Saturday, 27 August 2011

Opinions: Wes Anderson/Film reviews.

All reviews sourced from users at IMDb...because they are wise.
I have sourced two reviews for each of the films...the best...and the worst- and with my own beneath the two, as a summary.

Bottle Rocket (short)

16 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
Charming + wonderful beginning
, 16 June 2002

savage miser
This is the FIRST Bottle Rocket, not the full length. This version begins after the breakout in th '96 version, and ends after the boys RECAP the bookstore robbery to Bob. This is interesting to watch for hardcore Wes fans, and if Criterion loves us, they will release a DVD including this original on it. Especially worth seeing is the "I bought the gun" scene, where Dignan flips out in a vulgar rage which only Owen Wilson could have executed the way he did.

The Bottle Rocket '96 trailer includes a shot of Anthony breaking into a car to steal a wallet, but the scene is cut from the actual movie. That scene is present in the short version.

1 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
Worst movie I've ever seen!
, 21 October 2000
RyeOfTheDead from Ohio
I rented this movie based on comments on this page and thought it was absolutley god-awful and terrible. Yes the dialogue is littered with lots of subtle jokes. I got most of them, but they weren't that funny. The plot is dry and at many times I considered turning it off. The only thing that kept me from doing so was the paralyzing pain that this horrid movie caused me, so I could not lift the remote.

If you desire to see this movie, I recommend laying down in front of a truck as a substitute.


Watched on Youtube (because I'm so badass) after seeing the vast majority of Wes' other films (with the exception of 'Bottle Rocket' (1996 full version) this short film felt like a great surprise- very detatched from Wes' other movies, it certainly had more of a Tarintino vibe, as many describe it to have. Wonderfully shot in B&W, the Wilson brothers kept me enthralled through the 14 or so minutes, with interesting script and subtle acting. A refreshingly different side of Wes' filmmaking history- but clearly a first step into the film world. Short but sweet.
Bottle Rocket


63 out of 77 people found the following review useful:
I normally hate Owen Wilson...
, 17 January 2004

obiwan2005 from Los Angeles
In anything. But man was he great in this movie. I mean it was such a good performance. This movie is director Wes Anderson's (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic) feature directorial debut. It's about a group of misfit friends that decide to take up a life of crime. The group includes Anthony (Luke Wilson) just got out of the nut house and is searching for himself. Dignan (Owen Wilson, co-wrote the movie with Anderson) is the confident but bumbling ringleader who wants to be notorious but doesn't know how to execute a plan to save his life. And Bob (Robert Musgrave) the driver/look out who just wants a little recognition. The movie follows their misadventures of them robbing a bookstore, going on the lamb, Anthony falling in love with a Motel maid who instills joy back in his life, and Dignan's 'big score' that involves his former employer. The subtle humor and deliveries by the actors make the movie stand out in it's own little version comedy. The characters are losers, but lovable. You can't help but cheer them on even though what they do is illegal. I highly recommend this cool little film. It's an excellent introduction into the wonderful films of Wes Anderson.

RATING: **** out of ****

3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Awful! Do yourself a favor and don't waste your time
, 31 December 2006

Shiv from United States
I wish there was a zero rating available for this movie. Never before has an IMDb rating let us down so badly! It was a total waste of the 40 minutes I forced myself to watch it before giving up. The movie can be summed up as an inane day in the mundane and mediocre life of a bunch of 20 something loser guys. Nothing much happens in the movie. You have to wonder if characters like these really exist in the real world. Pathetic and pitiful if they do. Argghhh! ...

Sorry I'd even endure a slap stick comedy over this any day. I guess this is the archetypal example for not blindly trusting IMDb ratings. Avoid this movie.


Sadly, the full 1996 version of Bottle Rocket didn't maintain my interest as much as I anticipated- a few additions from the original short were certainly welcomed, however- more of an in-depth character anlysis, a romantic interest, etc. However, the script didn't capture my imagination as much as his other films, though I felt it still has promise- despite being my least favourite of Wes' films.



