Tag Archives: Anjelica Huston

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) Review

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Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou

Time: 118 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] low-level offensive language
Cast:
Bill Murray as Steve Zissou
Owen Wilson as Edward “Ned” Plimpton/Kingsley Zissou
Cate Blanchett as Jane Winslett-Richardson
Anjelica Huston as Eleanor Zissou
Willem Dafoe as Klaus Daimler
Jeff Goldblum as Alistair Hennessey
Michael Gambon as Oseary Drakoulias
Bud Cort as Bill Ubell
Director: Wes Anderson

With a plan to exact revenge on a mythical shark that killed his partner, oceanographer Steve Zissou (Bill Murray) rallies a crew that includes his estranged wife (Anjelica Huston), a journalist (Cate Blanchett), and a man who may or may not be his son (Owen Wilson).

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I heard of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou was a Wes Anderson movie, and so I was interested to watch it. I also heard that although most of Anderson’s movies are greatly received, this was a movie that some people were mixed or divided on. I really had no idea what to expect going it, and unfortunately I can definitely say that this is one of my least favourite movies of his. It’s got some problems for sure, and I’m not sure how to feel about parts of it. However, looking at it on a whole, I still say it’s pretty good.

Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou

When the movie started, it felt a bit off to me. It was eccentric, quirky and visually pleasing, which I was expecting from Wes Anderson. However, something just felt empty when it came to the characters and story. Compared to his other movies I just didn’t find myself that invested in what was happening. The pacing is quite slow too, and the runtime is just under 2 hours long. I wouldn’t say I was bored or anything, I was still somewhat paying attention to what was happening, it’s just that maybe the script maybe could’ve been a bit tighter. It picked up for me in the second half however for whatever reason, I probably settled into whatever this movie was going for. Credit where it’s due, when it’s good, it’s really great, the dialogue is sharp and quirky, and the movie does have some very funny and entertaining moments.

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This cast is just massive. Bill Murray plays lead character Steve Zissou and he’s great. The rest of the cast including Owen Wilson, Cate Blanchett, Willem Dafoe, Anjelica Huston, Jeff Goldblum, Michael Gambon are also pretty good. I do feel like the supporting cast aren’t as utilised as well as they could’ve (compared to say The Royal Tenenbaums), most of them didn’t really add too much to the film. With that said, Owen Wilson and Cate Blanchett are really good, Willem Dafoe was great and hilarious on his part and I would’ve liked to have seen more from Jeff Goldblum.

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This movie is directed by Wes Anderson, and you can definitely tell that from beginning to end. The visuals were really great to watch, Anderson definitely went wild with his $50 million budget. The production design is excellent and serves the style really well. I liked the practical set design, especially when the camera was following characters walking into different rooms of the submarine in the same shot. Even some of the CGI touch ups and animation I thought added to the style and made the movie a little more endearing. Soundtrack is great too and was utilised greatly in the scenes.

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The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is one of Wes Anderson’s stranger movies, and I have somewhat mixed feelings about it. The script has quirks, the dialogue is well written and some of the characters are memorable but it also feels a bit empty. I don’t think it fully works but has enough good things for me to call it a solid movie. The movie does have its moments, it’s entertaining at some points, and the cast are good on their parts. Not one of Wes Anderson’s best movies, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend watching it as his first movie if you’ve never seen any of his other work before, but I do recommend at least checking it out at some point. I don’t feel inclined to watch it again, but I get the feeling that I’ll probably ease into the movie more upon repeat viewings.

The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) Review

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The Royal Tenenbaums

Time: 109 Minutes
Age Rating: 2773-o[1] Adult themes
Cast:
Danny Glover as Henry Herman
Gene Hackman as Royal Tenenbaum
Anjelica Huston as Etheline Tenenbaum
Bill Murray as Raleigh St. Clair
Gwyneth Paltrow as Margot Tenenbaum
Ben Stiller as Chas Tenenbaum
Luke Wilson as Richie Tenenbaum
Owen Wilson as Eli Cash
Director: Wes Anderson

Three grown prodigies (Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Stiller and Luke Wilson), all with a unique genius of some kind, and their mother (Anjelica Huston) are staying at the family household. Their father, Royal (Gene Hackman) had left them long ago, and comes back to make things right with his family.

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I had heard a little bit about The Royal Tenenbaums, but generally I just knew this as one of Wes Anderson’s movies, and so I knew that I would eventually get around to it. For many, The Royal Tenenbaums is considered one of his best films and having seen it, I would consider that to be the case too. The performances are all fantastic, the direction is outstanding is a joy to watch, and the script and story is really endearing. I really loved watching this movie.

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Compared to a lot of Wes Anderson’s other movies at least, it’s more of a drama than a comedy. At its core, The Royal Tenenbaums is a family drama. You get quite engaged with what is going on, so even if you don’t find the movie to be quite funny, there’s something that you’ll be interested in for this movie. I still did find the movie quite entertaining and also funny at times. It also does work very well on an emotional level, in fact there’s an underlying feeling of sadness amongst most of the characters, and touches upon some serious themes and topics at points. There is a great tonal balance throughout, transitioning between comedy and drama with ease and not taking away from the other tone. I have to say, this is one of Anderson’s best scripts, definitely one of his most complete. The movie is paced steadily across its hour and 50 minute runtime, and if you aren’t into the movie and the plot by the first 30 minutes, you might find it a bit of a drag to sit through. But the plot, quirky dialogue and especially the well realised characters all come together to make a film that I was personally invested in from beginning to end.

