This summer may not have had the box office numbers of previous years it did offer a great new Marvel film with fantastic humor and a new worthy entry in the X-Men series. That’s not to mention the homage that was Godzilla, “Let them fight.” I did not catch a lot of films this summer, but what I did see I enjoyed quite a lot.
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Dir. Wes Anderson
All of Wes Anderson films have a flavor all their own set in his own stylized world. This film is no different and shows off a ridiculous array of actors from the lead Ralph Fiennes, in perhaps his most gripping role since Schindler’s List, to Edward Norton. Each role is tailored fit for the actor and play almost like a cameo guessing game. That’s not to say they detract from the quirky story which is a bit of a mystery/thriller/comedy. Not a typical blend and certainly much bloodier than most of Anderson’s work. It comes off as a bit off putting at times with the heavier language and erotic art, but ultimately it all crescendos to a riveting finale. Not a film to be missed for Anderson fans or those who enjoy a smartly made yarn with strong visual designs which utilize a bit of his Fantastic Mr. Fox animation. The score by Alexadre Desplat is marvelous and perhaps his best to date.
For those who notice, I hope your theater has a better care with the display of the film considering its format is different than what is currently main stream. A 1.37 : 1 aspect ration instead of a 1.85 : 1 meaning a more square display. We missed a bit of the bottom half of the screen in our viewing.
The Wind Rises (2013)
Dir. Hayao Miyazaki
"Airplanes are just cursed dreams, waiting for the sky to swallow them up."
As Miyazaki’s swan song, this is perhaps his most ambitious film. It could have been a simple tale about a dreamer setting out to make his vision come to fruition, but Miyazaki goes so much further than a live-action rendition would have dared. He takes his time not feeling the need to appeal to a younger audience. Instead, he lets the story develop as the character develops so the impact down the road in the film has a more impact. He is helped along the way by masterfully drawn sequences of imagination and horror. That is all topped off by a beautiful score by Joe Hisaishi his longtime composer collaborator. It evokes all the emotions felt by the main character of Jiro. There are different version of this to watch and being as I have always been impressed with the voice over work carefully crafted by Disney as the U.S. distributor, I watched the U.S. version with brilliant and a bit understated work by the likes of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, John Krasinski, Martin Short, Mandy Patinkin, Emily Blunt, and Stanley Tucci, probably the most flamboyant of the bunch. In all, I came away from this tale of a man’s journey to realize his dream of crafting airplanes to the best of his ability, moved and refreshed. The most mature animated film I have seen in ages.
Re-watched this the other day… This is still one of the best lines. Henry Fonda played one mean villain.