136 out of 173 people found the following review useful:
"Sic Transit Gloria Mundi": So the glory of this world fades
, 16 October 2004

SigmaEcho from Chicago
Rushmore was the first Wes Anderson film I saw, and I didn't think much of it the first time. I used to think that Royal Tenenbaums was Anderson's first good film. I thought Bottle Rocket wore its rookie status on its sleeve; I thought Rushmore was flawed; and I thought Tenenbaums finally showed that Anderson had honed his craft and he would start making great films. I then re-watched Tenenbaums and found it to be even more satisfying on additional viewings. I realized that Anderson had actually crafted one of those rare pieces of cinema that reveals itself more and more upon repeat viewings. So I of course decided to give Rushmore a second look.

Now that I've had a chance to see the DVD, I've had a much different experience viewing the film. Perhaps because I saw it on Pan and Scan VHS previously? Or perhaps because Anderson's vision requires an adjustment period?

Some people will never like Anderson's films. They simply will not appeal to those out there who want clichéd Hollywood fodder. Some people will love Anderson's films from the moment they see them. Others, like myself, will need to see the films more than once to truly appreciate them. Anderson breaks convention in ways no one has done before - One has to understand that his films are deep where most films are shallow, and shallow where most films are deep. This will throw A LOT of people off, as evidenced by many of the comments on the message boards. Anderson's films begin where others end. In Rushmore, we see Max's fall from grace, not his climb up to become head of every club in his school. In Tenenbaums, we see the aftermath of the child prodigies, not their glory years. Again, this will throw a lot of people off, and indeed I heard this criticism of Tenenbaums quite a lot. Anderson constructs the world of his films around a cinema storybook. They are episodic, told in chapters. Some will find Anderson at first glance to be a rather egotistical filmmaker, as I once did. However, upon second glance, you can begin to see the rich text woven deeper in the films that might be hidden beneath quirkiness or drastic breaks from convention. The first time I saw Rushmore, I felt shock, embarrassment and confusion (Mostly at Max and Rosemary's bizarre interaction). I was lost and unfamiliar with this world Anderson has created. The second time I saw the film I felt Passion, Love, Tragedy and ultimate Redemption. I found the heart in Anderson's film.

If you felt Rushmore was not all it could have been the first time you saw it, please give it another chance. You'll find which side you fall on.


2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
The most boring movie I have ever seen.
, 8 February 1999

anonymous from Boston, Email:
This is absolutely the most boring movie I have ever seen. You spend the entire first hour waiting for something to happen, and then when you realize it won't, the movie throws just barely enough interesting scenes to keep you from walking out.

It's billed as a comedy, but the entire movie has just one funny scene, and that's the one they showed in the preview. (Guy in O.R. scrubs, main character says Oh aRe you?)

The acting is good and the characters look good, but the script is missing. Quite simply nothing much happens. The main character does things for no particular reason, i.e. things don't occur in any particular sequence, nor does one action seem to lead to another. And the movie never bothers to explain why he does the stuff that he does do, it seems totally random.

The "romance" or even the plays the main character put on are never fleshed out. There are numerous random scenes that have nothing to do with what came before or after, they could have been cut out and no one would have noticed - in fact 80% of the story could have been cut out without anyone noticing. You could have also taken the film, cut it into scenes and put it back together in a random order and no one would notice.

In other words there is no story, only a collection of (well acted) scenes. If you like that sort of stuff go see this, but if you want an actual story I can't think of a movie with less of one.

I can't even begin to describe how boring this show is, the only thing in it that doesn't suck is the pretty girl, and cute kids.


Rushmore, one of the last Wes Anderson films I saw (third from last) was, in my opinion, a real treat. Already associated, through his other films, with many of the Wes-isms- yet, this still felt innovative and new- the introduction being a particular favourite sequence (as I have found through many of his films, Darjeeling, Tenenbaums, etc)- where we are introduced to Max and his many creative outlets. A great film for angsty teenagers (such as my good self)- this is an insigntful and deeply touching narrative of how pretention and egotistic mannerisms can flaw an otherwise wonderful, and talented person. Max Fishcer, I salute you.

The Royal Tenenbaums


112 out of 145 people found the following review useful:
The perfect balance of drama and comedy
, 9 November 2004

mneilson-2 from Dunedin, New Zealand
I loved this film.

