Tag: Bill Murray

The French Dispatch

Seven years, Wes? SEVEN YEARS?

No. Don’t blame this on the Pandemic. The French Dispatch is your first live action movie in 7 years. Honestly, I thought The Grand Budapest Hotel came out earlier than that, so 7 years is a little shocking, because it certainly feels like a decade. Yes, I know we had Isle of Dogs, but that was stop motion.

Come on Wes. You used to churn out these films like buttah.

And it took a long time for this quirky little number to get made and released. This should not have been a 7 year wait. Did you have to wait for Timothée Chalamet‘s schedule to clear up?!

That Timothee, so hot right now.

The French Dispatch is sort of about a newspaper insert from a small town in France, that tells news of the world and Europe in their periodical, specifically for the people in Kansas, due to very specific plot reasons. You know. Quirkiness.

The writers for the paper are great though, and the main editor, Arthur Howitzer, Jr. (Bill Murray), has been running it for 50 years. He wants his writers to not be unlimited in their potential and will not try to limit their word count or cut sections out if it ruins their vision. As long as their articles sound like they wrote it that way on purpose and they don’t cry in his office, he will be fine.

This movie is actually about its final issue, because with Arthur’s death, in his will was to dismantle the paper and cease operations completely. This movie is about the final three main stories of the paper, a smaller city piece, and of course, an obituary.

Starring literally ever actor ever a Wes Anderson movie and more, a whole lot of people are involved in these three stories. Benicio Del Toro, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Léa Seydoux, Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Lyna Khoudri, Jeffrey Wright, Mathieu Amalric, Steve Park, Owen Wilson, Bob Balaban, Henry Winkler, Lois Smith, Tony Revolori, Denis Ménochet, Larry Pine, Christoph Waltz, Cécile de France, Liev Schreiber, Willem Dafoe, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Elisabeth Moss, Jason Schwartzman, Fisher Stevens, Griffin Dunne, and Anjelica Huston.

A lot of people close together staring towards the camera. Classic Wes shot.
Alright, so was the wait worth it? Or did I overhype it?

I probably overhyped it. I went in not knowing anything about the film, and honestly, a few smaller stories is not usually what I hope for in a film. A bigger plot with subplots, sure.

Technically there is one bigger plot, but it is also relatively minor compared to the three main stories. So why do I care if it is three main stories? Well, if two of the stories are great, and the other is okay, then the whole film doesn’t feel really great anymore.

I definitely feel the stories weren’t even in quality or whimsy. The middle story in particular left a lot to be desired for me, despite elements I liked. My favorite would be the first one, in the prison, although narratively, I don’t know how this person became a normal writer for the paper, and why they are telling this story in their issue that is so far in the past. The third story was fine, but confusing for a bit and that is…less fine.

Overall, this might be the most Wes-Andersy film ever that he has made, and it is incredibly weird. Probably his most black and white and just…strange. He did try a lot with this film, and I guess wanted to tell stories he didn’t think were strong enough for a solo film.

The cinematography, colors, and dialogue are superb of course, but that was to be expected.

3 out of 4.

Isle of Dogs

Fantastic Mr. Fox came out in 2009. It was not my first Wes Anderson movie, but it was the first Wes Anderson movie I really, really loved. Not saying I hated everything before it, no. In fact, at that time, I only had seen one of his movies which was The Royal Tenebaums. I maybe saw it too young and was not ready for its quirks, and still haven’t seen it for redemption, but I didn’t love it. The fox though? Yes. Every one of his movies since then? Yes.

But this is something different and special. This is 9 years later, and another goddamn animated stop motion movie. Can he recreate the magic of Fantastic Mr. Fox but with Isle of Dogs? More talking animals?!

At least with his last one, it was based on a previous book. But this is a new idea, based on dogs, a culture that isn’t his, and a sort of throwback to a cinema that he loves. I was certainly excited again, especially given how much shit 2017 gave us for the animated category.

Can I have all of these doggos? Please tell me no doggos actually die.

Set in the fictional future of some world that is similar to our own, we have to go to Megasaki City to find our story. In this city, the new mayor, Kobayashi (Kunichi Nomura), is from a family with a long hatred of dogs. They are cat people and want to get rid of dogs forever! Well, that is great, because these dogs are gaining some sort of dog virus and snout flu, which has the ability to transfer over to humans! He declares that all dogs in the city must be sent over to Trash Island, in order to quarantine them until a cure can be found. Speaking of cures, Professor Watanabe (Akira Ito) thinks he is really close to getting a cure and hopes everyone will wait. But mobs be mobbin’, yo. And the dogs start getting sent that very night.

