking to the real life influences, there's an interesting quote in the film that's repeated twice about the last speck of humanity within brutality. Can you explain where this idea came from?  WA: That's a way of expressing something that's in Stefan Zweig's work. He writes about in his memoir Vienna, where he was growing up in before 1914 and the Europe of that time. Their newspaper had whatever news there was, but it also had poetry and philosophical texts. It was a different kind of writing. Their rock stars were playwrights, and there was new music happening all the time. He describes a thing which, at this time nationalism begins, he sees his country shifting to a more nationalistic world view. At the same time where sport became a big thing. Suddenly the thing that was cool to be into shifted into this physical thing and it's all leading to a war like mentality. His story is this person who's so invested in this one culture that then is slowly and then quickly destroyed. He ended up fleeing Europe[...], but still didn't survive the war because he ended up committing suicide. So that line you're talking about it some kind of condensed version of what I just described.  [laughs] In Moonrise Kingdom and The Royal Tennenbaums you kill a dog, and in this one you kill a cat. Was that a conscious decision?  WA: Human actors often want to have a death scene to play. So in a way it's to just share this opportunity with other animals. I'm just trying to write a good part for a cat.  [laughs] Can you talk about the process of turning the hotel into a central character in the film, and where you start from in terms of design? WA: First we tried to find a hotel where we could do this, the perfect place. Is it in Switzerland, is it in Hungary, where is this place? We traveled all over Central Europe, and we went to a million hotels, we went to castles, went to hospitals, abandoned things, operating things, and we gathered many ideas, but we couldn't find a place. The world is just not like that [...] Our big location scout turned into a big research scout. We figured out that we'd need to create our hotel. We found this department store in the town of Görlitz that gave us this opportunity to make something is this real location, and then we designed miniatures and other things so we could use all the things we really liked and make exactly the hotel we wanted in a more impressionistic way of using these old movie techniques. In a way of us getting exactly what we wanted while not having it really exist. 
Wes Anderson Interview photo
The man, the myth, the really cool dude
My final roundtable interview of SXSW was with Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel. Since it was my first true Anderson film experience (which I loved), I had plenty of questions for him. But since I had to compete...

