Is it possible to make a semi-tragic wartime noir that’s shot primarily in shades of pastel?
Judging from Wes Anderson’s latest signature whimsy, The Grand Budapest Hotel, the answer is yes. By turns a whodunit, a prison-break movie, and an ode to high-end hotel conciergery, the movie is among Anderson’s daffiest to date. (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou has it beat by a nose.) Yet for all its visual baubles and deadpan comedy, it is shot through with nostalgia, melancholy, and deep echoes of historic loss. I’m not sure that a confectionary fable set against so bleak a backdrop ought to succeed. But for me it did, brilliantly.
Read more. [Image: Fox Searchlight]
“Steel is King of all building materials. Plywood is the Queen,” says the narrator. A short film by the artist and provocateur Tom Sachs, A Love Letter to Plywood instantly captivates the viewer with its deadpan delivery and whimsical enchantment à la Wes Anderson. Directed by Van Neistat, the film implores you to learn about the virtues of this “studio matriarch” via a step-by-step construction process in Sachs’s Brooklyn-based studio. Albeit a little quirky, the film illustrates Sachs’s creative muse: Ostensibly ordinary objects (cue plywood) mixed in with abstract cultural phenomena. Watch it and you are guaranteed to want to sand something afterwards.
With the advent of Wes Anderson’s latest entry into his compendium of eight—the movie Moonrise Kingdom, out in New York and Las Angeles Friday—there’s enough of a catalog to ensure that there’s one for each of us. So, what’s your favorite Wes Anderson film? You would be amazed at what your preferences say about who you are, at least according to this entirely unscientific but completely authoritative exploration:
You like bands that other people like, but you only like their really obscure stuff. When you describe a piece of art or something as “difficult,” you mean it as a compliment. You probably have a graduate degree in something specific or you just work at a used book store. You want to move to Portland but you just haven’t done it yet. Sometimes people call you an asshole and you respond, “All I’m saying is that it’s important to understand what the term ‘craft beer’actually means.” If you’re a straight guy (and you probably are) you have a girlfriend named Cara who is a research assistant and wants to move to France, but not Paris. When you have a kid (not with Cara), it will have, for a first name, the last name of a writer you like. (Maybe Wallace, because you love Infinite Jest.) One summer when you were a kid you spent a month with your cousins at their island house in Maine and something big happened that you never told anyone else.