Poll

What's your favorite film by Wes Anderson?

haven't seen any
1 (1.4%)
don't like any
0 (0%)
other (specify)
0 (0%)
Bottle Rocket
2 (2.7%)
Rushmore
15 (20.3%)
The Royal Tenenbaums
16 (21.6%)
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
5 (6.8%)
Hotel Chevalier
0 (0%)
The Darjeeling Limited
2 (2.7%)
Fantastic Mr. Fox
15 (20.3%)
Moonrise Kingdom
13 (17.6%)
The Grand Budapest Hotel
5 (6.8%)
Isle of Dogs
0 (0%)
The French Dispatch
0 (0%)
Asteroid City
0 (0%)
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 74

Author Topic: Anderson, Wes  (Read 18011 times)

Sam the Cinema Snob

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 26767
Re: Anderson, Wes
« Reply #150 on: March 06, 2022, 03:40:30 PM »
The French Dispatch (2021)

I didn't watch the trailer for this going in but once I figured out this was going to be an anthology piece about the titular fictional magazine I was fully invested. I minored in Journalism and have dabbled in feature writing and maybe in a different life I would have been a feature writer. But to say this is a writer's film or "a love letter to journalism" is to diminish that Anderson is still firing on all cylinders here. His camera techniques, set designs, aesthetics, and directions are all as good as they've ever been, it's probably just at this point you've decided if you love it, hate it, or are just tired of it.

Each chapter puts you in the perspective of the respective writer narrating their piece in the magazine, which all of them have also a role to play in as the story unfolds. The stories are offbeat, weird, often darkly hilarious and, quintessential Wes Anderson. The canter of character dialogue and the deadpan comedic performances as well as the return to troubled artists, young lovers, and whimsical family dynamics mean that none of this is particularly new, but the perspective and telling of it is different enough and I adore how this telling highlights the intertwined nature of the storyteller, the story they are telling, and the person delivering that story (in this case the magazine editor). As each layer gets peeled back, it adds to your understanding of the degrees of separation you have from each story and the way bits and pieces of it are shaped. This is probably best demonstrated in the final story where the writer and editor ultimately disagree on what the story is about and how it should end.

That whole meta-textual, self-reflexive layer takes me back to my old Kiarostami thesis days where issues of authorship and being too close to the subject you're filming all come into play. Albeit here the entire framework is a fictional one, but it still asks and provokes a lot of the same questions.

I can see myself returning to this one a lot. I can see why maybe others aren't as enthused about it, but it's the first time in about a decade I've seen a film that feels like it was made for me and I forgot how good that feeling can be.

MartinTeller

  • FAB
  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 17854
  • martinteller.wordpress.com
    • my movie blog
Re: Anderson, Wes
« Reply #151 on: August 05, 2023, 12:06:53 AM »
Asteroid City - Have I run out of love for Wes Anderson, or has he run out of ideas? Beneath all the meta-narrative and layers of artifice, there's... not much. Oh, perhaps an attempt at an exploration of grief, but it comes off as underbaked. The Royal Tenenbaums says far more about grief in a single line: "I've had a rough year, dad." And it just feels like an avalanche of Wes Anderson-isms. Other directors (as always, Tsai and Tarr come to mind) have a distinctive style that they never deviate from, but I don't get sick of it. Anderson is just so damn quirky and mannered that it wears on you, at least when there's not much else to latch on to. There are a couple of funny bits, and while I was engaged I was not particularly entertained, moved, or enlightened. I will say that Tom Hanks slots in very nicely to the W.A. vibe.

I think what Wes needs to do is start scaling back. Not so many big name actors, not so many clever touches, not so much production design, not so many lengthy deadpan speeches. It's all getting too cluttered. Go back to the simpler charms (and genuine human insight) of Tenenbaums. Rating: Fair (62)
« Last Edit: August 05, 2023, 11:15:05 PM by MartinTeller »

1SO

  • Moderator
  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 36101
  • Marathon Man
Re: Anderson, Wes
« Reply #152 on: August 05, 2023, 11:12:50 PM »
"I've had a rough year, dad." When I first heard that line it was such an emotional catharsis for the story. The line itself is banal and Ben Stiller puts on emphasis on it, but it unlocked the whole film. It's been remarkable to see such a small moment frequently appear as a highlight in Wes Anderson's career. There's a similar moment in Fantastic Mr. Fox with Ash (Jason Schwartzman) who's annoying because he sees himself in the shadow of everyone else. Then comes the moment when he discovers what makes him fantastic... "I can fit through there. You want to know why? Because Iím little."