Review: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Mar 12 // Nick Valdez
[embed]217427:41318:0[/embed] The Grand Budapest Hotel Director: Wes AndersonRated: RRelease Date: March 7, 2014 (limited) I'm sure you've heard this by now, but The Grand Budapest Hotel recently set a new box office record for grossing over $800,000 dollars releasing on only four screens. That's insane. But you know what? It absolutely deserves it. Inspired by the writings of Stefan Zweig, Budapest takes place at the titular hotel as Mr. Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham) talks to a young writer (Jude Law) about how he came to own the now failing hotel and his young adventures with M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes, a man who was falsely accused of murder and was sent to prison after he's left with a famous painting from the victim's will. The synopsis for the film does not do it justice as there are multiple complex layers of story to be told. First of all the entire film takes place within a novel, but as the film begins, the novel's author (within the novel, mind you) begins telling the story after explaining that the world makes stories for writers.  The visual of that opening scene (the hotel itself is flat but slightly curves inward to a further in horizon line, creating a cone of vision) married with the new perspective (to keep a constant reminder that the film is a story, within a story, within a story) helps sinks you in further and further. It's a refreshing change of pace to find that a film has enough confidence in you to follow along. It's never once condescending, pandering, or insulting. It just exists as is, and the more you get invested in the adventure, the more you want the stories to sink into each other. And this is all before the film begins proper. Once it gets going, it really never stops being fabulous.  You'd figure a film so deftly packed with characters and famous Anderson actor cameos would be a recipe for disaster, but each person makes so much use of the little screen time they get. Thanks to impressive attention to detail, even when given a part with little dialogue, each character is a distinct personality. Whether they have a particularly crafted mustache (mustaches and beards are actually a big deal in Budapest, hilariously), birthmark in the shape of Mexico, or finely dressed in suits with the different colors of the rainbow. And it's not just all visual. Each actor (even the ones with the bit scenes) gives their performance a distinct flair. Jason Schwartzman takes his small role as M. Jean and gives one of the best visual asides of the film (as you get used to every inch of frame being taken up by visual details, he parodically pops in a corner during a conversation. It's much funnier than I'm describing it, trust me).  And that seems to be the name of the game. Take the little amount of time a moment gets (as stories flow into one another) and make sure it sticks. Not a single second of time is wasted, not a single millimeter of screen space is wasted. Everything is filled to the brim with information, humor, and darling visuals. Speaking of visuals, Budapest has a few stop motion animated asides (from his work on Fantastic Mr. Fox), and when we peer out into the landscape it's all painted on an easel, there are cardboard cutouts juxtaposed with solid characters, and that's just the beginning of a level of greatness that I can't even put into words.  But the visuals would fall apart if they weren't anchored to a great center. Ralph Fiennes as M. Gustave is perfect. He's sympathetic, has some of the best comedic timing, and turns a relatively goofy man (who has a collection of perfumes and sleeps with elderly women) into a great, fully fleshed out character. And it seems that the newest, young addition to the Anderson filmverse, Tony Revolori (as Zero, the Lobby Boy) has got a great future ahead of him if he can keep churning out strong performances like this. And of course, there's still the analytical core of Budapest that bears more research.  You see, The Grand Budapest Hotel feels entirely reflective of the writer (Anderson) and his influence, Stefan Zweig. It's almost as if Anderson wrote a film about his process of scriptwriting. M. Gustave seems like a physical representation of his feelings as there are several random screenwriter asides like when someone says "the plot thickens," Gustave responds with "What does that even mean? Are we talking about soup?" And notably, when the film is about halfway through and threads upon threads of stories have been weaved, M. Gustave yells something along the lines of "F**k (Yes, that expletive is necessary)! I've had enough of all of this!" when someone began summarizing the entire story of the film in full. In that moment, both we and Gustave realize the ridiculous journey we've been on. Oh and not to mention the abrupt resolutions to plots that are just too hilarious to spoil here.  There are lots of little, naturalistic breakthroughs in the script too. While the setting, costume design, and majority of the dialogue exist within some sort of time bubble, there are refreshing bursts of current foul language. All of a sudden you hear Adrien Brody scream, "Blast your candy ass!" and it's just ridiculous enough to not only briefly take you out of the moment, but bring you back in. There's just so much more I want to mention about The Grand Budapest Hotel (Jeff Goldblum and Willem Dafoe!), but I'm running out of space and time. If only I could exist within the Hotel too. A living, breathing entity with its own personality and grace.  I never once felt uncomfortable within my short stay at The Grand Budapest Hotel. My only problem with the film may be that while everything is packed to the brim with visual information, it does tend to be overwhelming at times. But that's honestly a small thing. Even if you don't catch everything in the background, what's at the center is still enthralling. And if you felt compelled enough to watch again, all of the background information and loving details give you something to look forward to in subsequent viewings. With Budapest, there's always something new to find during each stay. I've never been one to watch Wes Anderson films before, but this film has inspired me enough to make a run through his catalog.  The Grand Budapest Hotel is a film that can only exist thanks to years of effort, work, and experience. A stunning work of art. 
Grand Budapest Review photo
Absolutely stunning
Let me be frank. Since this was going to eventually come to light, I may as well admit I've only seen one Wes Anderson film. When I was tasked with the review for Anderson's latest, The Grand Budapest Hotel, I was anxious bec...

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The Grand Budapest Hotel is a record-breaker


Wes Anderson reclaims his crown
Mar 11
// Mike Cosimano
Wes Anderson's latest kitsch-fest, The Grand Budapest Hotel, earned over $800,000 in the course of its first limited run. On Friday, the movie opened in four theaters -- two in NYC, two in LA -- earning over $200,000 per thea...
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New Grand Budapest Hotel clip is all Bill Murray


That's always a good thing
Feb 04
// Matthew Razak
We have here a new clip for Wes Anderson's new film The Grand Budapest Hotel, and since it's a Wes Anderson film that means it also has Bill Murray in it. Thus this clip is both full of Wes Anderson style and Billy Murray aw...
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Flix for Short: Castello Cavalcanti


It sure is Wes Anderson
Nov 13
// Matthew Razak
Fans of Wes Anderson, of which I count myself, are hankering for a bit of The Grand Budapest Hotel, but to tide us over we have a new short for the auteur and it's jam packed full of Wes Anderson style. Castello Cavalcanti&n...
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SNL's Wes Anderson parody is pure brilliance


The worst thing about this is that it's only a parody
Oct 29
// Sean Walsh
The only thing wrong with this brilliant Wes Anderson parody is its lack of Bill Murray. Other than that, it looks exactly like an Anderson film. The music is perfect, the shots are perfect, Edward Norton's Owen Wilson is perfect...ahhhh, it's perfect! [via YouTube]
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Kickin' it old school, rockin' it full frame
Here's the first trailer for Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel, and it looks old-timier than usual. Note the full frame aspect ratio throughout most of the trailer, which was probably a conscious decision to help evoke...

