Archives for the month of: February, 2014

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“Our daughter’s been abducted by one of these beige lunatics!”

Wes Anderson, known for his distinctive narratives featuring eccentric characters and a particular emphasis on colour has once again left me spellbound with a very unusual film about young love. Wes, like in most of his other well acclaimed films, includes a fantastic ensemble cast and newcomers combined to create something pretty and different from any other film you’d see in a multiplex.

The narrative is set in the 60s on a small communal island and concerns two children who fall in love. One is a reliable but isolated Scout named Sam (Jared Gilman), the other is a troubled schoolgirl named Suzy (Kara Hayward). The two decide to leave their problems behind and run away together. However, a search party is formed which includes Kara’s concerned parents (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand), a police officer (Bruce Willis) and Sam’s Scout Master (Edward Norton) which results in a desperate and hilarious adventure!

The film is without question, highly original and very funny. I particularly loved the humour in this film because personally, I feel anyone would enjoy this film due to the fact it’s not at all pretentious, it’s rather very quirky and doesn’t need to have severe amounts of crudeness, swearing and offensive taboos. The humour is all in the fantastic script written by the great Mr. Anderson himself and Roman Coppola and I felt it really stood out from most typical comedy films which have been pulverised by critics across the globe (Grown Ups 2 anyone?).

The cast all deliver fantastic performances. Moonrise Kingdom proves it really doesn’t matter how small some of the performances are, such as Harvey Keitel and Jason Schwartzman portraying a Scout Commander and Scout Master respectively, it still provides a warmth and of course lots of continuous laughs. Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward pull off brilliant performances considering this was their screen debut and both present a lovely and touching take on the development of a loving relationship. The ensemble in turn provide a huge backing of eccentricity. I love how Wes is able to get so many respected actors with brilliant careers and is able to make them portray characters that are so different from what they would usually portray, such as Bruce Willis, surprisingly offering an impressive performance in contrast to some of the more disastrous films he has appeared in (The Expendables series, A Good Day to *Cry* Hard…Why Bruce, why!?). Bill Murray and Frances McDormand also offer brilliant performances who engage in their roles so well as parents frantic for answers and a perfect plan of finding their daughter who they’re concerned with dearly. Edward Norton I believe gave the best performance overall as a shy but adventurous Master of Scouting, implying obvious desperation in finding and helping Sam with his isolation whilst trying to control the civil search party.

Wes Anderson overall offers a very sweet film with such stunning use of colour that the setting stood out and felt like a beautiful landscape painting made for the Louvre! Although it’s very different and silly for all the right reasons, Moonrise Kingdom is an eccentric and outstanding piece of filmmaking which is so enjoyable, original and downright funny.

5/5

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“It’s better to help people than garden gnomes.”

Jean-Pierre Jeunet, known for his surrealistic and melancholic films such as Delicatessen and The City of Lost Children returns with a very beautiful and humorous rom-com on nostalgia, childhood and love. Amélie concerns the title character portrayed stunningly by Audrey Tautou, a young women working in Paris who was isolated as a child due to overprotective parents. She decides to help people in various ways whilst failing in love at the same time.

Visually, the film is astonishingly pretty. I was very struck by how Jeunet’s use of colour was prominent throughout the entire film that it really reminded of the films of Wes Anderson and Paul Thomas Anderson (especially PTA’s Punch Drunk Love and its use of red, blue and white).  Amélie is infused throughout with red, green and yellow thus giving it a very pleasant appearance. I felt that red and green reflected on Amélie’s character because they appear in the majority of shots featuring her. Red symbolises her character considering most of her apartment is painted red and she also wears red throughout the film. I was more mesmerised by Jeunet’s use of green and felt it reflected the journey that Amélie must undergo throughout the film. His use of yellow gives Amélie’s world a very beautiful, dreamy appearance; making it appear older and all the more pretty.

For my money, I’d say Amélie is one of the best examples of French cinema I’ve seen in a while. Throughout the film, André Dussollier as the narrator mentions the journeys of many of the characters and the things they love and hate such as her parents and the connections in their lives. The cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel is also pleasing, employing frequent use of tracking shots and wide angles which in turn emphasise the colourful beauty of Paris. Audrey Tautou offers a very beautiful and funny performance as someone who may be unusual (such as imagining watching her funeral on TV due to loneliness) but still wants to enlighten her world as a heroine. Guillaume Laurant as the screenwriter offers a delightful take on romance and the awkwardness of finding love whilst the humour throughout is very refreshing.

Jean-Pierre Jeunet offers overall a very picturesque and hilarious film on the development of love and how the past affects the future. Lovely, interesting and endearing, I’ll definitely recommend this to anyone wanting a change from typical rom-coms. Amélie is a perfect example of cinema that’s feels so different and yet so engaging!

5/5