Moonrise Kingdom: Review

Moonrise Kingdom is the best film I’ve seen this year (so far).

And maybe it’s just because I liked it more than his other films, or maybe it’s just that much better than anything else that has been released this year, but I keep thinking about it and the different layers of the story and message and meaning.

The ending is positive, the message is extremely spot on, the jokes are very witty, and the visuals are perfect. So often I wanted to just freeze the frame and stare. The high level of attention to detail makes nearly every scene something I could frame and hang on the wall. Fortunately, the marketing, including the trailer didn’t reveal too much and that helped provide added excitement in seeing the film for the first time. I wasn’t sure how it was going to end until the last scene at the climax of the film.

While the visuals are so good that I would have watched the movie without any sound, the music provides the setting and frame for the film. As the editors write on wikipedia,

A major feature of the film is music by Benjamin Britten, a composer notable for his many works for children’s voices. At the Cannes Film Festival, during the post-screening press conference, Wes Anderson said that Britten’s music “had a huge effect on the whole movie, I think. The movie’s sort of set to it. The play of Noye’s Fludde that is performed in it – my older brother and I were actually in a production of that when I was ten or eleven, and that music is something I’ve always remembered, and made a very strong impression on me. It is the colour of the movie in a way.
The music by Britten used in the film, many of the tracks taken from recordings conducted or supervised by the composer himself, includes The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra (Introduction/Theme; Fugue), conducted by Leonard Bernstein; Friday Afternoons (‘Cuckoo’; ‘Old Abram Brown’); Simple Symphony (‘Playful Pizzicato’); Noye’s Fludde (various excerpts, including the processions of animals into and out of the ark, and ‘The spacious firmament on high’); and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (‘On the ground, sleep sound’).


Tree of Life

Roger Ebert writes as he adds Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life to his list of greatest films of all time,

I believe it’s an important film, and will only increase in stature over the years.

In his original review, he wrote,

Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” is a film of vast ambition and deep humility, attempting no less than to encompass all of existence and view it through the prism of a few infinitesimal lives. The only other film I’ve seen with this boldness of vision is Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey,” and it lacked Malick’s fierce evocation of human feeling. There were once several directors who yearned to make no less than a masterpiece, but now there are only a few. Malick has stayed true to that hope ever since his first feature in 1973.

But my favorite part of his review nails exactly what Tree of Life captures:

That’s how you grow up. And it all happens in this blink of a lifetime, surrounded by the realms of unimaginable time and space.

The Hunger Games (2012 film)

The bottom line is this: Woody Harrelson and Donald Sutherland steal the show, so much that they make everyone else in the film look bad. Poor camera work on top of very poor editing weigh down an otherwise great popcorn flick. There isn’t much else in theaters for a few more weeks, so go read the books and wait for this to come out on DVD, you’ll enjoy it more if you’ve read the books.


I saw the film Hanna last night. The story is a little bit average, but the execution is brilliant. The cinematography and score are amazing and make the film worth the 7.50 I paid to see it. The acting on both Saoirse Ronan (Hanna) and Cate Blanchett (as the antagonist Marissa Wiegler) is spot on for their roles.

So much of the film is about discovering the world – Hanna has lived in isolation in the Arctic her entire life and she travels from Morocco to Spain to Germany in a perfectly delivered mix of shock and amazement. This does not take away from the core of the story: she’s been training all her life to kill her nemesis Wiegler, the woman that shot and killed her mother. It is no surprise in the end when the movie begins as a near mirror to the start of the film – with a gunshot to the head.

Overall I give it 8.9/10 – it’s worth paying to see in theaters, and worth seeing just for the cinematography and score alone.