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There’s a massive talented ensemble cast involved in this film, and everyone is great here. If there’s a standout among them it is Gene Hackman in the lead role as Royal Tenenbaum, he’s fantastic and I think this is one of his best performances, if not his best performance. The rest of the cast are great too, including Danny Glover, Anjelica Huston, Bill Murray, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson and Owen Wilson, all of them performing their memorable characters very well, and having excellent on screen chemistry with each another (Paltrow and Luke Wilson particularly shine in this movie).

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Wes Anderson directs this so well, with his distinct style. Anderson’s attention to detail is really enthralling to watch and aesthetically pleasing, from set decoration to costume to shot composition and the colour pallet. There are some great visual gags that you can easily miss if you look away for like a second. I liked how the movie was structured in a storybook way, in fact it is divided into chapters, and it really gave it a different feeling. The soundtrack work well and is utilised perfectly, as expected from Wes Anderson at this point.

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I thoroughly loved The Royal Tenenbaums, even more than I was expecting going on. The all star cast were all great and played their memorable characters greatly, it was directed wonderfully, and it is written excellently, with an entertaining and emotionally engaging story. I think that this is going to revisit this movie quite a lot, and I see it becoming potentially one of my favourite movies. Definitely watch it if you haven’t already.

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019) Review

Time: 131 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Graphic violence and offensive language
Cast:
Keanu Reeves as John Wick
Ian McShane as Winston
Mark Dacascos as Zero
Laurence Fishburne as the Bowery King
Asia Kate Dillon as the Adjudicator of the High Table.
Halle Berry as Sofia
Lance Reddick as Charon
Anjelica Huston as the Director
Director: Chad Stahelski

After gunning down a member of the High Table — the shadowy international assassin’s guild — legendary hit man John Wick finds himself stripped of the organization’s protective services. Now stuck with a $14 million bounty on his head, Wick must fight his way through the streets of New York as he becomes the target of the world’s most ruthless killers.

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John Wick Chapter 3 – Parabellum was one of my most anticipated films of 2019. John Wick was a surprise hit upon its release back in 2014, no one expected it to be as great as it was, but with the action scenes, along with Keanu Reeves’s great turn as the titular character, it all really worked. Chapter 2 showed that the first movie wasn’t just a fluke, and continued the story and expanded the lore even further. And now, John Wick Chapter 3 has cemented this trilogy as one of the all time best action trilogies.

Chapter 3 picks up right after the previous film, with John on the run. It is more of a straightforward action movie, but at the same time leave some room to expand the lore and Wick’s story, and these scenes aren’t just used as breathing room between the scenes. The lore is one of the highlights of these movies and the expanding of it didn’t disappoint. Story-wise I feel like nothing could top the first movie because of how personal it is for the main character, whereas in Chapters 2 and 3 he’s forced into situations, in the first movie it’s a decision that he returns to his old life. That’s not to say however that every John Wick post the first movie has a weak story, Chapter 3’s story is actually handled quite well, at over 2 hours long it had my attention from start to finish. By the end I was on board with however long they want to make this series, I’ll be there watching every single one of them.

At this point I don’t think it’s controversial in the slightest to say that John Wick is Keanu Reeves’s role. Of course, everyone knows that he can do the action well, but on a performance level he’s also really good. There is this inner darkness and drive that you can see within him, it’s subtle but he conveys so well. Some cast members from the previous movies also make their appearance and all really add to the movie, particularly Laurence Fishburne as the Bowery King, Ian McShane as Winston and Lance Reddick as Charon, they all work well. I also liked the additions, with the shining example being Halle Berry. She’s not in the movie as much as you’d think but she makes the most of the screentime that she does have, demonstrating that her character is at least on par with John Wick. I hope we get to see more of her in a sequel or something similar. Asia Kate Dillon plays the Adjudicator sent by the High Table, who meant to represent them. Unlike the rest of the supporting cast, she comes across as feeling a little weaker but I guess with how she’s written there’s not a whole lot that she could really do in the role. Faring much better as an antagonist is Mark Dacascos as Zero, the main assassin sent after Wick (and is probably the main villain of the movie). He was threatening, entertaining and all around worked perfectly for the movie, especially as a threat to John.

Chad Stahelski like with the past two movie directs this well. The action scenes as to be expected are great, no close up, shaky cam or quick cut editing that plagues some modern action movies, you can clearly see what’s going on and it’s all choreographed really well. The body count is tripled from the previous movies. If you thought that Wick killing people with a pencil was impressive, just wait till you see what he does in the opening scenes. With there being even more action than the past two movies, this could’ve resulted in some action fatigue but Stahelski and co. manage to bypass this by keeping each action scene fresh, with different environments and situations (yes, John Wick even rides a horse at one point). If there’s one small gripe I had with what I watched, its that certain action scenes felt like they went for a little too long, as much as I liked them. The movie like the previous two manage to show off John Wick as clearly being a lot more capable than most of the people he’s up against while making it seem like he could die and isn’t invincible. There are some moments in Chapter 3 where it does feel like he’s invincible but for the most part it’s handled well. Chapter 2 was stunning looking and that continues into Chapter 3, it’s not surprising that both films have the same cinematographer. Tyler Bates’s score works perfectly with the John Wick series, so glad he returned for the third movie, it just elevates everything to a new level.

John Wick Chapter 3 lives up to all the hype and surpassed it, I loved the story and the expansion of the world and lore, and of course Keanu Reeves delivers as always as the now iconic titular character. This, as well as Mad Max Fury Road and Mission Impossible Fallout are some of the most overwhelming cinema experiences I’ve had with regard to action movies. I’m completely on board for this series, I can’t wait to see more of John Wick, the rest of the characters and more of this world.