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.

Rushmore (1998) Film Review

Max (Jason Schwartzman) is an odd kid – overachieving in many ways at the Rushmore Academy, he becomes friends with Herman Blume (Bill Murray) the father of a classmate, falls in love with Rosemary Cross (Olivia Williams), a teacher, and is put out of the school by Dr Nelson Guggenheim (Brian Cox). Really, he’s just trying to find his place in the world – be it at Rushmore Academy or beyond.

This is Wes Anderson’s first feature film and it’s where we see many of the stylistic and story elements which define his work. I recently became quite cross about Anderson’s most recent film, Isle of Dogs, and was fearful about revisiting his previous films, but took the plunge. I think I’m still a fan. Mostly. It’s very strange seeing Jason Schwartzman so young, but I do really like the way Anderson creates weird characters who are so over confident. Many people struggle leaving high school success and moving to the real world, but it usually takes a while for them to realise it. In Rushmore, it almost happens before he finishes school.

7 Chinese Brothers (2015) MIFF Film Review


Larry (Jason Schwatzman) is a bit of a loser who gets fired from a lot of his jobs, drinks a lot and hangs out with his dog. He spends time with his friend, Major Norwood (Tunde Adebimpe) who is an orderly at the home where Larry’s grandma(Olympia Dukakis) lives. Norwood also supplied Larry with prescription medication from the home. Then Larry falls for Lupe (Eleanore Pienta) the manager of a lube change workshop for cars, and he takes a job to woo her. Throughout, things kind of happen to Larry. Or near him. And eventually, he kind of needs to address this.

I picked it from the MIFF guide as it was directed by Bob Byington, and I really enjoyed his previous offering, Somebody Up There Likes Me. And this one – I quite liked it too. Low budget, not particularly true to life yet also fairly honest. The dog is magnificent – snorty little creature. Overall, it was a really nice way to spend a few hours. I think it would be worth seeing at an outdoor summer cinema. And I don’t know if I missed something, but I have no idea about the title. Apparently it’s taken from an REM song. Huh.

At this stage, there is no Australian release date for 7 Chinese Brothers.

Saving Mr Banks (2013) Film Review


P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) wrote Mary Poppins, and Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) wanted to make a film of it. But she hates films and she hates animation and she won’t bear it. However, she is convinced to visit Hollywood and work with a fabulous team (Bradley Whitford, Jason Schwartzman and B.J. Novak) to turn it into a film. Travers hates every moment of it, from the small talk of her driver, Paul Giamatti, to the food delivered to their workspace. But the experience takes her back to her childhood in rural Australia with her alcoholic father.

Most of the film I loved. I didn’t love the structure all of the time – sometimes the flashbacks were a bit clunky and annoying, but they were so important to the film as a whole. Emma Thompson is always a delight to watch on-screen and I especially loved seeing her interactions with the Hollywood types – especially with Bradley Whitford, Jason Schwartzman and B.J. Novak trying to impress her. There was some heavy-handed make-up on Tom Hanks to make him look more like Walt Disney, and I felt that wasn’t necessary, however it didn’t bother me as much as it has in other films. And cry? Oh, so much so. And I so do enjoy a cry at a movie!

Saving Mr Banks was nominated for an Oscar for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score, a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama (Emma Thompson) and for BAFTAs for the Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film, the Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music, Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer (Kelly Marcel), Best Leading Actress (Emma Thompson) and Best Costume Design (Daniel Orlandi).


Bored to Death – TV Review


Jonathan Ames (Jason Schwarztman) is a published author who is struggling with his second book. His girlfriend has left him, he is smoking a lot of weed and drinking a lot, and decides to become an unlicensed private detective, advertising on Craig’s list. His best mate, Ray (Zach Galifianakis) draws a cartoon called Super Ray and struggles with his relationship with his wife and baby. Jonathan’s other best mate is George (Ted Danson) the extremely wealthy owner and editor of a magazine. All three make terrible decisions, often whilst stoned, and get in and out of crazy scrapes.

This show is so ridiculous and unbelievable, and yet something about it makes it seem so real. It was created by the real Jonathan Ames, but follows a fictional world that the character Jonathan Ames lives. For me, it’s the best thing Galifianakis has done, and I’ve always enjoyed Schwartzman’s work. But it is Ted Danson who is my absolute favourite – especially when he is so stoned and giggly that he can barely stand up. Danson is awesome, and just seems to taking on better and more varied roles as he ages. I’m looking forward to more.

Moonrise Kingdom (2012) Film Review


Suzy lives with her family in a mansion at one part of an island called New Penzance. Sam is part of the Khaki Scout summer camp that is based at another part of the island. Neither fit well into their environment, and when they meet, they find in each other a like mind. They run away together with the threat of a massive storm.

Wes Anderson polarizes audiences with his style. I fall into the side that loves his work.

The Royal Tennenbaums was a beautiful and amazing emotional journey and The Darjeeling Limited took a part of my heart. It took a second, and maybe even a third watch of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou for me to grow to love it, and I think that Moonrise Kingdom is like that for me.

I will need to walk away for a while, think about it, perhaps forget about it, and watch it again in six months or so. Then, perhaps, I will love it.

As it stands at the moment, it has elements of the other films that I loved which made it feel a bit like a greatest hits. Suzy had the style and the dark eye make-up of Gwyneth Paltrow’s character in the Tennenbaums, and the introduction to the house was reminiscent of the introduction to the submarine in Life Aquatic.

Moonrise Kingdom has, as Anderson always does, a marvelous cast.

It is always wonderful to see Bill Murray, but this film also had the bonus of Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Harvey Keitel, Jason Schwartzman and the always-wonderful Frances McDormand. On top of this, the new talent in the Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman as the young runaways.

Ask me again when it’s come out on DVD. By then, I’ll probably love it. For the moment, however, it’s far from my favourite Wes Anderson film, but still a film well and truly worth seeing.

Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola were nominated for an Oscar for Writing (Original Screenplay)

Shopgirl vs Shopgirl (2005)


Mirabelle works at the glove counter in an exclusive department store in Beverly Hills. She lives with two cats and creates artwork every so often. Sometimes, she sells them. Jeremy, a young man who makes his living stenciling amplifiers, approaches her in a Laundromat, and they have a few dates. Then she meets Ray Porter, a handsome millionaire who spends part of his time at his home in Seattle and part of his time in LA. They commence a relationship with differing expectations.

The novella, written by Steve Martin, is like reading a dream or a modern-day fable. It is told from a very detached sense; it felt as though everything as described after it happens, and there is little emotional connection. In many ways, I didn’t mind this, although I missed conversations. It is one thing to be told what the characters say, but another to hear their voice.

The novella was turned into a film in 2005 starring Claire Danes as Mirabelle, Jason Schwartzman as Jeremy and Steve Martin as Ray Porter. For me, the film was everything the book described, but the story worked much better as a film.