THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU and RED RIVER Criterion Blu-ray Reviews

by     Posted 37 days ago

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The Criterion Collection has issued both The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and Red River recently, and though the two would seemingly have little in common, it turns out there are a number of parallels.  Both films begin with the main character losing someone close to them in a way that drives the narrative, both follow a driven and arrogant man who needs to see the error of his ways, both deal with great adventure, both deal with a father/son relationship, and both conclude with the main character coming face to face with their supposed enemy, only to realize violence may not be the answer.  Bill Murray and Owen Wilson star in the Aquatic for Wes Anderson, while John Wayne and Montgomery Clift star in Red River for Howard Hawks.  My review of both The Life Aquatic on Blu-ray and Red River follows after the jump. 

Watch: Wes Anderson, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, and Willem Dafoe Discuss the Struggles of Making THE LIFE AQUATIC in Criterion Clip

by     Posted 62 days ago

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Filmmaker Wes Anderson’s 2004 film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou gets the Criterion Collection Blu-ray treatment next week, and in anticipation of the release, an online-exclusive clip called “Bittersweet Remembrances” has been released online.  The extra is a retrospective piece likely filmed during the Grand Budapest Hotel press tour that has Anderson, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, and Willem Dafoe reflecting on the struggles involved with making the ambitious picture.  If seeing the team candidly discuss the making of the film wasn’t enough, Anderson and Goldblum also spend a good deal of the clip debating the correct pronunciation of the word “wont”.  Though not as polished as some of Anderson’s other films, The Life Aquatic has its charms and I’m eager to revisit the pic in pristine HD thanks to Criterion’s new release.

Hit the jump to watch the Life Aquatic clip.  The Criterion Collection Blu-ray will be released on May 27th.

FANTASTIC MR. FOX Criterion Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 114 days ago

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Few filmmakers are better suited to the world of stop-motion animation than Wes Anderson.  The director has fine-tuned his visual aesthetic over the course of his career, bringing quick and stable camera movements, gorgeous set designs, and specific yet vibrant color palettes to the forefront of his signature style.  After a swell run films that made him one of the most exciting directors in the business, Anderson expanded his scope to the sea (Life Aquatic) and international locales (Darjeeling Limited) before diving into the world of stop-motion animation for his 2009 film Fantastic Mr. Fox.

The result is a highlight of an already impressive career, and the impeccable Roald Dahl adaptation is finally a part of the Criterion Collection.  Hit the jump for my Fantastic Mr. Fox Blu-ray review.

Friday Box Office: NOAH Keeps It’s Head Above Water with $15.2 Million Opening

by     Posted 115 days ago

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This weekend will not be a wash for Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.  The controversial biblical epic opened with $15.2 million from 3,500 locations yesterday, including $1.6 million from Thursday pm previews.  That puts Noah on course for close to $44 million through Sunday – well above the $33 million Paramount said it was expecting.  Anything above $43.5 million would also give Russell Crowe the best opening of his career (outside of his supporting turn in Man of Steel).

The weekend’s second major release should also mark a career milestone for star Arnold Schwarzenegger, though not the kind stars typically strive for.  Sabotage – Arnie’s third major release since January 2013 – could end up as his worst debut since Red Sonja, in 1985.  From its 2,486 locations, Sabotage brought in $1.82 million on Friday, which suggests an opening weekend in the $5-$6 million range.  Finally, after two weeks in limited release, director Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel expanded to almost 1,000 locations on Friday, making it into the domestic top five with just under $2.4 million.  We’ll have full details tomorrow.

 Title Friday Total
1.  Noah $15,238,000 $15.2
2.  Divergent $8,100,000 $76.8
3.  Muppets Most Wanted $2,626,000 $24.4
4.  The Grand Budapest Hotel $2,375,000 $18
5.  God’s Not Dead $2,353,000 $15.3

Wes Anderson and Adam Stockhausen Talk THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, Collaborating on the Film, Creating a Lush Cinematic World, and Varying Aspect Ratios

by     Posted 118 days ago

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The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson’s eighth feature film and one of his best, chronicles the bittersweet adventures of Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes), a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel in a fictional country between wars, and Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori), the lobby boy who became his loyal and devoted friend.  A timeless tale of friendship and honor as well as a kinetic caper in constant motion, the film features an impressive ensemble cast that includes F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Jason Schartzman, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson and Owen Wilson.

