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Sunday, 24 March 2013 14:17

Wes Anderson series showcases his unique style

"The Royal Tenenbaums" "The Royal Tenenbaums" wilson-brothers.com
Written by Diane Carson
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Film directors crave recognition as distinctive, unique voices and stylists. Add a bonus for entertainment value, and this achievement becomes exceedingly rare. But not for writer/director Wes Anderson whose signature defines his films as definitively HIS--a combination of an offbeat, appealing humor and an atypical, stylistic presentation. Anderson is, in essence, fresh and original.

To honor him, Webster University presents four of his films Thursdays in March and April. First up is "The Royal Tenenbaums," a favorite of mine for its wacky family dynamics involving the title Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hackman) and wife Etheline (Angelica Huston), plus their three gifted children, all currently in distress. As played by Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson, and Gwyneth Paltrow, the siblings' personalities collide more than they mesh, and each has a gift gone awry and a salvation to discover. Nicely, the humor emerges from the personalities rather than being superimposed upon them--a stroke of genius by Anderson.

In April the even stranger "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" screens. It stars Bill Murray as Zissou, hunting the elusive jaguar shark. Uncharacteristically for Anderson, it feels a bit forced at moments, but there's plenty to enjoy on a voyage including Cate Blanchett, Owen Wilson, and regular Angelica Huston.

Next up, "The Darjeeling Limited" features another voyage, this one by train across India, with three not always happily reunited brothers. Their adventures move toward the surreal, always curiously amusing. The retrospective closes in late April with Anderson's latest film "Moonrise Kingdom," which won the AFI Award for 2013 Movie of the Year and was nominated for an Oscar for besting writing for the screen. When two 12-year-olds escape their restrictive 1965 world, the adults mount a full-fledged search. It's priceless Anderson.

All screen at Webster University's Winifred Moore auditorium at 8:00 p.m. on Thursdays. March 28th is "The Royal Tenenbaums," April 11th "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou," April 18th "The Darjeeling Limited," and the series concludes April 25th with "Moonrise Kingdom." For more information and the current schedule, you may call 314-968-7487 or go to the web at: Webster.edu/filmseries.

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