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First poster for Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel


Oct 15
// Liz Rugg
The Grand Budapest Hotel is Wes Anderson's next movie, and judging by this poster, I already want to see it. Budapest Hotel, like Anderson's 2012 movie Moonrise Kingdom, will have a killer lineup of acting talent; from Anders...
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RIP Kumar Pallana (1918-2013)


A key supporting actor in many Wes Anderson films dead at 94
Oct 11
// Hubert Vigilla
Kumar Pallana, best known for his appearances in various Wes Anderson films, passed away yesterday at age 94. Pallana has been a part of the Anderson ensemble stable since Bottle Rocket and also appeared in Rushmore, The Roy...
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Details on Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel


Fox Searchlight may release film at the end of the year
Mar 28
// Hubert Vigilla
Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom was our pick for the best comedy of 2012. Anderson's latest film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, is another period piece and it may lead to back-to-back Golden Pterodactyls for best comedy. Fox Sear...

Flixist Awards 2012: Best Director

Feb 25 // Matthew Razak
Django Unchained may have stirred up some controversy, but there's one thing no one could argue about: Quentin Tarantino put together an amazingly good movie. From nailing the cast to shooting in his fantastically unique style it stood out. From nods to classic westerns to somehow keeping a very dark film entertaining Tarantino showed us why he's a master of the medium he loves so much. Often his films can feel like he's simply referencing things he's seen, but with Django everything seems somehow fresh while still honoring what came before. Moving past Tarantino's mastery of the homage is his mastery of making violence somehow artistic. There's so much going on in Django that it seems ridiculous to focus on this, but that last shoot out is a gun fight masterpiece. The man is simply a brilliant director. Full Review. This was one of our closer contests and all five directors definitely deserve some sort of dinosaur statue even if they didn't grab a Golden Pterodactyl. Paul Thomas Anderson especially deserves a bit more attention since The Master disappeared  from the radar this awards season other than its actors. Meanwhile, Ben Affleck truly established himself as one of Hollywood's best directors with Argo and Spielberg kept his throne by giving us the powerful, though flawed, Lincoln. We're also pretty sure that Wes Anderson makes the same movie every time, which is fine with us because that movie is awesome and Moonrise Kingdom might be his best version of it. Wes Anderson - Moonrise KingdomSteven Spielberg - LincolnPaul Thomas Anderson - The MasterBen Affleck - Argo
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They have arrived and this is the first one
The 2012 Flixist Awards (known as the Golden Pterodactyls by those in the know) have arrived. Now that those far less important awards have come and gone, it's time to get down to the ones that really matter. We'll be spendin...

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Illustrated Moonrise Kingdom script available to download


Jan 23
// Liz Rugg
Focus Features has released online an illustrated version of Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola's Academy Award nominated script for their 2012 film, Moonrise Kingdom. You can click through the script on their website and downloa...
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Big ensemble cast for Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel


Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe, Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton, and more
Dec 27
// Hubert Vigilla
The cast for Wes Anderson's new film is set, and it's one hell of an ensemble. (Johnny Depp is not involved with the film, by the way, contrary to our report a few months ago. Ditto Angela Lansbury.) The Grand Budapest Hotel ...
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A rather accurate infographic from Jennifer Lewis
A lot of us here at Flixist enjoy Wes Anderson's movies. (You may recall we even dedicated a week of coverage to Wes Anderson.) Usually when you enjoy someone's work, you find that you have an affinity for a character that th...

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Of course Bill Murray will be in Wes Anderson's new movie


Sep 26
// Hubert Vigilla
Bill Murray confirmed that we will be appearing in Wes Anderson's next film, The Grand Budapest Hotel. This comes from "A Day Spent Packing with Bill Murray", a really fun feature/interview from New York Magazine that appeare...
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Johnny Depp will be in Wes Anderson's next film


Jul 17
// Hubert Vigilla
Wes Anderson's next movie is The Grand Budapest Hotel, a European story that draws on Anderson's own experiences in France. Not only does the film reteam Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson, it brings a new face into Anderson's stab...
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Adrian Tomine draws Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom


Jun 22
// Hubert Vigilla
After seeing Moonrise Kingdom again, I've mentally added a couple points to my initial score. There's just something about that portrait of young love at summer's end that's beautifully done. Adrian Tomine captures that feeli...
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Watch Cousin Ben host a Moonrise Kingdom screening


Jun 19
// Liz Rugg
One of my favorite appearances in Wes Anderson's new Moonrise Kingdom is Jason Schwartzman as Cousin Ben. Schwartzman plays a semi-obnoxious older Khaki Scout who often takes advantage of the innocent younger scouts, but und...
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Wes Anderson color palette swatches show continuity


Jun 19
// Liz Rugg
Designer Beth Mathews has created this image showing what she believes to be the main color palettes for all of Wes Anderson's movies. She asserts on her blog that "You no longer have to be just a business to have a brand,...
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Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom is spreading out into other cities this weekend, and with the expansion comes news of even more Moonrise Kingdom goodness. And yea, it shall come in the form of an animated short. Anderson reve...

