Wes Anderson Movie
Wes Anderson has long been an easy target for ridicule; it was hardly a surprise when he was caught Citi Biking around New York in his Tom Wolfe-ish white suit. But he’s kept doing him, and rightly so. His 2012 effort was more of the same: a hyper-designed, goofy-sad tale of kids (Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward) running away into the woods, pursued by authority figures and aggressive boy scouts. He’s almost daring you to call it self-parody, just as much as he’s waiting for detractors to see he’s not just about quirk. As ever, a heavy melancholic streak runs throughout, offering an insightful look at how characters, as they always do in Anderson joints, use artifice to shield them from pain. The adults are uniformly brooding, their reactions to our pint-sized heroes betraying their own anguish over their fading childhood and the poor choices that have left them unhappy. It’s hilarious and gutting in equal measure, usually at the same time — just like all Andersons.
‘The Bank Job’
Like Wes Anderson, Jason Statham has been pigeonholed. He’s an old school ass-kicker, but he can also be a funny, articulate motormouth and serious. “Spy” showcased the former while this 2008 thriller — based on a stranger-than-fiction tale of a truly bizarre heist — reveals, like “Redemption” and this year’s ignored “Wild Card,” the latter. Granted, he’s still doing his taciturn badass routine, but there are more layers than he’s often called on to show. That’s because it’s a Jason Statham movie that could theoretically exist without him, and is thus freed to give him an actual character to play. Not that he should dial back on playing action god, but as age subtracts his physical prowess he may have other things to fall back on.
‘The Beast’/‘Immoral Tales’
Polish filmmaker Walerian Borowczyk went from avant-garde animation to ’70s softcore erotica, but he did it his way. There’s plenty of T&A in his two best-known features — 1974’s anthology “Immoral Tales” and 1975’s nutso “The Beast” — but there’s also a smart, witty dissection of class and repression. “Immoral Tales” adapts classic sexy stories, including one about vampiric-ish countess Elizabeth Bathory, and while the screen is regularly filled with flesh, so too is it rampant with funny-angry studies of power. “The Beast,” an expanded version of what was to be “Immoral Tales”’ fifth tale, is downright socialist. It takes a good hour of pageantry to get to the good stuff, mainly the daughter of a deceased businessman forced into marriage lapsing into vivid dreams of making sweet, graphic love to a horrifying, hairy and quite stimulated monster — a vision of sex-as-escape rendered giddily absurd.