The Tenenbaum's dysfunction (while amplified for the screen) is quite an accurate portrayal of family life. Families are, essentially, groups of people living in each other's pockets, and, invariably, those people who love you and hate you the most.

Don't get me wrong, Royal and his (thermo)nuclear family of brilliant buffoons do not represent my family (or any other in the world I think!) but the family united against a miscreant father is a motif a lot of people can understand. It is this common humanity that really appeals to me as a film watcher, and what, ultimately made this film so very memorable to me.

The ensemble cast is astonishingly proficient. They all lend a perfect quirkiness to the roles. Anjelica Houston is the perfect former Mrs Royal Tenenbaum, down to the smallest nuance, Ben Stiller and Luke Wilson turn in wonderful performances, and this is the only role I've seen Gwenyth Paltrow in where I actually thought she was someone other than Gwenyth Paltrow (this is not an insult, it's just that people don't always do it for everyone, you know...?). Bill Murray, Gene Hackman, Owen Wilson, all excellent, all the time.

The black comedy counterbalanced with the drama of the issues raised in this film left me feeling like I'd witnessed a film event, rather than just another film. I loved every frame of it, from the Baldwin narrated opening, to the final tying up of ends. It never dwelled on melodrama, or the more potentially unsavoury elements, and it didn't sink into the schmaltzy "We all love each other" end it could well have. It began perfectly, and it ended perfectly.

I can't recommend this movie more highly. It's a must see for anyone who loves quirky and emotive storytelling, great characters and beautiful dialogue.



8 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
Total Rubbish
, 24 September 2002

gmacell from England
If you have any sense of humour then you will be at a loss as to what is supposed to be funny about this film. I would vote this film as one of the worst film of this and the last century. Perhaps it is the fact that I am English and the humour totally missed me, although I doubtit is this, as I usually love American humour. The plot was ridiculously stupid, the acting was held back by a ludicrous script. All in all, avoid this film unless you want to waste the precious minutes given to you, until your demise.


Somewhat defensive with my love of the film 'The Royal Tenenbaums', I would compare it to, say, a religious experience, on my first (and consequently each viewing after) viewing. For me, with this reasonably early introduction into the wonderful world of Wes Anderson, was so refreshing, and, well...wonderful. The narrative, the colours, the use of typography, his consideration for wide-angled views, but, perhaps most importantly, real human flaws, imperfections- a realistic depiction of family me, that was so innovative and new. For so long we have been bombared with the images of glittery family life...the shiny coating of fiction...not since Sam Mende's 'American Beauty' had I seen a depiction of family life that I had actually believed in. A beautifully shot and painfully honest film- it was love at first sight.

The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou


331 out of 460 people found the following review useful:
A real treat!
, 13 December 2004

syfer from San Francisco, California
Although one person I was with at the pre-screen hated it, I absolutely loved it. I think it will just be one of those kinds of films (but hey, I also loved "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" which this reminded me of). Pure crazy fantastical stuff and I was completely taken with it.

It's a visually beautiful film with loads of odd little CG touches and subtle visual gags. The cutaway tour of the ship was a classic. Murray gives an amazing, energetic, yet deadpan performance and I also liked the richness of the smaller roles like "Klaus." The soundtrack was quirky and wonderful with unexpectedly hilarious Bowie covers and pounding, rocking tracks in the action scenes.

I think the gorgeous locations, sets and props nearly steal the show--kind of reminded me of "Brazil" in that way and I think it is destined to become a cult film in the same way "Brazil" has.

I can't wait to take some friends of mine and see what they think once it opens--this is one of those movies that's so different and off the wall that it will be interesting to see how it plays out. Although I realize it's getting mixed reviews, I'll stick my neck out and call it a masterpiece.

Being old enough to have grown up with Jacques Cousteau, I felt Anderson really captured the look and feel he was after with the the "movie within the movie" sequences and the yellow typographical stuff was spot-on.

If, like me, you're bored with the usual metroplex fare, this odd, unexpected movie is for you. What a blast! Wheeeeee!


