Tuesday, November 30, 2021     Volume: 22, Issue: 39
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Santa Maria Sun / Film

This weeks review
A QUIET PLACE PART II
ANOTHER ROUND
BINGEABLE: 100 FOOT WAVE (2021-)
BINGEABLE: BARRY (2018-)
BINGEABLE: FLEABAG (2016-2019)
BINGEABLE: MAID (2021)
BINGEABLE: MIDNIGHT MASS (2021)
BINGEABLE: ONLY MURDERS IN THE BUILDING (2021)
BINGEABLE: SQUID GAME (2021)
BINGEABLE: SWEET TOOTH
BINGEABLE: TELL ME YOUR SECRETS (2021)
BINGEABLE: THE WAY DOWN (2021)
BINGEABLE: Y: THE LAST MAN (2021)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: THE MATRIX (1999)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: THE PRESTIGE (2006)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: WILD AT HEART (1990)
BOSS LEVEL
DUNE
ETERNALS
GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE
GUILTY PLEASURES: CHEER (2020)
GUILTY PLEASURES: GUNPOWDER MILKSHAKE
GUILTY PLEASURES: JOLT
GUILTY PLEASURES: TRAIN TO BUSAN (2016)
HAVE A GOOD TRIP: ADVENTURES IN PSYCHEDELICS
HEARST CASTLE: BUILDING THE DREAM (1996)
I CARE A LOT
I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS
LIMBO
NEW FLICKS: ARMY OF THIEVES
NEW FLICKS: CRUELLA
NEW FLICKS: FINCH
NEW FLICKS: HIGH GROUND
NEW FLICKS: LAND
NEW FLICKS: RED NOTICE
NEW FLICKS: RIDERS OF JUSTICE
NINE DAYS
NINE PERFECT STRANGERS (2021)
NO TIME TO DIE
PIG
SOUL
THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM (2019)
THE CARD COUNTER
THE FRENCH DISPATCH
THE LAST BLOCKBUSTER (2020)
THE LAST DUEL
THE MAP OF TINY PERFECT THINGS
THE NEW MUTANTS
THE PAPER TIGERS
THE PROFESSOR AND THE MADMAN
THE SUNLIT NIGHT
TV REVIEW: A WILDERNESS OF ERROR (2020)
TV REVIEW: BATES MOTEL
TV REVIEW: DEFENDING JACOB
TV REVIEW: EXTERMINATE ALL THE BRUTES (2021)
TV REVIEW: HOMECOMING
TV REVIEW: HOW TO WITH JOHN WILSON
TV REVIEW: I KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE
TV REVIEW: I MAY DESTROY YOU
TV REVIEW: LENOX HILL
TV REVIEW: LITTLE AMERICA
TV REVIEW: MARE OF EASTTOWN
TV REVIEW: MRS. AMERICA
TV REVIEW: ONE MISSISSIPPI
TV REVIEW: PAINTING WITH JOHN (2021)
TV REVIEW: RAMY
TV REVIEW: RUN
TV REVIEW: SPACE FORCE
TV REVIEW: TABOO
TV REVIEW: TED LASSO (2020-)
TV REVIEW: THE BOYS
TV REVIEW: THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD
TV REVIEW: THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT
TV REVIEW: THE LAST KINGDOM
TV REVIEW: THE MIDNIGHT GOSPEL
TV REVIEW: THE MOST DANGEROUS ANIMAL OF ALL (2020)
TV REVIEW: THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA
TV REVIEW: THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT
TV REVIEW: THE VOW
TV REVIEW: UNDONE
TV REVIEW: WANDAVISION
TV REVIEW: WARRIOR
TV REVIEW: WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS
TV REVIEW: ZEROZEROZERO
UNDERRATED: BATMAN BEGINS (2005)
UNDERRATED: THE KINGDOM (2007)

‘The French Dispatch’ is auteur Wes Anderson’s love letter to old school journalism

THE FRENCH DISPATCH

PHOTO BY , COURTESY OF AMERICAN EMPIRICAL PICTURES

THE FRENCH DISPATCH


Where is it playing?: Regal Edwards RPX Santa Maria

What's it rated?: R

What's it worth?: $Full price (Anna Starkey)

What's it worth?: $Full price (Glen Starkey)

User Rating: 7.50 (1 Votes)

Written and directed by Wes Anderson (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, Moonrise Kingdom, Grand Budapest Hotel) based on a story by Roman Coppola and Hugo Guinness, The French Dispatch offers three main interconnected plots about The French Dispatch Magazine, a publication from the fictional French city of Ennui-sur-Blasé. (108 min.)