Review: Moonrise Kingdom

Jun 01 // Hubert Vigilla
[embed]210451:38328[/embed] Moonrise KingdomDirector: Wes AndersonRelease Date: May 25, 2012 (limited)Rated: PG-13 There's something special about young love. It's simple and unsophisticated. You don't worry about being cool or being coy, and you don't have to deal with the messy adult hang-ups of history and sex. You just get that feeling for someone, and as kids you can mistake strong attachments for love, but it means a lot because that's all you know. Everyone has an excuse to fumble around through young love. Eventually with the onset of adolescence, in comes the dreaded distinctions of like vs. like-like, love vs. hormones, and eventually whether or not you're actually in a relationship or just dating. (Or worse yet, whether or not you actually went on a date with someone.) It's the simple form of attraction that's shared between Suzy (Kara Hayward) and Sam (Jared Gilman) in Moonrise Kingdom. They're two misfit kids who are troubled, lonely, and feel unloved. When you've only lived for 12 years, the first person your age who seems to get you may be the best person ever. (They're perfect for each other, and maybe it's only because they haven't met that many people yet.) The kids strike up an unexpected correspondence after a Noah's Ark play, and what goes on between them is like a love story they might have seen in a movie or read somewhere. They decide to run away together. The whole fantasy of running away from home also plays big into Moonrise Kingdom, and actually speaks to a larger concern in Wes Anderson's films. He's always dealt with childlike perspectives of how the adult world works, or maybe childlike escape routes from the perils of the adult world. With Sam and Suzy, they believe they're well-equipped for the rest of their lives even though all they have is a little bit of cat food and the basic woodland survival skills of a Khaki Scout. Like a youthful version of love, the young view of adulthood means that problems can be solved by throwing pine needles into the air. The children are dead serious about everything. Sam's fellow scouts treat it like the army. Sam's sudden flight from the platoon is a serious kind of of offense, and the young lovers are pursued like fugitives and deserters rather than just goofy runaways. One of them is even accused of being a traitor, which is just the sort of hyperbole that fits the movie's tone. These experiences and groups, as limited as they are, wind up meaning the whole world for these children. Play time is reality. This is all part of that fairy tale-like feel in Moonrise Kingdom, evoked right off the bat with the title. It's something that plays to Anderson's strengths as a filmmaker. The worlds depicted in his films have a pervasive and consistent tone, even when they skew into unreality. All those Wes Anderson-isms are in the film as well. There's the intelligent deadpan from characters of all ages. There's quirkiness (in a pejorative or non-pejorative sense depending on how you feel about Anderson). There's the pastiche of other films. There's the costumes and accessories. There's the diorama and dollhouse sets. There's the vintage soundtrack, though in this case much of it seems to come from Anderson's own childhood rather than his adult vinyl. There are a lot of cultured kid's songs, with some Hank Williams Sr. and a dabble into seductive French pop (both possibly from his parents's record collection). Moonrise Kingdom won't win Wes Anderson any converts. The fact the movie's a period piece has allowed him to become even more vintage, and a lot of the film looks like it was run through an Instagram filter. It's even more like a storybook tale than his previous movies. Suzy's obsessed with young adult books and children's books about strong young ladies with magic powers. That sense of enchantment has made its way into her own worldview and approach to life. Story time is reality too. This is Anderson's most overt riff on Charles Schulz's Peanuts, and not just because there's a dog in the movie named Snoopy. It's all about the concerns of precocious kids rather than the concerns of adults who are still precocious kids inside. The adults mostly act their age in an off-kilter way. (The exception is Scout Master Ward played by Edward Norton, who's given himself over to the Khaki Scouts completely with a childlike zeal.) Bill Murray and Frances McDormand play Suzy's parents, and their lives seem helpless and loveless. Bruce Willis is Captain Sharp, a New Penzance Island police officer, and his life is a solitary one. That's where a lot of the sadness of Moonrise Kingdom begins to comes through. It's not so overt throughout most of the movie, but the story eventually hits a certain note that makes so many other details in the film resonate. The kids act like adults and think they have all the answers, the adults seem helpless and don't know what the answers are, and the kids are doomed to grow up. And to that, the kids are all on the cusp of adolescence, so childhood is about to come to an end. Anderson puts a lot of emphasis on his music choices, especially the closing song of each film, and the final song of Moonrise Kingdom is just right for that moment and this movie. I go back to the idea of 1965 and why it's important that a time is set. I wondered at the end where the characters in this film would be in the summer of 1969 and 1970 and on and on. And I also wondered what these characters in 1975 would think about that strange summer of 1965. Would they look back fondly at those memories? Would there still be letters kept in shoeboxes? Would the shoeboxes still be kept? If only life could always be so simple. The more I think about it, Moonrise Kingdom becomes more poignant and mature than it initially seemed. I'd like to watch it again in the next few days just to see how the movie grows on me. The film was misprojected at the showtime I went to, with the very top and very bottom of the opening credits chopped off. While it irked me for a few minutes, I was swept up enough in the memories and feelings of young love that the cropping didn't matter so much. A little bit of that retro fairy tale magic can work wonders sometimes. On my way out of theater, a line had already formed for the next showing of Moonrise Kingdom. There were a few kids there with their parents. I imagined they were young fans of Fantastic Mr. Fox, and that they were the sorts of precocious children who might get this sort of stuff; eager would-be sophisticates destined to be overeducated. At this age, they'd simply be fumbling around to sound older, wiser, full of answers, and more adult, or at least what they think is more adult. Sure enough, a boy who had to be 10 years old tops said to a younger girl (maybe his sister), "Wes Anderson is a quirky auteur." He added soon after, "I don't know what that means." They grow up so fast. Alex Katz: There's not a cynical bone in Moonrise Kingdom, and it makes me so, so happy. This essentially-simple story of two young lovers against the world, even at the expense of better judgement, is just so deeply sweet and heart-warming, all while avoiding the overly-maudlin sensibilities that tend to be paired with the sweet and the heart-warming. A lot of this is thanks to the straightforward, heartwrenchingly authentic performances from Jared Gilman and Kayla Hayward, two astounding young actors that deserve acclaim. Their love is earnest and uncomplicated, the way we all want to believe love really is. Moonrise Kingdom is a modern fairy tale and a testament to the power of youth. 85- Exceptional
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[This review was originally published last weekend. The film is now getting a wider release.] When I wrote about the retro aesthetic of Wes Anderson, I mentioned ideas of homage and influence, precocious children, arrested de...