And now, a few months later, the island gets a non furry visitor. Atari Kobayashi (Koyu Rankin), a young boy who is ward of the mayor, has crashed a tiny plane in the island, in hopes of finding his old dog Spots (Liev Schreiber) location. Although dogs cannot speak any form of human language, we the viewer are happy to note that the film translates their language into English! Yay!

He finds a group of alpha dogs to help him on his quest. These dogs include Chief (Bryan Cranston), Rex (Edward Norton), King (Bob Balaban), Boss (Bill Murray), and Duke (Jeff Goldbloom).

Can these dogs find the missing dog for this little human boy? Can they also cure the dog flu, and put an end to this corrupt mayor? Well, maybe. I don’t know. Or if I did, I wouldn’t tell you.

Also starring the voices of Courtney B. Vance, Tilda Swinton, Yoko Ono, Ken Watanabe, Akira Takayama, Greta Gerwig, Frances McDormand, Scarlett Johansson, Harvey Keitel, and F. Murray Abraham.

The human has thumbs so he can do some interesting things with them.

I loved, loved, loved Isle of Dogs. A lot, very much so. Before I get into those details, lets talk about the controversy.

You see, there is a lot of talk of white savior complex, cultural appropriation, and more going on with this movie. It is set in a fictional future dystopian-esque Japan, or at least one city in Japan. And coming from a place of white privilege and all of that, I can honestly say I really don’t see it at all. The white savior thing just seems like it would be assumed by people who read a plot outline, not watched the film, because it is no where close to the normal problematic levels. The other issues I just also really can’t see well. I can’t say that they aren’t true, because I certainly don’t speak for Japanese people or their culture, but I can say that I didn’t really get that vibe at any point, and didn’t affect me negatively either for this movie.

Back to the film! Holy shit dogs!

What a totally immersive story. There were little quirks here and there that could remind you of it being a film, especially when it came to the various translation methods, but I just wanted to live there and run around and frolic despite all of the bad things that were going down. The dogs in particular all have their own personality and jokes that surround them, for good quick laughs.

I really enjoyed that I couldn’t understand the entire film. The Japanese characters spoke Japanese, and didn’t always have a reason to be translated or subtitled, and during those times, well, if you knew Japanese you could follow 100%. The audience was required to watch the facial expressions and to hear obvious key words to make sure we could follow. It was great to not get everything super dumbed down.

Isle of Dogs is an interesting adventure, a unique tale, and a story that just seems to have so many tiny perfect details that it would be fun to watch over and over again. Until though, I will just settle for a rewatch of Fantastic Mr. Fox.

4 out of 4.


Let’s get one thing straight. No one will take this review seriously. No one can take any review for Ghostbusters seriously. For the last 1-2 years, this film has been dragged through the mud of the internet. From director, to casting choices, to posters, to trailers. Everything has been heavily scrutinized and a lot of it met with extreme backlash.

Like it or not, biases exist in so many forms they are possible to escape. Even when I try and watch a movie by ignoring the trailers, ignoring plot summaries and more, I am still slightly affected by it by recognizing people in the cast and comparing it to their own past work. And that is a subtle bias. When you hear nothing but negative things about something for a long time it will take a toll on you.

What I am NOT saying is that the toll will be the same way to everyone. But extremes will happen and are bound to happen. People very well may end up actually hating this movie, but if they dislike it, they will be called sexist or misogynists or probably Moonboy for all I know. If you love the film, you will be seen as maybe some social justice warrior, liking it to high levels just as a counter to the hate. And both of these things are potentially true. Some people hate it for sexism, some people love it to counter the sexism. But also some people just won’t like it and some people will love it regardless of either.

This intro I wrote before seeing the review, but of course you can already see my rating. So when I say no one will take this seriously, I just mean that it is impossible for anything anyone says about this film to be taken with a grain of salt, outside of actual personal experiences and opinions.

Am I sexist if I make my first picture of just him with no one else?

The year is current year, and Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) is up for tenure at Columbia university now for some hardcore physics stuff. She has to be careful to not embarrass the university in any way. So when Ed Mulgrave (Ed Begley Jr.) pops up to talk about a book she wrote a long time ago about Ghosts, things get awkward. Her co-author, Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) is working at much lesser university on paranormal related sciences and she put their book on Amazon to make some extra income. She is now working with an engineer, Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) and they are developing some sweet new technology.

