Tag Archives: Gwyneth Paltrow

Wes Anderson, A Whimsical and Unique Auteur

Wes-Anderson At first I wasn’t a fan of Wes Anderson’s filmography. I was young and I never understood the characters or the humor. Now that I have grown up, and I’ve evolved past the stage of like terrible movies. Anderson has cemented himself as a true auteur. In the beginning, with films such as Bottle Rocket and Rushmore, his films were muted and didn’t really contain all the tropes that a typical Wes Anderson film contains. The Royal Tennebaums is the film that I consider to be the beginning of the Wes Anderson that we know and love today.

Bottle Rocket/Rushmore Era

Independent comedies become a staple for the up and coming directors. With Bottle Rocket it gained the attention of critics but not so much with film goers. It was basically dead on arrive. It began  as a short film that gained a lot of traction at Sundance and it had everyone raving. He collaborated with his friend and writing partner Owen Wilson to pen a feature-length version of their popular short film. It contained his trademark sense of humor and had a unique story but it never really succeeds outside of the final act. To me it is his most problematic films. In the end Bottle Rocket can be considered a failure but it never stopped Anderson from moving along with his career.

Rushmore is really were his career took off. It is when his movies starting to become a kind of heightened reality. Owen Wilson and Wes Anderson used Roald Dahl’s kids book as inspiration for their tale of child angst within a prep school. Bill Murray ended up reading the script and liked it so much that he agreed to work on scale, which was estimated to around $9,000. The movie was able to capture what it is like to be a kid in a challenging environment. It is a smaller scale compared to his later films but his style started to pick up from here. The tracking shots that he is known for began here with a scene that involves the groundbreaking of an aquarium. The camera movement follows Max as he shows off his ideas for a new aquarium. It is the beginning of one Anderson’s most well-known trademark. Rushmore failed at the box office but managed to surprise critics and film goers alike.

The Royal Tennebaums through Darjeeling Limited

The Royal Tennebaums is when style becomes overloaded. Almost every frame in Tennebaums is symmetrical and well produced. This movie deals with a former famous family deals with their father, who is trying to enter back into their lives, and their fading popularity. To me this is the most cynical work that Wes Anderson has produced. Everyone is so hateful and every character has a problem with someone. Even though the movie is hateful the design and mise en scène of each scene is so well crafted and colorful that it kinda contradicts the storyline. This is also the movie in which is love for symmetry becomes apparent. All the time the characters are centered in the frame. So far this is considered his most popular film, gaining him an Academy Award Nomination and box office success.

Following The Royal Tennebaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and The Darjeeling Limited. Both were considered failures compared to his other films. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou follows similar tropes and had the same flare that is associated with his films but critics didn’t seem to like what they say. It failed at the box office and is currently Wes Anderson’s worst reviewed film. The Darjeeling Limited didn’t do any better. It is his most experimental film to date. He took his unique filming technique to India and used it to represent the style and life in a foreign country. Dealing with a similar storyline to The Royal Tennebaums, it still didn’t impress critics or audiences.

Fantastic Mr. Fox and Beyond

Fantastic Mr. Fox is the first animated film by Wes Anderson. It is a tale about a Fox that has to navigate life while a group of outraged farmers hunt him down. Given that Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson planned to do Rushmore as heightened reality based of a Roald Dahl book it’s quite ironic that Anderson eventually adapted one of his books. Given the failures of both The Darjeeling Limited and The Life Aquatic of Steve Zissou, a lot road on the success of Fantastic Mr. Fox. It ended up paying off. He used he trademark style and create an interesting take on animated films. It appears that Wes Anderson’s style is perfectly suited for animated feature films. Critics loved it and so did the audience and it eventually getting nominated for Best Animated Feature at the 2009 Academy Awards but lost to Up.

He followed up Fantastic Mr. Fox with his most critically acclaimed movie to date, Moonrise Kingdom. It brought him back to the time where he brought to life stores of children and there views on a world in which they are too young to know. His visual style is used to accomplish a child like tale of wonder and fascination. It debuted in the Cannes Film Festival in 2012 and went on to get him his third Oscar nomination and box office success.

His most recent release is now his biggest box office success and critically acclaimed movie. The Grand Budapest Hotel is his most stylized film. The production of each set is simply incredible and uses his love of hand drawn set pieces and miniatures as the set design. Ralph Fiennes simply chews the scenery as Gustave H. and is by far the most interesting character in his filmography. It spans multiple decades and is most interesting when he switches through time periods. To represents it he switches up aspect ratios for the respective decade. Wes Anderson achieves the best result with this movie and shows that no matter the story if directed by Wes Anderson you sure to have an interesting movie on your hands.

