It is always refreshing to watch a non-blockbuster film during a summer movie season full of big budgeted sequels and comic book flicks. Last year, “The Tree of Life” was a shining star during summer, and this year, “Moonrise Kingdom” is the film to see.
The Oscar-nominated filmmaker, Wes Anderson (“The Royal Tenenbaums,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “Rushmore”) returns with a movie that I dare to call his best. “Moonrise Kingdom” is sweet, funny, and thoroughly original.
The year is 1965 and the setting is an island off the coast of New England. “Moonrise Kingdom” tells the story of two 12-year-olds who fall in love and run away together into the wilderness. Both kids are troubled souls who find solace in each other’s company.
The boy’s name is Sam (Jared Gilman), an orphan who considers his Khaki Scout troop family. The girl is Suzy (Kara Hayward), a voracious reader who does not fit in with her own family. Her lackadaisical father is played by Bill Murray. Frances McDormand stars as Suzy’s controlling mother.
Both kids are newcomers but they can go toe-to-toe with their experienced co-stars. My favorite scene in the movie is a tender moment between McDormand and Hayward. When the mom asks Suzy why she wants to run away, the little girl simply answers, “We’re in love, we just want to be together.”
“Moonrise Kingdom” could have been a predictable melodrama at the hands of a less-gifted director. But Wes Anderson and co-writer Roman Coppola devote ample time to develop characters and enhance the quirky mood of the movie resulting in a film that’s part love story and war drama with a dose of disaster film thrown in for good measure.
When Suzy and Sam run away, the peaceful island community is turned upside down. Hot on their trail is Bruce Willis as the local sheriff, Edward Norton as a Khaki Scout troop leader, and Tilda Swinton who is simply called Social Services.
Even the narrator is put into good use in “Moonrise Kingdom.” Bob Balaban (“The Good Wife,” “For Your Consideration”) plays the Narrator and he’s not only heard but also seen and even plays a major part in the hunt for Suzy and Sam.
The production aspects of the movie are commendable. From the cinematography by Robert Yeoman to the art direction by Gerald Sullivan, the film’s attention to detail is superb aided by Set Decorator Kris Moran and Costume Designer Kasia Walicka-Maimone.
Told like a fairy tale, “Moonrise Kingdom” is full of heroes, villains, and love ever after. We can all learn a lesson or two about love from Suzy and Sam, and noisy blockbuster directors can discover the art of filmmaking from Anderson. This is the auteur’s creative and surreal kingdom that I am always happy to visit.
"Moonrise Kingdom" is the first feature film of 2012 to receive a perfect kisses!
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The Broadway show “Rock of Ages” by Chris D’Arienzo was critically and commercially well-received garnering five 2009 Tony Award nominations including Best Musical. Using popular arena rock and power ballads of the 80s, “Rock of Ages” simply rocked. The new movie adaptation follows the formula of the stage show. The result is an all-out music extravaganza that will rock you like a hurricane.
Like the musical, the characters of the movie are clichéd and the plot is formulaic. But the cast is great, the music is superb, and director Adam Shankman wants to give you nothing but a good time. And at its center is the scene-stealing Tom Cruise as the rock god, Stacee Jaxx. He alone is worth the price of admission. Read More...
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So, "The Avengers" surprised everyone and went on to become the third biggest movie in the world! Hollywood thought summer would elevate box-office revenue, but then..."Battleship" sank! And "Dark Shadows" and "The Dictator" both underperformed.
Hollywood needed a savior.
Enter "Snow White and the Huntsman." But the fairy tale was not enough to feed the Hollywood beast, so everyone in Tinseltown was wondering if "Prometheus" or "Madagascar 3" could lift its financial doldrums. And lift both films did!
"Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" opened at No. 1 with $60.4 million. Featuring the voices of Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith, and David Schwimmer, the DreamWorks Animation flick zoomed past competition. "Madagascar 3" was higher than the original's debut ($47.2 million) but slightly lower than "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa" ($63.1 million). ("Madagascar 3" movie review)
And that's where Ridley Scott's "Prometheus" come in to play. The sci-fi thriller debuted at No. 2 with $50 million. Starring Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, and Charlize Theron (yes, her again, and more power!), "Prometheus" opened strong despite its pesky R-rating. ("Prometheus" movie review)
According to Hollywood.com, "Madagascar 3" and "Prometheus" lifted Hollywood out of its summer revenue slump. The one-two punch of both movies raised revenue by 29 percent from the same weekend last year when "Super 8" made its debut with $35.5 million.
Focus Features' "Moonrise Kingdom" continued to shine! The fantastic movie from Wes Anderson expanded to 96 theaters and made $1.6 million for the No. 10 spot! I will post my interviews with the cast and Anderson in little bit.
For now, here's the Top 10 Box-Office Films for weekend of June 8th:
1. "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted," $60.4 million ($75.5 million).
2. "Prometheus," $50 million ($39.2 million international).
3. "Snow White & the Huntsman," $23 million ($24.6 million international).
4. "Men in Black 3," $13.5 million ($38.3 million international).
5. "The Avengers," $10.8 million ($7.8 million international).
6. "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," $3.2 million ($342,000 international).
7. "What to Expect When You're Expecting," $2.7 million.
8. "Battleship," $2.3 million.
9. "The Dictator," $2.2 million ($4.9 million international).
10. "Moonrise Kingdom," $1.6 million.
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Okay, say what you will about Kristen Stewart and "Snow White," but that film actually gets better with second viewing (I re-watched the film over the weekend, and I liked it better the second time!). It's not that I didn't enjoy the film the first time, it's just that I thought all the mood, and dread, and atmosphere, would take a toll on second viewing. ("Snow White and the Huntsman" movie review)
But I was wrong.
And moviegoers enjoyed the film the second time too (check out its royalty-like opening two weekends ago).
And Universal is hoping that you really love "Snow White and the Huntsman" because they hired David Koepp ("Spider-Man," "Jurassic Park") to write the script. The studio also wants director Rupert Sanders to return according to Moviefone.
And of course, Stewart and Chris Hemsworth have voiced their willingness to return, but Charlize Theron? Well, SPOILER ALERT!, how will they bring her character of Queen Ravenna back? Truth be told, she lights up the screen everytime she's on, so I really want her back, don't you?
You know who else I want to be back? Scriptwriter Hossein Amini, the guy who wrote "Drive" and who helped shape up "Snow White's" script. He should be back! I think his contribution paid off and gave this "Snow White" the dreary but exciting mood that the film truly needed.
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