Archives for posts with tag: comedy

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Keep your hands off my lobby boy!”

 

Once again, the great Wes Anderson has left me in awe with a wonderful adventure involving eccentric characters, stunning use of colour and an amazing ensemble. Like Moonrise Kingdom, this is a tale filled to the brim with quirkiness, within 5 minutes you’ll be laughing at the oddness of Tom Wilkinson’s narration which is cut short by his immature son! The film begins with a young girl reading a novel by “The Author”, the aspect ratio is unusually not what you’d see in a standard multiplex, that being 1.85 and doesn’t fit the entire screen. The Author is revealed to be Tom Wilkinson who tells us of his adventure to the Grand Budapest Hotel in 1968. The aspect ratio now changes to 2.35:1 and the younger Author (Jude Law) continues the narration, meeting the owner of the fallen hotel, Zero Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham) who tells the Author of how he came to acquire the hotel. The ratio has now changed to 1.33 and it’s now 1932 in the Republic of Zubrowka. Zero now narrates his story with his younger self now in the picture (newcomer Tony Revolori). He meets the concierge of the GBH, Monsieur Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes), an eccentric man who constantly mixes business and pleasure in his work. From there, the audience is left to enjoy the oddness, the deceit and the exceptional service of a grand hotel leading to an outrageous adventure. 

Wes Anderson is such an obvious auteur and The Grand Budapest Hotel is just another perfect example of his stamp mark for cinema. The colours are very striking and brighten up the hotel along with its inhabitants such as the uniforms being a vibrant purple and the elevators in bright red which heavily contrast one another. The humour from his script is just fantastic, its there in every single scene no matter how crude or violent the circumstances are. Wes as usual, creates the oddest of characters from very serious actors such as Harvey Keitel and Adrian Brody. Ralph Fiennes is incredible and this is a role that is so well suited for him, despite being known as a Shakespearian actor and portraying dark characters such as Nazi war criminal Amon Goeth in Schindler’s List and serial killer Francis Dolarhyde in Red Dragon, he steals the show with such a loving and charming character. The Grand Budapest Hotel is definitely a top contender for the best films of 2014, Wes has created another classic film that is funny, profound, slightly violent and beautiful. I recommend to watch it as soon as possible, it’s a film for everyone to see about the joys of top notch service!

5/5 

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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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“I always have a wonderful time, wherever I am, whomever I’m with.”

In this very touching film featuring one of the all-time greatest actors, James Stewart, is a tale of friendship, care and tolerance. In Harvey, Stewart portrays the eccentric Elwood P. Dowd whose best friend is an invisible six foot tall white rabbit named Harvey. His sister Mae (Josephine Hull) has clearly had enough and decides to commit him to an institute. However, a comedy of errors begins to insure because of Elwood’s charming personality!

James Stewart without a doubt offers a superb performance as a very unusual yet extremely loveable gent. This gent is of course very different from most average American men as said before but is always capable of providing a warm face round town who always insists on new faces to come round his for a meal or a drink and constantly offers them his card and so on. Elwood’s mannerisms around Harvey such as his arm out in front out the public and the chatter in the tavern are beyond brilliant that it felt like I could see Harvey sharing a smooth glass of Martini with his fond drinking pal. Josephine Hull in turn creates a highly beautiful performance as Mae, implying obvious desperation for pride and superiority. Having been in the original Broadway production of Harvey, Hull shows strong determination in her role as an embarrassed yet concerned and loving sibling who really just wants Elwood to move on from his quirky lifestyle of drinking and constant chatter with an invisible rabbit.

The script written by Mary Chase, who based the film on her Pulitzer Prize winning play of the same name offers a hilarious satire of keeping up appearances along with the notion of respect towards others which I found to be intriguing. The most important thing I could say about the film is that its very straightforward. It isn’t at all complicated, jumbled or something to really focus on for deeper meaning. It’s quite a simple film which was made to be enjoyed by all, the humour throughout really worked for me and personally found it touching and all the more enjoyable for its message. Although some can be put off by the idea of watching a film in black and white due to it being made generations ago; to them I’d say “Watch Harvey, you won’t regret it!”.

All together, Henry Koster as director of Harvey provided me with a lovely film on the importance of imagination and love, being good towards all and acceptance! A heart-warming film with real character and very pleasing performances.

5/5

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“There’s only a few things I really care about in life. My body. My pad. My ride. My family. My church. My boys. My girls. My porn.”

