Moonrise Kingdom

Earlier this month, we wrote about Matt Zoller Seitz‘s new book The Wes Anderson Collection, a book examining the work of writer/director Wes Anderson. The Pulitzer Prize finalist has been following Anderson’s career since the very beginning, and has teamed up with editor Steven Santos to bring the book to the web in a documentary/video essay format. A couple weeks back we posted the first two chapters, on Bottle Rocket and Rushmore. Last week we featured The Royal Tenenbaums and The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. Matt has now released Chapter 5 and 6 which cover The Darjeeling Limited and Moonrise Kingdom. Both are online and available to view after the jump.

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Wes Anderson sits on a short list of filmmakers who, no matter what they put in theaters, we’ll go see it. His latest, Moonrise Kingdom, is only his seventh feature film but with each and every movie, Anderson’s unique vision evolves and focuses telling original, beautiful stories that are wholly his own, even when they’re based on someone else’s work (The Fantastic Mr. Fox for example).

In my opinion Moonrise Kingdom, which is now playing in select cities and will continue to expand throughout June, marks a change for Anderson and speaking with the talented director, I asked him about it. He didn’t quite agree. We also spoke about how his next movie will “not be family friendly,” the genesis of Moonrise’s glorious end credits, if he looks back at his old movies, feels added pressure being so revered and the art galleries that have taken to commemmorateing his work.

Read it all below. Read More »

VOTD: 15 Years of Fox Searchlight

Fox Searchlight released their first film, The Brothers McMullen, in 1995. This year the minimajor is celebrating their 15th anniversary. Anyone who reads /Film knows that I tend to love the type of films that Searchlight picks up at Sundance, and more recently, the films Searchlight has been producing in house (Aronofsky’s Black Swan, Boyle’s 127 Hours, Romanke’s Never Let Me Go to name a few). /Film reader Kees van Dijkhuizen put together a short video showcasing some of the great films Searchlight has brought up over the last 15 years. You might remember that Kees created some of the video montages we’ve posted in VOTD in past years including Cinema 2009: 1 Year, 342 Movies, 12 Months of Production, 7 Minutes and the movies of Cinema 2008. It looks like someone at Fox saw his work and commissioned the video editor to create this video for Fox Searchlight 15th anniversary. Here is Kees description:

15 Years of Drama, Compassion, Icons, Romance and Challenges. Some of the best indie flicks came were brought to us by Fox Searchlight, and to celebrate their 15 year anniversary, here’s a quick recap of what they have brought us. Some of the movies featured include Juno, The Darjeeling Limited, Slumdog Millionaire, 28 Days Later, Sunshine, (500) Days of Summer, Napoleon Dynamite, The Last King of Scotland, Crazy Heart, Sexy Beast, One Hour Photo and Thirteen.

Watch the video now embedded after the jump.

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I’ve always loved the artwork of Wes Anderson‘s brother Eric Chase Anderson, who many of you might recognize as the production designer on The Royal Tenenbaums. Not only did he make all of the rooms in the Tenenbaum house look different and unique, but he created all the drawings and paintings credited to Richie Tenenbaum in the movie. He also created the fantastic cover artwork for the Criterion Collection editions of The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums, as well as some of the inside art.

Many people don’t know this but with the Criterion Collection release of Bottle Rocket, the cover and menu art was created by Ian Dingman. A lot of people confuse the two artists as their artwork looks very much in the same style. This probably also explains why Wes has employed Dingman to create the cover artwork for his future home video releases when his own brother became unavailable. You can read an interview with Dingman in Time Out Chicago. His latest work is the cover and inside artwork for the Criterion Collection edition of The Darjeeling Limited. We now have a first look at the cover art for Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited. Check it out after the jump.
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I’m thankful for the Criterion Collection nearly every day, but especially on a slow weekend before Comic Con. This week Criterion finally announced a slate of October releases, which includes a couple of highly anticipated pressings. Finally we’ll get Criterion editions of Stanley Kubrick‘s Paths of Glory and the absolutely insane 1977 Japanese haunted house movie Hausu. And the collection continues its love affair with Ingmar Bergman and Wes Anderson with releases of The Magician and The Darjeeling Limited. Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:


When I first heard that Adrien Brody had hopped on Dario Argento‘s signature serial killer flick Giallo, I pictured him playing the stylish murderer. Vincent Gallo had been typically outspoken about his loathing to play the part due to the involvement of his former fiance and Argento spawn, Asia Argento. Unsurprisingly, Gallo is no longer attached (and neither is Asia). Alas Brody, the Oscar winner who kinda slayed in the underrated The Darjeeling Limited, will apparently play the role of an Italian detective, a role previously rumored for Ray Liotta. No offense to Brody, but Liotta versus Gallo with knife wielding would have been wild, man, wild.

This casting bit arrives with a new log line for the exploitation thriller: “Giallo revolves around an American flight attendant who teams with an Italian investigator to search for her missing sister who has been abducted by a serial killer known only as Yellow.” Argento tackling flight attendants equals awesome. And it’s all the rage to say this right now on the Web, so here ya go: giallo means yellow in Italian. Celebrate this “newfound” morsel of information with a 10-foot party sub.

Discuss: So, is the Brody for Liotta/Gallo trade-out a good one? There’s a lot of “he’s too good for this film, not a good career move” blah blahing going on, but what’s wrong with the buzzing indie direction Brody is going in?

via HR

Watch Wes Anderon’s Hotel Chevalier Online Right Now!

