Monday 25 October 2021

The French Dispatch


As Wes Anderson is a director with one of the most distinctive style of filmmaking, there is always that possibility that he may just end up imitating himself. But instead, with The French Dispatch, its as if he’s taken a step back and decided to go in a very different direction. Granted the framing is still the same, the use of cross section is still very in use and the deadpan acting is all there. But instead of one linear story, the film is split into sections, like the title itself, like a magazine. Each story is indeed rife with Wes Anderson-isms but there is something quite different about the entire film. It feels like a last hurrah.


Following the death of the editor-in-chief of The French Dispatch, of the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun, Arthur Howitzer Jr expressed in his will that the newpaper seize publication. Along with an obituary and a column from the cycling journalist, three articles are included about the arts and artists, politics and culinary arts, tastes and smells.


The film plays out as a visual companion to the final issue of the newspaper/magazine complete with intro and obituary. As a homage to the printed word its wonderful. But the main three stories written feel as if they should have been given more time. This might have worked as a mini-series but I suppose the quick cuts and deadpan acting might not have sustained over 3-4 hours.

Focusing on the three main articles, all the writers are able to bask in the limelight in various ways, no medium left unexplored, whether it is through a talk with slides or through an interview on a talk show, the image of each writer is portrayed differently. A story about a disturbed artist being discovered in prison is joyfully bizarre with the best cast and would probably be a favourite among fans. A story about the student protests as seen through the students and their different encampments as well as the older journalist is thought provoking as well as full of nostalgia for the 60s but is the final story, about a chef who poisons kidnappers that is surprisingly heart-breaking. Jeffery Wright as the journalist Roebuck Wright brings all the emotion in a matter of minutes to the front. All three stories have greater depth to them than you see in trailers and marketing for the film, but this final story has the edge and the more dramatic scenes, complete with animated parts. All these stories are beautifully written coupled with the most amazing production design, as usual. It is a very different experience than Anderson’s other films but one that can be cherished.


Anderson has said that this film is a love letter to journalists with many of the characters inspired by real people. The passion comes across in waves from the intimate close-up moments that have to stop and reflect to the use fantastic use of miniatures and the crosscut scenery and the grand large scale set pieces that really are magnificent. This is the ultimate stand out over the top film that includes 4 stories not 1, as if he wanted to makes sure that everyone had a chance to shine. At times the film does feel overstuffed with ‘names’ but no less enjoyable. The amount of detail that is included is staggering. But this is one of the reasons why Anderson’s films stand out among the rest of Hollywood and the Indie slates. He has a distinct style and casts A list international actors but his writing is NOT what Hollywood wants which is why he keeps his work interesting a fresh, through his writing. It would be great to see Anderson return to his roots of writing, after such a great streak with his last two films, something on a smaller scale would be exciting and of course would be feel less of a farewell.


Friday 22 October 2021

The Lost Daughter - BFI London Film Festival

Stories centred around motherhood tend follow a pattern and always have characters that take a strong stance whether it is about believing that having children is the thing that women should do and on the other side believing that children is not a vocation that every woman can adhere to. The Lost Daughter is that painfully honest opinion that is rarely explored, whether motherhood is for everyone and how admitting that you regret having children is one of the biggest taboo subjects. So much so that it is never once said out loud. 


Full review over at Filmhounds HERE.

Thursday 21 October 2021

7 Days - BFI London Film Festival


Romantic comedies have an unfortunate stigma and are all too easily overlooked as being ‘chick flock’ fodder or written off for being too sentimental. Sometimes the romantic comedy genre is given a darker, sadder approach and misses the mark completely. 7 Days managers to hit somewhere in between with its charm, predictable beats and all too familiar setting. But it does have two quirky hearts in the form of Karan Soni and Geraldine Viswanathan.


Full review over at Filmhounds HERE.

Saturday 16 October 2021

True Things - BFI London Film Festival


True things is a beast that most of us will recognise, whether we have been the unreliable person or the one who feels as if their world is caving in. Toxic relationships seem to be more a matter of perception but the film takes a look from the inside out, offering not exactly a fresh view but one that lingers on in your mind. 

Full review over at Filmhounds HERE.

Friday 15 October 2021

Passing - BFI London Film Festival


There is beautiful imagery throughout with some innovative framing, looking and feeling elegant throughout with a story that is, unfortunately timeless, Passing is a solid debut from Rebecca Hall. 


Full review over at Filmhounds HERE.

Thursday 14 October 2021

Queen of Glory - BFI London Film Festival


On the cusp of starting a new life in Ohio with her boyfriend, as soon as he leaves his wife, scientist Sarah is left shocked when her mother suddenly dies. Hit with a wave of responsibilities and an inheritance of a Christian bookshop to take care of, Sarah becomes overwhelmed, especially when her father returns from Ghana, causing more issues. On top of all this, she can’t even find a way to grieve her loss.


Full review over at Filmhounds HERE.

Money Has Four Legs - BFI London Film Festival


In this story of a filmmaker who is literally at breaking point in every aspect of his life, there is still humour to be found in this rather deadpan comedy from writer- director Maung Sun.


Full review is over at Filmhounds HERE.

Wednesday 13 October 2021



A surreal at times, when switching from reality to fantasy and with a somewhat obvious overarching ‘lesson’ to be learnt, but Mayday does have some beautiful imagery, cinematic setting and a great cast. 


Full review over at Filmhounds HERE.

Tuesday 12 October 2021

The Souvenir Part II - BFI London Film Festival


When Joanna Hogg’s very personal and semi-autobiographical The Souvenir was released in 2019 the critics were split. Not quite as dramatic as some of the blockbuster films that were released around the same time but there was a definite split of opinion. Where the first part explored a toxic and strangely passionate relationship as well as glimpses into film school, The Souvenir Part II has a very different vibe and energy, a sense of anguish and despair with bursts of creativity that are far more captivating than the first part of this story. 


Full review over at Filmhounds HERE.

Tuesday 5 October 2021

BFI London Film Festival Preview


LFF is back! The wait is over, the BFI London Film Festival is back and once again the festival will be a mix of virtual and in-person events and screenings.

For the full article, read over at Run Riot HERE.

Monday 4 October 2021

Ride the Eagle


Grief is staying in the cabin your mum left you while you complete tasks to open up to yourself and accept your situation.


Full review over at Filmhounds HERE.