How We Are What I Live Now

We Are What We Are and How I Live Now are currently available on instant Netflix.

We Are What We Are

 

We Are What We Are (2013) – Rated R

Following a family tragedy, two teenage sisters are forced by their domineering father to keep their cannibalistic clan’s macabre traditions alive.

What if we made a horror film with indie movie sensibilities? We Are What We Are is a horror movie with wonderful cinematography and an emphasis on character development. It unfolds slowly, almost gracefully and builds gradually to a very powerful conclusion.

We Are What We Are is based on a 2010 Mexican horror film of the same name. I have yet to watch the Mexican version but just a brief glimpse at a synopsis shows significant differences. The cannibalism in the U.S. version is clearly present but quite understated.

It manages to avoid most of the hoary horror tropes but does still have the person investigating who fails to tell anyone where they are going or what they are doing. Other than that all I will say is well played and let you discover this gem for yourself.

How I Live Now

 

How I Live Now (2013) РRated R

An American girl, sent to the English countryside to stay with relatives, finds love and purpose while fighting for her survival as war envelops the world around her.”

Since this is based on the novel by Meg Rosoff, I have to assume that the writer is British. All the British kids are delightful and helpful and our protagonist, Daisy, an American, is one of the most hateful and abrasive teenagers I have ever seen on screen. The character verges on a parody of the Ugly American tourist – so much so that the first fifteen minutes of the film are almost unbearable. Daisy also has an unintelligible internal monologue.

If you stick it out, the film begins to be rewarding fairly quickly after that. The children/young adults live out in the country and so, initially, they are relatively unaffected by the outbreak of war. It doesn’t take long for them to receive a rude awakening and a few lessons in martial law.

Irritatingly, the soundtrack often overrides the background news broadcasts. Another irritation is that large swaths of the story are told in montage format. I did like that the opposing force was nameless and faceless for the most part). How I live Now is pretty decent, though not great, once you pass the quarter hour mark.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

I wanted a special movie to take my wife to on our anniversary and Wes Anderson’s latest did not disappoint.

Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) РRated R

The adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.”

I would like to just put “Go see this. Now.” as the entire review. Fresh off his Oscar-nominated Moonrise Kingdom, writer/director/producer Wes Anderson has knocked it out of the park again.

One Line Review: Go see this. Now. Best film of the year thus far. Perhaps in toto. Oops that’s a lot of lines but you get the picture.

Wes Anderson the director, and his favorite cinematographer, Robert D. Yeoman, have a fantastic eye for detail. This movie could be used to teach a master class on shot composition. Every frame is either jam-packed with detail or a masterwork in simplicity. I worry I may have missed some dialogue staring at the screen.

Wes Anderson the writer, together with co-writer Hugo Guinness, have composed a love letter to the golden age of fancy hotels and Hollywood. Profanity is used sparingly and, because of that, to good effect, earning the ‘R’ rating. Non-profanity language is elegant and refined, including such bygone terms as funicular.

The plot should not work at all as it is a flashback within a flashback and, at times, within another flashback. The visual style changes with each iteration as does the main character. The tone, which works surprisingly well, is part-farce, part-slapstick, with a dash of darkness as a fictionalized version of World War II hangs over the events

Ralph Fiennes gives a fantastic lead performance, far removed from his more recent villainous and/or dour turns. He is not called on to carry the movie but he obviously could. Previous Anderson alums populate the film to varying degrees. Look for Adrien Brody, Willem DaFoe, Edward Norton, Jason Schwartzman, and Bill Murray (himself a 7 time Anderson alum) to add quirk and verve to their parts. In addition, there is an almost unrecognizable Tilda Swinton, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, F. Murray Abraham, and Jude Law in various parts. Were it not for Fiennes’ incredible performance, the movie would have been stolen by the two young actors, Saoirse Ronan as Agatha and Tony Revolori as Zero.

Seriously I cannot recommend this film enough. Anyone with a love of cinema should see it.