Film Brief: Isle of Dogs

Like most Wes Anderson films, Isle of Dogs bears weakness in its plot, especially as the film wraps.  But he brings a lot more to the table than straight plot.  Chris Klimek, NPR:

…by the time Anderson’s animators show us a meal of sushi being prepared in meticulous close-up, I was ready for any trick Anderson wanted to perform for me.  Isle of Dogs takes Best in Show.

Wes Anderson’s movies are event films, and no less this time.  Don’t miss it.  8/10

Comparison Notes: all other Wes Anderson films, Life is Beautiful

* * *

P.S.  Bryan Cranston was on the Colbert show, and brought a model of his character “Chief.”  He demonstrated what it took to make this movie, painstakingly nudging the models one whisker at a time, photographing each step.  Isle of Dogs must be the ultimate stop-motion film.  He said the film took FOUR YEARS to make.  That clip included below.

Advertisements

Birdman, in the Flesh

Birdman - posterI liked Birdman, but not the way critics did.  It features a tour de force both in its performances and production, a film executed in whirlwind non-stop frenetic fashion that will hold you from start to finish.  It deserves high accolades for its successes.  But I found the story too monotone, or put another way Birdman has trouble breaking free of its self-imposed Alcatraz.  So for all its virtues, my mantra is: story matters.  It matters more than anything else, and when it is constricted so is the end result.

Part of my problem with this movie also lies in its marketing and primary trailer, which I think misrepresent the film as more of a superhero tale, and less one of the mad scramble of a man on the edge, fighting for survival while exorcising his demons.  Both Crazy Heart and The Wrestler better illustrated this dynamic.

But the movie-making virtuosity of Birdman is astonishing.  It’s one of those rare films I wouldn’t mind watching again someday, just to study the technique.  And one last note: I recommend Birdman, but it’s not for everybody — a good number of people will be flatly turned off.  7/10

Comparison Notes: Synecdoche, New YorkBoyhood

Birdman - text blockIf you watch the trailer, you’ll want to see Birdman.  Below is a more representative sampling.

Michael Keaton and Edward Norton on Charlie Rose

The early returns on Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s Birdman are in, and it is hitting universal praise.  I’ll be seeing it soon enough and will report on it then; in the meantime, the director and veteran actors Michael Keaton and Edward Norton appeared on Charlie Rose.  And check out the Charlie Rose website for other interviews with luminaries inside entertainment and out — there is no better talk show.  If you bear with an annoying 30-second ad, you will be treated with an alternate trailer at the beginning of the segment.