Monthly Archives: September 2007

Book Passage Immediately

Photos and reviews are surfacing after last night’s premiere at the New York Film Festival.

Official Premiere.com review:

Reason for moviegoers to rejoice. . . The movie does so many things so well — one such thing is realizing Brody’s potential as a comic actor. . .The surface pleasures of the film are so beguiling that you might not catch its other spells right away.” Glenn Kenny

Pete Hammond of Maxim:

“A wonderful mix of humor and humanity with vintage Wes Anderson at his finest and funniest, as he takes us on a soul-searching magical mystery tour.”

The Portland Mercury:

“In a lot of ways it’s the loosest of Anderson’s movies . . . what strikes me right now is simply how genuine the film feels. . . Anderson catches a lot of shit for his hyper-detailed design and excessive stylization, but more often than not, and this includes Darjeeling, he backs it up with beautiful characters and authentic emotions, and there are some really beautiful and moving moments in the film.” – Erik Henriksen

Paper Magazine:

Wonderful . . . wildly heartfelt as well as quirkily funny. Book passage immediately.” – Dennis Dermody

Pics from the premiere – is Bill Murray wearing an elephant pin?

TDL opens the New York Film Festival tonight! & Criterion treatment for BR?

Send your reports and photos to edwardappleby @ yankeeracers.org (no spaces).

MTV.com is reporting that Bottle Rocket will “get Criterion treatment at last.” Of course, these rumors have been flying around for years, but we really hope it is true this time.

Add this fun widget to your social networking page…


On to more reviews…

Newsweek calls Darjeeling a “return to form.”

Stephanie Zacharek of Salon.com on Darjeeling (keep in mind it’s the first Anderson film she doesn’t dislike):

“Shows flashes of raw feeling. The picture is just naked enough that you want to wrap a blanket around it. . . “The Life Aquatic” met with a less-than-rapturous response even from many loyal Anderson admirers. And so to his credit, Anderson tries to push into new territory with “The Darjeeling Limited.”

But reserves her highest praise for Hotel Chevalier:

“Short films are exceedingly difficult to pull off, but Anderson has made one that’s very close to perrfect.

New Jersey Star Ledger:

“Had he been born two generations earlier, Anderson probably would have made some great screwball comedies. . .Taken as a whole, it’s incontrovertible evidence of Anderson’s own free-wheeling talent.” – Stephen Whitty

Filmcritic.com:

“The auteur’s best work to date. The use of songs by the Kinks, the Marc Jacobs designs, the dazed pastels; its all Anderson to a T, but it’s the first time these elements have allowed Anderson to roam free, rather than cooping him up inside.” – Chris Cabin

IGN:

“Anderson’s last film, The Life Aquatic, received deservedly mixed reviews — it had many, many great qualities along with its shortcomings — but almost all of them observed that he was sort of teetering on a precipice, in danger of falling too deeply in love with his font sizes, color schemes and quirky characterizations. Darjeeling is a response to that: Not only an acknowledgement of the dangers of indulging his most idiosyncratic impulses, he rightly points out that even in a carefully-constructed environment things have a way of falling messily out of order, and often to even more profound effect.

The Darjeeling Limited, by comparison, feels like a more comfortable fit than its predecessor — a newcomer that possesses almost all of the qualities of former companions, but offers the promise of new and even more interesting opportunities in the future. As far as coming-of-age experiences go, this is undoubtedly my favorite thus far of 2007 – cinematic or otherwise.” – Todd Gilchrist

Cinematical:

“It’s the chemistry between Schwartzmen, Brody and Wilson that really takes the film up a notch. . . Though it might seem odd to hear, the film succeeds because a lot of the details are left out. Anderson cut entire scenes (in which, I imagine, backstory was explained) in order to let the audience come to their own conclusions. . . like the three main characters, we’re asked to search for them and, thankfully, they’re not handed to us on a silver platter.” – Erik Davis

Susan Granger:

“A spicy, lyrical cinematic feast, slyly written by Anderson, Schwartzman (Talia Shire’s son) and oman Coppola (Francis’s son) – with a terrific score and cameos by Ifan Khan and Bill Murray.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Darjeeling Limited” is a poignant, peripatetic 8.”

