Wes Anderson’s genius: “Isle of Dogs”, Eye’ll Grab Ya

I’m no artist, but a few times when I’ve attempted to draw or paint a person’s face, I’ve noticed, even in my lame limited effort how striking you create eyes to be. Wes Anderson surely knows and it’s the eyes of all the characters in Isle of Dogs that are so riveting.

In addition to not being an artist, I’m also not a dog person. HOWEVER, at my grandma’s 95th birthday party (Go Florence, Go Florence!), I fed a visiting dog a carrot (after being encouraged by its owner that he liked such food) and out of a circle of 8 folks, my lap was then chosen for the pup’s nap. Guess I should write a parody book, “If You Feed a Dog a Carrot” (rip off of “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”). My point is, if a dog is sweet and calm, I could be convinced to own one.

My second point is, due to the eyes of the dogs in Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola‘s (yes, son of that Coppola), I could have teared up, that’s how good this movie was.

But as Wes Anderson (and perhaps Roman, too) is want to do, he often goes one step too far in making his plot so darn intricate, that I lose the wonder and awe of his creativity to say, ‘ok, enough’. It could be a gender thing, sorry men. Often men go one step too far, one too many text messages, one too many comments to impress, tickling a minute too long where I want to scream, “OK, enough!” I always think of the Billy Joel song, “Leave a Tender Moment Alone,” (aside: am listening to a live version on YouTube right now and damn, can I just say I love Billy Joel) or as a tried to tell someone recently, just stay on the boat, stay on the boat (aka don’t go overboard).

I can forgive Wes Anderson though, the guy (AND Roman) are true geniuses and while if you looked at the basic story structure of Moonrise Kingdom and Isle of Dogs and would find the same basic core story, because he dresses it in such a new funky outfit, it’s fantastically novel at the same time.

I should mention some of the stand out voices in this stop motion animation: Bill Murray, Ed Norton, Jeff Goldblum, and Bryan Cranston, all of whom I’ve had a crush on at one time or another. And for the gents, you have Scar Jo’s sultry voice as the show dog named Nutmeg. So how can you go wrong? Go See Isle of Dogs, it’ll warm your pet loving, or even loathing, heart.

Le Weekend: How Do I Loathe Thee, Let Me Bark the Ways

Ok, my title isn’t true to the film’s last fifteen minutes, but I couldn’t resist.

Le Weekend’s directed by Roger Mitchell (never saw his other films, Notting Hill being one) and stars Jim Broadbent (from my favorite Moulin Rouge), Lindsay Duncan (a new actress to me, but could play Julie Delphy’s mother in a heartbeat,  pretty and 64) and (insert trumpets blaring for expertise) Jeff Goldblum

First of all what’s a girl like me (perpetually single a la Marc Maron style, meaning I crave closeness yet feel oppressed the minute a date lasts longer than 3 hours) doing at a movie about the beauty of relationship longevity, aka marriage?

I wanted to see what was green about the other side since it’s been so long since I was on marital turf.  Happily I can report that I did not come away super envious, nor depressed of what I have not.  I can also be thankful that this couple was not about who Helen Fielding coined as ‘smug marrieds’ , who I unfortunately see way too many of in Rochester, NY,   those couples who wear their duoship as if they were Kate and William.

So while the movie didn’t make me feel envious or sad, I do feel a bit alarmed that some feel feminism comes with permission to be verbally abusive to men, which I think is wrong and ugly.  When Lindsay’s character Meg calls her husband and f’n idiot or, after pushing him down, tells him to stop being such a girl, that that is verbal abuse.  And to reject your husband sexually for what was implied in the film as years, only to demand periodically to be held, is also an abuse of female power.  And for men who tolerate that for the sake of: the children, the sanctity of marriage, their family status or bank account, may I just say a very stern, “shame on you” for going green light on a dysfunctional model for your children to continue.  Putting men down isn’t funny or right.

On a happy ending positive note, may I say that Jeff Goldblum has that same beautiful quality that John Goodman has; that no matter how depressing the movie, when Jeff (or John) is in a scene, he adds crackle and spice.  Jeff’s canape chomping scene where he manically explains his start up second family (young wife included) is priceless and filled with an honesty that the rest of the cloying cast doesn’t quite ever achieve.

No real lesson learned this time around, only a wish that Jeff Goldblum will do more indie flicks.