Once they find out that Mulgrave runs an old museum/house with a potential ghost, they hop over to find out, and yep, there is a ghost! Their video goes viral on YouTube, Erin loses her job and they decide to start researching these ghosts full time. They soon meet another scarier ghost in the Subway, where they also meet Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones). Patty isn’t a scientist, but she offers them a vehicle so they let her join the train. They also get a receptionist, Kevin (Chris Hemsworth), who is really damn stupid but good looking and the only one to apply.

Long story short, this asshole unsocial dude, Rowan North (Neil Casey), is using his own devices to ramp up paranormal activity in the area, hoping to unleash a huge amount of ghosts to begin the apocalypse. Fun!

Also featuring Andy Garcia as the Mayor of NYC and Cecily Strong as his assistant, Michael Kenneth Williams and Matt Walsh as members of Homeland Security, Zach Woods as a tour guide, Karan Soni as a Chinese food delivery man, and all* of the original Ghostbusters cast as cameos. The biggest cameo is Bill Murray as a ghost skeptic.

Ah there they are, not crossing streams and all.

Here’s some background. I did not grow up with the Ghostbusters movie in my life. I didn’t see the first film in its entirety until just a few weeks ago. I knew what happened in it roughly, I knew quotes, I saw bits and pieces, and I of course knew the song, but I never really saw it. Similarly, I still have never seen Ghostbusters II, only because I didn’t own it to watch it. So it isn’t something that helped define my childhood full of nostalgia.

Coming from that background, thinking the original Ghostbusters movie was only okay, I also have to say the same about the sequel. Both are comedies and meant to be comedic in nature, but rarely did I find myself laughing. Maybe some smiles or cute moments and the surprise scare, but rarely a true laugh out of loud. But this isn’t a review of the old one, this is a review of the new film. Wiig and McCarthy were both playing relatively un-funny characters. That is because they had to be serious to really sell their passion. Their characters had a few jokes that were revisited and some slapstick but that is about it.

Jones and McKinnon were fine in their roles and a bit more interesting. They were the only characters that actually felt like they had personality and were generally consistent with those personalities. I can see why people find McKinnon’s character the funniest because, well, Wiig and McCarthy are just so drag in comparison. They should have had one less serious character and one more unique but not identical to McKinnon for more actual laughs. She did make me laugh a few times, but Hemsworth’s character did make me laugh the most. They made him stupid arm candy, a nice gender reversal, and they went so extreme with it that it was hard not to chuckle.

Outside of those three characters though the film just wasn’t that funny. Mostly slapstick and chaos.

And now here is a ghost, now everyone is represented equally!

The film had a lot of wasted potential. They had Walsh and Williams as agents and they collectively maybe had three lines, they were no-name characters in the end and had no reason to be played by those actors. The cameos from the original cast were okay, but Murray was absolutely dreadful. He wasn’t even acting as a character in this film despite having multiple scenes. He came across as a guy bored out of his mind who was just getting a small pay check. It was embarrassingly bad.

The film was all over with its science as well. Like the original, they would say a lot of jargon that sounded cool but meant nothing out to anyone listening. Their stream weapons were inconsistent with how they worked, making the long final fight scene sort of odd.

And yes, the film was too meta about the message they wanted to send. They had to turn it into movie directly against the online (sexist?) haters as a sly joke. Years later they won’t make as much sense along with the other numerous pop culture references. But commenting about the hateful things people say on YouTube and the internet just took me out of the movie as the film collectively winked its entire screen at me.

But what do I know. I am a guy who gave this an average film. I have probably been biased on my own thanks to everything that has happened. Maybe I am just too afraid to give this a really positive or negative review, so I go into neutral obscurity hoping to maintain some level of unbias but still directly being influenced quite heavily. We will never know and this film or future films in the franchise will never be able to escape it.

2 out of 4.

* – No not Rick Moranis and of course not Harold Ramis.

Rock The Kasbah

There is one important movie I missed in 2015, because I was tired of watching the worst of the worst. I stalled on a few films and had to watch too many 0 out of 4s in a row, so I quickly wrote my worst of the year list and moved on to bigger and better things (Oscars).

But what about Rock The Kasbah?

