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Moonrise Kingdom


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Mike Fleming:

When Wes Anderson is ready to make a movie, talent comes running. I'm told that Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton are all in talks to star in Moon Rise Kingdom, a script that Anderson wrote with Roman Coppola and which Anderson will direct late next spring. ...

Moon Rise Kingdom is set in the 60s. Two young adults fall in love and run away. Leaders in their New England town are sticking the idea that they've disappeared and go in search of them. Norton will play a scout leader who brings his charges on a search. Willis is in talks to play the town sheriff who’s also looking, and who is having an affair with the missing girl’s mother, the role McDormand is in talks to play. Murray, a regular in Anderson films, will play the girl's father, who has his own issues.

So in other words, it's a Wes Anderson film. The scouts and their badges. The cross-country pursuit of something. The woman in a new relationship, while her husband (or ex) is a failed and despondent father.

Edited by Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Part of me is saying, “Oh, brother. Wes Anderson’s style is becoming so familiar that I couldn’t tell the difference between a parody and the real thing.” Another part of me is saying, “This looks like all kinds of fun.”

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Part of me is saying, “Oh, brother. Wes Anderson’s style is becoming so familiar that I couldn’t tell the difference between a parody and the real thing.” Another part of me is saying, “This looks like all kinds of fun.”

The "This looks like all kinds of fun" part of me is winning the battle at this moment.

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Part of me is saying, “Oh, brother. Wes Anderson’s style is becoming so familiar that I couldn’t tell the difference between a parody and the real thing.” Another part of me is saying, “This looks like all kinds of fun.”

The "This looks like all kinds of fun" part of me is winning the battle at this moment.

Same here.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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That last shot is great. Bill Murray can be pretty awesome when he's given a chance.

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That last shot is great. Bill Murray can be pretty awesome when he's given a chance.

Yeah, regardless of whether the movie as a whole works (as as someone who has really enjoyed Anderson's last two films, THE DARJEELING LIMITED and FANTASTIC MR. FOX, I have a lot of hope) that scene is already a classic in my mind.

"I'm going to find a tree to chop down."

"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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Todd McCarthy likes it.

A blandly inexpressive title is the worst thing about Moonrise Kingdom, a willfully eccentric pubescent love story in which even the most minute detail has been attended to in the manner of the most obsessive maker of 19th century dollhouses.

So does The Guardian.

Anderson's movies are vulnerable to the charge of being supercilious oddities, but there is elegance and formal brilliance in Moonrise Kingdom as well as a lot of gentle, winning comedy. His homemade aesthetic is placed at the service of a counter-digital, almost hand-drawn cinema, and he has an extraordinary ability to conjure a complete, distinctive universe, entire of itself. To some, Moonrise Kingdom may be nothing more than a soufflé of strangeness, but it rises superbly.

I'm hoping this is as good as I want it to be, and so far the reviews seem to be confirming my hopes.

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I'm encouraged by hearing several critics describe this as the Rushmoriest film Anderson has made in years. Until Fantastic Mr. Fox came along, I've liked each of his films less than the one that preceded it -- to the point that I never even saw The Darjeeling Limited.

RUSHMORE is still my favourite Anderson film, so this bodes well for me.

But I think you should check out DARJEELING. I re-watched it on Blu-ray recently, and I probably like it more now. The family dynamics and current of mourning are there like in TENENBAUMS (there are three brothers in my family, and the brother dynamic is strong in the film). Also, it's interesting to see Anderson film on location and the way he uses the train. The strong horizontal staging that is present in all his other films (like peering into a diorama) is particularly well suited to the train.

"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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Robert Koehler @ FIlmJourney.org:

The opening minutes, for that matter, the opening 40 minutes, are fairly divine, as Anderson and Roman Coppola’s screenplay relates an escape into the wilderness by Suzy (Kara Hayward) and Sam (Jared Gilman), both deemed disturbed and unmanageable by those adults who supposedly care for them. In the movie’s most experimental and dangerous tack, Hayward and Gilman—who share a large amount of screen time together—are deliberately directed to perform awkwardly, verbally flat, their sheer botchedness designed to become an expression of pre-teen discomfort. The strategy works. . . .

