News, Reviews, & Elephant Pins

Darjeeling Limited did gangbusters at the box office this weekend.

“We are extremely excited about it,” Fox Searchlight’s Sheila DeLoach said Sunday. “Wes Anderson’s fans came out in droves.”

Terry Gross interviews Wes and Jason on NPR’s Fresh Air

Bill Murray’s Darjeeling Evening

Interview with Wes, Jason, Adrien on LA.COM

Article on US reaction to Darjeeling from IndieLondon

Glenn Kenny’s night at the Darjeeling premiere

Chicago Sun Times Interview with Wes

Incredibly detailed analysis of the Darjeeling marketing campaign

Interview with Wes in the New Jersey Star Ledger

Jason Schwartzman on The Early Show

Variety has an article on the New York Film Festival, which includes this alarming anecdote:

“John Powers saw an early sneak of ‘Rushmore’ and as I remember the people at Disney had no idea what to do with it. There was some talk of it going straight to video. John called and said, ‘I saw this film, it’s really terrific, can you do anything about it?’ And so I called up Disney and, to make a long story short, by inviting the film, I think we (staged) an intervention in its future.”

That was indeed an elephant pin Bill Murray was wearing, more on that here.

Book Passage Immediately

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

Official 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?

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 @, 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?” 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 @ (no spaces).

TDL screened tonight at the Venice International Film Festival

Hotel Chevalier and The Darjeeling Limited screened this evening at the Venice International Film Festival. We excitedly await photos and reactions. While Owen Wilson sadly could not attend the festivities, Wes had positive news about Owen at Venice:

Obviously he has been through quite a lot this week. I can tell you he has been doing very well, he has been making us laugh. When he’s ready he’s going to speak for himself much better than any of us could. He has got a very good way with words. (Times)

Ed Hardy, Jr’s “Shoot the Projectionist” blog is sponsoring a month-long Wes Anderson “blog-a-thon”:

Each week I’ll be unveiling a new essay about Wes Anderson, and Darren, our Opinion-at-Large, will contribute a list of his favorite moments in each Wes Anderson film. I’ll also be posting a new image from Darjeeling Limited everyday.

Ed’s current essay is titled “Wes Anderson, Nostalgia, and the 11 Year Old Point-of-View.” It’s worth checking out (be sure to read the comments, too).

Finally, we offer you some early photos of the gang from The Darjeeling Limited at Venice. Please send reactions, leads, and photos to edwardappleby @ (no spaces).

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(special thanks to Yankee Racers ‘SugarMagnolia’ and ‘Loraxaeon’ for the leads)

Darjeeling Wraps Shooting in India

From India

Hollywood stars Owen Wilson and Adrian Brody have completed the last leg of shooting schedule for the Darjeeling Limited in this city of palaces and lakes known as the Venice of the East.

The Academy Award-nominated American actor-writer along with co-stars Broody and Jason Schwartzman are had landed here Jan 17 and spent about eight hours every day shooting for the India-centric film. The stars and the film unit are expected to leave for home later Tuesday.

Also Bill Murray will be a guest on tonight’s episode of The Late Show with David Letterman. Bill will help Dave celebrate his 25th year on late night television. I will try and get a video up if he mentions anything related, and post it here for those who miss it.

“The Life Examined with Wes Anderson” {archive}

New York Magazine, December 20, 2004

What did the idiosyncratic director do with his first full-size budget? He put Bill Murray into a father-figure role, and gave him a speargun.

Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou looks, at first, as though it’s the inevitable final entry in what you might call Anderson’s Great-Search-for-a-Father-Figure Trilogy. It’s of a piece with previous Anderson movies like Rushmore (1998) and The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), in that it features a selfish bastard (Bill Murray in the first; Gene Hackman in the second) who, in crumbling middle age, decides it’s important to impart some of his wisdom, or at least his hard-won cynical savvy, to a young man who views him as a father figure, if not an actual father. What’s with the dad thing, Wes?

Continue reading ““The Life Examined with Wes Anderson” {archive}”

“Funny Men Bill Murray & Wes Anderson” {archive}

Interview (magazine), February 1999

Not since the mid-to-late ’80s — the days of movies like Blue Velvet, True Stories, Raising Arizona, and Something Wild — has there been a slice of post-modern Americana as funny, thoughtful, and downright weird as the unmissable Rushmore. The film tells the tale of fifteen-year-old nerd entrepreneur Max (played by astounding newcomer Jason Schwartzman), who gets tycoon Mr. Blume (Bill Murray) to sponsor his madcap schemes so he can impress the schoolmarm he desires (Olivia Williams), only for the melancholy millionaire to fall for her himself.

Continue reading ““Funny Men Bill Murray & Wes Anderson” {archive}”

If I Can Dream {archive}

The Everlasting Boyhoods of Wes Anderson
From the Archive
Film Comment, January/February 1999
by Mark Olsen

Unlike many writer-directors of his generation, Wes Anderson does not view his characters from some distant Olympus of irony. He stands beside them — or rather, just behind them — cheering them on as they chase their miniaturist renditions of the American Dream. The characters who inhabit Anderson’s cinematic universe, a Middle West of the Imagination, embody both sides of William Carlos Williams’ famous edict that the pure products of America go crazy, being, for the most part, both purely American and slightly crazy. Though some might label his people losers, or even invoke that generational curse, slackers, they are in fact ambitious and motivated overreachers, misguided though their energies occasionally are.

Continue reading “If I Can Dream {archive}”