Filmiholic:

“See it. It’s mood altering, in a positive way, in spite of some of the darkness that Anderson touches on. The soundtrack is excellent (Bombay Talkie and Rolling Stones), and not since Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint shared a sleeper on the 20th Century Limited has rail travel been so sexy.

New York Sun has a great piece on the film:

“Even among the gathered members of the press waiting for Mr. Anderson’s arrival at a recent “Darjeeling” press day, there was conjecture as to where this sudden dramatic streak came from. Was it his attempt to spread his wings? Did he run out of comedic material?

“I don’t think of this movie as some reaction against the ‘hermetically’ sterile ‘Life Aquatic,’” Mr. Anderson said, discounting the notion of loftier intent. “I’m just trying to use my imagination to make something interesting. I have to get obsessed with something to spend three years making it, and I’m just trying to put all my ideas in and make it as exciting as possible. I don’t mind people recognizing these films as mine, that they can put all the DVDs up on a shelf, and that they go together in some way that hopefully makes sense.

Keyboard, tip, tip, tip (Thursday morning update)

Wes from the New York Observer

The Darjeeling Limited opens the New York Film Festival tomorrow (if you are going, please send your reports and photos to edwardappleby @ yankeeracers.org, no spaces). Hotel Chevalier, the 13 minute prequel to (or ‘Part I’ of) The Darjeeling Limited, was released on iTunes yesterday.

Many fans have been frustrated with the limited availability of the short film. Russer, from the Great White North, writes:

Please mention on your website that people around the world are wanting to see “Hotel Chevalier” just as much as [A]mericans do. Unfortunately, iTunes does not allow people outside of the US to download the short film even if they are current customers. Ridiculous!

Many of the Yankee Racers have been upset about this problem, and the difficulties of dealing with iTunes (i.e. needing to enter a credit card number to register for an iTunes account, even if the film itself is free). We are excited — thrilled — about the film, but we hope Fox Searchlight and the Wes team find a more democratic/international method of distributing the free short.

I have received leads on MANY relevant newspaper and magazine articles. I will try to archive them here on the website once the initial commotion has ended, but until then, some links:

In the New York Magazine piece, there is an exchange between the writer (David Amsden) and Wes about recent criticism of his work, The Life Aquatic in particular. Wes’ eloquent response is worth quoting at length:

At one point I [the author] bring up a recent essay by Michael Hirschorn in the Atlantic Monthly arguing that, as a culture, we are “drowning in quirk,” an aesthetic he defines as the “embrace of the odd against the blandly mainstream.” … Anderson, who in person is typically quite calm, becomes suddenly animated by the topic. “You know, I’ve heard that argument a million times, and it’s completely uninteresting to me,” he says. “It’s just deadeningly unoriginal. If you have ideas that you think can contribute to a movie, that you think might help you honestly enjoy it more…” … “When they say a movie I make is smarter-than-thou, that the movie is ‘too smart for its own good,’ as if we’re making movies to try to show everybody how great and cool we are…well, that’s just not the case. We’re trying our hardest to entertain people, to make something people will like, something people will connect with. I don’t think there’s a great effort to try to make some statement about ourselves, you know?”

About.com review:

“A wonderful film. It’s a pleasure to write that sentence. I want to write it again. The Darjeeling Limited is a wonderful film — both funny and affecting.” – Marcy Dermansky

The New York Sun review:

“The Darjeeling Limited” is Mr. Anderson’s most heartfelt film. . . Now that he’s freed from his own tendencies, it is again exciting to ponder where Mr. Anderson will travel next.” – S. James Snyder

New York Press’ resident eccentric Armond White weighs in:

“Casual moviegoers might grumble that Anderson’s vision is “quirky” and doesn’t allow for the mass hypnosis of self-reflexive trash like Superbad or Ocean’s Thirteen. But The Darjeeling Limited is so reflective of personal experience (within the context of rarefied pop antecedents) that it returns common emotional power to today’s fragmented, disingenuous popular culture.”

Eric Kohn – also of the New York Press:

“Having seen Darjeeling twice, I feel firmly convinced that it’s one of Anderson’s greatest accomplishments.”

Lisa Schwartzbaum of Entertainment Weekly gives Darjeeling a B+:

“There’s a startling new maturity in Darjeeling, a compassion for the larger world that busts the confines of the filmmaker’s miniaturist instincts.”