At the film’s recent press day in Los Angeles, Wes Anderson and production designer Adam Stockhausen spoke about how the project first emerged, their collaboration on the vision for the film, how they created a lush cinematic world to invite the audience into, Viennese writer Stefan Zweig’s influence on the film’s multi-layered storytelling style, the selection of memorable books and films Anderson offered the cast during production and the sense of community he fostered on set, using different aspect ratios to tell each story within the larger tale, and one of their favorite scenes directing mobile haystacks.  Check out the Grand Budapest Hotel interview after the jump.

Jeff Goldblum Talks THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, Being Part of Wes Anderson’s Universe, Preparing for His Role and Its Challenges, MORTDECAI, and More

by     Posted 124 days ago

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Jeff Goldblum, who first worked with Wes Anderson on The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, was thrilled to reunite with the director again on his new comedy-drama caper, The Grand Budapest Hotel.  Goldblum plays Deputy Vilmos Kovacs, the attorney representing the estate of the late Madame D (Tilda Swinton) whose sudden and mysterious death kicks off the main action of the story and sets in motion a scramble to lay claim to her vast fortune.  The charge is led by her son Dmitri (Adrien Brody), the film’s ruthless and darkly comic main villain.  The impressive cast also includes Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, Ed Norton, Jude Law, Jason Schwartzman, Owen Wilson and Tony Revolori.

At the film’s recent press day, Jeff Goldblum spoke about being a part of the Wes Anderson universe, why he considered it a fantastic privilege and found the collaborative experience creatively inspiring, what the rehearsal process was like, his preparation for the role, what he brought to the character, and why he liked the challenge.  He also discussed his recent internet fame, his upcoming film Mortdecai with Johnny Depp, Ewan McGregor, Paul Bettany and Gwyneth Paltrow, and plans to perform with his jazz band at Rockwell in Los Feliz.  Hit the jump to check out the interview.

Movie Theaters Received Instructions on How to Project Wes Anderson’s THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

by     Posted 131 days ago

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Once upon a time, film projectionists used to be valued employees of movie theaters.  Then movie theater corporations figured out that they could just get Jimmy from the snack bar to run upstairs and press a button before running back down to sell junk food (which is where theaters make most of their money).  Properly projecting a movie isn’t a priority for major theater chains, and so they were sent instructions on how to screen Wes Anderson’s latest film, The Grand Budapest Hotel.  Because the movie uses different aspect ratios, the instructions make it clear on how to frame the picture since it could be understandably confusing due to the shifting frame size.  The instructions also provide the optimal light level, but I assume that will be ignored since theaters cheap out on bulbs (that’s why most 3D movies are so dim).

The Grand Budapest Hotel is a great movie, and I hope theaters will follow these instructions to provide the optimal experience their customers deserve.  The Grand Budapest Hotel is currently playing in New York and L.A., and will open in more major cities this weekend.  Hit the jump to check out the image of the projection instructions.

THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL Review

by     Posted 137 days ago

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By this point, you know whether or not you love the films of Wes Anderson.  He’s a true auteur with an unmistakable style, and unless he undergoes a radical transformation, his fans and his detractors will remain firmly entrenched.  His latest, The Grand Budapest Hotel, won’t change anyone’s mind about the director nor should it.  The movie is almost the platonic ideal of Wes Anderson picture, and yet it’s free from over-indulgence and self-congratulations.  The film is vibrant, witty, pristine, and a wonder to behold.  While it falls a bit short of the emotional impact of a couple of his other movies, Anderson has still crafted a captivating mixture of magic and melancholy.

