What will you be doing May 25, 2012? If you’ve been reading my reviews the past few weeks you may be able to guess what I’ll be doing. If you guessed watching the new Wes Anderson film, Moonrise Kingdom, you’d be correct.

The story revolves around two youth Suzy and Sam played by Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman respectively (both of the young actor’s break out roles) running away from home together for what we can only assume is some sort of adventure. Sam is a pigeon scout, and Suzy is an apparent budding actress from a family of six including three younger brothers, and her parents.

The thing I’m looking forward to most in this film, other than the story which looks fantastic from the trailer, is the fresh cast for this film as compared to the past Anderson films. We’ve got fresh blood flowing this time starting with the two young leads and being backed up by; Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Jason Schwartzman, Harvey Keitel, and of course Edward Norton!

Aside from Murray and Schwartzman, these are all actors that Anderson hasn’t worked with yet. I can’t wait to see how well they mesh together on screen. It seems that Anderson can get any group of actors to become a family when we see them together. There is always that deep connection that jumps from the screen and shows us something fantastic.

I am also looking forward to the return of the whimsy in this film, from the extremely tall tree house, the motorbike smoking in the tree after presumably flying off a cliff, and the fact that you’ve got Bill Murray walking through the house shirtless and holding a bottle of wine in one hand and an axe in the other informing his three boys “I’ll be out back. I’m gonna find a tree to cut down.”

This movie has the potential to come in at a new number two for me on the Anderson list. I hope it meets my own high expectations.

Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

Posted: March 19, 2012 in Review

When I first saw this movie I thought, “Yech”

But that’s not a fair way to start out a review. I’m going to preface this by saying, Fantastic Mr. Fox is definitely on my list of movies to watch again because I fell asleep half way through my first viewing, and struggled to watch the rest the next day. So this may not be the most fair review since I’ve been dreading watching it again at this juncture.

This is a stop motion animation film which was done mostly by the team behind Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, making it visually appealing and very fluid, but leaving me the wanting for something more Burton-esque.

Let’s do the Anderson run down;
Cast: Awesome. George Clooney, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Meryl Streep, Michael Gambon, Willem Dafoe, and of course Owen Wilson.

Writing: Amazing as always, the story is a fantastic rendition of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s tale of the same name. Wonderfully updated by Wes with added bits to the beginning and end to make a more well rounded story.

Acting: As far as you can talk about the acting, it’s great. It’s voice acting so it’s a bit difficult to get the total emotion out of actors a lot of the time, but when the story is written and directed by Anderson with his wry, dry sense of humor, it’s a lot easier for the emotions to flow across the screen. I also read that when Anderson was working with his cast doing the recording, they actually did the recording on location in the woods, underground, in a backyard, etc. which really gave more reality to the film.

Cinematography: . . . It’s good. It’s well lit? I only know the basics on how stop-motion films are produced, so I really can’t give an official statement about how this was shot. All I know is that it does indeed, look quite good.

Characters (Puppets): These things look AMAZING! They have enough of their human counterparts in them that you can see Jason Schwartzman in Ash, just like you can see Clooney in his puppet of Mr. Fox. They must have taken months to create and finish to the details they are.

That all being said, I wouldn’t sign this movie off as bad. The reviews against me are astounding in their love for the film. Once more, I will be watching this movie again. And when that happens, I will write a new review matching my new, or established, thoughts towards it.

The Rum Diary (2011)

Posted: March 16, 2012 in Review

I’m going to be the voice of the people and that voice will be ink and rage.

So I just finished watching the 2011 film The Rum Diary starring Johnny Depp, Aaron Eckhart, Giovanni Ribisi, and Amber Heard. This is Depp’s second go around as a the main part in a film based on the works of Hunter S. Thompson, the first being Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

When I picked this one up I was expecting another go around in the twisted drug addled alcohol fueled mind of Thompson and for the most part I wasn’t disappointed.

The story revolves around journalist Paul Kemp as he transfers into work at a newspaper in Puerto Rico in the early ’60s. First arriving in, he tells his new boss Richard Jenkins that he’s a upper end social drinker planning on cutting back. Puerto Rico is really not the best place to try to cut back.

