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A very good movie

Posted : 1 week, 2 days ago on 19 August 2014 02:20

Since I really enjoyed a lot ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’, the latest directing effort by Wes Anderson, I was really eager to check his previous movie who was also very well received at the time. Well, I was once again really impressed. A last, it seems that Anderson finally got it. Indeed, ever since I have seen ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’ in the movie theater when it was released, I thought that he was a really interesting director who had a very distinctive visual style and who could create some really nice daft characters. Unfortunately, I always had a hard time to care about his stories which were always ok but never really fascinating. With this movie, he finally nailed it and managed to give something visually really neat, some hilarious eccentric characters and, at last, a really entertaining tale. Indeed, it was actually a very sweet teenage love story and I had a blast with those scouts (my step-son has been a scout for many years so the whole thing was kind of surreal for me). Finally, the last masterstroke was to have Bruce Willis in one of his best performances from the last 10 years. Indeed, he played again a cop (seriously, a genius move) but an old one who doesn’t seem to have seen a lot of action during the last 20 maybe even 30 years. Edward Norton was pretty awesome as well. To conclude, it is a really good flick, it really deserves its reputation and it is definitely worth a look, especially if you are interested in Wes Anderson’s work.

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The Exoticism of Innocence As Realized In Wes...

Posted : 7 months, 1 week ago on 22 January 2014 06:05

... Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom (Orphaned Sam settling down and troubled Suzy anchoring herself through humor darkly)

The stylized depiction of precociousness and oddity is but a jump up point. What ensues is rarely ever novel. It's just that we're looking into it with an overwhelming enthusiasm like Saturday nights when you were still excited to go to church. You couldn't quite contain it. You couldn't quite take your eyes off of your Sunday clothes. This is probably the calm before the storm of disillusionment. The warring circumstances that were sure to take a piece of the life you're living now that you're subsisting on alms of grace your paeans to which you scribbled through into pages and pages of poetry, doodled into some semblance of order in an abstract art, hissed into a tape recorder ever unsure when to sing the first words. It's 1965. As always, it's the end of the world as we knew it. But did we ever feel fine?

The first meeting was with bespectacled Sam in a bird sanctuary. It was love at first sight. You couldn't really guess what they saw in one another. It's inexplicable to a fault like all loves at first sight are. Then came, Khaki Scout Sam in summer camp outcasted by the prevalent machismo and utter competitiveness. A resonance of days spent in orphanages. A leitmotif that would be aggregated by Police Captain Sharp in contrast, resigned to an adulterous idleness of an affair while Suzy and her band of brothers were as trapped as their parents in a failed marriage. And her knowing why and how and when and where complicated the matter. It was amplified and intensified by her troubled adolescent sensibilities. They corresponded like birds to other birds in the darkness of adolescence. They have to meet and stow away in an impulse that wouldn't make much sense in hindsight into a whimsical adventure into the depths of the woods. A scaringly amusing thought, it was actually lovely.

The sexual tension was understated: fish hook earrings that pierce through the lobes of naivete. We could have assumed just by shrieks emitted and heard. But of course, we knew.

Torrents of troubles chased them that would resonate until the denouement.

And we would survive as in Noye's Fluddde: animals in pairs of seven and one, scathed and unscathed.

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Moonrise Kingdom review

Posted : 1 year, 6 months ago on 19 February 2013 06:13

Great cast (especially Murray and Norton) great photo and nice little islander universe and vintage 60s. I love the beach scene, with the boys dancing and discovering sexual games, its a pity Anderson didn´t extend this part.

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Moonrise Kingdom review

Posted : 1 year, 7 months ago on 3 January 2013 05:06

I’m an unabashed Anderson fan. Love everything he’s done from RUSHMORE to FANTASTIC MR. FOX. He’s a director who has never disappointed me and even the film I liked least by him (DARJEELING) easily found its way into my top ten for that year. However amongst my friends Anderson was a hack and as such I found myself very much alone in my appreciation of his work. As such when those same friends came back from MOONRISE KINGDOM with nothing but praise I was concerned. You see I liked the stuff that Anderson was criticised for. I loved his aesthetic, I loved how constructed his worlds were, I loved how Anderson framed things. I even, due to my own circumstances, found myself continually moved by Anderson’s continued exploration of father figures as a central theme of his work. But these were all things that my friends criticised and as such I was expecting to find a more compromised film from Anderson. As such I held off on watching the film for a long, long time.