9 out of 28 people found the following review useful:
Possibly, the worst movie ever made!
, 7 December 2004

abesrvdl from Richard Brown's Movie 101 class - NYU
Don't, don't don't see this movie. It is, without a doubt, the worst movie I have ever suffered seeing. If for some sick reason you go to see it, make sure you don't step into the aisle during the first fifteen minutes of the movie, because you will be trampled by the hordes running out of the theater. The thought that this movie starts out with some creep getting eaten by a large shark like fish and the Steve Zissou character swearing to hunt down this fat fish and kill it, has to be too much for any normal moviegoer. I believe that all of the cast of characters in this movie made up beforehand that they must do the sorriest kind of acting. I would have liked this horrible movie if that large shark like fish had eaten the entire cast during the first five minutes of the movie.


Now, I can't tell a lie- If it's got 'directed by Wes Anderson' on the cover...I'm going to love it by default, no matter what is played on the screen. Admittedly, 'The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou' didn't maintain my interest quite as effectively as say, 'The Royal Tenenbaums' or 'The Darjeeling Limited', but to me, it was still...amazing. Fun, yet heartwarming...colourful, yet dark. Wes Anderson, perhaps in more than any of his other films, here depicts a tale of sorrow, loss...and how we overcome it- and, he makes a bad dad good....but "SON OF A BITCH, I'M SICK OF THESE DOLPHINS!"*

Hotel Chevalier

24 out of 30 people found the following review useful:
Oddly beautiful slice of life
, 14 October 2007

whatwhere78 from United States
This was a beautiful little film that that plays out like one Truffaut's Antoine Donielle films. Not only is it the perfect prequel to (the wonderful) "The Darjeeling Limited", but it is a self-contained simple and moving story.

This whole "New Wave" feeling is a departure from Wes Anderson's usually theatrical and highly-stylized film making. It suits him well. Don't get me wrong, Rushmore is one of my favorite films and the Royal Tannenbaums is fantastic, but I am really digging this new naturalistic style Anderson is applying to his new films and cannot wait to see what he does next.

Shwartzman is a wonderful actor who never ceases to entertain. and Natalie Portman gives honest and touching performance.

3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Pretty dreadful - on the nose writing
, 2 June 2010

jmydgeek from United States
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There are a lot of wannabe filmmakers and writers out there, and this would seem to be made by one of them. Wes Anderson has made some movies, some of which actually have characters and pacing, but is somehow reverted to wannabe status. He created a situation straight out of a loser's fantasy, the sort someone wallowing in self-pity over a breakup might come up with. The anguished, devastated hero (with nothing in him to attract anyone) gets to be morose and unforgiving and his (ex) girlfriend still comes more or less begging like no ex ever has or will. Sure, people get back together, or see each other, but the whole interaction was as false and fantasy driven as a GI Joe cartoon. The girlfriend was essentially a prop, not a character with recognizable motivation. Nobody behaves like the people in this movie. Writing like this comes when you don't know who your characters are, but you know what you want them to do. Ugh. And they all say exactly what they mean, totally on-the-nose writing, like nobody ever talks. No subtext, perfect self-knowledge, such character as is revealed is done through dialogue. "Show, don't tell"

Anderson should try making a silent movie.

And of course, nobody has any material worries. Watching "Hannah and Her Sisters" long ago, it struck me that nobody had any place they had to be, no bills to pay, every Manhattan apt. was a palace. This strikes that same false note without any real characters or desires, which HaHS did. I'm glad it was a short, and I'll skip Part II.

Short but sweet, 'Hotel Chevalier' gives us an insightful glance into love lost, and the aftermath of a nuclear breakdown. Jason Schwartzmann wonderfully depicts a scorned lover, with an ice-cold exterior whose emotions clearly run far deeper, among a beautiful Parisian back-drop, and the beautiful Natalie Portman, enough to make anyone say "Ooh-la-la!". A stunning an emotive performance from both of the actors, an a beautiful introduction to the wonderful 'The Darjeeling Limited'.

The Darjeeling Limited

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
The best work i've seen from Wes Anderson.
, 2 February 2010

Sirus_the_Virus from United States
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Wes Anderson hasn't directed too many films. I haven't seen too many of them. I saw part of The Royal Tennenbaums,I saw The Life Aquanic, and I saw this one. So really I have only seen two of Wes Anderson's films. So really I can't quite say that this is the best work he's done. But out of the two films I have seen, The Darjeeling limited is his best.