The alcohol flows and little reporting is actually done till Paul is approached by hotel mogul Hal Sanderson, Eckhert, who asks Paul to help him and his business associates to write up some articles for the paper to help gt the locals warmed up to the idea of building a new hotel on one of the nearby islands that has until then been owned and used for training by the US Navy.

Paul’s coworker and staff photographer Sala (Michael Rispoli) along with another coworker, Moberg (Ribisi), do their best to try to get Paul to avoid working with Sanderson due to his being a known crook. It’s hard to pull Paul away however due mostly I. Part to Sanderson’s girlfriend Chenault (Heard) being quite the flirty vixen.

There are slow parts to the film. A lot of slow parts, but the story is really interesting and overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the film and will probably watch it again sometime soon. The characters are interesting and the writing is quite good.

The book scribed by Thompson is near the top of my list to read soon and after watching this film has moved up a bit higher on the list.

My favorite character in this film was Ribisi’s Moberg. He is to Rum Diary what Depp was to Fear and Loathing. The drug addled alcoholic who writes when he feels like it and survives by the edge of his nails. It’s not a pretty site but it works gloriously. It’s been a while since I’ve seen Ribisi but he was a welcome site in top form. Moberg is the religious corespondent for the paper who happens to have many connections around the island that re helpful to Paul more often than not. He’s jut not that reliable since he’s ruined mot of his mind with rum. Not to mention the fact that he and Sala have a spinning machine they use to spin stolen filters from the rum factories to extract what they claim to be 463 proof rum. Very flammable and very very capable of destroying brain cells and inhibitions.

Depp had a few moments where he jumped back into the Gonzo shoes he wore so well in Fear and Loathing and Eckhert was in rare form as the corrupt bastard Sanderson. Heard has also begun to prove herself as a surprisingly strong actress since I first saw her as Seth Rogen’s girlfriend in Pineapple Express.

Paul eventually comes to realize the bad circles he’s come to be swimming around in and begins to find himself as a writer and decides to stand up for the people becoming their voice. The voice made of ink and rage.

All in all, I believe it’s much better than the mediocre ratings other reviews have given this film. But like many films that deal with corporate bastards and foreign affairs, you’ll either like it or hate it. It’s a fine line and this movie walks that line hard.

The Darjeeling Limited (2007)

Posted: March 15, 2012 in Review

What’s wrong with you?
I don’t know. Let me think about it. I’ll tell you next time I see you… Thanks for using me.

I love this movie. Just love it. And it still falls behind Royal Tenenbaums as a tie for number two on my favorite Wes Anderson film list.

As I stated in my Hotel Chevalier review, the use of the iPod as a soundtrack too, is absolutely astonishing. It brings the audience into the film even more because the music is there in the fore front, not just a tool used and inserted in during post production. When the audience can see something like that it breaks the proverbial fourth wall, it makes the characters more real by showing us, the viewers, real every day actions that we ourselves constantly take part in doing.

This is another of Anderson’s journey films. It’s the story of three brothers trying to revitalize their relationships with each other after having spent the last year apart with no contact what so ever following their father’s funeral. The brothers are played by Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman, and Adrian Brody and you really couldn’t ask for a better set of actors to be your leads in this movie. Their chemistry shines throughout. You see their hatred towards each other ebb and flow from beginning to end up and down and all around.

But like most brothers, nay, siblings that I know in real life, they have ups and downs, falling outs and falling ins, it’s one of the benefits of having a sibling, no matter what happens, there is always love between them. Whether that love is apparent or not, it is always there. That’s what I love about the Darjeeling Limited, there is no doubt of their love and dedication to each other at the end of the day. Even during the bad times where you don’t think they could hate each other any more every action is done with the best intentions in mind.

“I love you too but I’m going to mace you in the face!”

Anderson really came into his vibe early on with this film, prefaced in the theaters by Hotel Chevalier, we already had a bit of back story, while not necessary for the Darjeeling Limited, it was nice to know how Jack (Schwartzman) got to where he is. There was no lack of entertainment from start to finish with Darjeeling. There are times I. His other films where I’m a bit distracted, but the flow throughout this one is so incredibly enthralling that you are able to zone out and tune in completely. Something that’s really hard to come across often these days.

