Monthly Archives: January 2008

The Dar-Juno Limited

Fox Searchlight, a division of 20th Century Fox that focuses on “Indie” films, had a good 2007. Three of the eleven films they produced last year have been nominated for Oscars: Juno, Once, and The Savages. Four of the Oscar nominations went to Juno (Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Screenplay). Fox Searchlight also produced The Darjeeling Limited, which has no Oscar nominations. I thought it would interesting to take moment and take a closer look at TDL and Juno in particular.

Many reviewers picked up similarities between Juno’s Director Jason Reitman’s style and Anderson’s. Some saw it as Reitman “channeling Bottlerocket/Rushmore era Anderson” or as employing Anderson’s “subtly Sardonic eye on American life”.

Others have seen Anderson’s influence on Reitman as a hindrance to overcome, most notably in the San Francisco Weekly. A December 18th 2007 review states that Juno only gets good “once you get past the early-going rough patches that are more Wes Anderson than even Wes Anderson could imagine. With the Kinks’ “Well-Respected Man” blaring on the soundtrack in the first 15 minutes, you’re likely to get the indie-film shakes.” TDL was criticized perhaps most heavily for Anderson’s “inability” to overcome his style.

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Paste Magazine Art House Powerhouse 100

(I meant to post this when the magazine arrived a few weeks ago, but better late than never.)

The latest issue of Paste Magazine (#39) includes the Paste Art House Powerhouse 100:

 Who are the power players in the world of quality cinema? What individuals and organizations make intelligent, well-crafted movies and have the profile, financial resources and/or critical esteem to attract discerning audiences? In short, we looked for those at the intersection of art and commerce who make independent film the viable and sustainable industry that we’ve come to enjoy (link).

Of course, some of our favorites were included:

Wes Anderson
{ RH: The Darjeeling Limited U: The Fantastic Mr. Fox} Scenes in slow-motion set to Kinks songs, overwhelmingly quirky production design, dramatic family rivalries—Wes Anderson just can’t seem to escape himself. But this is OK. Because underneath the deadpan humor of each of his movies is a true sense of melancholy and loss unmatched by any other filmmaker of his generation.

Cate Blanchett
{ RH: I’m Not There, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Notes on a Scandal, Babel U: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button } Like Meryl Streep, this Australian actress may be the best of her generation. All the auteurs love her: Scorsese, Anderson, Iñárritu and now Spielberg. Her performance as Bob Dylan in I’m Not There was not so much impersonation as repossession. Be afraid, Indiana Jones, be very afraid.

Natalie Portman
{ RH: Hotel Chevalier/The Darjeeling Limited; Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium; Paris, Je T’aime U: My Blueberry Nights, The Other Boleyn Girl } The buoyant former child star defies convention: She’s an even better performer now that she’s come of age—a Jodie Foster, not a Lindsay Lohan. Not that there ever was much doubt. Portman is fiercely intelligent and unafraid to take risks (stripping in Closer, rapping on SNL), which makes her a natural for directors as varied as Wong Kar-Wai and Wes Anderson.

Jason Schwartzman
{ RH: The Darjeeling Limited, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story U: The Marc Pease Experience } As Max Fischer he was ambitious and organized, but even Rushmore’s fans never expected Schwartzman would build on his deadpan, cerebral, hipster-geek image to become one of independent film’s most interesting leading men.

Noah Baumbach
{ RH: Margot at the Wedding, The Squid and the Whale U: The Fantastic Mr. Fox (S), The Emperor’s Children (S) } The Squid and the Whale took us by surprise with its refreshingly honest observation of a family in disorder. And now he’s done it again with Margot at the Wedding. Next up is a co-writing reunion with director Wes Anderson for the animated Fantastic Mr. Fox and an adaptation of The Emperor’s Children for director Ron Howard.

Bravo, Paste!

Charlie Rose rewind; and Yankee Racers threads

Tonight, watching the Jerry Seinfeld interview with Charlie Rose made me think: I ought to revisit Charlie’s interviews with Wes. So, for your viewing pleasure, here are all three (see the end for some great Yankee Racers threads).

26 October 2007:


15 December 2004:


29 January 1999:


Suggested threads at the Yankee Racers forum:
The Fantastic Mr. Fox
DVD (The Darjeeling Limited)
Why is Bill Smiling? (The Life Aquatic)
I’ve set up TRT on continual loop in my apartment
Last movie you saw?

The Antipodean Anderson

(ed’s note: Welcome to our newest contributor, South Paw!)

As “The Darjeeling Limited” is nearing the end of its Australia run, it’s time for us to take a look at how the film has fared. Jason Schwartzman took a promo trip down under a short while ago, and though we can’t take a trip ourselves, we’ll soar the internet skies instead. Below is a look at what the Aussies have been saying about Mr. Anderson’s latest. A couple of these links have been posted before, but have been included again here for your convenience. Enjoy!

The charmingly-named Wollondilly Advertiser (Wollondilly Shire is just south of Sydney in New South Wales and supplies the city with most of its waters) reviewed TDL in its January 22, 2008 Edition in “Oh Brothers, What an Amazing Journey”. The WA described TDL as “unpredictable and “impossible to categorize”, but also that it “has elements of a travel adventure, it is partly family drama, it is often funny and sometimes downright bizarre.” Overall a positive review, “breath of fresh air” for audiences and the good people of the Shire.
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“Darjeeling Limited gets a snake bite from the Censor Board” (Mumbai News)

(link)

Seems like our Censor Board has certainly gone green, if its latest action is anything to go by.  The release of critically acclaimed Hollywood flick The Darjeeling Limited has been prohibited by the Indian Censor Board, which claims that the filmmakers failed to get adequate clearance before shooting Indian flora and fauna.

“A stay has been put on the film’s release until the filmmakers get a clearance from the Animal Welfare Board. It is something that they still haven’t produced before us,” said a Censor Board member who did not wish to be named.

The film has some wildlife scenery, shot in Rajasthan. While this footage was okay with the Censor Board (animals in the wild), what was not okay with them was a snake in a cage. So they demanded that the producers present a clearance certificate from the Animal Welfare Board. And a venomous request it turned out to be, for the producers drew a blank. “It turns out that free wildlife is not offensive if shot on camera.

However, for something like snakes or other animals in cages, clearance from the Animal Welfare Board is crucial, since we need to know that no wildlife was harmed during the process of filming a product. We are awaiting what the Animal Welfare Board has to say on the footage of the same. Until then, the release of the film is stalled,” said the source.

The film was to release today in theatres across India. The Darjeeling Limited, produced by Fox Searchlight, is a comedy that traces the journey of three estranged brothers in India, after their father’s death. The journey proves to be therapeutic as they resolve the fault lines in their relationships. Starring Hollywood heavyweights Owen Wilson and Adrien Brody, the film also features Irrfan Khan and Jason Schwartzman.

What is going to truly bite the producers here is that the snake in the cage scene is a rather crucial one to the plot, from what viewers at preview screenings have noticed. A bad snakes-and-ladder move for studio execs; they just didn’t anticipate such a bad slide.