Wes Anderson Talks THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, the Film’s Cast, His Aesthetic, Shifting Aspect Ratios, and More

by     Posted 148 days ago

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I love everything about Wes Anderson movies.  From the way he creates unique worlds to the unusual characters that occupy the screen, Anderson is a one-of-a-kind filmmaker that always makes something special.  His newest film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, just premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and it continues his streak of making exceptional films.  The story mostly takes place in early 20th-century and revolves around the goings-on at a famous European hotel where a legendary concierge (Ralph Fiennes) mentors a young employee (Tony Revolori) against the backdrop of a changing continent.  The film also stars Saoirse RonanBill MurrayF. Murray AbrahamEdward NortonMathieu AmalricAdrien BrodyWillem DafoeLea SeydouxJeff GoldblumJason SchwarztmanJude LawTilda SwintonHarvey KeitelTom Wilkinson, and Owen Wilson.  For more on the film, watch 13 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage and here’s all our previous coverage.

The day after the world premiere, I participated in a great roundtable interview with Anderson in Berlin.  He talked about where the idea for Grand Budapest Hotel came from, the film’s cast, choosing the locations for his films, his signature aesthetic, the various aspect ratios used in the film and his reasoning behind them, how budget has influenced or possibly changed any of his scripts, and so much more.  It’s a great interview so hit the jump for what he had to say.  The Grand Budapest Hotel opens March 7th.

Watch: 13 Minutes of Behind-the-Scenes Footage from Wes Anderson’s THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

by     Posted 151 days ago

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Fox Searchlight has released an extended behind the scenes look at writer/director Wes Anderson’s new film The Grand Budapest Hotel by way of some b-roll footage.  The story takes place in early 20th-century Hungary and revolves around the goings-on at the titular hotel where a legendary concierge (Ralph Fiennes) mentors a young employee (Tony Revolori).  The film premiered to rave reviews at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this month, and this b-roll offers a look at Anderson’s directorial process on set.  If you missed any of Steve’s coverage from Berlin, be sure to check out his video blog reaction and interviews with Ralph Fiennes and Bill Murray.

Hit the jump to watch the behind-the-scenes footage.  The film also stars Saoirse Ronan, F. Murray AbrahamEdward NortonMathieu AmalricAdrien BrodyWillem DafoeLea SeydouxJeff GoldblumJason SchwarztmanJude LawTilda SwintonHarvey KeitelTom Wilkinson, and Owen WilsonThe Grand Budapest Hotel opens in limited release on March 7th.

Berlin Film Festival Video Blog: SNOWPIERCER, ’71, BLIND, and THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

by     Posted 158 days ago

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Over the past week, I got to attend the Berlin Film Festival for the first time.  Unlike Sundance and the Toronto International Film Festival, which feel like they take over their host cities, Berlin’s film festival feels like an intimate event.  The reason I say this is due to the size of the city.  Berlin is massive.  It sort of feels like the Los Angeles of Germany because of the distance from end to end.  However, in one small area of the city, Potsdamer Platz to be exact, the world comes together to celebrate film.  In those surrounding blocks, you can see the best of world cinema and watch excited fans attempt to catch glimpses of their favorite actors and directors.

While at the Festival, I caught a few fantastic movies like Bong Joon-ho’s SnowpiercerYann Demange’s ’71, Eskil Vogt’s Blind and Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel.  The other day, before leaving Berlin, I recorded a video blog about the festival and films with Alex from FirstShowing.  Hit the jump for our thoughts.

Bill Murray Talks THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, His Working Relationship with Wes Anderson, His Career, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, and More

by     Posted 158 days ago

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I love everything about Wes Anderson movies.  From the way he creates unique worlds to the unusual characters that occupy the screen, Anderson is a one-of-a-kind filmmaker that always makes something special.  His newest film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, just premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and it continues his streak of making exceptional films.  The story mostly takes place in early 20th-century and revolves around the goings-on at a famous European hotel where a legendary concierge (Ralph Fiennes) mentors a young employee (Tony Revolori) against the backdrop of a changing continent.  The film also stars Saoirse RonanBill MurrayF. Murray AbrahamEdward NortonMathieu AmalricAdrien BrodyWillem DafoeLea SeydouxJeff GoldblumJason SchwarztmanJude LawTilda SwintonHarvey KeitelTom Wilkinson, and Owen Wilson.  For more on the film, here’s all our previous coverage.

