Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

moonrise-kingdom-international-posterStarring Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, Bob Balaban

Directed by Wes Anderson

Expectations: Moderately high. I’m not the biggest Wes Anderson fan.

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Over the course of his small filmography, Wes Anderson has carefully honed his unique brand of sleek, hipster art design and Moonrise Kingdom may be the pinnacle of his ability to push the boundaries of the field. At least until his next film arrives. A Wes Anderson film is never mistaken for another filmmaker’s, each one bears the unmistakable attention to detail and meticulously constructed sets and visuals. So when you are somewhat indifferent to one of his films, that feeling kind of runs through all of his films. To be fair, I haven’t seen all of them (I’ve only missed The Darjeeling Limited), but I think it’s fair to assume that I’ll feel similarly about that one too.

Now having said all that, I think Moonrise Kingdom is easily one of Wes Anderson’s best films. But I still don’t really like it. It’s great, but it just ain’t my thing. For me it comes down to two things: the commendable, meticulous design and the pointed dialogue delivery his characters always use. While the perfect design is really cute and interesting to look at, I want to rebel against it. My gruff personality and my penchant for raw, ragged glory makes me want to jump into the movie and just muss everything up as much as possible. In my youth I never really understood why I felt indifferent to Wes Anderson’s movies, but this desire to destroy is definitely the main reason. It’s too perfect.

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Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

Starring Richard Dreyfuss, François Truffaut, Teri Garr, Melinda Dillon, Bob Balaban, J. Patrick McNamara, Warren J. Kemmerling, Roberts Blossom, Philip Dodds, Cary Guffey

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Expectations: Love it. Haven’t seen it in a while.


 

Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a masterful film, bursting at the seams with a wealth of beautifully composed shots, wonderful John Williams music and a great sense of wonder. This is the kind of film only a budding filmmaker could have made, a true love letter to the dreamer fueled on passion and heart. This is made all the more interesting by the fact that in this case, the dream itself is implanted into our hero’s mind by the extraterrestrials. Much in the same way, Spielberg has inserted his own vision of first contact into millions of minds, forever changing the way we look at aliens.

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