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It's been more than 10 years since Peter Bagdanovich's last feature film, The Cat's Meow, but he's coming back with Squirrel to the Nuts. The title functions both as a partial simile and as a description of the worst possible...

Wes Anderson: The Importance of Being Retro

May 25 // Hubert Vigilla
The Ecstasy of Influence Finding one's voice isn't just an emptying and purifying oneself of the words of others but an adopting and embracing of filiations, communities, and discourses. Inspiration could be called inhaling the memory of an act never experienced. Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void but out of chaos. -- Jonathan Lethem, "The Ecstasy of Influence: A Plagiarism" * We can never quite escape our influences, and the retro style of Wes Anderson is a way to pay homage to the films and filmmakers who inspired him. There's a lot of Harold and Maude in Wes Anderson's filmography (hell, Bud Cort's in The Life Aquatic), but he also owes so much to Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard, the work of Jacques Tati, The Graduate, Martin Scorsese, and Orson Welles. His usual font of choice, Futura, was also the favored font of Stanley Kubrick. There's also a lot of Charles Schulz's Peanuts (overtly noted in The Royal Tenenbaums) and J. D. Salinger (maybe the Tenenbaums are a branch on the Glass family tree). While some people use reference and retro style as an end in itself, I think the sheer amount of influences crammed into a Wes Anderson movie helps keep the films from just being mere collections of familiar stuff. It's all about how they're combined, and how much the clutter of stuff turns the whole into something unique -- like the arrangement of multiple picture frames on wall, what seems a jumble turns into a Klimt. You have other movies consciously cribbing from the past or a sense of the past as well, like I Heart Huckabees (2004), Napoleon Dynamite (2004), and The Brothers Bloom (2008). Anderson's aesthetic isn't necessarily responsible for all of these films, but that looking backwards is present in all of these films. It's actually been present for years. Going back into the 90s, the not-too-veiled reference seemed to have gone mainstream thanks to the indie movies of that decade that eventually blew up, and that itself is just an outgrowth of collage, appropriation, assemblage, sampling, and other art movements of the 20th century. We've gotten it a lot in music in the last decade as well (The Strokes, Amy Winehouse, The Decemberists, Vampire Weekend, Girl Talk etc.) and in gaming and in fashion. We're even getting throwback sodas with real sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup. Dr. Pepper's riffing on its old "I'm a Pepper" commercial; Coke redid its Mean Joe Green ad from 1979 with Troy Polamalu in 2009. It's like the past is never quite too far away, because tomorrow we'll be seeing it or hearing it or wearing it or drinking it again. Maybe it's just something about the 21st century finding its identity by dragging stuff from the past forward; like the titular dead father from the Donald Barthelme novel, but in Wes Anderson's case it's Hal Ashby, and he's singing Cat Stevens. * The Lethem epigraph is cribbed together from quotes by George L. Dillon, Ned Rorem, and Mary Shelley A Storybook Case of Arrested Development Character and storywise, there seems to be a lot going on with the retro vibe as well. In Rushmore there's the motto "sic transit gloria" (glory fades) repeated a couple times. The full Latin phrase it's pulled from is "sic transit gloria mundi," which means "thus passes the glory of the world." By freezing things in this retro state, there's a preservation of past glories, and that makes sense because so many of Wes Anderon's movies are about states of arrested development and hang-ups from the past. So many of his characters seem like these precocious child geniuses in adult bodies. They all act the way child geniuses think adults should act; they even dress in the eccentric way that precocious children dress when they're trying to look more mature. It's not just the Tenenbaums; it's also there in Steve Zissou and Herman Blume. Blume's own recreation of the pool scene from The Graduate shows he's an old man who's really just Ben in stasis. They've retreated into past glories or reverted into memories or are held back by some previous event and remain these listless and trapped beings; prehistoric mosquitoes trapped in tweed rather than amber. Better to freeze and relive glory than fail again or allow yourself to fade even though neither can be avoided. That may be why the sudden injection of Elliott Smith's "Needle in the Hay" during The Royal Tenenbaums stands out the way it does. Richie makes this sudden decision about the present and dying, and he divests himself of all trappings of his childhood. On comes a song from the mid-90s (which, funny enough, sounds like it could have been written and recorded in the 70s). It's a moment of recognition about the present (or at least something close to the present), and afterwards Richie's changed. His clothes are different, he looks different, he's aged. The retro style also gives a Wes Anderson movie an odd sort of fairy tale feeling. The movies tend to take place in an uncertain time that resembles the past. That uncertain time in the past is essentially shorthand for the invocation "Once upon a time..." When exactly isn't necessarily important, but it happened at some point in time. If fairy tales have the feel of medieval and pre-Enlightenment Europe, these Wes Anderson tales have the feel of the French and American New Waves