Glen: Essentially a satirical homage to the early years of The New Yorker magazine and some of its most storied writers (A.J. Liebling, James Thurber, Joseph Mitchell, James Baldwin, and Rosamond Bernier), The French Dispatch is as quirky, endearing, and engaging as all of Anderson’s work. By now, you probably know if you love Anderson or not, and if not, there’s no point in seeing this film if you’ve yet to be hooked by the likes of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Darjeeling Limited, or The Grand Budapest Hotel—not to mention his two forays into stop-motion animation, Fantastic Mr. Fox and Isle of Dogs. You’re either a fan of Anderson’s carefully created tableaus—sets that seem more suited to theater productions than film, color schemes and set decorations so curated as to feel like miniatures, perfectly rendered characters simultaneously deeply familiar and utterly queer—or you’re not. I’m a massive Anderson fan. There’s not a one of his films I’m not ready to re-watch whenever the opportunity arises, this new one included. In fact, I could probably watch this film three times today and still not fully absorb all the little references he’s packed into it. It helps that Anderson has an amazing cast of actors who stick with him film after film. Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman, Owen Wilson, and Anjelica Huston (this film’s narrator) are regulars in his productions—familiar faces (and voices) I love to see (and hear). This is yet another wonderfully odd Anderson film. 

Anna: The guy certainly has a style, and as both of us are big fans, it’s always exciting to hear another Anderson flick is coming out. As you said, this follows his usual direction in style and storyline—one thing I love about this director is how he takes seemingly insignificant and small stories and creates an entire film around weaving them together. A lot of that is down to the characters and the wonderful cast he always manages to assemble. You have to bet these films are a ton of fun to work on with the big names he manages to pull every time. In “The Concrete Masterpiece,” Benicio del Toro is Moses, an incarcerated murderer who becomes the art world’s new “it guy” with his abstract paintings of his muse (and guard) Simone (Léa Seydoux). Tilda Swinton is J.K.L. Berensen, who is giving a lecture on Moses’ rise in the art scene—and her part is perfectly delivered even with a mouthful of prosthetic teeth that produce a whole different character to her voice. There is a bunch of smaller stories here, yet Anderson manages to keep all of his characters from getting lost. I imagine there’s a faction of people who just aren’t fans of his arthouse style, though I can’t imagine why. I find it absolutely charming.

Glen: The other two main stories—“Revisions to a Manifesto,” about a student uprising, and “The Private Dining Room of the Police Commissioner,” about a dinner interrupted by a kidnapping—are equally captivating (pun intended!), as is the smaller story “The Cycling Reporter” about Herbsaint Sazerac’s (Owen Wilson) cycling tour of the town of Ennui, but it’s all tied together by the death of the magazine’s publisher, Arthur Howitzer Jr. (Murray), whose last will and testament directs that upon his death, The French Dispatch Magazine be terminated save for one farewell issue containing three articles from previous issues as well as Howitzer’s obituary. The film is essentially that issue—a sendoff to old-school journalism and journalists. I loved it.

Anna: It’s definitely going to appeal to those in the journalism biz! While visually very neat and tidy and with superior storytelling abilities, Anderson stays away from pretension and so do his actors. He can create something fascinating by first setting the mood. As you said, his sets are much more theater production style than something created for film, and that in itself puts the audience in a different state of mind. While he plays the head honcho, Murray’s part isn’t big here, but as always he plays it so coolly and with perfect finesse, and he’s in good company with his cast-mates. Something tells me this group is one that takes roles for the character, not the paycheck—something that can be hard to find in Hollywood. I hope Mr. Anderson keeps at it for as long as he can. While I do prefer some of his films over others, I truly do like them all. Like you, any time I come across one, I’ll watch it. Not only that, I own old-school DVDs of some that are tucked away in the closet for whenever I need a dose of his magic. It’s just fun with flair, and that’s all I need sometimes.

New Times Senior Staff Writer Glen Starkey and freelancer Anna Starkey write Sun Screen. Glen compiles streaming listings. Comment at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com.










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