This review originally appeared in shorter form on KSNT-NBC, KTKA-ABC, and KTMJ-FOX, Kansas First News.
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
The surprise sleeper hit of the summer is director Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, a beautifully shot, whimsical comedy that stars Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, and Bill Murray—all in supporting roles as restless adults.
The two main roles are two preteen kids (Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward) who run away together to go camping on a secluded New England cove, which sets the adults of the small island town on a manhunt.
Moonrise Kingdom is a wry, delightful comedy that connected big with audiences this summer. With its deadpan dialogue and damaged characters, Moonrise Kingdom casts a unique and charming spell and is surprisingly hopeful.
The stylized cinematography—weirdly symmetrical and ripe with yellows and blues—is a big part of that.
As far as bonus features go, this Blu-ray gets an “F.” Rather than stock it full of extra content like many of Anderson’s previous films available through The Criterion Collection, Universal’s bare bones Blu-ray has three making-of featurettes that don’t even total 10 minutes.
Last Ride (2009)
The 10-year old boy (Tom Russell) on a road trip with his father in Last Ride is dealing with a situation that’s much different from Moonrise Kingdom. Hugo Weaving (from The Matrix and Lord of the Rings movies) is a fugitive father who takes his son Chook through the farthest reaches of the Australian outback to elude the law.
Last Ride is also beautifully shot, but it’s going for a way more realistic vibe, and uncertainty fills every frame.
Weaving carries the film in a rare lead role as a father who loves his son but has criminal tendencies that get the best of him.
Young Tom Russell is subtle and effective as the boy who has to grow up fast. Last Ride is a slow-moving but affecting drama, and one worth seeking out on DVD.
Extra features include audio commentaries with director Glendyn Ivin, Ivin’s Palm D’Or-winning short film Cracker Bag, another Ivin short called The Desert, a behind-the-scenes featurette, and a documentary called Seven EMU: This is Where We Live.