Check out this video interview with Brody and Schwartzman – there’s a mini review at the end.

Finally, the MTV Movies Blog mentions that (link) Bill Murray has been “enlisted” for The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Mr. Anderson’s next film, an adaptation of the children’s book by Roald Dahl. George Clooney will be Mr. Fox. Jason Schwartman will offer his talents. The fantastic Cate Blanchett and Anjelica Huston are rumored to be part of the (voice) cast as well. Wow, I haven’t even seen the new one yet, and we’re already excited about the new new one!

As usual, send your questions, links, leads, and other coherent statements to edwardappleby @ yankeeracers.org (no spaces).

Hotel Chevalier

Hotel Chevalier is now available free on iTunes (link). Note that you do not need an iPod or other portable device to screen the film; you can watch it on your home computer after downloading the free iTunes software.

[Hotel Chevalier commentary thread at Yankee Racers]
[Marc Jacobs and The Darjeeling Limited in the New York Observer]

Photos from the New York screening of Hotel Chevalier (source):

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Photos from Chicago screening of Hotel Chevalier (thanks to Loraxaeon):

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(more…)

We are looking for more photos from the NYC event, as well as photos from the New York Film Festival premiere on Friday. Please e-mail edwardappleby @ yankeeracers.org (no spaces) to share.

IndieWIRE, Flavorpill, & AIN’T IT COOL Hop On Board

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“Wes Anderson doesn’t stray too far afield with “The Darjeeling Limited,” but judging by his latest film’s considerable merits, do we really want him to? . . . Asking Anderson to change (or “grow,” as some critics would call it) ignores everything that’s right with the artistic fluidity from “Bottle Rocket” to here. If “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” seemed too mechanical, too locked-in to its director’s gambits, then with “Darjeeling” Anderson has found a way to overcome his own limitations without forgoing his expected style.

Some of the most wistful, even transcendent passages of the director’s career.- Michael Koresky IndieWIRE

“THE DARJEELING LIMITED, the latest film by Wes Anderson, is pretty much awesome. . . Anderson has absolutely perfected his style. It is easily his crowning achievement so far . . . perhaps the best work Wes Anderson has yet completed.” - AIN’T IT COOL NEWS

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“Happily, The Darjeeling Limited redeems that early promise and then some . . . Though these boys don’t remotely resemble each other, they achieve a fraternal chemistry — all deadpan humor and hangdog glamour — that hurdles them, in a turquoise-and-pink train, toward their (and Anderson’s) true adulthood.” - Flavorpill

The Train Doesn’t Stop Here

USA Today catches up with Wes and calls Darjeeling a “reinvigorating return.”

“Will Anderson and his buddy work together again? And especially, will they write together again since many feel they bring out the best in each other’s words?” Owen is a huge part of the filmmaking team,” Anderson assures. “He always will be. We have lots of other things in mind to do together. We have an inventory.”

In other words, the train doesn’t stop here.” – Susan Wloszczyna

New York Magazine runs a long profile on Wes that highlights his artful approach to life:

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“This is the dynamic at the heart of what those close to him affectionately refer to as “Wes’s world,” which resembles a vaudevillian family by way of Evelyn Waugh . . . In his films he creates a very particular and unmistakable world, and I guess you could say the same is true in his life. . .

In talking to Anderson you can tell that Aquatic was a difficult movie for him—beginning with its making . . . Discussing it seems to exhaust him, as if he were reliving the experience. “We just put everything into it, and it kind of, you know, got a bit of a rough ride,” he concludes. “I think it’s generally thought of as the least loved of all my movies.” – David Amsden

New York Post article, and send your reviews; Hotel Chevalier on iTunes

The New York Post has an interview with Wes in their magazine section today:
“The Life Exotic” ** spoiler alert ** (for a spoiler-sanitized version, click here)

The Darjeeling Limited soundtrack is out this Tuesday (click here to order). Send your reviews to edwardappleby @ yankeeracers.org (no spaces), and we’ll post them here.

Monday morning update (7.39): The LA Times is reporting that Hotel Chevalier will be available for free on iTunes starting Wednesday (link).