and New Yorker fiction from the 1950s. During Sleeping Beauty, the entire kingdom is put to sleep, frozen in that single state until something happens to shake them out of that spell. Maybe that's the retro world of these Wes Anderson films: that fairy tale land peopled by adults who feel like precocious children inside. Dioramas: The Shoeboxes of Wonder [embed]210362:38319[/embed] I think the diorama-like compositions also have a part to play in the retro feel. Dioramas were the go-to book report projects I had growing up, and there's something about arranging stuff in a shoebox that's just right for creating a compact, concentrated world. The same goes for dollhouses, with that hinged facade that reveals the goings-on in every room, or special playsets for action figures, or Legos when you make a fortress, or when you make blueprints of something. It's what's going on in the above scene from The Life Aquatic, and the whole feel of The Fantastic Mr. Fox: model worlds that you can play inside of, action playsets for the precocious child. Wes Anderson fills these model worlds with his influences, and its all chockablock with mental bric-a-brac. There's the word "bricolage" which refers to work assembled from any available materials, and in Wes Anderson's case it's what's in his head that came through his bookcase, his movie collection, his Kinks records, and his life experience. The films are then cobbled together and arranged in these tight spaces (kind of like this set tour by Bill Murray) and in imagined locations that may be tied to the real world. In Moonrise Kingdom, it's the fictional land of New Penzance Island, and I wonder if Anderson drew the island map on graph paper initially. To me it all sort of fits in an odd way since shoeboxes were where I stashed all that stuff I wanted to remember: old photos (some of them Polaroids), letters, mix tapes, pins/buttons, scratch paper doodles, ticket stubs. And if not a shoebox, then a filing box; and if not a filing box, then a cookie tin; and so on. (For a while I think my younger brother even kept his baby teeth in a box of some kind; maybe a box for my mom's earrings.) All of these receptacles are places we can stash and organize memories, and all of them you can potentially build dioramas into. Thinking about it that way, the organized clutter of the Wes Anderson sets may just be a representation of the organizing principle at work in his head. These are just childlike spaces for the mind to play, and all this mention of childhood and the past makes me think that young ideas of the adult world are what drive a lot of the retro vibe in a Wes Anderson movie. Or maybe it's young fears of the adult world as well, and dressing up in the clothing of the past is a way to face this uncertainty, like a kind of armor or protective cloak. This is what grown-ups in the past wore, let's try to be brave while we play dress-up and face the world. "This Time Tomorrow" by The Kinks (1970) [embed]210362:38320:0[/embed] A friend of mine thinks retro is really big right now because people are so uncertain about the future. It's not that there was a lot of certainty in the past, but today no one knows how the world economy is going to be fixed or if there'll be decent jobs anymore. None of the utopias happened either, and people are cynical and disenchanted. And on a superficial level, there's a fear of things seeming dated, and liking things now that won't have cachet in the future. It's this big anxiety about how we'll survive and what will endure, both of which are essentially beyond our control. She says the past is a comfort because it's happened already. Everything's been tested, written about, and had the embarrassment drained out of it (and what's left can be addressed through ironic detachment). The internet has become this big archive of vintage palliatives. You can spend hours online looking up old movies, music, shows, games, and so on. All that cultural stuff you might have missed the first time around can be regained. And maybe by delving deep enough into the past, there might be an answer about how to live, or at the very least we can find something worth saving and sharing with people. Those concerns are operating in Wes Anderson's movies. (Ditto other movies steeped in the past where there's more going on than just the retro sheen.) The past is a comfortable place and a comfortable thing, and maybe by dealing with all of the hard stuff of life in the garb of the past, the whole ordeal is a bit easier. We go back to action playsets and dioramas and the cloaking robe (probably pinstriped or polka dotted). Fairy tale retro is a safe place where you can transplant those potent concerns from the present. You can shrink down your worries until they are tiny, doll-sized, easy to manipulate. You arrange them in a small space. You sort things out free from fear. Adults at play. Maybe in that playtime, you figure something out. And really, that's what stories do, and this is just one way to go about storytelling. Not all stories are diorama fairy tales set in uncertain times, but to me this feels like Wes Anderson's way of getting things done. And it's fashionable and oddly contemporary because this hodgepodge of influences and ideas is where we're at right now. No one knows what the future holds, really, but you can figure it'll be something like the past. I think that's comforting.
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[At the end of this week Wes Anderson will release Moonrise Kingdom. That means all this week we'll be celebrating by diving into his past films with a slew of features on the distinctive director and his films. Head here to ...