It opened alongside Jem and the Holograms and ended with the fifth all time worst box office opening, for films with 2,000+ theaters. Third overall live action. And the two that beat it in that category were also out this year (including Jem!). I watched Jem and We Are Your Friends, but for whatever reason avoided Rock The Kasbah.

But because I am a glutton for punishment, and a perfectionist, I had to see it and make myself feel like shit all over again.

This whole thing looks really rape-y. I am uncomfortable. Are you uncomfortable?

Richie Lanz (Bill Murray) is a skeezy manager of musicians. He has one real client, Ronnie (Zooey Deschanel), and he seems to scam other people into auditioning and giving him cash to make him their agent. What a swell guy. Operates out of a hotel.

Well, somehow Ronnie impresses a guy at a bar who books people for OSO shows for the troops in Afghanistan. Richie convinces Ronnie to go, because hey, a paid gig for months! He leaves his kid behind and they head off where Ronnie just hates it all. She gets sick and nervous and freaks out. So she decides to leave in the middle of the night once they get there, with all of their money and Richie’s passport.

So Richie is stuck there. But also in a military base/town. He can’t go back right away but he isn’t screwed. So he hands out, gets to know the locals, and eventually hears Salima (Leem Lubany). She is singing and her voice is marvelous.

Richie gets the idea to enter her in on the Afghanistan version of American Idol, but her burka and family may be an issue. And they are. And guns happen. Woo movie.

Also featuring for various sized roles: Bruce Willis, Kate Hudson, Arian Moayed, Scott Caan, Danny McBride, Fahim Fazli, Beejan Land, Sameer Ali Khan, and Taylor Kinney.

Your normal group of rag tag losers hoping to make it big.

Bill Murray. Just stop. You have given up for a long time it looks like. You probably gave up right after finishing Lost in Translation, but I am too lazy to check the list right now. Outside of some Wes Anderson brilliance, it just feels like everything is fake. Like he never cares, like he isn’t even trying to act. He is just playing an egotistical version of himself in every film.

But for whatever reason, Rock the Kasbah exists. Named after a song. If that song has any other reference, I don’t know it. It eventually turns into a singing competition plot line, but also women’s rights and religion, and just…existing in the middle east for no reason. Why do all these films that feature a singing competition end up being meh or worse? I’m looking at you, American Dreamz.

This film feels like a dream. A bad dream that keeps playing out, one boring situation into the next. The problem that Richie faced was an easily solvable one, but he was in Afghanistan for so long despite it. Seemingly just existing in he town, and then even longer once he found the girl. It made no sense for him to stay that long, especially since he has a daughter at home who didn’t even want him to leave. She wanted him to come home and survive and he seemed to say fuck that and this movie now exists.

Rock The Kasbah was a literal pain to get through. If I had seen it in theaters I would have walked out. Instead I had to pause it frequently just to do something else quickly to get my mind off of how bad the movie was. If I had seen it earlier, it would have placed high on my worst of the year list. Instead, it now just serves as a big bolded asterisk of a film.

0 out of 4.

The Jungle Book

This is Disney doing a live action remake of one of their old animated films. Nothing new about that of course. The Jungle Book has already had a live action remake once (it’s bad), and it is based on an older story, so they wanted to get theirs out there quickly.

But did you know about the other Jungle Book movie, Jungle Book: Origins? The one directed by Andy Serkis to showcase new motion cap technology? I had thought that one was supposed to come out this year, to get all doppleganger film-y and all. But nope, its release date was October of 2017. And just because this one is getting such good ratings, they pushed it back to October of 2018.

Sucks for that Jungle Book. Especially since I am pretty sure it was announced first and it is already in post production now, we just have to wait 2.5 years.

Unless it gets pushed back again. Because this film, the Disney Jungle Book, already has announced a sequel. It is like Disney is just trying to screw over poor Andy.

[Editor’s note: Since writing this but before publishing, Serkis’ movie has now been renamed to just Jungle Book, probably increasing future confusion. But at least it won’t sound like a prequel anymore.]

Oh well Andy. Hakuna Matata or whatever it is that bears say.

Mowgli (Neel Sethi), the poor little man-cub, was abandoned in the Jungle when he was but a toddler. The noble Bagheera (Ben Kingsley), a black panther, discovered him and felt pity. Even though Man is a danger to the jungle, he was but just a cub and would die on his own and he needed a family of his own. So he brought Mowgli to the wolf pack. There he could learn to be a wolf and there would be a shit ton of wolves to help protect them.

