Like most of Wes Anderson’s previous films, The French Dispatch is deliberately paced without ever becoming boring, quirky without ever being inaccessible and artistic without ever growing pretentious. It’s a cinematic treat enhanced by creative production design and a wonderful score by Alexandre Desplat. Fans of the director will be familiar with all his moves, but that doesn’t make them any less enjoyable.
Habit is an abject failure on all counts, a blatantly calculated attempt at Tarantino-esque hipness while neglecting to provide a single reason we should give a damn about any of these characters and the situation they’ve gotten themselves into. That situation has slutty slacker Mads (Bella Thorne) and her two dim-witted besties getting on the wrong side of psychotic, perpetually-screaming drug dealer Queenie (Josie Ho) by losing $20,000 of her money. They decide to disguise themselves as nuns so they can hide-out in the home of a kindly blind woman.
The Carnivores isn’t what anyone would call a fun film – Alice’s goofy co-worker provides the only levity – and one’s enjoyment certainly depends on their tolerance for the company of characters created to make them feel increasingly uncomfortable. However, the main characters are morbidly interesting (performed with conviction by Medel and Burdge). Their behavior and actions may even be tenuously relatable to some viewers, though I suspect many will never be able to forgive Alice.
Less interesting is Femke’s relationship with fellow writer Steven Dood (Bram van der Kelen), who sort-of serves as a moral compass and offers the sound advice of never reading comments. For the most part, he is inessential to the plot, save for making a horrific discovery late in the film. Aside from that, The Columnist offers a pretty funny writer’s revenge fantasy featuring a character we empathise with, even as she’s dispatching her enemies. After all, they could have disagreed nicely, but chose to be dicks instead. Serves ‘em right.
“On the rocks” is about marital troubles, a complicated father-daughter relationship, and also about how people get lost in the turbulent and chaotic society in which they live. It’s not another masterpiece of Coppola, but surely it’s another successful cooperation between Coppola and Murray. I quietly hope that they will work together again in the future.
God knows people obsessed with internet fame deserve a good ribbing. As a teacher who spends most of his time around teenagers, I can assure you there are countless kids convinced that being a professional YouTuber is not only a viable career option, but fortune and glory are just one viral video away. Just like every would-be Eddie Van Halen of my generation were certain they stood apart from all the other would-be Eddie Van Halens.