Film: Wes Anderson’s on notice

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July 13th, 2012

Omaha, NE – Is the charm of indie director Wes Anderson finally wearing off? From the Movieha podcast, Ryan Syrek and Matt Lockwood take a look at Moonrise Kingdom.

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Ryan: If I were to describe to you a director who always used the same actors, kept to a very similar costume design in every one of his films, used the same type of music each time out, and focused on the exact same themes over and over again, you would think I was talking about…

Moonrise Kingdom is the latest film from director Wes Anderson, starring Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Ed Norton and Bruce Willis.

Matt: Please, you’re obviously talking about Tim Burton. If this is your attempt to challenge my movie expertise, or “movie-tise,” you’re going to need to step your game up, son.

Ryan: I was talking about Wes Anderson.

Matt: What in the name of ironic T-shirts and mustache tattoos are you talking about?

Ryan: Anderson, who has long been a favorite of the hipster crowd you are poking fun at, is back with Moonrise Kingdom, which yet again features Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman as part of an ensemble cast who dresses colorfully, listens to kitschy music, and focuses on abnormal love between characters who speak in muted deadpan.

Matt: Set on a remote island, the film follows a young boy scout who escapes from the watchful eye of Ed Norton’s troop leader to connect with a young girl who lives on the island, much to the chagrin of her parents played by Murray and Frances McDormand. When the local cop, played by Bruce Willis, gets called in, the film because a strange cat and mouse game that features people struck by lightning and kidneys stabbed with a child’s scissors.

Ryan: There are two ways of looking at Moonrise Kingdom. Those who love it will point to its gentle, sincere love story, not to mention the crisp cinematography and whimsical action sequences. Those who don’t enjoy it will find it exhausting to hear characters labor over every line of dialogue and boring to watch Anderson repeat himself…again. As Yogi Bera said, it’s like deja vu all over again.

Matt: I’m pretty sure it was Booboo who said that. Although neither of us outright hated the film, we are officially putting Anderson on notice, as he is leaning dangerously over the cliff that Tim Burton made. If this is the culmination of his personal artistic story, that’s fine, provided he moves on. But if he doesn’t, not only will he no longer be mentioned among the elite artistic directors working today, he will be finding himself in Burton-ville, population: Ashamed.

Ryan: I should also note that Anderson’s following has become vocal and defensive, characteristics typical of directors who have loyalist cult followings. While I wasn’t outright threatened after my positive, but not glowing, review of the film, I did get the impression that had I been face-to-face with these fans, I’d be ducking angrily thrown PBRs and hiding behind a Wilco CD for cover.

Matt: So if you hear someone telling you that this is their favorite film of the year…

Ryan: Mumble something nice and walk away.

Editorial note: The Movieha podcast is produced in partnership with The Reader and is available at thereader.com.

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