It’s easy enough to recognize the distinctive aesthetic of a Wes Anderson film but where it finds itself at its most delightfully tangible, without a doubt, is in The Grand Budapest Hotel. But even by Wes Anderson’s own standards, the elaborate structure of such a work is nearly impossible to match, for this feels like the sort of film that only Wes Anderson could have made. The Grand Budapest Hotel is the most Wes Anderson film that Wes Anderson has ever made, because it’s where each and every one of his most distinctive skills find themselves at their most free. If that alone weren’t enough to amount to what could easily become one of Wes Anderson’s best films, I don’t know what else can – because this may very well be the most Wes Anderson film ever to Wes Anderson.
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Despite my own love for Pixar’s work, the Cars films have always stood out to me as their least interesting films for I have never particularly been a big fan of the first and I also outright hate the second film (the only Pixar film I’ve held in such a strongly negative light). Now that they’ve come out with a third film, I’d only wonder how much more merchandise would they have wanted to produce from an elaborate universe that also manages to be one of the least imaginative that I’ve seen Pixar sink themselves down to. But at the very least it’s nice that in Cars 3 they didn’t go too far-fetched like they did with the second, yet it still reaffirms how I’ve always felt about the world of Cars from the first day. This doesn’t feel like the Pixar that I’ve loved on a consistent streak, it’s just them doing what’s typical of an animated film for the family out there, and I can’t find myself buying into it.
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James L. Brooks is a director I find to be extremely hit-or-miss (the only film of his that I have loved as of yet is Broadcast News) but usually I’ve always found in what I’ve seen of him, there’s always a single performance that keeps everything watchable (I for one was not a big fan of As Good as It Gets in spite of fantastic performances from Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt). How Do You Know is the very lowest I’ve come across from him and while not nearly as insufferably irritating as the advertising might have made it look, there’s little to nothing offered that could lift any form of life out of this from higher ground. Continue reading →