Film Reviews
Photo: CourPhoto from The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou courtesy of Touchstone Pictures.

The Wes Anderson retrospective concludes with three proven winners, each with different, zany settings exhibiting Anderson’s characteristic whimsical, entertaining humor. In order, Friday, June 9, through Sunday, June 11, they are: “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” “The Darjeeling Limited,” and “Moonrise Kingdom.” In 2004’s “The Life Aquatic” Bill Murray plays the internationally famous but decidedly offbeat oceanographer Steve Zissou.

Invoking Jacques Cousteau to whom the film is dedicated, Zissou loses his partner to a ten meter “jaguar shark,” as Steve dubs it. Revenge his goal, Zissou sets out to document and destroy that predator. Along for this unhinged project are: Owen Wilson, Cate Blanchett, Anjelica Huston, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, and more, all contributing their eccentric characters to the mission with hairpin twists and turns.

Demonstrating his skewed take on the world can be exported to any location, Anderson co-wrote and directed “The Darjeeling Limited,” shot in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, and the Himalayas, plus scenes filmed in Long Island City. The exotic settings contribute additional commentary on Anderson’s unique blend of inventive characters. Here, three American brothers who haven’t spoken to each other in a year, embark on a soul-searching, spiritual adventure across India. They are: Jason Schwartzman, Adrien Brody, and Owen Wilson: enough said. Anderson’s prologue to the film, the thirteen-minute “Hotel Chevalier” will precede “The Darjeeling Limited.”  

The last film in the Wes Fest is “Moonrise Kingdom,” showing Anderson working his magic with young actors. On the fictitious New Penzance Island, two twelve-year-olds decide to escape their summer camps with a search party in lively pursuit, a hurricane threatening. As always with Anderson, the color palette and the music add commentary as Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, and Jason Schwartzman hold forth. Inspired, the story also has emotional insights, so don’t discount comedies’ commentary.

Anderson, nominated seven time for Academy Awards, three for Best Original Screenplay, has forged his own unconventional empire. His latest, “Asteroid City,” which premiered in competition at this year’s prestigious Cannes Film Festival, opens June 16. Preparing for that, “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” screens Friday, June 9, at 7:00 p.m., “The Darjeeling Limited” Saturday, June 10, at 7:00 p.m., and “Moonrise Kingdom” on Sunday, June 11, at 5:00 p.m., all at the Hi-Pointe Main Theatre. For more information, you may visit the Cinema St. Louis website.

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