When I actually watched the film I was delighted to find it was just as much in Anderson’s wheelhouse as his other movie. I think maybe having the film be specifically a period piece and be specifically about children allowed people to accept Anderson’s usual style. I will admit the focusing on two kids, both embarking on their first ever romance, makes Anderson’s picturebook style feel a lot more natural than it normally would. It could also be that after the relative break that FANTASTIC MR. FOX presented they were just ready to accept Anderson’s style.

It also helps that Suzy and Sam are probably some of the most likeable lead characters that Anderson has ever had. Still the outsiders, still hopelessly self absorbed, but their age and the performances really help to get away the inherent unpleasantness that lurks within most of Anderson’s characters. They’re damaged, but salvageable. In many ways Suzy and Sam is like looking at the beginnings of some of Anderson’s older characters, watching the pivotal moment that would shift them into people like the grown up Tenenbaums, Zissou, or the brothers on the Darjeeling Limited. Whilst there’s an ambiguity to the end of the film, it seems to represent a path that leads to earlier happiness than most Anderson characters get.

This is probably my second favourite Anderson film, just behind THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS, and whilst that will probably change once immediacy has worn off I was overjoyed watching it. It’s such an amazingly put together movie, with a rhythm and energy that Anderson hadn’t had since THE LIFE AQUATIC and an extended cast that could go toe to toe with the extended Tenebaum family. There are so many great little roles and characters in the film that it’s really hard to single some out, although it is nice seeing Ed Norton being playful with a role. He’s so great with lighter stuff, but so focused on more serious work, that I always forget how great a comedic touch he has. It’s also nice seeing Bruce Willis properly engaged by a material, even if he does play a little broadly and thus remind me uncomfortably of BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS. But the heart of the film is the two kids and they benefit from a focus that, for Anderson at least, is almost razor sharp. It’s such a perfect essaying of young love and of the period that I’d assume it was drawn from their own experiences if it wasn’t for the fact the 1965 setting dates it about half a decade before either Anderson or his co-writer Roman Coppolla were born.

There's such a great attention to detail to such odd little touches, like the overly elaborate Noah's Ark production, that it feels way more lived in than a fictional setting should. But that's the heart of Anderson I feel, his tics and offbeat choices actually granting a sense of verisimilitude to events that are inherently ridiculous.

So yeah, loved this. And I even loved the odd narrator guy, particularly his breathlessly dramatic which introduces the storm that rocks the third act of the film. It’s an offbeat choice but I really, really, loved it.