Anderson doesn’t know when to leave well enough alone, and piles it on in the second half, until
Moonrise Kingdom
loses much of its mirthful charm. Its storybook pages get gummed and marked with a pile-on of business, rivalries within rivalries within rivalries, Hurricane Harvey Keitel making an entrance (even Coppola’s relation Jason Schwartzman, in a fairly pointless turn), the flood stirred by the storm and, for good measure, Benjamin Britten’s own operatic version of Noah and the Great Flood. What was gliding along is now stomping along, and there’s the itch to want to make it all stop, or at least, calm back down to what it was. . . .

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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As a major Wes Anderson fan, I know I'm biased, but I loved this. I was completely taken with it from beginning to end, and something about the direction of it felt more confident and assured. I wish I could be more specific about what made me feel that way...but that will have to wait till I've seen it at least once more. For now, the best that I can do is say that it feels like Anderson is in complete control--and IMO, that's a good thing.

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Richard Brody @ New Yorker:

What makes the film thrillingly different—in content and in affect, in emotional energy and in visual imagination—is its metaphysical and religious element. There’s an expressly transcendent theme in “Moonrise Kingdom” that raises the tender and joyous story of young lovers on the run to a spiritual adventure. The moral vision of the world, which was always implicit and latent in Anderson’s other films, here bursts out as a distinctive, ecstatic, visionary new cinematic dimension. Anderson has always been far more than just an exquisite stylist—his style is an essential part of a consistent spiritual vision. But in “Moonrise Kingdom,” his world view is projected beyond personal experience into a cosmic fantasy. It’s Anderson’s own counter-Scripture, a vision of a moral order, ordained from on high, that challenges the official version instilled by society at large—and he embodies it in images of an apt sublimity (as well as an aptly self-deprecating humor). . . .

There’s always an element of catastrophe in Anderson’s films, yet here it’s set in expressly mythopoetic, religious terms, with the local historian and narrator (Bob Balaban) foretelling, as if prophetically, apocalyptic doings. It’s impossible to talk much more about these doings, but the mention of Noah should suffice. The young lovers, with their innocent, daring, intensely sincere, and consecrated love (and the ultimate proof of that consecration, as one spiritually awakened young character says, is their willingness to die for each other), have provoked a scandal. They are assumed by the authorities—parents, scoutmasters, scouts, and even the state, as embodied in the figure of social services (Tilda Swinton)—to be doing something indecent, immoral, intolerable. They’re outlaws, and the law—the ostensible moral law—is after them. But in Anderson’s view, they’re on the side of the good, indeed, the highest good. And he conveys the notion—again, latent in his other films, explicit here—that true and noble souls are in synch with nature, and that when true passion is thwarted or frustrated, all hell—or, rather, heaven—breaks loose, with a deluge of divine vengeance against those who would keep the couple apart. (In another Hitchcock reference, to “Vertigo,” Anderson expressly challenges the stiflingly moralistic world view of that film and filmmaker, targeting not the lovers in a bell tower but the tower itself.)

The story of Noah and the ark, after all, a story of destruction, is also a story of rebirth—of couples paired off under divine authority. “Moonrise Kingdom” poses a vast question: Who are the righteous? Those whose love is true and beautiful. It’s proven true by their readiness to face danger, even death; it’s proven beautiful by their sense of style, which, in Anderson’s world, is the touchstone of great emotion and the noble expression of it—the conversion of great emotion into great and good works, and thereby into the improvement of the world through its beautification. . . .

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I have not liked many of Anderson's films, but this was wonderful. I look forward to running this around in my head for a bit to put together a review. Qoheleth, I think, would love this film (if his/her dark soul enjoys much of anything). Really liked the music - juxtaposing Benjamin Britten and Hank Williams.

