On an Isle Of Dogs, Wes Anderson uses stop-motion to construct one of his most wondrous worlds


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Unfolding across multiple chapters and flashbacks, Isle Of Dogs doubles down on Anderson’s affinity for literary devices and anecdotal detours. Is there a working filmmaker who finds more inspired ways to deliver plot information? He can make a priceless punchline out of a mere location stamp. The film’s cosmetic invention extends to its fluidly shifting visual vocabulary, as Anderson employs manga-style still frames during the expository prologue, anime-style 2-D animation whenever his characters appear on a television screen, and lush, painted tableau for backstory. One could argue that Anderson’s Japan is pure outsider kitsch, not unlike the exoticized tourist’s vision of India he offered in The Darjeeling Limited. But Isle Of Dogs doesn’t skimp on the cultural nods, offhandedly working in sumo wrestling, Kabuki theater, sushi preparation, samurai folklore, the woodblock work of Hiroshige and Hokusai, Akira Kurosawa’s chanbara and modern city films, kaiju-flick audio cues, and—through a typically propulsive, enchanting score by Alexandre Desplat—taiko drumming. If this is a superficial tribute, it’s also an affectionately dense one. Most accurately, what we’re seeing is an Andersonian alternate universe: a Japan as old and new, real and unreal, steeped in pastiche and invented from scratch as the brownstone New York of The Royal Tenenbaums.

Quentin Tarantino makes his one true action movie, and it’s glorious


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This needull talks about Kill Bill: Vol. 1. An action movie where Tarantino goes no holds barred on action scenes.

Kill Bill—the whole bloody affair—is messy. The tone veers wildly from cartoonish silliness to bloodcurdling emotional intensity; think of the moment where Uma Thurman wakes from her coma, realizes that she’s no longer pregnant, and lets out a feral-animal howl before she gets to killing motherfuckers. And somehow, probably because Tarantino knows what he’s doing, those abrupt tonal shifts never kill the movie’s momentum. It rockets forward on its own logic, over the course of two movies. It’s a four-hour revenge spectacular that ends with a long philosophical discussion.

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Tom Breihan — The A.V. Club

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