Bill Murray

The Top Ten Movies of 2014 (so far)

by Alan Rapp on July 4, 2014

in Top Tens & Lists

The Top Ten Movies of 2014 (so far)

We’ve hit the halfway point of the year and, as has become the custom, that means it’s time to look back on the best movies of the year so far. This year’s list includes three animated films, two sequels, the return of a beloved television character, a latest (and in one case the last) from few big name directors, and a pair of small indie films topping the list of what has been a pretty damn good first-half of the year at the movies.

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The Grand Budapest Hotel

by Alan Rapp on March 27, 2014

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • IMDB: link

The Grand Budapest HotelFor his latest film writer/director Wes Anderson takes his trademark style to the fictional Republic of Zubrowka and a once-proud mountainside resort known as The Grand Budapest Hotel with a rich history to share. Relying heavily on narration, the film struggles a bit to get going by beginning in the present and slowly peeling back layers (each jumping 20 years or so into the past) until we finally arrive in the pre-World War II 1930s and the story of fastidious old-school concierge M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) and his the new lobby boy Zero (Tony Revolori).

During the overly-elaborate and unnecessarily complicated (although certainly not boring) first 20-minutes or so as the movie introduces an elderly author (Tom Wilkinson) beginning his own flashbacks to his time at the hotel as a younger man (Jude Law) when he happened to meet the elderly version of Zero (F. Murray Abraham) and thus learned his story, Anderson relies on a variety of his usual bag of tricks involving beautiful cinematography and set design highlighted by the use of some marvelous miniatures.

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The Monuments Men

by Alan Rapp on February 7, 2014

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: The Monuments Men
  • IMDB: link

The Monuments MenOriginally planned for a Christmas release, The Monuments Men finally makes it into theaters this weekend. Directed and co-written by George Clooney, who also stars as George L. Stout, the film is a war-time picture highlighting an unusual group of heroes. Based on true accounts, The Monuments Men tells the story of Stout and other over-aged art experts and connoisseurs who were put together by Franklin D. Roosevelt to save priceless art being plundered and destroyed by the Nazis during WWII.

The group of Monuments Men includes Matt DamonBill Murray, John Goodman, and Bob Balaban, along with Englishman Hugh Bonneville, and Frenchman Jean Dujardin. A little bit Ocean’s Eleven and a little bit old school war film, Clooney’s latest project begins with Stout stumping for the need for such and organization and recruiting old friends on what many in both Washington and on the battlefield see as nothing more than a fool’s errand. From basic training through searching abandoned German salt mines after the end of WWII, the film follows the fate of the unusual band of art experts and historians turned soldiers and the treasures they seek.

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The Ten Best Movies of 2012 (So Far)

by Alan Rapp on June 30, 2012

in Top Tens & Lists

Super-heroes, aliens, character studies, parents and their children, time travel, the Scottish Highlands, young love, monsters, and the end of the world. Halfway through the year we take a look back at the ten best movies from the first-half of 2012.

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Moonrise Kingdom

by Alan Rapp on June 29, 2012

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Moonrise Kingdom
  • IMDB: link

moonrise-kingdom-posterThere is never a doubt that Moonrise Kingdom is a Wes Anderson film. From the opening credit sequence to the final shot the writer/director’s latest is filled with his voice and style. I haven’t always been Anderson’s biggest fan, as at times I think he sacrifices substance for style (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and to a lesser extent Rushmore), but I enjoyeed The Darjeeling Limited and appreciated The Fantastic Mr. Fox enough to include it on a list of my the Best Films of 2009.

Anderson’s latest is a bit of a departure as it focuses on a pair of 12 year-old characters (rather than his usual choice of an ensemble of thoroughly damaged and eccentric adults). Sam (Jared Gilman) is an orphaned Khaki Scout marooned on a small New England island with no paved roads and a group of unfriendly companions. Suzy (Kara Hayward) is the problem child of a pair of lawyers (Frances McDormandBill Murray) more comfortable discussing legal briefs than feelings.

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