Hotel Chevalier

You’ve heard us talk about Wes Anderson’s 13 minute short film Hotel Chevalier which stars Natalie Portman (in the buff, kinda) and Jason Schwartzman. And now you can watch it exclusively on Apple iTunes. Fret not, it’s completely free – just click this link, download and consume.

Hotel Chevalier is set in a hotel room in France and is a “brief coda to a doomed romance and the prologue to The Darjeeling Limited.” I read in an interview that Portman didn’t want to smoke in the short (which was part of the script) so they replaced the cigarette with a toothpick.

A few screen captures after the jump, including the much talked about “money shot”.

Update: The movie is now available on Google Video, check it out after the jump.

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Wes Anderson is one of my favorite directors, but I more appreciate his earlier work: Bottle Rocket, Rushmore (especially) and of course, The Royal Tenenbaums. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou was good but not great, and went on to become a box office failure. The film, which cost more than the budgets of this three previous films combined, went on to make only $24 million at the box office. But commercial success aside, it wasn’t his best film. I’ll be seeing The Darjeeling Limited later this week, but advance buzz puts it a step above Aquatic, but a step below his earlier films. So one must wonder: What happened?

Anderson wrote his first three films in collaboration with Owen Wilson, Aquatic with Noah Baumbach, and Darjeeling with Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman. So one must wonder if Wilson was part of the magic that made the first three films so great? And if so, when will Anderson sit down with Wilson and pen another project together. Thankfully, Vogue asked Anderson, and this is what he said:

“It will happen,” Anderson said. “I don’t know what the factors will be, but I believe it will happen.” He didn’t look like he wholly believed it would. As though to reassure himself, he added, “We actually talked about doing something not long ago.”

I’m not sure I buy the optimism, but I sure hope it happens. And afterall, Owen never wanted to be an actor in the first place – he wanted to write. Here is an interesting and telling story of Owen Wilson’s first acting performance:

There were nine students in the writing class, and the big assignment was to write a play. “Wes was the one who actually finished his,” Wilson told me. It was called A Night in Tunisia. The teacher, Webster Smalley, singled Wes’s play out, and it was given a production in the college auditorium. Wes wanted Owen to play the main character, but Owen “never wanted to be an actor,” Anderson said. “I had to talk him into it. Luke would do it, but Owen was always trying to find other guys to do his parts.”

After the first performance, during a dialogue with the audience, the play was warmly complimented. But one person was critical, and that person happened to be James Michener, the author, who then was teaching at the University of Texas. “He singled Owen out,” Anderson recalled, smiling his toothy smile. “He said, ‘That guy is very inappropriate and doesn’t seem to know how to act.’ ”


New Photos: The Darjeeling Limited

The Darjeeling Limited

Fox Searchlight has released a new batch of 13 production photos from Wes Anderson’s upcoming film, The Darjeeling Limited. The official plot description follows:

Three American brothers who have not spoken to each other in a year set off on a train voyage across India with a plan to find themselves and bond with each other — to become brothers again like they used to be. Their “spiritual quest”, however, veers rapidly off-course (due to events involving over-the-counter pain killers, Indian cough syrup, and pepper spray), and they eventually find themselves stranded alone in the middle of the desert with eleven suitcases, a printer, and a laminating machine. At this moment, a new, unplanned journey suddenly begins.

Check out the photos after the jump. Click on the images to enlarge.
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Hotel Chevalier

Update: The short film is available online. Watch it NOW.

We’ve learned that Wes Anderson’s 13-minute short film Hotel Chevalier starring Jason Schartzman and Natalie Portman will not, according to trade reports and Jeff Wells, be showing before The Darjeeling Limited after all. Hotel Chevalier acts as a prequel to The Darjeeling Limited. The short was filmed way before Darjeeling started production, and Anderson is showing the short before Darjeeling film festival screenings. I guess the plan is to release the short on the internet and on the eventual DVD. I’ve heard the short is actually pretty well linked to the film’s main story, and I believe Fox Searchlight should seriously reconsider, and release the film nationwide with the movie (or at least in the major cities or something).

The short takes place in one room of a French hotel (Hotel Chevalier) and serves as “a short epilogue of one heartbreaking history of love and the prologue of the travel told in ‘The Darjeeling Limited.” Hotel Chevalier screened Out of competition in the upcoming Venice Film Festival, and is also scheduled to make an appearance at the New York Film Festival.

And the first Darjeeling Limited reviews are starting to come in, and they don’t look good. The Hollywood Reporter writes:

“The whimsical and insightful charm that Wes Anderson and his filmmaking pals have displayed in such films as “Rushmore” and “The Royal Tenenbaums” curdles ruinously in the Indian sun that shines so brightly in their smug and self-satisfied new film The Darjeeling Limited.”

“But when current affairs are in such a parlous state, it’s almost unforgivable to make a film about stupid American men traveling abroad with not the slightest awareness of or reference to anything that’s going on in the world. The film is overly pleased with itself, and the characters are way too self-absorbed. There’s never a man-eating tiger around when you need one.”

Ouch. For the record, I’m a big fan of Wes Anderson’s earlier work. Bottle Rocket is a great indie comedy, but Rushmore is his perfect film. Many people love The Royal Tenenbaums more, but to me it seemed like the beginning of Anderson’s movement of being quirky just to be quirky. And even then, I still very much enjoyed Tenenbaums and even The Life Aquatic. The Darjeeling Limited looks nothing like his earlier films, aside from the returning cast (Owen and Jason), the soundtrack, and choice of camera angles. Okay, may-be it isn’t far off – but at least the characters, at first glance, seem to be less quirky just to be quirky than his last two films. And I’m still excited to see this flick despite THR’s negative review.

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