Currently browsing the "Harvey Keitel" tag.

Review: The Painted Bird

Based on Jerzy Kosiński’s novel, The Painted Bird is a brutal tale of a young nameless boy’s fight to survive on his own during World War II in the wilds of Eastern Europe. He’s beaten and abused wherever he turns, and all he wants to do is find home, though he doesn’t really know where that is. And as he makes his way towards that imagined home, he grows more and more hardened and more like the people he meets, scared and mistrustful of the world at large. Though it takes place during the war, the conflict is distant even if the effects are all around The Boy. While it’s beautifully shot in black and white, it’s also 169 minutes long and essentially a litany of horrors. It’s not a film for the masses.

Review: Isle of Dogs

What a fun movie! I don’t think Wes Anderson has made a film I didn’t like, so that’s no surprise, but the creative choices he made in this one are even more entertaining than usual. The story takes place in a town in Japan and all the humans speak untranslated Japanese, except for some public occasions where there is a simultaneous translator. Only the dogs speak English, voiced by a veritable A-list cast. (Bryan Cranston, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, Ed Norton, Greta Gerwig, Scarlett Johansson, and many more) The only thing that’s clear is that Mayor Kobayashi hates dogs (cat lover!) and he’s determined to rid his town of every last one, exiling them to a garbage covered island. But human hero to the rescue! Kobayashi’s 12-year-old nephew/ward Atari goes in search of his beloved pooch and uncovers a conspiracy at the highest levels.

Youth

Italian writer/director Paolo Sorrentino was responsible for one of my favorite foreign films of the last few years, The Great Beauty aka La grande bellezza. That film dealt with a Roman writer’s shifting view of his life following his 65th birthday bash. In Sorrentino’s newest film Youth, he again looks at men of a certain age, coming to terms with their place in the world. This one is in English and stars Michael Caine as Fred and Harvey Keitel as Mick, two long time friends who are vacationing in a luxurious alpine spa.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

In his latest fabulously outrageous film The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson introduces us to Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes), the concierge to end all concierges who takes enterprising lobby boy Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori) under his wing. The movie is visually stunning and laugh out loud hilarious, and what totally sold me was its witty use of language and music to give another layer to its story set in a first class hotel in a fictional eastern European country in that elegant era between the wars. And the chemistry between the older, wiser hotelier and his young protégé is delicious! What begins as a mentoring relationship quickly turns to a zany buddy romp when one of the hotel’s wealthy guests (Tilda Swinton) is murdered and Gustave is thrown in jail. And only Zero can save him.

Moonrise Kingdom

You know from the first frame of Moonrise Kingdom that you are watching one of Wes Anderson’s movies. They’re not like anyone else’s. The textures are more textured, the children are wise beyond their years, in fact all the characters are just a bit off, but in a good way. I have really enjoyed his previous efforts with Rushmore, The Royal Tannenbaums, even The Fantastic Mr. Fox. And happily, Moonrise Kingdom is his best yet. Funny, sweet and totally entertaining, it is one of those indie gems you just have to see.