Songs in the Key of Wes Anderson

May 24 // Hubert Vigilla
The Action [embed]210403:38297:0[/embed] Signed by George Martin (one of many Fifth Beatles), The Action were a mod/R&B group that were outsold by other bands of the era and mostly forgotten. Rolled Gold was a great reissue of their demos, and songs like "Something to Say" (above) or the much bouncier and punchier "Strange Roads" seem ideal candidates for a future Wes Anderson picture. Jacques Dutronc [embed]210403:38298:0[/embed] In his underrated directorial debut CQ, Moonrise Kingdom co-writer Roman Coppola used the Jacques Dutronc song "Le Responsible." In the trailer for Moonrise Kingdom, the song "Le Temps de l'Amour" by Françoise Hardy is used. Hardy is Dutronc's wife. It's just a matter of time before this happens, and Dutronc's got a great catalog to choose from. Johnny Hallyday [embed]210403:38299:0[/embed] Johnny Hallyday is the French Elvis. He even does the bow-legged dancing, hip swiveling, and mimics the yipes in delivery sometimes. While not all songs by this French rock and roller would fit, his early tracks are pretty good candidates, as is this cover Los Bravos's "Black is Black." (Los Bravos would also be pretty great for a Wes Anderson film.) Marianne Faithfull [embed]210403:38300:0[/embed] Given Marianne Faithfull's (sometimes infamous) association with The Rolling Stones and the sound of her 60s records, she's bound to have a song on a Wes Anderson soundtrack. With that harp at the beginning, "This Little Bird" sounds ready made for inclusion. The Left Banke [embed]210403:38301:0[/embed] Here's the British invasion by way of NYC in the form of The Left Banke. One of the musicians I was going to include on this list was Swedish indie rocker Jens Lekman, whose song "Black Cab" borrows its harpsichord riff directly from The Left Banke's "I've Got Something on My Mind." In a way, he's represented, though I went with another Left Banke song to showcase. Syd Barrett [embed]210403:38302:0[/embed] I don't know if all of Syd Barrett's work would fit (especially as it can get too chaotic and psychedelic for the manicured style of Wes Anderson), but there are a couple songs from his solo albums and bits from Pink Floyd's Piper at the Gates of Dawn that still ought to make the cut. Chantal Goya [embed]210403:38303:0[/embed] A 1960s pop singer and star of Jean-Luc Godard's Masculin Féminin, Chantal Goya has since built a career as a singer of children's songs. I went with this ready-for-Anderson non-kids-song to showcase, but here's a video of her singing and dancing with a panda, no doubt recreating a scene from one of Margot Tenenbaum's later plays. John Cale [embed]210403:38304:0[/embed] This is another bound-to-happen person on the list, and Cale's been on the periphery of a Wes Anderson soundtrack for a while. (Ex-Velvet Underground, also appeared on Nico's Chelsea Girl.) Lots of great songs from Vintage Violence through Helen of Troy to pick from, but I went with "Paris 1919" given Anderson's recent time spent in France. Marie Laforêt [embed]210403:38305:0[/embed] Another actress/recording artist on this list, Marie Laforêt made some diverse music throughout her career, including poppier songs, silkier ones, and quite a few covers. Her French cover of "Paint it Black" is pretty excellent, though she recorded in Italian as well. There's also an Italian version of "A Demain, My Darling" (above), though the French version seems more aligned with Anderson's sensibilities. Sixto Rodriguez [embed]210403:38306:0[/embed] Ever since seeing the documentary Searching for Sugar Man, I've been listening to a lot of Sixto Rodriguez, and I figure it's right to have him on this list. "Crucify Your Mind" seems like it could be a good fit for a Wes Anderson film, but "Cause" (above) is a good contender as well for hitting the right beautifully sad note. Os Mutantes [embed]210403:38307:0[/embed] It's going to happen eventually. There is something just right about Os Mutantes's sound, even when it's buzzy and psychedelic as hell. There's the right amount of color and play going on in their music, the sort of thing that you could build a scene or montage around pretty easily. Anna Karina [embed]210403:38308:0[/embed] The ex-wife of Jean-Luc Godard and one of the key actresses of the French New Wave, Anna Karina recorded a number of songs, several appearing in Godard's films. The above song is from the French TV movie Anna (which also starred Marianne Faithfull). The film and song were written by Serge Gainsbourg, and Gainsbourg himself would've made it onto the list if his music wasn't so damn sexy. Manfred Mann [embed]210403:38309:0[/embed] Before doing "Blinded by the Light" with his Earth Band, Manfred Mann played in a band that was a lot closer to The Kinks in sound. There's a touch of "Village Green..." in "Fox on the Run," and also some of that Davies-like vibe on "The Mighty Quinn" or "Pretty Flamingo," but not in a bad or overly derivative way.
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[At the end of this week Wes Anderson will release Moonrise Kingdom. That means all this week we'll be celebrating by diving into his past films with a slew of features on the distinctive director and his films. Head here to ...