The wolf pack leader, Akela (Giancarlo Esposito) agreed to take him in, but really he was raised by Raksha (Lupita Nyong’o) as one of her cubs.

But eventually the ferocious tiger Shere Khan (Idris Elba) finds out about Mowgli’s existence. He hates Man and knows what they can do, so he needs to be killed before he destroys them all. He threatens the wolf pack and eventually it is decided that Mowgli needs to be taken to the closest man village to protect him. So Bagheera agrees to take him there.

Of course that doesn’t work. A nice tiger attack separates the two of them, and Mowgli has to live on his own in the Jungle. Mowgli now has to survive on his own, when big ass boa constrictors (Scarlett Johansson) are trying to eat him, even more big ass Orangutans (Christopher Walken) are capturing him, and bears (Bill Murray) are trying to befriend him for food help. Oh that last one isn’t too bad.

Also Sam Raimi and Jon Favreau voice a couple animals, how neat.

Trusssssssssst meeeeeeee, it is very neeeeeeeeat.

The Jungle Book is another modern movie where literally every main character is voiced by a very famous person not known for their voice work. There are some cubs and minor animals with who the hell knows voice people, but for the most part we are squandered in celebrities. And not every celebrity with a unique voice makes them great at voice work. Robin Williams has an obvious voice, but each character was unique and special. Not every character felt unique and special.

Let’s start with the good voice actors. I really liked Elba, Nyong’o, Johansson and Kingsley. At least Johansson is known for one voice work (Her), but everyone else seemed to bring some passion and heart into their voice. I hated Kingsley’s Bagheera at first, but I grew into it and it felt natural. Elba was the real powerhouse here as Shere Khan and was a voice to be reckoned with.

On the other hand, Baloo the bear just sounded like a lazy Murray in a bear suit. And of course King Louie as Walken was just all over the place. It turned what should have been a scarier scene into a joke, because it is Walken’s voice and he didn’t change anything about it.

Speaking of voices, I was worried from the trailers that everyone would sound like they were just in a recording studio as they did their lines, but the post-production guys did a good job of making everything natural.

As for one final complaint about voices, this film suffers from animal talking inconsistencies. They are in a Jungle and everyone can talk and understand each other? Cool. It isn’t just Mammals either, because we have the snake joining in the fun. But you know who cannot talk? Elephants for some reason. They only make Elephant noises. Bees only buzz, and about 800 monkeys just squeak and shrill, despite the orangutan singing and yelling. This might seem like a minor complaint, but that is the sort of lack of forethought that just creates a technically confusing universe. Give me all, or give me none, but don’t give me arbitrary rules that make certain animals just into animals.

The visuals and animation for the animals were extremely top notch. Everything for the most part felt realistic, outside of one stampede scene, and I have no complaints from that. The jungle itself was also a diverse and beautiful setting and it made viewing the film a great experience.

And sure, I liked that they included a few of the original songs. They did feel out of place and didn’t sound as great as the cartoon, but still keeping them was a nice touch.

The Jungle Book is a great adaptation, but it could have been the BEST adaptation if they went for top tier talent and consistency.

3 out of 4.


It has been awhile since I have seen a film set mostly in Hawaii. Godzilla, Big Eyes, Battleship all had elements in Hawaii. But the last full on Hawaiian film was The Descendants and it was really fucking good. So if I compare all films set in Hawaii, Aloha has to have some pretty big strides to catch up to the top.

And it has to do it with controversy!

What controversy? Well, casting controversy of course. The last films to receive this much internet anger was The Last Airbender and Exodus: Gods and Kings, but to be fair, they received criticism for more than just casting choices. In this film, Emma Stone, a very white woman plays a Hawaiin. Why is that an issue? Because internet people claim white people can’t be Hawaiian of course.

Oh, they mean native Hawaiian. Fair point, sure. But she is also playing someone who is just a quarter Hawaiian, so one of her parents is only half Hawaiian, and fuck everybody she could totally qualify as someone who is a quarter Hawaiian. Saying she doesn’t look it enough is stupid complaint when she is claiming barely any Hawaiian ancestry. Just because she isn’t in real life quarter Hawaiian doesn’t mean she can’t play one on a movie and be believable. It is called mother fucking Acting. Damn it.

This looks like they were photoshopped next to each other, their chemistry is so nonexistent.