Other recent, important stuff:

Saturday morning update

As we reported last night, Hotel Chevalier, the short ‘prequel’ to The Darjeeling Limited, will screen at the Apple Stores in Soho (NYC) and Chicago on Tuesday, September 25th, with special guests.

  • In Soho, Wes Anderson, Jason Schwartzman, and Natalie Portman will be on hand to take questions after the movie. The event starts at 9 p.m. (info)
  • Roman Coppola will be in Chicago. The screening starts at 9 p.m. there as well. (info)

If you are attending either event, please take your digital camera and send us your photos (edwardappleby @ yankeeracers.org, no spaces).

Remember that Fox Searchlight is distributing free passes for screenings of The Darjeeling Limited across the nation.

Devin Faraci, over at CHUD.com (article), thinks Hotel Chevalier really ought to be screened before The Darjeeling Limited, but that it is probably too late to convince Fox. A few days ago, on the Yankee Racers forum, Loraxaeon suggested that we should petition Fox Searchlight to include the short in the national release (thread). Join the discussion.

LAist says that The Darjeeling Limited puts Wes “back on track”:

So if you were a fan of Anderson’s Rushmore or Royal Tenenbaums, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. It’s kind of like when you go away to college, and then you come home for the summer. It still feels comfortable, but not quite how it used to. But that doesn’t stop you from enjoying it all the same.

Saturday evening update (6.33 pm): Great feature, from the New York Times Magazine (thanks to leeroy!):

New York Times Magazine, Wes Anderson Style

A few quick notes

Just a quick update for now…

From Hans:

Tea Gschwendner in Chicago is throwing a release party for The Darjeeling Limited, complete with Sitar music, Indian finger foods and darjeeling tea. There will be a $5 cover, although you can get in for free if you can find and bring the ad in the Columbia Chronicle for the event. There will also be raffle prizes which will be given out every 15 minutes (Fox Searchlight Studios is providing a variety of movie goodies to give away). Also, everyone that comes to this party will receive a free ticket to the pre-screening on Oct. 1, at the AMC theater on Illinois St. Dress like your favorite Wes Anderson character. Sat Sept 29th 2007 6-9pm

Men’s Vogue has a great article called “Wonder Boys,” about Owen and Wes. We will post some pictures and text soon.

There are also some new pictures of the new one, which we will also post soon.

Glenn Kenny, at Premiere, positively reviewed The Darjeeling Limited:

A riotously colorful journey . . .

Those who complain about the emotional indirectness of the film, or that
its carefully controlled visual style sterilizes material that would be
better served raw, kind of miss the point. Withholding the prospect of a
direct connection between the viewer and the brothers is evidence of
Anderson’s larger purpose—this movie is as much, if not more, about the
construction of fictions as it is about its ostensible plot.

Last, but certainly not least, The Playlist blog has a great feature called, “If I Were a Wes Anderson Soundtrack.”

Update (9.50 am, September 21): The Louis Vuitton luggage from The Darjeeling Limited is on display at Louis Vuitton on 57th Street and Fifth Avenue through the weekend.

Darjeeling Limited luggage on display at LV, NYC

More details soon… !!!

TDL in Film Comment, the New Yorker; and, FREE SCREENINGS

From The New Yorker:

New Yorker illustration by Zohar Lazar

(credit: Zohar Lazar, The New Yorker)

The October issue of Film Comment features the gang from TDL:

The finest iteration of the Anderson oeuvre to date. . .

Wilson brings back the corn-fed, spaced-out enthusiasm of his career-making character Dignan in the Anderson debut Bottle Rocket, recasting the caper-seeking outlaw as an adult shattered by near-death experience but still perilously full of gung-ho.

You can fake them [epiphanies] in films with swelling Bowie songs and tight emotive headshots, but it leaves a bad taste when the characters haven’t earned it. Such was the effect of the oddly lifeless Life Aquatic, Anderson’s last and worst film, which seemed built solely around Bill Murray’s prodigious charm. But the characters in Darjeeling earn their shot at redemption – partly through three excellent lead performances, partly by metanarrative devices that reveal the reality behind works of fiction. (Chris Norris)

Fox Searchlight is distributing passes for FREE screenings across the country!

(thanks to Chris for some of the leads)