The Darjeeling Limited (2007) Film Review

Three brothers go to India to bond after their father passes away. Little do Peter (Adrien Brody) and Jack (Jason Schwartzman) know that Francis (Owen Wilson) has planned to find their long-lost mother, Patricia (Anjelica Huston).

I love this film, but why? Three selfish rich white boys go to India with all their privilege because they can. I should hate this. Yet I don’t. I don’t hate the clumsy baggage metaphor or the way the women are dismissed or the way even when they don’t get what they want, they get through.

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) Film Review

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I had held of watching this film for two reasons: firstly, I didn’t love Wes Anderson’s previous film, Moonrise Kingdom, and was a bit concerned I wouldn’t love this, and I have truly loved many of his previous films; second, I saw a trailer early on and thought that I had seen most of it. I was wrong on both counts. I love it and the trailer actually gave very little away.

Essentially, the film tells the story (in a somewhat convoluted fashion) of a bell boy working at The Grand Budapest Hotel. No, that is not it. There is a lot more, there is theft and betrayal, sex and love, cakes and guns, prison and trains. But to attempt to tell it could give away too much, and it is a story that it is a delight to simply watch unfold. The typical, beautiful style of Wes Anderson is apparently in every shot, and his large cast of some of the most wonderful actors is great. (Although extremely male-heavy, with no really good female roles. Wes Anderson usually does better on this count… shame)

I think that if you do not like Wes Anderson films, you won’t like this one. If you haven’t seen one, perhaps this might be the best to introduce you to him.

The Grand Budapest Hotel won Oscars for Best Achievement in Costume Design, Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score (Alexandre Desplat) and Best Achievement in Production Design. It was nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Achievement in Directing (Wes Anderson), Best Achievement in Cinematography, Best Achievement in Film Editing and Best Writing, Original Screenplay (Wes Anderson, Hugo Guinness).

 

Midnight in Paris (2011) Film Review

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Watching this film makes me finally get Woody Allen. I’ve seen several of his films and have not understood why he is considered such a genius; often, I find them amusing and well made but they don’t grab me. And then, there is Midnight in Paris.

So, Gil (Own Wilson) and Inez (Rachel McAdams) are holidaying in Paris with her parents. He is a screenwriter who is working on a novel; she really likes spending money and putting him down. When he is wandering, drunk, at midnight one night, he gets picked up by an old car that takes him off to a glamorous twenties-style party – only it turns out that he has actually travelled back in time, and ends up partying with Zelda and F Scott Fitzgerald, Cole Porter, Ernest Hemmingway, Pablo Picasso – oh, and getting writing advice from Gertrude Stein. Gradually, he realises that he has little in common with his fiancé and is living a lie – but is the life he lives at night as much of a lie?

I love the absurdity of the twenties scenes, of seeing these wonderful representations of characters from the past. Owen Wilson didn’t quite work for me; I’ve gone from being a huge fan of his to really disliking him onscreen to being somewhere in the middle. But, at least it wasn’t Woody Allen himself- I really cannot stand that man onscreen.

I didn’t like that Inez and her parents were so obviously awful to Gil. I’m sure it is making a point, but I found it annoying and would have liked it if there were more subtlety to them.

Midnight in Paris won an Oscar for Best Writing, Original Screenplay (Woody Allen) and was nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Achievement in Directing (Woody Allen) and Best Achievement in Art Direction.