Brian Gilcrest (Bradley Cooper) used to be a great military person, and then he left! Turns out the military pays close to jack in pay, so he sold his skills to a private contractor, Carson Welch (Bill Murray) who wants to go to outer space! Brian loves space and wants to go one day. I think. Either way, he heads to Hawaii for a few days, where he used to be a big deal. People told stories about him. Blah blah blah.

He is happy to be back. For whatever reason, Allison Ng (Stone) is being assigned to follow him and help him out on his meetings. She is in in the military and young but full of spunk.

Fuck. I am dying typing out this review. The movie was so boring. Here are the only other important plot points.

Brian and Tracy (Rachel McAdams) used to have a thing like 12 years ago. They make it VERY obvious that her oldest daughter is his kid. But she is married now to Woody (John Krasinski) and they have at least one more kid. So hopefully they don’t rekindle anything, would be dickish. At the same time, Allison starts to like Brian. There is also a big controversy over the native Hawaiians and using their land to send rockets into space, as they are worried it will end badly.

Also featuring Alec Baldwin and Danny McBride is a full fledged military men!

The sexual tension is high when Cooper looks apathetic while coding.

What the hell happened to you Cameron Crowe? Seriously? What in the fuck? He gave us Say Anything…, Jerry Maguire, and Almost Famous! These are good to great movies right? Because the last thing before this one was We Bought A Zoo which was incredibly average in every single way.

And now? Now we have Aloha. Which sure had controversy which I gave no cares about. What I care about is a good entertaining movie, but Aloha is neither good nor entertaining. While watching, I couldn’t help but wait for the point of the movie to come across. Are the military supposed to be bad? Are private contractors? They sort of answer it by the end, but it almost seems like that was an after thought despite allegedly being the main plot line. What is more annoying is that most of the conflict in the end also seemingly comes out of nowhere. And it is resolved with a couple lines of dialogue, again, as an after thought.

As for the relationship angle, one never really goes anywhere and the other is also extremely forced. It is like all of the actors involved are just uncomfortable the whole movie. No one has a desire to be great in this film, it is probably just a quick paycheck for everyone and a free trip to Hawaii. You know, the Adam Sandler reason for acting. Not even Kenny Fucking Powers can save this movie, because he might be in 3 scenes. Maybe. Everything is wasted in this film that is technically quite full of talent and entertaining people. I’m going to go watch The Descendants again.

0 out of 4.

St. Vincent

Day after Christmas, and you know what that means… Boxing Day! The day I don’t pretend to understand but could easily look up. I think it involves even better shopping deals and when people presumably box up their trees for the trash or the attic.

Screw that though, let’s say it is about some secret day to worship some other saint. After all, Christmas is about Saint Nick. There are presumably a whole lot of Christmas days (12? 25?) that people just seem to accept but not question when they are. So now we can say Boxing Day is for St. Vincent.

Sure, some people may say this is one of my more ridiculous openings to a review, where I am clearly just being stupid. And to that, I say, okay.

Legally obligated to show this picture whenever talking about this movie on the internet.

Vincent (Bill Murray) is old, and thus, mean and grouchy. He lives in a run down place, all dirt, nothing growing but a tree in his front yard. So when neighbors move in and their moving company somehow manage to ruin his car, fence, and tree, he is a bit displeased. Not the best way for Maggie (Melissa McCarthy) and her son Olvier (Jaeden Lieberher).

Maggie is going through a divorce. So she has to spend a lot of her time at work making extra money, so she needs someone to watch Oliver sometimes. Vincent is nearby and willing, for a price, because Vincent has gambling debts and other costs that are just racking up. He even has a wife in a nursing home who doesn’t remember him, but he still makes sure she can live in luxury while he lives in filth.

See, Vincent is swell. Even with all the drinking and gambling and care free attitude. Oh, and the pregnant prostitute/stripper (Naomi Watts) that is in his life. Another vice, I guess. But when he is isn’t sexing or getting beat up by an old Terrence Howard, he can sometimes teach Oliver to fight. You know, the important skills.

Oh hey. Chris O’Dowd plays a Catholic Priest teacher, a role I feel like he keeps getting shoe horned into.

This is the best McCarthy movie since Go from 1999, which is saying a whole lot.

I have a pretty weird relationship with Bill Murray. He once gave me a wedgie and ran away yelling “No one will believe this!” the bastard. But also I don’t have the deep appreciation of all the 80’s/90’s comedies he starred in. I like him more in his cameo roles.

