Tag Archive: Jason Schwartzman


No doubt the movies of writer-director Wes Anderson are an acquired taste.  Fortunately he exhibits some variety, as we’ve explored before here at borg.  Whether it’s Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Darjeeling Limited, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Moonrise Kingdom, The Grand Budapest Hotel, or Isle of Dogs, at least one of these films will likely appeal to you.  For his next big screen venture, Anderson is taking an anthology angle.  The lengthy-titled The French Dispatch of the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun, or just The French Dispatch, for short, doesn’t need to mention Anderson’s name at all.  It’s instantly recognizable from his framed cinematography, disturbing bland color hues, and fourth-wall breaking stares from its cast.  Yes, there really is a Liberty, Kansas (found in southeast Kansas, population 123).  Purportedly inspired by The New Yorker magazine, the film is actually based in a fictional city in France, and follows media types in the latest look at that self-reflective, stark fantasyland found in many Anderson movies.

The anthology element consists of incorporated story threads centered on characters and “stories” played out by Anderson troupe members Tilda Swinton and Frances McDormand, and–new to Anderson-land–Jeffrey Wright.  Other Anderson familiars include Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Bob Balaban, and Jason Schwartzman.  Like Woody Allen movies years ago, everyone seems to be flocking to be in the next Anderson picture, so this time that means the likes of Henry Winkler, Willem Dafoe, Anjelica Huston, Benicio Del Toro, Adrien Brody, Léa Seydoux, Christoph Waltz, Liev Schreiber, and many more.  Music is by Alexandre Desplat.

Check out this trailer for the expectedly unusual The French Dispatch of the Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

For years it seemed like new Christmas classics were few and far between.  It usually takes some time for a movie to gain “classic” status, and that itself is, of course, in the eye of the beholder.  Early on audiences stamped the label on Miracle on 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life, and White Christmas.  You have your A Charlie Brown Christmas, your How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and a bevy of Rankin & Bass stop-motion animated shows like Frosty the Snowman.  Then more modern fare came along, like A Christmas Story, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, The Muppet Christmas Carol, and Elf.  Oh, and we can’t forget Die Hard.  All stamped with an anvil as “classics.”  If you want to see more movies from cinema history, check out the Turner Movie Classics book Christmas in the Movies, reviewed last year here at borg.

Putting aside the modern made for TV movies, if you’re younger, you may count as a classic something like The Polar Express, with Tom Hanks.  It’s that kind of recent film category where you can add in Netflix’s new movie–its first animated feature, Klaus Both of these movies are animated in interesting ways that will keep you entertained simply from a visual perspective, Klaus from its unique lighting and color choices and a strong Spanish comic art style (as seen in Dog Mendonça and PizzaBoy).  They also share a certain traditional storybook look, and their tales also look back to nostalgia for their ideas.  Klaus is another origin story take on Santa Claus.  Audiences have seen this many times, including in the not to be missed films Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town (featuring the voices of Fred Astaire, Mickey Rooney, and Keenan Wynn) and in books like L. Frank Baum’s The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus and more recently, the brilliant Santa: My Life and Times, with artwork by Bill Sienkiewicz (we reviewed it here).

Spain’s Sergio Pablos directed Klaus intentionally stepping away from modern Disney-style CGI animation to traditional hand-drawn art, so it looks more like Disney’s top technical achievement, the Oscar-winning Beauty and the Beast from 1991, and less like The Hunchback of Notre Dame.  The story is cute, and contrasting with the traditional visual style, is the inclusion of humorous dialogue told by voice talents famously known for being snarky.  We follow a postman named Jesper, who couldn’t look or sound more like David Spade, actually voiced by Jason Schwartzman.  Jesper is a non-achiever, and his father sends him to a distant Scandinavian town to learn to be successful at his job.  The town ends up like a lawless town out of the Old West.  His job is to get people to use the mail service again.  Along the way he runs into a Hatfield-McCoy conflict, with one part voiced by Joan Cusack, and an old man with a house full of toys named Klaus, voiced by J.K. Simmons.

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