Don Jon marks the directorial/screenwriting debut of actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, all I can say really is that we have a lot to look forward from this fantastic filmmaker!

The film follows the titular character played by Levitt who has a deep obsession with online pornography, so much so, he even prefers it to casual sex with local Jersey girls. He encounters a beautiful girl (Scarlet Johanson) who dreams of finding the perfect man and live like in the soppy rom-coms she adores and becomes desperate in balancing love and lust. Through meeting a night-school classmate (Julianne Moore), Jon begins to understand the real meanings of losing yourself in someone else.

What I think makes very special is its originality. It firstly deals with a controversial topic that’s so relevant in society and often featured as a serious taboo in the news and TV programs but Levitt takes it a little step further and adds a lot of wit through many of things his character cares about. Levitt repeats the same techniques in editing and cinematography in activities such as going to gym, going to confession, going to the local club which all connote Jon obsessive routine which adds simplicity and yet I still found the some of the routines hilarious such as Jon pulling a girl that his friend wanted to pull and whilst going through a serious workout, he prays the Hail Mary. Personally though, Julianne Moore stole the show, offering a sublime performance as a highly sensitive yet extremely thoughtful and caring individual who clearly shows support to Jon’s problems. A brilliant debut which is definitely one of the best films of 2013, very funny, very clever and very unique!

4/5

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“I don’t know if there is anything wrong because I don’t know how other people are.”

Paul Thomas Anderson has been called one of the greatest and unique filmmakers of his generation, especially after the releases of highly acclaimed Boogie Nights and Magnolia. Anderson stated after Magnolia’s release that he’d like to work with Adam Sandler in a film lasting only 90 minutes. Sandler is not exactly well loved by critics (especially by the late Roger Ebert) but boy oh boy! Both Sandler and Anderson have created a beautifully crafted piece of cinema portraying the realistic nature of finding love.

Sander portrays in the narrative Barry, a lonely small time business man who is constantly emotionally abused by his seven over-bearing sisters. Because of this, he goes through periods of enormous rage and has problems interacting with others. However, things appear more positive when Lena (Emily Watson) is introduced in his life. From there, Barry tries to find ultimate happiness through Lena and wants to change his life around for the better.

PTA’s script is fantastically written portraying the very unique relationship between Barry and Lena. What I think makes this film so much more special is how it deliberately avoids typical conventions of rom-coms and instead implies a very believable relationship because of the awkwardness of the developing romance. Besides that, the symbolism throughout the film is incredible and very clever such as colour connoting Barry’s psychological battle. Blue is frequently seen as the suit Barry wears, his workplace and his home. Red is used to serve as the colour to Barry’s ultimate happiness such as Lena wearing red on their first date. White is used to contrast red since Barry travels and works in white environments which are isolated such as his office.

The cinematography by Robert Elswit is outstanding. The use of lengthy long shots and close ups reinforce Barry’s loneliness and isolation to the outside world. My favourite shot from the film has to be the opening, I was amazed with how it instantly reflected on Barry’s emotional and physical state since he is so far away. Not only that, symbolism is used once again with Barry’s phone representing his connection to the outside world. The use of lens flares is also very effective (unlike J.J. Abrams’ overuse of it in Star Trek!) because it presents the genuine emotions Barry and Lena feel.

The score by Jon Brion is composed stunningly reflecting the relationship using frequent use of strings, accordions and the classic harmonium! What makes it distinct is that it sounds very much what you would expect from a rom-com score: lovely melody, no dissonance, perfect harmony, major key. These conventions all manage to fit in to this very authentic connection between Barry and Lena.

Besides all these unique features of cinema, it is also one of the funniest films I’ve ever seen. It’s definitely up there with Kevin Smith’s Clerks and Adam McKay’s Anchorman despite not having any hyperbolic uses of comedy. Instead, it feels like a very true representation of isolation whilst having realistic humour. The funniest scenes had to be between Sandler and Philip Seymour Hoffman who also portrays a business man with a massive temper who delivers in my mind the best ‘shut up’ line ever and the notorious ‘bathroom’ scene!

A joyful, dramatic and hilarious film. Punch-Drunk Love proves Sandler doesn’t always need to play the slapstick, over-the-top, goof-ball and PTA can write and direct a very interesting take on the comedy genre. This is a film with real heart and soul. Highly recommended!

5/5