The day after the world premiere, I participated in a great roundtable interview with Bill Murray in Berlin.  He talked about what it was like to make the film on location in Europe, collaborating with Wes Anderson, the dialogue, whether his process as an actor has changed over time, and more.  In addition, he told some great stories about making Rushmore, his thoughts on Saturday Night Live and Bill Hader, why he quit acting for awhile after making Broken Flowers, and future projects.  Hit the jump for what he had to say.  The Grand Budapest Hotel opens March 7th.

Excellent Criterion Collection Trailer for Wes Anderson’s FANTASTIC MR. FOX

by     Posted 162 days ago

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Wes Anderson has made many good films over the course of his career, but Fantastic Mr. Fox is among his best.  The 2009 stop-motion animated adaptation of Roald Dahl’s childrens book is an absolute delight from start to finish, and it’s finally getting a proper Criterion Collection release next week.  In anticipation of the Blu-ray/DVD dual format release, Criterion has put together a swell new trailer that offers a peek at some of the behind-the-scenes material that will be included on the Criterion disc.  The director-approved release includes the film’s digital master as well as a host of extras, including audio commentary, footage of the actors voicing the characters, an hour-long documentary about Dahl, and much more.

Hit the jump to watch the trailer and to see the full list of extras included on the Blu-ray, and click here to pre-order the disc.  Fantastic Mr. Fox Criterion Collection Blu-ray/DVD will be available starting February 18th.

Bill Murray Arranges a Getaway in New Clip from THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

by     Posted 168 days ago

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A new clip from writer/director Wes Anderson’s new film The Grand Budapest Hotel has been released online.  The story takes place in early 20th-century Hungary, and revolves around the goings-on at the titular hotel where a legendary concierge (Ralph Fiennes) mentors a young employee (Tony Revolori).  This new clip focuses on Bill Murray’s character as he sets up a getaway of sorts, and it once again highlights Anderson’s use of multiple aspect ratios in the pic.  This is the first film on which Anderson receives sole screenwriting credit, and with the new clip it continues to look like an absolute delight.

Hit the jump to watch the new clip.  The film also stars Saoirse RonanF. Murray AbrahamEdward NortonMathieu AmalricAdrien BrodyWillem DafoeLea SeydouxJeff GoldblumJason SchwarztmanJude LawTilda SwintonHarvey KeitelTom Wilkinson, and Owen Wilson.  The Grand Budapest Hotel will premiere at the Berlin Film Festival in February and open in the U.S. on March 7th.

New Clip from Wes Anderson’s THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL Featuring Ralph Fiennes and Edward Norton

by     Posted 200 days ago

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Fox Searchlight has released another clip from writer/director Wes Anderson’s new film The Grand Budapest Hotel.  We saw the first clip from the pic yesterday, in which Ralph Fiennes’ concierge character is introduced to the titular hotel’s new Lobby Boy (Tony Revolori), and today’s clip finds Fiennes interacting with Edward Norton, who plays a policeman.  The story takes place in early 20th-century Hungary and revolves around the goings-on at the Grand Budapest Hotel, specifically focusing on the relationship between a legendary concierge and a young employee who becomes his trusted protégé.  The humor continues to look spot-on and the colorful cast of characters is incredibly promising.

Hit the jump to watch the new clip.  The film also stars Saoirse RonanWillem DafoeJeff GoldblumJason SchwartzmanJude LawTilda SwintonOwen WilsonAdrien BrodyMathieu AmalricHarvey KeitelEdward NortonLea SeydouxTom Wilkinson, and Bill Murray.  The Grand Budapest Hotel opens March 7th.

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