But his drama roles are usually pretty top notch. Even in the pretty disappointing The Monuments Man he had one of the better parts in a shower scene (uhh…). And in this role, it felt like Murray was actually acting and not just playing an old man. He had a different persona/character about him and he did it really well.

McCarthy was also really well in this role. I didn’t hate her character in the slightest which was a nice change. I didn’t even recognize Watts at all.

The only issues I really have with this movie is how predictable the whole thing is. Nothing really deviates from an expected path and everything seems to fall into place.

So, it is a well acted and interesting movie? Just not as amazing I had hoped, but still pretty good and worth a watch or two.

3 out of 4.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Hah. Wes Anderson. For those that don’t read every post I make, Wes Anderson is a strange guy for me. Every movie I reviewed for the site that he directed, I have love love loved. But that was only two movies. The other one I saw I just didn’t really get, and thought it was weird. Yet still, I was excited for this new one.

So excited, I am pretty pissed off that they forced The Grand Budapest Hotel to be a limited release. It broke some records for its release. Like, most money gained from a super super limited release. But only two cities? That is crap. There is no reason for that. I am lucky I even got to see it so soon as I had to drive three hours to see it, weeks after its “release date”. Maybe I am more annoyed because it wasn’t even advertised as a limited release, so I have to imagine it was just a last minute change.

But I guess I expected Anderson to be a dick if he could, so there is that.

This story in a story is about The Grand Budapest Hotel, as you might have guessed. It used to be a…grand old place, but recently, it has gone under some bad times. The clientele is no longer the elite, the staff is no longer extremely efficient, and really it is in shambles. That is why a young writer (Jude Law) is so interested to meet its current owner, Mr. Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham), to hear his story about he acquired the hotel and his vast fortune.

M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) is a man amongst boys. He used to be the concierge, a god amongst men. Working morning to night, every day, he made sure the rich guests felt welcome at the hotel and would do anything to please them. Including the extremely rich Madame D (Tilda Swinton) who stays at the hotel for weeks every year.

Well, she dies, mysteriously. Also, her will was changed last minute as well it seems. Apparently M. Gustave was left her priceless painting, pissing off the ungrateful and evil family. Now, they also think M. Gustave killed her!

It is up to the help of his Lobby Boy, Zero (Tony Revolori) to help prove his innocence, get him out of jail, and in general, save the day!

Also featuring a shit ton of people. Here they are, roughly, in order of importance: Willem Dafoe, Adrien Brody, Edward Norton, Jeff Goldbloom, Saoirse Ronan, Mathieu Amalric, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, and Owen Wilson.

This scene represents birth.

Ahhhh, quirky Wes Anderson movie!

This one took a little bit to get going, trying to figure out just what the movie would be about. It takes place over three time periods, technically, so the story needs time to get started.

But when it does? Man. This movie was hilarious. Ralph Fiennes, although I don’t know how to say his name, is a terrific actor and a charismatic character in this film. You can’t take your eyes off of him whenever he is on the screen. And it works so well. Much laughter, much ridiculousness.

This film has a lot of Anderson standards, with his camera work and use of colors.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is also a bit more crass than his other recent movies. Some nakedness, some death scenes, all a bit extreme. But I think that made it a little bit better.

Definitely as good as the trailer made it seem to be, and one of the best early movies of 2014.

4 out of 4.

The Monuments Men

Finally, it is February, which means theaters are allowed to show good new movies again! Both The Monuments Men and The Lego Movie are out the same weekend, which adds some credit to the theory that studios literally wait to release their movies right outside of January, to separate themselves from the junk.

This movie in particular has an all-star cast, directed by George Clooney (his fifth overall), and a World War II story. Yeah, it has a lot going for them.

Typical rag tag group of men to save the day.

The Monuments Men tells the true story of a group of seven men, mostly art historians, curators, and museum directors, who join up with the Allied forces to preserve culture and art that might be destroyed during World War II. Most of these men are old, or out of shape, but they believe in their goal, and convinced the men in charge to let them help.

They were brought together by Frank Stokes (George Clooney), who had the idea after they almost lost The Last Supper when the UK bombed a city. His hand picked team included James Granger (Matt Damon), a painter, Richard Campbell (Bill Murray), an architect, Walter Garfield (John Goodman), a sculptor, Preston Savitz (Bob Balaban), a historian. They also have Donald Jeffries (Hugh Bonneville) and Jean Claude Clermont (Jean Dujardin), a British officer and a French man, for culture purposes. They are later joined by Sam Epstein (Dimitri Leonidas), a German translator.