So if you’ve now checked out Hotel Chevalier, but haven’t checked out the Darjeeling Limited, you should remedy that as soon as possible.

Hotel Chevalier (2007)

Posted: March 14, 2012 in Review

http://vimeo.com/12048278

I’d originally planned on putting this review up in conjunction with The Darjeeling Limited as they were shown together in the theaters as well as on the DVD for The Darjeeling Limited. But in reality, Hotel stands alone as a great film even when you know nothing about The Darjeeling Limited.

Hotel ChevalierĀ is the story of Jack Whitman (Jason Schwartzman) during his last night with his girlfriend (Natalie Portman). At least we’re led to belive it is his last night with her before his trip to India with his brothers, the story that’s told in The Darjeeling Limited.

As I said before this is a standalone great film while being a great compliment to The Darjeeling Limited. While short, the story that is told between these two characters is more impressive than most two hour films. The entire film is embedded above, all 13 glorious minutes of it.

I’ll talk more on this next point more in my review for Darjeeling, but one of my favorite attributes of Jack is the way he plays his own soundtrack through both films. He constantly has his iPod with sound dock set up and when any song that is directly linked to the action of the film, Jack will, at some point in the scene, reach over and either start or stop a song. It really gets fun when he stops in the middle of a song instead of at the end when most soundtracks would cut out.

That’s another thing I love about Wes Anderson, his ability to change and jump around quickly where he thinks works instead of following the norms that have become cliche in a number of blockbusters these days.

The acting between Schwartzman and Portman is astonishing as one would expect from these two. The chemistry is real and heartfelt. That may also work because they aren’t in love, they’ll “never be friends” and we learn the end to their tale in Darjeeling.

If you haven’t seen this short film, watch it! It’s quick and easy and joyful to see, just scroll up!

Growing Up

Posted: March 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

To be young at heart is one thing. To be young is another.

Unfortunately I’ve had these two things confused for far too long. To be young is to be uneducated, naive, selfish, inexperienced and immature.

To be young at heart is to be full of youthful vigor while having the maturity and sense to take care of the necessities before enjoying life and waiting for things to happen.

I waited for far too much to happen through my life. I’ve lost out on a lot of opportunities by doing this and as I’ve come to understand some of this point, my eyes have been opened to the amount of pain and sorrow I’ve caused myself.

I’ve lost time, I’ve lost energy, I’ve lost friends, I’ve lost sense.

To realize you have to grow is a hard thing to come to terms with. It comes a little bit easier when you start your own business. About seven or eight months ago I decided I wanted to make candy. Two and a half months ago I made that decision reality and Karl’s Candy Co was born. I currently sell my candy on Etsy.com and am working on a display to set up in a local coffee shop in downtown Lincoln. I’m also talking with the local farmer’s market people in order to hopefully get a booth set up this summer.

Growing up also comes easier when you pour yourself into it. I’m still failing on a number of endeavors I’m trying to branch out onto, but I’m finding better ways to hold onto those branches.

I slip and fall but keep doing my best to climb and find a nook to get a better footing for the future.

I gave up a lot in the past, I’ve reserved myself to not let that happen again in the future. No backing down, no saying no, trying my best till the very end. Trying my hand at new experiences. Creating, restyling, relearning.

I’m done with losing knowledge, I’m done with not having something to say, I’m done being second rate. It’s time to take hold of the rip cord and pull.

I want to travel. Travel takes money. I’m learning how to handle mine better. I’m currently taking part in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. I have so much to learn, but the baby steps are working. I see the light at the end of my tunnel of student debt. I’ve got a ways to go, but I know I can reach my goals in record time now.

I want to go to Asia. All over Asia and onto Japan and the Philippines, all around the world. I want to bungee jump in New Zealand, roam the outback of Australia, road trip all around this country at least twice more, and eventually make it down to the secret place at least once.