I always saw Wes Anderson as a modern Fellini, and as if he planned it, he's now working in that post 8 1/2 period where most of the attention is on the visual design. Placing their careers side-by-side we are now at the point where Fellini made Juliet of the Spirits and Satyricon. On the plus side, I think Wes has gotten far more sophisticated with his precise frames. He isn't strictly symmetrical, but everything still feels precisely balanced within the box.

Antares

  • Godfather
  • *****
  • Posts: 5011
Re: Anderson, Wes
« Reply #153 on: August 09, 2023, 05:35:16 PM »
I always saw Wes Anderson as a modern Fellini

Aside from The Royal Tenenbaums, the only film I've liked by him, I've always found him to be third rate Hal Ashby, almost 1980's Ashby.
Masterpiece (100-91) | Classic (90-80) | Entertaining (79-69) | Mediocre (68-58) | Cinemuck (57-21) | Crap (20-0)

1SO

  • Moderator
  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 36101
  • Marathon Man
Re: Anderson, Wes
« Reply #154 on: October 22, 2023, 11:23:12 AM »
I see Martin updated the first post to include his ranking of the recent short films.

Antares

  • Godfather
  • *****
  • Posts: 5011
Re: Anderson, Wes
« Reply #155 on: October 22, 2023, 07:56:47 PM »
Anderson is just so damn quirky and mannered that it wears on you, at least when there's not much else to latch on to.

Not just quirky, but predictable. I remember watching the trailer for The Grand Budapest Hotel and bemoaning the fact that I was predicting what the character would do next in the hodgepodge of scenes clipped together. Especially the scene where Fiennes runs away from the police and you get the standard Anderson slow take from the police officers.
Masterpiece (100-91) | Classic (90-80) | Entertaining (79-69) | Mediocre (68-58) | Cinemuck (57-21) | Crap (20-0)

Sam the Cinema Snob

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 26767
Re: Anderson, Wes
« Reply #156 on: December 24, 2023, 04:48:51 AM »
Putting the 2023 Dahl shorts reviews here:

Poison

The weakest of the Dahl shorts, it still has its moments as a gripping suspense piece but there's no real payoff and the characters lack the evocative charm of those from the other shorts. I've not got much more to say than that because ther isn't much going on in this one and it comes across as one they likely threw into the mix since they already had everyone together and not because it's a standout story.

The Swan

Perhaps the most inspiring of the Dahl shorts, it's got a strong story on its side and some fantastic production behind it. I found myself distracted by the set design and the trappings when I felt I should be melting into the story. The others felt like rolling theater sets where this felt like it was too often being a bit too cute with the sets for its own good. Still, I think it's also fantastic even though I'd place this as my third favorite of the lot.

The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar

Now here's the writing I expect from a Wes Anderson movie! I'm sure some of it is the Dahl influence but the love of the flow of words and the whimsy of the story shine through here in a way I didn't feel on the first viewing of Asteroid City (which I do want to rewatch).

While initially appearing to be a bit naive about the nature of rich people, I do think the film goes in an interesting direction by the end and leans into the nature of this as a children's story that also doesn't try to do lazy messaging at the end.

I also love seeing Richard Ayoade here who was born to play in a Wes Anderson film. Here's hoping he gets more roles with the director in the future.

The Rat Catcher

I must be a sick bastard for this to be my favorite of the Dahl shorts. There's something so evocative and delightfully unnerving about the main character here that sparks my imagination more than any of the other characters in any of the shorts. It's the most visually spaced and least ambitious of the shorts, but that let's the performances and writing shine all the more and it made me grin the whole time in that childish way when you're reading something as a child that you know is transgressive but not so obscene as to be damaging to consume. It's the kind of fun, dark story that a child should enjoy from time to time.