These men split up around the war front from 1943-1945 searching for lost and stolen treasures. The Germans hid the art in their country and intended to destroy them should Hitler be killed. They also are racing against the Russians, who have lost so many men in the war that any stolen art they find they will steal right back and keep for themselves as a sort of reparations.

Also starring Cate Blanchett, as a very convincing French art curator, who really enjoys a nice painting. Like. A lot.

Murray Giant
Bill Murray looks like a fucking giant in this movie.

Well drat. Turns out, The Monuments Men ended up being the antithesis to That Awkward Moment. If you remember, That Awkward Moment looked bad, but turned out to be decent.

Clooney took an interesting piece of history, put in great actors, and gave us a mediocre movie overall. It is incredibly disappointing that this movie wasn’t amazing, but I have to make sure my review still accurately reflects the overall quality, and not just say it is bad because I am feeling betrayed.

This movie did surprise me in a few ways. One, I saw Murray give a real and convincing cry, which I definitely did not see coming. I don’t think I have ever seen that man cry, it was heartfelt, and I almost teared up as well. Two, I did learn about some famous art pieces in Europe, and it is awesome how close they came to being destroyed/lost forever. Three, there isn’t a number three.

All of the funny moments made it into the trailer, leaving not a lot more for the movie. That is incredibly disappointing, as it was advertised a comedy, with not a lot of laughs. The rest of the movie was slower and more dramatic, but most of the times I didn’t really care enough about the individual characters to care what was happening to them.

The Monuments Men will be forgotten with time. It was a decently acted movie, certainly not bottom of the barrel in terms of quality, it just didn’t have a lot more going on for it.


2 out of 4.

Hyde Park On Hudson

In case you are still wondering why I released The King’s Speech review earlier this week, it is because of Hyde Park On Hudson.

Why? Well, while watching this random movie, I saw that King George VI was a character, a name who meant nothing to me. But then he stuttered. Oh shit, that is the same guy from that other movie. How quaint, how charming.

So, basically this is the sequel to The King’s Speech. Just with different directors, actors, main characters, plot, and no where near as excellent.

But really, the only reason people watched it was for this man.

The setting? Summer of 1939. Franklin D. Roosevelt (Bill Fucking Murray) is a lonely man. His mother (Elizabeth Wilson) invited his fifth or sixth cousin over to keep him company, because closer family members didn’t want to go do that white house shit. Well, Daisy (Laura Linney) agreed to stop by, thinking she wasn’t interesting at all and would bore the president!

But she didn’t. They talked a lot, eventually went on car rides, and hey, maybe carried out an affair. Yay!

Really, who knows if that is true. Apparently the journals of Daisy after she died said so, and that must be fact!

Well, they get a nice building, in Hyde Park, on the Hudson River, for getaways. But when the King of Britain comes a knocking to visit, it also works as a place for people to hang out and have fancy gatherings at. It is a strange time, because there might be a world war soon with Hitler doing shit, and UK/US relations are low after the depression and crash. But if they can hang out, the stuttering king (Samuel West), Queen Elizabeth (Olivia Colman), and FDR, maybe the future wont be bleak?

But a weekend with all the press, Daisy, Eleanor (Olivia Williams) and maybe some other hussies (Elizabeth Marvel) can get a bit feisty. At the same time, can King George VI convince himself to eat something called a Hot Dog for the sake of preserving the free world? Fucking weird Americans

Alright listen, they really liked cars back then. They were new, they were sexy. Bitches need to be driven around and all.

And that is about it. Apparently no one actually thinks they had an affair, just a close relationship. He for sure had an affair with someone else a decade earlier or something, but that was it.

The King visit was also apparently overblown from reality.

And uhh, not much happened in this movie.

It is slow and uneventful. I think the best characters are the King/Queen of England, freaking out about the little things and American customs, but they are the side plot of the movie. The actual main plot I don’t give a shit about.

Bill Murray as a serious actor is doable, because normally he is still just being Bill Murray, but this time he can’t be Bill Murray. He has to be FDR, and I don’t think it works at all. I thought this was going to be some great Oscar Bait movie that no one saw. I guess they did see it and realized there is a lot lacking. Meh, now I am all disappointed.

1 out of 4.