The Watch List – Blue Iguana, Moonrise Kingdom and Bill & Ted Face the Music

Last summer I started writing a series of post, which I called The Watch List. I tried to write these in advance and then put them up at the weekend. There was one that I wrote but didn’t post. It’s been sitting in my drafts since September 30th last year. It was around then that life was getting a bit hectic with work and personal stuff, so I didn’t ever publish it. I keep on seeing it in my drafts and didn’t want to delete it, so I thought I would just publish it today. This will be the last ‘Watch List’ post. I liked doing them, but prefer the challenge of daily film reviews. At least I do at the moment.

I’ve missed a week with posts, it’s been busy. I’ve still been able to relax with a few films though. I continued my way through Wes Anderson’s filmography with Moonrise Kingdom. Part Badlands and part Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Moonrise Kindgom follows Sam and Suzy two 12 year olds who fall in love and run away together on a small island. They are chased by Suzy’s parents, local police and Sam’s scout master. I loved this film. Straight from the beginning with it’s quirky opening I knew this was going to be good and I wasn’t let down at all. It’s funny, touching and quirky.

This is truly a star studded cast with Ed Norton, Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton to name a few taking supporting roles to Jared Filman as Sam and Kara Hayward as Suzy. Everyone is brilliant in this film. All together I would say that this is the most charming of Wes Anderson’s films that I’ve seen. There is a melancholic undertone that is woven through the story, but overall there is so much hope in the innocent love between the two leads. I can’t recommend this one enough.

Blue Iguana stars Sam Rockwell and Ben Schwartz. Which was enough to make me want to watch it. I’m a big fan of both. They play Eddie and Paul, respecitvely, two Americans who are hired to pull of a robbery in England. Things don’t go exactly to plan, and a bigger robbery is planned. I think this film is decent, but nothing special. It’s funny in places and the characters do stand out, but there is nothing beyond that. I enjoyed it while watching it, but haven’t really thought abuot it since. There is also a strange scene where someone hides a gun in a bathroom, but it makes no sense why he took the gun in the first place, other to make sure the gun was there for a shoot out they couldn’t have known was coming. It bothered me at the time, and it really sticks out as bad writing thinking back. This film is gruesome and bloody and overall fun to watch but nothing that I will go back to.

The other director’s filmography that Tabby and I are making our way through is Noah Baumbach. He has such a good graps of people lost in their lives and things not going the way they planned. Something I think most, if not all people can relate to. This week we watched While We’re Young, staring Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts as a middle aged couple who become friends with a younger and more hipstery couple played by Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried. At the heart of this film is a battle between integrity and comercialiality as both Ben Stiller and Adam Driver’s characters are documentary makers. I don’t feel like that battle sticks very well throughout the short run time and the best part of the film is just the characters. It’s not hard to get invested in their lives and I enjoyed it for what it was. I do think this is one of Baumbach’s weaker films from what I’ve seen. Even thought it’s around 90 minutes it does feel a lot longer.

The final film I want to talk about this time is the new Bill & Ted film. Bill & Ted Face the Music. It’s been nearly 30 years since the last Bill & Ted film and like many long awaited sequels, especially from comedies series, expectations were low. I like the first two films, although maybe I’m not old enough to appreciate them for what they are. When the film started and Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter appeared back in character I couldn’t help but smile. They are both so brilliant as Bill & Ted and they both step back into their characters so perfectly. They still haven’t written the song that is supposed to unite the world and time has taken its toll on them. They both have daughters, played by Brigette Lundy-Paine and Samara Weaving who join with their fathers to go on a time travelling adventure to hell and back to finish this song for the sake of the universe. I really enjoyed this one. I think it’s the best of the trilogy, which may be because I wasn’t around when the first 2 came out. I really want to point out that Brigette Lundy-Paine as Billie Logan, Bill’s daughter is absolutely perfect. She mirrors Reeve’s performance brilliantly and deserves all the praise in the wrold. Overall it’s a really fun film and doesn’t fele like a pointless sequel in anyway. I think fans of the original will like it along with newcommers.

The best of the bunch this time is definitely Moonrise Kingdom. It’s quirky, charming, fun and heartwarming. I loved it and can’t recommend it enough. It’s my favourite Wes Anderson film so far and I find it hard to believe it will be topped.

Thanks for reading and until next time,


About ashleymanningwriter

Young Adult Fiction writer. Horror and fantasy blended together.
This entry was posted in film reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Watch List – Blue Iguana, Moonrise Kingdom and Bill & Ted Face the Music

  1. Paul S says:

    I like the sound of Moonrise Kingdom and as a fan of Bill & Ted I might give face the music a whirl. What have I got to lose?

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s