Though Wes Anderson has some movies that aren’t well received he has become a household name and a true to life auteur.

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Iron Man 3, the flawed return to the marvel universe

Iron Man 3

Directed By: Shane Black

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, and Ben Kingsley

It surprises me that the Marvel Cinematic Universe became as successful as it did, two separate billion dollar grossing movies and nearly ten movies either out or in the works. With every new entry I start disliking the series even more, they are producing far too many movies in a short period of time and it is starting to get redundant. Iron Man 3 looked as if they were going with a much more serious tone with a villain that actually looks threatening compared to every other villain that was in the movies so far. What they did instead was make a movie that relied more on the comedy aspect than actually making a good story and you wanna know what that is the biggest flaw that Marvel is doing now a days is that they are making these movies appeal to the younger audience and they choose to make it light hearted instead of focusing on the characters journey.

Marvel Studios’ “Iron Man 3″ pits brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy’s hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?

I have deep admiration for the road that Shane Black wanted to take but I think in the end the final product is by far the weakest the series has to offer and doesn’t live up to first one or even The Avengers, which I am starting to dislike as a movie. I had feeling that Mandarin could have finally brought in a villain that poses a threat for Iron Man instead of machine on machine but boy was I wrong. Spoilers Ahead So Beware. The Mandarin is actually an actor hired by Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) so that he could be the scape goat and Aldrich can get aware with the crime. I can’t think of a worse way of including a villain in the movie, he is just reduced to some bland actor who doesn’t pose any threat to the main character. The studio decided to reduce Iron Man’s prime villain to a stupid twist like this movie. This is my biggest problem because he was marketed to extremes, making him seem like the Joker or Bane of this series but once again the villain in these movies don’t live up to expectations. It also doesn’t help that the real villain is a terrible excuse for one. At one point he breaths fire at one of the characters and that is when I was done with this movie. First you ruin what could have been a great villain and then you add something as ridiculous as someone who has healing abilities and fire breathing abilities that you would never coming from a movie like this. Then you include the Iron Patriot, another departure from the comics, and you give him absolutely nothing to do. This movie is not what it could have been at all. About halfway through the movie really falls apart and ends with a less than stellar fight sequence that could have been truly awesome.

There were definitely moments in the movie that I really enjoyed such as the barrel of monkeys catch seen that used real stunt actors falling in mid air and Iron Man catching them. I also liked the small diversion in Tennessee which shows that Tony Stark is just a man who needs help from even the smallest person. There were moments that I was entertained by but ultimately this has to be the biggest disappoint of the year so far and a very poor way for marvel to start their Phase Two of their Cinematic Universe I hope the likes of Thor Dark World, Captain America Winter Solider, and Guardians of the Galaxy don’t suffer from the same troubles.

5.5 out of 10

Iron Man Review

Iron Man

Directed by: Jon Favreau

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrance Howard

When I first heard that they were making a movie about Iron Man I just knew that the Avengers was going to be released soon, he is one of the founding members of the team in the comics. The outcome of this movie is just brilliant, it does’t focus to much on the superhero aspect but when it comes to story telling and an origin story that was the main focus of the movie. This is the movie that started the wave a fantastic Marvel movie, before the only good ones were the Spider-Man films and the X-Men films otherwise the rest aren’t all that great. Now that I look at the movie I cannot picture anyone else playing Tony Stark, Robert Downey Jr. was the perfect pick for the movie, he is able to have the sarcastic and narcissistic attitude that the character had in the comics. This film feels like a natural start for the Avenger’s movie, it doesn’t focus to much on tying everything to The Avengers but it tells an actual story for Iron Man, unlike Iron Man 2 which felt like a propaganda film for the Avengers. Right now 2008 had some of the best comic book movies to date, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, and The Dark Knight, though I am sure that 2012 will be the better year for such movies.

The playboy wolf and genius Tony Stark is the successful CIO of the Stark Industries, a weapon company founded by his father. His second in command is Obadiah Stane, who worked with his father, and his loyal and professional secretary is Pepper Potts, who has a crush on Tony. While in Afghanistan to demonstrate the ultimate Jericho missile developed by his company, his military convoy is attacked and Tony is seriously wounded on his chest and kidnapped by a group of rebels that wants him to assemble a missile for their use. Tony stays with his abductors for three months and develops a powerful metallic armor to escape from the cave where he is arrested. He decides to stop manufacturing weapons in his company under the protest of Obadiah, and dedicates his time to improve the armor, manufacturing it with gold and titanium and installing a propulsion system to fly. However, Pepper discovers that Tony was betrayed by Obadiah, who is using Tony’s data to build prototype armor for him, transforming it in the ultimate weapon.

9.5 out of 10

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