The Darjeeling limited is a little bit of a mixed bag. It has many moments of hilarity. But it also has an occasional scene of drama. Overall, the film is pretty spectacular. Also, there are occasional scenes of weirdness. Overall, there is a lot to enjoy about this film.

The film is about three brothers(played by Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, and Jason Schwartzman)who haven't seen or spoken to each other since their father's death. Owen Wilson's character decides to bring the three brothers together after an accident. So the three brothers meet each other on a train heading for India where they are going to visit their mother.

Along the way, the buy a pet rattlesnake. and eventually after a fight they brothers are thrown off the train. After that the brothers rescue two children, but one of them dies. That is the dramatic part of the film.

A lot of stuff happens in this film. not only is the film funny, strange, and dramatic, is also very entertaining. The acting is all very good. These are all very good actors. This is a good director. I also loved how there was a shot film before it started this way we know what they are talking about through some of the film. There are cameo's by Bill Murray and Natile Portman. This is a very good film. To Wes Anderson, make more.

The Darjeeling limited: A


35 out of 56 people found the following review useful:
, 20 March 2008

deeatlas from United States
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
We were so excited to see this movie--we loved the Royal Tenenbaums, we love & travel to India often, we love all the actors BUT we could barely get through it. It was boring, pointless, not funny and was almost insulting in it's completely false representation of Indian trains and the people who work on them. You would NEVER EVER find a women waiting on men on a train, wearing a short revealing dress. I'll never say never, but I doubt that even a prostitute would have sex with some white guy on an Indian train. Maybe it was supposed to be a cartoon with all the garish painted interiors and bogus events (a train getting lost?). I could have tolerated that if there was just anything to hang on to in the story. It was the worst movie I've seen in many years! Worse than Ishtar!

My only problem with 'The Darjeeling Limited' is that I'm in a constant battle with whether it, or 'The Royal Tenenbaums' is my favourite of Wes Anderson's films, and deserved of the prestigious place among my ~top three films~ (along with 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' and 'Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amelie Poulain). For me, this is Wes returning to his best- a story of sibling rivalry, broken families, disputes, but...through it all, love, and the ties that bring us together. Set upon the glorious Indian back drop, this film flits in and out of humour and sorrow as quick as a whip with the quintessential stylish Wes touches (Louis Vuitton luggage, anyone?). Along with a fufilling and involving series of plot lines, music adds an essential flavour of both playfullness and heartache...a truly stunning film.

Fantastic Mr. Fox


104 out of 141 people found the following review useful:
The Truly 'Fantastic' Fantastic Mr. Fox
, 12 November 2009

amarcordforever from United States
In recent years, Disney's Pixar division, with their monopoly over animation, has churned out some of the biggest, funniest, most emotional material to hit theaters in the last ten years. By this point, the public knows their aggressive marketing campaign and knows it well. Adult humor and themes geared not only toward the kids, but the parent's as well. The mass appeal? Mom and dad can now take their eight year old to the local multiplex and fork over the steep price of admission without wasting it on a two hour long power nap. Last quarter's CGI constructed Pixar extravaganza "Up" captured audiences' hearts, imaginations and pocket books, raking in a less than modest 292 mil at the box office, making it one of the highest grossing animated films of all time. Along comes "Fantastic Mr. Fox", helmed by auteur Wes Anderson, a crack team at Twentieth-Century Fox (Yes, I said Fox) and Indian Paintbrush, one of Wes' collaborators on his predecessor "The Darjeeling Limited". If there's one thing that's detrimental to the Trump-like successes of the Disney powerhouse, it's a new found competition…let the games begin.

"Fantastic Mr. Fox" is a pure delight. A feast for the eyes. From frame one, it takes no time at all to draw you into its beautiful visuals of vast countryside's, running streams and falling foliage, all in marvelous stop motion. That's right I said it, stop motion. From the course hair on Fox's face to the cotton ball chimney smoke of Boggis, Bunce and Beans warehouse smoke stacks, everything's been designed from scratch, much of which involves simple household items. After just a few minutes in Wes Andersons world inspired by written cues from the mind of the British children's author Roald Dahl (inspired by Dahl's own hometown) you're dragged out of the theater and immersed in a faraway land for the entirety of its modest and to the point one hour and twenty minute runtime. The real treat lies in the notion of how long it actually must have taken these top notch art designers to bring everything to life. There are forces at play here that give one a clear sense of the fact that stepping away from a computer screen and getting things done the hard way pays off when witnessing the final product. Production value is staggeringly noticeable and truly memorable. I for one am still transfixed by the universe of Mr. Fox.