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Moonrise Kingdom review

Posted : 1 year, 8 months ago on 19 December 2012 10:05

A vedere il miglior film per ragazzi dell’annata mancavano proprio i ragazzi. Se non fosse stato per Giulia e per i tre bambini entrati per lo spettacolo successivo, lo (scarso) pubblico incrociato dal sottoscritto sarebbe stato esclusivamente adulto: persi dietro a cartoni animati e a superproduzioni hollywoodiane, le generazioni più giovani neppure si sono accorte di questa luminosa storia d’amore fra due dodicenni bisognosi d’affetto (Sam è orfano, Suzy è figlia ribelle di genitori distratti). La loro fuga in due tempi – da cui deriva il brutto sottotiolo italiano - è favorita da quanto appreso da lui nel campo scout da cui scappa: la storia è difatti ambientata in un’isola della Nuova Inghilterra dove non ci sono strade e la presenza umana è estremamente limitata. Essendo una favola, il lieto fine è assicurato, grazie al buon cuore del non sveglissimo poliziotto locale Sharp (Willis) che, durante una tempesta epocale, sottrae Sam dalle grinfie della burocrazia incarnata da Sevizi Sociali – si chiama proprio così, senza un nome, il personaggio di una Tilda Swinton ormai specializzata nei ruoli da antipatica. Anche gli altri adulti non ci fanno una gran figura, a partire dall’anaffettiva coppia avvocatizia dei Bishop (Murray e McDormand interpretano il padre e la madre di Suzy) oramai ridotta a comunicare attraverso processi e sentenze per finire con lo spassoso capo scout (Norton) e il suo presuntuoso superiore, a impersonare il quale Harvey Keitel si deve essere divertito parecchio. Alla fine, però, tutti si ritrovano migliorati, compresi i ragazzi del campo scout che, superata l’iniziale antipatia per Sam, rischiano in proprio per aiutarlo. Anderson racconta tutto questo con una lievità di tocco incantevole, indovinando una combinazione praticamente perfetta di divertimento e malinconia in una sceneggiatura senza punti deboli: i due ragazzi protagonisti, entrambi all’esordio, sono bravi e seguiti con affetto dalla cinepresa, mentre il gruppo di attori affermati (alcuni di loro, come Murray, aficionados del regista) recita in scioltezza prendendosi bonariamente in giro. Il resto lo fa il modo di raccontare, grazie a un efficace gusto dell’inquadratura e delle scelte narrative testimoniate già a partire dalla sequenza iniziale, ambientata nell’abitazione dei Bishop ripresa un po’ come una casa di bambola e accompagnata dalla ‘Guida all’orchestra per ragazzi’ di Benjamin Britten (il musicista inglese è protagonista della colonna sonora assieme a Hank Williams che domina nella radio di Sharp). I primi piani stretti si alternano a campi lunghi spesso valorizzati da oggetti ai margini dello schermo: raccontata così potrebbe far sorgere il sospetto di tecnicismi fini a se stessi e invece ogni aspetto è funzionale come, ad esempio, nell’episodio della baia in cui i ragazzi dichiarano il loro amore danzando al ritmo di una canzone di Françoise Hardy (siamo nel 1965). Ci sarebbero molti altri pregi da raccontare – come dimenticare il simpatico narratore interpretato da Bob Balaban? – ma si finirebbe per narrare l’intera pellicola, comprese alcune accennate citazioni: fra le altre, la via di fuga di Sam dalla sua tenda attraverso un buco coperto da un calendario che fa la funzione della foto di Rita Hayworth ne ‘Le ali della libertà’ o Suzy che legge ad alta voce un libro circondata dal gruppo di scout come Wendy in ‘Peter Pan’. Quando, dopo una novantina di canonici minuti, i bei titoli di coda salutano riprendendo il motivo dell’orchestra, lo spettatore non può far altro che sorridere soddisfatto anche se una sensazione di vaga tristezza è impossibile da cancellare.

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Wonderful Wes Anderson movie!

Posted : 1 year, 9 months ago on 29 November 2012 08:09

"We're in love. We just want to be together. What's wrong with that?"

Yet another remarkable feather in Wes Anderson's cinematic hat, 2012's Moonrise Kingdom is an enormously lovely adventure which pays homage to classic children's books. This is the director's second screenplay co-written by Roman Coppola (after 2007's The Darjeeling Limited), and it fervidly incorporates Anderson's key idiosyncrasies. Of course, some viewers will never find themselves able to embrace Anderson's distinctively quirky moviemaking style, but his fans will undoubtedly find Moonrise Kingdom to be enrapturing. Furthermore, Anderson proves he's not a one-trick pony by bringing something new to table with this film; a mainstream accessibility achieved not through dumbing down his vision, but through refining it. Moonrise Kingdom is possibly the perfect Wes Anderson movie, as it encapsulates his values and exhibits his gift for visual flair.

Taking place on the island of New Penzance in 1965, the story concerns 12-year-old Khaki Scout Sam (Gilman), an orphan who's disenfranchised with both the scout troupe and society in general. Sam decides to make a break for it, escaping the scout camp to start a whole new life in the woods. Joining him is young pen pal Suzy (Hayward), who's equally desperate to escape from her lawyer parents. As the two edge deeper into the forest to be alone, adults begin scrambling to find them, including local policeman Captain Sharp (Willis), a Social Services representative (Swinton) and Khaki Scout Master Ward (Norton).