The 5 best Bill Murray moments in Wes Anderson movies

May 24 // Liz Rugg
5. Bill Murray as Badger in Fantastic Mr. Fox Badger was one of Bill Murray's supporting roles in his Wes Anderson cannon, but of course he still brought everything to the table as the hot-headed woodland creature. Playing opposite George Clooney as Mr. Fox, Badger brought a voice of conservative concern to counter Mr. Fox's outrageous adventurousness. And it's Bill Murray playing a badger wearing a suit. Come on. 4. Raleigh St. Clair wants to die in The Royal Tenenbaums [embed]210417:38310[/embed] Raleigh, please. You can't help but love Murray's poor character in The Royal Tenenbaums. Even though you're secretly rooting for Margot to leave him throughout the movie, there's something undeniably charming about the broken, hapless guy. Bill Murray definitely knows how to work the pity angle. 3. Murray's Cameo in The Darjeeling Limited After having been the central character in Anderson's previous movie The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, (don't worry, we'll get there) seeing Bill Murray as a simple, understated cameo in The Darjeeling Limited was a hilarious Easter Egg for Anderson fans. And Murray is such a recognizable actor for most people, so for him to just be around as an overwhelmed business man and have virtually no lines was a great move by Anderson. 2. The revenge scene in Rushmore [embed]210417:38311[/embed] This is one of the most memorable scenes in the whole movie. Just watch it. 1. Everything in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou [embed]210417:38312[/embed] It may seem like a cop-out to just say "everything is the best moment in this movie," but I seriously couldn't choose any one part that took precedence over the others and I think that really says something about how this movie works. There is really something special about Bill Murray's role as Steve Zissou, the heartbroken, washed up aquatic explorer who tries in vain to conquer his own past. Anderson really couldn't have chosen a better actor for this part, since "lovable curmudgeon" is essentially the part Bill Murray was born to play. Now with Moonrise Kingdom on the horizon, Bill Murray is poised to return to Wes Anderson's wacky movie world as Walt Bishop, a townsperson in a sleepy 1960s New England town that gets turned upside down when a young boy and girl decide to run away together. Will this next role be able to contend with the rest of this admirable list? We'll have to wait and see! What are your favorite Bill Murray/Wes Anderson moments? Let us know in the comments!
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[At the end of this week Wes Anderson will release Moonrise Kingdom. That means all this week we'll be celebrating by diving into his past films with a slew of features on the distinctive director and his films. Head here to ...

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Flix for Short: Bottle Rocket (1992)


May 23
// Hubert Vigilla
[At the end of this week Wes Anderson will release Moonrise Kingdom. That means all this week we'll be celebrating by diving into his past films with a slew of features on the distinctive director and his films. Head here to...

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