By Jack Evans
I mentioned last week in my Annie Hall write-up that I’m seriously lacking in my experience with film classics (and that includes modern/recent classics). Here’s where you can continue making fun of me, because I hadn’t seen Goodfellas until earlier this week. I can see why people have called American Hustle a hollow rip-off of Goodfellas, because, well, it kind of is. I can also see why Goodfellas is considered a classic: it’s engrossing and masterfully composed, and while its 2-and-a-half hours don’t move rapidly, per say, every minute feels important. It’s certainly stylistically distinct, but it also has heart, something that can’t be said for certain imitators.
Marie Antoinette is the third of Sofia Coppola’s films I’ve seen; the first two – Lost in Translation and The Virgin Suicides – I loved (especially the former), but with Marie Antoinette, which magnifies the ennui of Coppola’s first two films and adds a sharp-edged, dazzling visual and auditory style, I can begin see why Coppola’s harshest critics often reduce her films to “rich people problems.” Truthfully, Marie Antoinette is a little hollow: it’s loaded with angst, but not much thematic relevance comes of it. Nearly every other aspect of it is highly entertaining, though – the revisionist history set to the beats of a modern coming-of-age movie, the excellent performances from Kirsten Dunst and Jason Schwartzman, and especially the brightly colored eye-candy and thumping post-punk soundtrack.
Wes Anderson seems to refine and distinguish his style every film, and while some see his whimsy and fascination with symmetry as a bad thing, I think it’s a big part of what makes him one of the most interesting filmmakers working today. Moonrise Kingdom is perhaps his best film, combining his signature elements with some of his most enjoyable characters in his most propulsive plot.