The plot is unremarkable and dull on the surface, making it rather pointless to recount the narrative ins and outs of Moonrise Kingdom. But it's Anderson's marvellous execution of the mundane tale which gives the picture its spark of brilliance - like most of the director's efforts, this is a film that must be experienced, not merely discussed, as there's so much more here than any review will be able to provide. Moonrise Kingdom is frequently amusing, but the characters never seem in on the joke - the humour is derived from the irony and the inherent awkwardness of several situations, not to mention one well-placed sight gag. Perhaps the biggest accomplishment of the film is that it sublimely captures the spirited, juvenile nature of love at an early age, and it juxtaposes such whimsical feelings against the lonely, despondent adult characters. As a result, Moonrise Kingdom is funny, relatable and moving, and it packs lasting power.

There is no other active director whose style is as immediately recognisable as Wes Anderson's. If you catch a small snippet of any one of his flicks, it takes mere seconds to identify that it's an Anderson production. His fingerprints are so distinctive: graceful long takes, artistic production design, zoned-out characters, elegant tracking shots, and gentle, whimsical scoring (here provided by Alexandre Desplat). But while Moonrise Kingdom is permeated with Anderson DNA, the picture is its own unique experience. Here, the director explores the outdoors and recreates boy scout life with a heroic amount of detail. Richard Yeoman's camerawork is fluid and beautiful, not to mention it feels astonishingly precise. Admittedly, the film fails to plumb any great emotional depths and it does struggle to maintain momentum from time to time. However, the film is infused with a considerable amount of earnest sweetness, and that's enough to outweigh any minor flaws.

Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward are motion picture first-timers, but you would never think it. In spite of their youth and inexperience, the pair share more chemistry than most leading couples, and they're tremendously believable. Hayward is the better of the two as Suzy. The kind of natural talent that seems destined for stardom, Hayward has a wonderful screen presence of intelligence, beauty, innocence and vulnerability. Bruce Willis is another standout here, moving away from his typecast roles (most of which he sleeps through these days) to deliver an understated performance as the local sheriff. Seeing Willis here is unexpected yet appreciated, and the star brings a warm, soft touch to the film. Edward Norton is equally solid as the Khaki Scout Master, while Tilda Swinton is excellent as the dour social services representative. Anderson regular Bill Murray also appears as Suzy's father. It's doubtful that Murray even knew he was in the movie - judging by his hilariously random behaviour and line delivery here, it looks as if Anderson just followed Murray with a camera and filmed snippets of the actor's life. Rounding out the all-star cast is Frances McDormand as Suzy's mother, and a side-splitting Jason Schwartzman as another scout.

Moonrise Kingdom is not flawless, but it's a damn good Wes Anderson picture which can be enjoyed by more than just the art house crowd. It's one hell of an experience to watch the film and absorb the care, detail and intelligence that Anderson put into his creation, which is welcome to witness in this day and age.


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A unique but cute Anderson delight.

Posted : 1 year, 10 months ago on 13 October 2012 02:48

You could look at Moonrise Kingdom and think to yourself that it is another one of Wes Anderson's eccentric but simple stories in a dream-like setting. In addition, it can quite easily fool a lot of viewers by giving this cute, colourful and perhaps somewhat innocent touch to it. Indeed, Anderson gives the film a very glistening and shiny tone, especially the cinematography, it is a charmer and he does take you on another one of his unorthodox adventures. However, at the same time, he goes to new depths and creates a very emotional film with a thought-provoking message about love and family.

Like many great directors, Wes Anderson has his own visionary style but unfortunately, it is not widely recognized or entirely appreciated. If anyone can direct and write a film with that approach but transform it into a rather adult-minded feature, it is Anderson. At times, Moonrise Kingdom had the capability of balancing the cute and enlightening atmosphere of a traditional live-action family film (or even a cartoon-ish feature) with incredibly personal and psychologically uncomfortable dialogue. Anderson and Roman Coppola's creativity with the script had ultimately paid off. Together, they unusually, but at the same time, remarkably altered the innocence of young children into behaving like fully-grown adults without it becoming offensive or misleading.

