Asteroid City

Scarlett Johansson in red top and matching lipstick

Welcome to Asteroid City, Wes Anderson’s companion piece to The French Despatch, another film appearing to take its inspiration from yellowing adverts in ancient back issues of Life magazine to depict a world where corporate capture by Hollywood, the military-industrial complex and Madison Avenue is rendered in Anderson’s ironic deadpan – the writing, the acting, the visuals, the soundtrack all point in the same direction. The action centres on a 1950s desert waystation where a motley group of people get trapped together after a recent atom bomb test, and then get locked down (spot the pandemic) after an alien arrives and steals the asteroid that gives the area its name. Anderson’s usual collection … Read more

The French Dispatch

Bill Murray as the editor of the Dispatch

A middle finger to the haters, The French Dispatch finds an unrepentant Wes Anderson doubling down on the whimsy and pastiche of films like The Grand Budapest Hotel or The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. There’s more. An artist’s statement, done early on in Owen Wilson’s laconic voiceover, vouchsafes that “All grand beauties withhold their deepest secrets.” Secrets? Deepest? Anderson is all surface, surely? Anyhow, on to the Dispatch, which is an American magazine/supplement of New Yorker stripe run in the old way – a liberal institution headed by a steely eccentric (played by Bill Murray), never short of money and with enough space to contain at least one writer who doesn’t write, … Read more

Moonrise Kingdom

Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton and Bruce Willis in Moonrise Kingdom

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 1 August First Scout camp, Brownsea Island, 1907 On this day in 1907, a camp organised by British national hero Lieutenant-General Baden-Powell to test the ideas he’d laid out in his book, Scouting for Boys, opened on Brownsea Island, just off the south coast of the United Kingdom. It lasted a week, and was made up of 20 or 21 boys of varying social backgrounds who spent their time camping, learning woodcraft, chivalry, lifesaving and patriotism. Each day started at 6am with Baden-Powell blowing a reveille on a kudu horn, after which the boys would have cocoa, do exercise, raise the … Read more