The French Dispatch

Four Wes Anderson movies in one!

Upon the sudden death of the chief editor (Bill Murray) of The French Dispatch, an American newspaper bureau in the fictional French city of Ennui sur Blasé (gotta love it!), the eclectic staff of the paper prepares, as per his final instructions, a farewell issue featuring reprints of three of its most memorable stories. Plus his obituary.

Not everyone appreciates Wes Anderson’s hand-crafted, endlessly inventive, wildly whimsical creations, but they’ve never anything short of hugely entertaining. Not to mention welcome in this age of cookie-cutter multiplex fodder. The Royal Tenenbaums, Isle of Dogs, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Moonrise Kingdom, The Grand Budapest Hotel.

This tsunami of Andersonian aesthetics, a love letter to, of all things, print journalism, amplifies the writer/director’s unique skills to a point approaching self-parody. Best to just sit back and marvel at the sheer level of detail, the loving stagecraft, the great underlying warmth and of course the plentiful wry humor.

Not to mention the stellar ensemble cast! Benicio Del Toro, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Lea Seydoux, Frances McDormand, Owen Wilson, Anjelica Huston, Kate Winslet, Jeffery Wright, Bob Balaban, Henry Winkler, Christoph Waltz, Liev Schreiber, Willem Dafoe, Edward Norton, and that’s just for starters. Admire it or enjoy it? In this case, both. (107 min)