I’ve started playing my guitar again and have plans to play bass with a couple local musicians over the next few months. I’m doing my best to keep busy while allowing myself the space I need for me time. I find it hard to be out with people for an extended amount of time before my panic attacks start creeping up on me.

I didn’t use to have panic attacks but now find them happening far too often. I’ve tried out different forms of healing, but none seem to work, so I’ve begun doing what used to work best. Running. I ran cross country in high school and had little to no stress. It’s been building up on me so much recently that I need to get rid of it and I’d hate to resort to taking some form of medication until it’s absolutely necessary which I hope never happens. It’s also helping me work out a lot more for my own physical health. I got an Iron Gym and am doing pull ups/pushups/sit ups multiple times a week in order to get in some form of shape other than semi-flabby. It’s another thing on a long list of my things to do to become a better person.

I want to grow. I have a lot I need to show people. I have a lot I need to show myself. I know I’m still going to do stupid things, but I’m not going to regret them. They show you how to do things better. I’m also going to think a lot more before acting in any way. spontaneity is great until you end up hurting yourself and everyone around you. Then it’s just dumb.

I’ve learned the importance of plans and I’ve got plans on the move. I’ve begun making lists, I’ve begun formulating the plans that will allow me to have the type of future I’ve talked about, the type of future I can share with someone, the type of future where a future is worth having.

I cried for the first time in a month tonight. I can only stay so busy, I can only keep my mind occupied for so many hours in the day. I can only only.

The future looks brighter today than yesterday, it’s still got a ways to go, but it’s on the horizon.

“You’re like paper, trash.”

“I’m like trash?”

“It sounds better in Spanish.”

You know, when I watched Bottle Rocket the other night, it was my second or maybe third time watching it through. And compared to the other Anderson films I’ve reviewed thus far, it’s really not that great.

But as I watched the trailer that I embedded above, I realized how many good parts are in the movie.

Bottle Rocket was the debut film for Wes Anderson in 1996, based on a short film he did with the Wilson brothers (Luke and Owen) in 1994. It’s an interesting film to say the least. Even having just watched it, I’m really not sure what it’s about. The tag-line reads “They’re not really criminals. But everybody’s got to have a dream.” I guess that fits as good as anything.

To be perfectly honest, I’ve been working on this one review for the past two and a half days, writing and then deleting what i’d just written because every other sentence was a contradiction. The reason for this? This is NOT a Wes Anderson film in the ways we think of Wes Anderson.

I even resorted to calling a friend and fellow reviewer Josh (wasinaso.wordpress.com) whom I’ve previously worked with on a review blog; nunsonabus.blogspot.com to discuss my frustration with writing this review.

My main frustrations lie in the fact that I just stated, this is not a W.A. film in the sense of how we think of W.A. films. While still being quirky and fun, there is a lot missing. The soundtrack for Bottle Rocket, along with a lot of my favorites, was done by Mark Mothersbaugh. The only problem? It’s not the fun odd sounds that Mothersbaugh is known for. There’s something missing.

The acting? Something missing.

The characters? Something missing.

The plot? . . .

what plot?

That said, I can’t give any good reasons not to watch Bottle Rocket. It’s a fun movie that is really just great. While at the same time, being a not very good movie.

As I said before, frustrating. When I was talking to Josh about this movie, he even said, “Write about your frustration, keep it short, don’t try to convince people one way or another.”

So I’m doing my best not to convince you. Watch it or not. It doesn’t matter. Like EVERY single Wes Anderson film that has ever been released, you’ll either love it or hate it. There’s not a lot of ways to sugar coat it. I think of Wes Anderson films the way I view Tim Burton movies. Both are fantastic artists who have continued to grow throughout their careers while both having major setbacks from bad movies. But the thing about great artists is the fact that once you fall in love with their work, you’ll continually go back to see what they come up with next, even if it’s not that good.

This was Wes Anderson’s first film and it’s an amazing starting point. It introduced the world to Luke Wilson, Bob Musgrave and Anderson himself to the world. Plus it has James Caan (Godfather). That’s a pretty big name to get attached to a premier film.

So as a final closing, love it or hate it, Bottle Rocket is a fun movie. I enjoyed it.