Among one of the droves of Wes Anderson fans, I had high expectations going into the film. Anderson is one of those rare writer/directors that manage to separate themselves from the societal norm, branch out and go their own way. With Fantastic Mr. Fox, he effortlessly supersedes his reputation as one of the most unique Directors of this century. You may be asking yourself how you direct a bunch of puppets, but Andersons 'puppets' are among some of the most realistic and complex that you're likely to meet. With human emotions, expressions and actions, it is clear that Mr. Anderson took great time and preparation during the film's production and pre-production to make sure everything came off as smoothly and impactful as possible. Look out for a particularly funny scene during one of the nightly stake outs portrayed wholly through images on security camera monitors. Very, very well thought out and clever.

Fox, for being aimed at children, is probably one of the most adult animated films I've seen to date. Think Pixar Redux. There's smoking, 'cussing' and above all some extremely heavy handed adult humor and themes. In Wes Andersons sharp, funny, unbelievably witty script, he keeps all of that classic dry comedy that's become synonymous with his trademark, the only exception being that it's coming from the mouths of the animals he's intricately created. Parts had me gasping for air; others had me rolling in the aisles. It's clear to me that by now Wes has really honed in on his craft and gets marginally better with each new picture.

Wes Anderson, with his creative brain that can only be compared to an Einstein of the medium, lays all his cards on the table and ups the ante for Pixar Studios. When asked if he wanted to continue to make animated films he commented by saying, "I would certainly love to make other animated films in the future." Could this be his new calling? Truly focusing on the niche market of animated movies tipping the scale more in favor of adult audiences? One would love to think so (of course without turning into another Robert Zemeckis and taking a permanent vacation from live action). Fantastic Mr. Fox is something to be experienced. Children will love its adorable characters while adults will marvel in its ability to connect with them. After all, each of us was a kid at one time or another and because of that there has never been a better excuse to pretend again.


12 out of 40 people found the following review useful:
Pretentious, Dry, and Unbearable
, 28 November 2009

hippie_gurl87 from United States
I went in not knowing anything about this movie and I walked out in an half hour knowing everything about it. It was one of worst movies I've ever seen. I'm a generally a nice person but if somebody told me they liked this movie, I would probably never talk to them again. Anybody who likes it throughly is most likely to have an extremely dry, hermit type personality. I'm gonna also include that they think they are pretty intelligent too, just like the self-centered fart bags who do the voices for the movie. I know everyone has different types of humor, some people may not even like mine, but that's okay; I don't think this covers any range of humor though. This movie is as flat and dull as Wes Anderson's mind. Go in and get ready to walk out; it's best to get your money back too.

Intially, I must admit, I was a little skeptical about seeing the film adaption of 'Fantastic Mr. Fox'...if, at this naive time in my life, I had of known it was a Wes Anderson film, I perhaps wouldn't have been. Throughout the screening I recognised little whimsical and playful elements I'd seen before...I knew I recognised them...from the character's (stop motion models) mannerisms, to the use of typography throughout the films, to the voices used- it all made sense when the titles rolled.
Being a hardcore Roald Dahl fan from (seemingly) the womb, there were of course small sections that provided a little niggle in my mind- the fact that Mrs. Fox was given ~a past~ (aka reference to her relationships pre Mr. Fox) which seemed a little too adult for the story. However, I now realise, on second, third and fourth viewings, just how wonderfully the story has been adapted- beefed out in all the right places, giving depth and meaning to all of the characters, giving a story for both adults and children to enjoy. However, most importantly, I feel that the spirit of Dahl has been captured...and I hope he would have been as delighted with the film as so many cinema-goers and audiences were, and still are today.



(*please note, I'm not mental, it's in the film, brah) 

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