For the roles of the two young lovers, Anderson could have typically cast popular and experienced child actors from the likes Chloe Grace Moretz, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Asa Butterfield or Elle Fanning. Instead, he selected a duo of newbies who were both making their on-screen debut. First, there's Jared Gilman in the role of emotionally-disturbed, sensitive 12-year-old orphan Sam Shakusky and Kara Hayward as Suzy Bishop, a young girl who lives with her three brothers and two estranged parents. Anderson toys with the relationship between Sam and Suzy. He, of course, establishes a very cute connection between the two, but goes as far as to almost expose a sexual and rather forward relationship. This, however, doesn't go beyond any horrific boundaries. It's not vulgar, offensive or awkward to watch. It is somewhat natural and at times, humorous. Therefore, Anderson expressed a true notion that even kids can become attached to one another.

Among the two youngsters making their debut are a much more sophisticated and talented group of actors. In fact, all of the performers in the supporting roles make it as an impressive ensemble cast. Edward Norton portrayed Scout Master Randy Ward in a rather natural role with a very simple-minded and warm-hearted nature. Even Bruce Willis, a regular badass action hero, as the local sheriff Captain Sharp was a very simple and emotionally convincing addition to the cast, which added more warmth but at the same time, unorthodox touch to the film. Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Harvey Keitel and Jason Schwartzmann make solid appearances too. Within the supporting cast, the hats go off to Bill Murray, who marks his sixth collaboration with Wes Anderson, in the role of Walt Bishop, Suzy's dominant father. He is the key source of the small amount of laugh-out-loud humour that we get in Moonrise Kingdom and is, as always, a delight to watch.

Moonrise Kingdom is not your vintage laugh-out-loud funny that will crack up the audience, but it still contains key elements of dark humour in relation to the Coen Brothers. There is always something about Anderson's work that makes his films in one way or another feel a little off-colour compared to regular Hollywood features. In the case of Moonrise Kingdom, it's a film that's not about money and the director simple uses his own specific, original style of production. Therefore, Anderson really is one director on his own. Moonrise Kingdom is a genuinely creative feature for the eyes and for the ears that will leave you grinning from start to finish.

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Still Got It

Posted : 2 years, 2 months ago on 15 June 2012 11:06

Wes Anderson´s still got it.

I´ts not gonna become my personal favourite from his excelent (and über-personal) filmography but he hasn´t lost his touch for sureal-lovable-depressing comedies.

All the usual suspects (meaning cast) are back too but the new additions to the ensemble don´t get in the way of Anderson´s magic. Edward Norton has a strong heavy part in the movie as a tenderer and more likable Jason Schwartzman (he also has a part, short but memorable). Tilda Swinton has two swift but effective moments while Bruce Willis gets far more screentime, spotlight and plot than he should but fights the good fight against his own mannerisms and fame. The kids do more than an alright work here, also.

Frances McDorman and Bill Murray get the worse part of the deal with soft characters and little relevance, they function as deuteragonists and you will probably forget about them most of the time. It´s a shame because I love both´s work and I think Murray could have added a lot more to the movie (and not only because of his history in Anderson´s movies but also). Both their characters are just sketches and have no development whatsoever. Again, a shame. But, well, ok. It´s only my fault for expecting another thing.

This movie remembered me a lot to Rushmore. It´s set in a wilder setting, obviously, but it has some of the same elements: Kids trying to live like adults and adults failing at life like kids, structured simplified enviroments where odd people thrive and a weird love history. They are not the same movie, of course. Moonrise Kingdom has a strong element of wonder and magic (like 'Live Aquatic' had) and it also works as a very explicit fable. As in 'The Darjeeling Limited' we have here people running away from their lives but this time they are kids and they know what are they looking for and why. The girl´s house looks like it will become an important setting for the movie in the beginning (like cpt. Zissou´s ship) but it didn´t... well another thing where my expectations failed me.

Yeoman´s cinematography is beautiful. It has the cozy and sweet magic of an old familiar movie in Super-8 film while having all the scope and detail of a modern work. He and Anderson always work together and it shows.

It also has some weak pieces in the overall machinery. The First part of the movie is wonderful, the second it´s just a repetition of the first but it goes farther and further (yeah! both! suck it grammar nazi) but it works really nice. Then comes the third part and it does´nt feel right anymore. The surreal elements don´t work as they should, the focus changes to Willis' character when he should have been way in the background (plot, character and acting-wise) and everything clicks to a happy ending way too easily. It just feels forced.

You will probably forget the ending soon but you will never forget the two child protagonists running from all and everyone. You wont forget the woods or the beach.

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