This week at The Dissolve, we’re discussing Richard Linklater’s beloved cult quote-machine Dazed And Confused, which follows a day in the life at a Texas high school, watching the incoming freshmen getting hazed, the newly fledged seniors coming into their own, and Matthew McConaughey contemplating the philosophy of it all and deciding it’s all right, all right, all right. We kick off with our Movie Of The Week Keynote, on how 10 screenshots sum up the film’s cross-clique look at a school day and a party night.
Jason Bateman, first-time director, is ready to be Jason Bateman, full-time director. The image above is from his directorial debut, Bad Words; in our interview, the star of Arrested Development discusses that film, picking his first script, directing himself in a movie, his ideal career, what he thinks about when he’s playing the sympathetic-asshole roles that have become his specialty, and how he’s more than ready to move out of acting entirely. [Read more here…]
Anderson’s work has always been personal, but I think it’s becoming even more personal, to the point where it’s more or less impossible to imagine anyone else making Wes Anderson’s movies, or to imagine Anderson making a non-personal film. I cannot, for the life of me, imagine what a Wes Anderson Marvel movie would look or feel like, though now I’m a little intrigued by that prospect.
Is the core of Wes Anderson’s terrific new movie The Grand Budapest Hotel more melancholy or giddy and joyous? Three film writers who loved the project talk about its ideas, its emotions, and whether it’s safe to call it his best film to date. [Read more…]
Watch the above video of Arnold Schwarzenegger fighting a crashing airplane, then go read this week’s Forgotbusters on the film it comes from: Eraser, the most Schwarzeneggerian movie ever Schwarzeneggered. (He also punches a CGI alligator at one point, should you need extra incentive.)
“What’s most notable about this commercial, though, is that even though Anderson had only made four feature films at this point, American Express is presenting him as a brand name. His 1996 debut feature, Bottle Rocket, marked him as a director to watch, and then 1998’s Rushmore revealed him as someone with a distinctive style. (One of Anderson’s first intersections with the advertising world came when he made a series of Rushmore-inspired versions of the various films nominated for the 1999 MTV Movie Awards.) But 2001’s The Royal Tenenbaums and 2004’s The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou made it more obvious that Anderson was something of a phenomenon—and not one for every taste. The American Express ad acknowledges and spoofs this.”
Noel Murray looks at the work of Wes Anderson, commercial-director-for-hire, to see how the director’s distinctive style works within the boundaries of commercial expectations. [Read more…]
“Yet even when [Michael] Crichton’s fantasies find their silliest forms, something about them remains tough to dismiss. We surround ourselves with systems designed to make life easier, and technology that purports to help us. And it does, mostly. But it’s all so new, and developments now happen so fast, that if it all went wrong, there’s no telling whether we’d be in any shape to crawl out from the wreckage or if, once toppled, we’d be crushed.”
This month’s Laser Age column examines author/filmmaker Michael Crichton’s first wave of movie success in the mid-1970s through early 1980s. [Read more…]
Illustration by Sam Smith.
“In The Royal Tenenbaums, family doubles as both the source of all the characters’ problems, and their solution. Self-serving at first, Royal’s efforts to bring his family back together take a turn for the sincere. It’s when he makes a sincere effort that the Tenenbaums begin to come back from the brink. Late in the film, Royal treats Margot, the most neglected of his children, to a sundae at an ice-cream parlor in which, as the script describes it, “every booth is filled with divorced fathers and their young daughters.” Anderson sets the scene to “Christmas Time Is Here” by the Vince Guaraldi Trio, a song from A Charlie Brown Christmas. Charlie Brown rediscovers the true meaning of Christmas in that holiday perennial (a father’s redemption story, albeit one much different than Royal’s), and ends it surrounded by the friends who’d earlier shunned him, rescued from despair by the fellowship of those who’d recently caused him harm.”
Keith Phipps kicks off our Movie Of The Week discussion of Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums with a Keynote essay on the fragile but essential group chemistry of this “family of geniuses.” [Read more…]
The Conversation looks at the cinematic history of bringing the life of Jesus to the big screen, from straight-faced attempts like the new Son Of God to satirically sideways depictions like Life Of Brian. [Read more…]
We did it, everyone! We made it through awards season! Matt Singer and Jen Chaney have a post-mortem on the highs and lows of last night’s Oscar festivities, from Lupita Nyong’o’s perfect acceptance speech to “Adele Dazeem.” [Read more…]
At the end of Lost In Translation, Bill Murray whispers in Scarlett Johansson’s ear, “You should really go read Matt Singer’s essay on why we should stop treating movies as mysteries to be solved.”