A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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Peter's link and Darrel's reaction have me thinking this might be the first Wes Anderson film I love. It's been a long time since I've even liked an Anderson film.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Hollywood Reporter:

Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom is making big headlines at the specialty box office. The film, which opened the Cannes Film Festival this month, grossed $508,870 from four theaters in New York and Los Angeles for the three days for a record-breaking per-location average of $127,218 -- the highest of 2012 and the highest ever for a title released in four theaters.

For the four days, Moonrise Kingdom is expected gross $678,000, putting its location average at a staggering $169,500.

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

I wish I'd had a chance to see the film a second time before posting a review, but, alas, one viewing had to suffice. I do hope to catch it again this week before it leaves--heck, I feel more excited to see this a second time before seeing THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN a first time. I loved it. Probably my second favorite film of the year thus far. Though I debate as to whether this or THE KID WITH A BIKE gets the top slot. They're very different films obviously.

Here's my take over at CaPC. Here are the first three paragraphs of the review:

Rather than describe what is probably my favorite scene in Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, I want to save you as much first-viewing bliss as possible and describe the scene immediately preceding it, which is perhaps just as powerful in its contrast with what immediately follows. A storm is brewing over the Bishop family summer house and the husband, Walt (Bill Murray), and his wife Laura (Frances McDormand), are lying in separate beds in the same room. To call their relationship “unhealthy” is putting it mildly. Walt is the epitome of aloof and Laura is having an affair with the island cop, Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis). With their daughter having gone missing, they stare at the ceiling, while Walt wishes aloud that the storm’s winds would carry him away in judgment. Referencing their pre-teen daughter and her runaway accomplice, Laura says, “We’re all they’ve got.” Walt’s reply is significant in its admission and in what it foreshadows in the next scene: “It’s not enough.”

The marital covenant between Mr. and Mrs. Bishop has bred social dysfunction in their daughter Suzy (Kara Hayward). She’s inherited her mother’s propensity for violence and she’s well aware of the lack of love between her parents. Inevitably, their problems have become her problems. Meanwhile, Sam Shakusky (Jared Gilman) is attending “Khaki Scout” summer camp on the island. He’s an orphan with foster parents who don’t really desire his return from camp. Even worse, his fellow scouts treat him like a pariah. Both Sam and Suzy are “problem children” with emotional trauma and well-acquainted with loneliness. Neither of them have friends. That is, until one summer when they meet each other on the New England island at a church performance of Noye’s Fludde – a Benjamin Britten opera using the text from a 15th-century mystery play based on the story of Noah’s ark. What follows between the young pair is an epistolary relationship that is packaged like a middle school crush but sealed with legitimate desperation for an intimate bond.

So the summer after they first meet, Sam and Suzy decide to run away together. What follows, though, isn’t your typical runaway romance. Rather than being inspired by rebellion, Sam and Suzy seem genuinely inspired by their mutual search for love’s embrace. While the communities they run away from squelch the unique gifts they have to offer — restraining them from growing into themselves as persons — Sam and Suzy seem to bring out the best in one another. Sam is willing to protect Suzy at all costs, and in spite of his clumsy appearance, he’s a dexterous guide in the woods. His deft survival skills are matched only by his desire to make Suzy feel special. Suzy, meanwhile, is seldom without her binoculars or books. She possesses the ability to “look closer,” to see that which lies beneath the surface — including the good in Sam. Her observant manner is likened to a magical power that is the stuff of literary adventure. Sam’s and Suzy’s unique gifts promote a bond of mutual understanding. In the loving light of this sympathetic affection, they find safety and hope. Framed through the lens of first love, Sam and Suzy’s covenant bond is about pursuing a love that’s both beyond themselves and restorative of themselves. This is the kingdom they establish.

Edited by Nicholas

"What is inside is also outside." -Goethe via Merleau-Ponty, in conclusion to the latter's one extended rumination on film
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Great job, Nick. Really enjoyed your review. Moonrise definitely feels like a step forward for Anderson--I left the theater thinking that exact same thing. I also had a similar feeling coming out of PTA's There Will Be Blood a few years ago. Both feel like they're coming from firmly established talents, not up-and-comers, and they both feel like movies that will be around for a long time.

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