Tag Archives: Wes Anderson

Isle of Dogs

Rating: 5 out 5 (Classic)

Director: Wes Anderson

Cast: Bill Murray, Bob Balaban, Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Greta Gerwig, Frances McDormand, Harvey Keitel, Jeff Goldblum, Koyu Rankin, Scarlett Johannson, Yoko Ono.

Synopsis: In near future Japan, virulent strains of dog based diseases cause Magaski city to ostracise its canines to a junk-heap island. Determined to get his dog back, Atari Kobayshi ventures to the island and discovers a conspiracy against man’s best friend.

Youth is a fleeting thing that should be cherished before it slips entirely. I am still young but I do not forlornly look back at childhood as the halcyon days of simpler joys and times. The world was uncertain then and is uncertain now, but my view clashes with a generation still clinging to Disney films. Against this context Isle of Dogs is the typical Wes Anderson work, full of pantomime whimsy, yet quietly and unexpectedly, the film made me feel like a child again.

Composed of stop animation throughout, the painstaking efforts of Wes Anderson, 3 Mills Studios and the modeller team converts Isle of Dogs into a labour of love. From the handcrafted backdrops to the bulbous eyes of the central group of dogs, the city of Magaski and trash island are exquisitely detailed. Superseded by computer graphics, the use of stop animation in Isle of Dogs imbues the tale with a forlorn exoticism, of witnessing a land both enticing and long passed. The choice of stop animation to depict a near future Japan speaks to the country’s reputation today; a land both advanced and steeped in the past. Adorned by clunky framed T.Vs, tape machines and giant computers, the retro-future vision of Isle of Dogs springs from a 1950’s comic. Anderson’s works have always been tinged with a nostalgia and in Isle of Dogs Anderson’s gaze looks back at the post war futurism full of hope and despair.

Written by a combined team of Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola, Jason Schwartzman and Kunichi Nomura, the plot for Isle of Dogs is impeccable. The films stands alongside The Grand Budapest Hotel as the films I consider to be Wes Anderson’s masterpiecesFull of innocent and often unintentional humour, Isle of Dogs builds on one of Anderson’s tropes, the outsider, to create a tale of exclusion, oppression and acceptance. The speaking of English between the dogs and Japanese for nearly everyone else subtly connects the viewer with the film’s literal underdogs. Anderson’s language choices also act as a smokescreen distracting mainstream audiences from what is a foreign language film.

Yet the best part of Isle of Dogs is its sense of adventure, of the wonder the world  contains through the innocent eyes of young Atari (Koyu Rankin) and the dogs who join him.  I really cannot remember the last time a film made me smile throughout. A large part of Isle of Dogs’ excellence stems from the impressive cast Anderson amassed for the film. The cast’s clear enjoyment of their work resonates in their performance. Highlights from the stellar roster are Bryan Cranston as lead dog Chief and Jeff Goldblum as Duke, or should I say Jeff Goldblum in dog form.

This is a film not to be missed.

By Saul Shimmin

For the trailer, see below:



Trailer Roundup: September [Part II]

This is a follow up to our last trailer roundup, and we’ll start with the least enticing trailer and end with our favorite.

Tomb Raider

Release Date: March 2018

Starring the talented Alicia Vikander as Laura Croft (a fact Warner Bros. won’t let us forget anytime soon.. oh did we mention she’s an ACADEMY AWARD WINNER?), Laura Croft is Warner Bros’ next effort to reboot dead franchises after its flawed attempts to resuscitate King Kong and Godzilla. I have little hope that Warner Bros can rejuvenate what was a mediocre franchise to begin with despite starring Angelina Jolie.

I must admit the cast is beyond enticing. It stars one of my favorite TV stars, Walton Goggins, as the movie’s antagonist and features a small part by Nick Frost. But a good cast won’t persuade me to watch this Indiana Jones knock-off. I’m tired of movies where the plot is drive by “if [fill in the blank] succeeds, our world is in danger.”


Murder on the Orient Express

Release Date: November 10, 2017

I am nervous about this remake of Agatha Christie’s classic novel and the 1974 film starring Albert Finney as Hercule Poirot. While the cast is beyond stellar and I am a fan of Kenneth Branagh’s direction, the only reason I can see for remaking it is Fox studio execs saying, “which movies can we remake that will get audiences to unquestioningly open their wallets.” Murder on the Orient Express is the answer.

This is not a reason a movie should be made or remade. If the original was garbage, remake it. If the original was well acted, but the technology of the day was lacking to make the special effects pop, remake it. But the 1974 version was none of these things. Fox should have put their money towards making an original murder-mystery in the same vein as an Agatha Christie novel or penned a script for one of her lesser known books. But I’ll still go see it like the sucker I am.

I do believe theses actors will bring their A game. Especially Johnny Depp who has endured a string of flops. With his private life in shambles and Forbes bestowing him with the title of Hollywood’s The Most Overpaid Actor, Depp will be wanting to reestablish himself as the great actor he is and clear his tarnished name.


Isle of Dogs

Release Date: March 23, 2018

Wes Anderson is the king of light-hearted, yet heartfelt humor originating in the strangest of places. I am so stoked for this movie and quite angry that we are still a half a year away from its release date.

Despite the plot’s simplicity, I think this movie will be a success due its understated humor that comes from the childish, dog monologues like the one at the end of the trailer. I was rolling over laughing when I heard it. I’m glad films like this one are being made.

———————Bonus Trailer———————

Marvel’s The Punisher

Release Date: Late 2017

I know, I know, this is a TV show trailer, but, as you know from my John Wick 2 review, I love some good action and having Jon Bernthal (swiftly becoming one of my favorite actors) as the lead doesn’t hurt.

While the trailer made the plot sound formulaic as hell (Government out to kill one man for the secrets he knows), this does not mean the show will fall into hackneyed plot devices. Look at the Jason Bourne series. It rocked this plot (except the most recent film). If you’ve seen season two of Daredevil, you know Frank Castle is one of the most badass characters in TV and movies. I cannot wait for this show. Hopefully it will deliver more than The Defenders.