LIFE & LEISURE B1 Entertainment B2 Arts & Culture B3 Health B4 Autos B5 Travel B6 Science B7 Style B8 At Home ENTERTAINMENT November 23 - 29, 2007 Ottawa Edition Movie Review ‘The Darjeeling Limited’ By JAMES CARROLL Epoch Times U.K. Staﬀ Weird and wacky, insightful and intriguing, that’s Wes Anderson’s M.O. An auteur filmmaker with an infallible oeuvre, Anderson makes movies of a certain ilk for moviegoers with an acquired taste. But if his distorted world-view is your bag (baby), then there’s nothing better. And if you enjoyed his previous efforts, then you’ll love “The Darjeeling Limited.” Written by Anderson in collaboration with real-life friends Roman Coppola and indie darling Jason Schwartzman (“Shopgirl”) during an art-imitating-life train trip of their own, “The Darjeeling Limited” is yet another Anderson film preoccupied with the dysfunctional family. Estranged and strange, the Whitman brothers Francis (Owen Wilson), Peter (Adrien Brody) and Jack (Schwartzman) haven’t spoken for a year since their father’s funeral. Now they’re lumped together on a train voyage across the Indian plains on a spiritual quest to “bond, seek the unknown, and be open to everything.” Veering off course when their petty squabbles get them thrown off the titular train, the brothers find themselves stranded in the middle of the desert with only their matching luggage, a printer, and a laminator for company. Thus begins an odyssey none of them expected… Surreptitiously taking you on a journey from quirky, oddball comedy to an involving portrait of loss, love, life, and death, “The Darjeeling Limited” will adroitly work its way under your skin to leave a lasting impression. Layered with metaphors (umm… matching luggage—or is that baggage—anyone?) and hidden meanings, it is a movie that lets the audience fill in the blanks, allowing them their own personal experience of the adventure. Though growing on you in much the same way as the movie itself, the Whitman brothers initially come across as arrogant, affluent, and conceited. It’s only as you come to realize they are more damaged than initial appearances suggest (except for the mummy-like Francis, obviously) that you begin to become involved with their inner issues. Brought to life by a triumvirate of talented actors, “Darjeeling” features top-notch performances from the versatile Brody and unconventional everyman Schwartzman, as well as a never-better turn from Wilson (with some current, real-life connotations enhancing his performance). Lurching from funny scenario to funny scenario rather than winding its way through a flowing narrative, “Darjeeling” is a film more interested in moments than in a cohesive whole. And it does not suffer for this, as each and every moment Anderson makes you privy to is either an amusing or a touching one. Unfortunately, it would be bad form to describe even one of the veritable smorgasbords of outlandish situations and comic mishaps that befall the brothers Whitman as this would entirely affect the enjoyment of it. But your mind can rest assured that any film containing the line “I love you too, but I’m gonna mace you in the face” followed by a superb slapstick bundle between three oddball brothers is undoubtedly going to be an entertaining piece of art. B1 ‘Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium’ Movie Review Natalie Portman and Dustin Hoffman on their recently released fantasy film By LIDIA LOUK Epoch Times New York Staﬀ NEW YORK—“Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium” starring Dustin Hoffman, Natalie Portman, Jason Bateman, and child actor Zachary Mills opened in U.S. theaters on Nov. 16. Despite the all-star cast, the main character is actually the film’s other title character—the most fantastic and wonderful toy store in the world. The Wonder Emporium is to toys what Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory is to candy—magical and a bit mysterious. The store is able to come alive and helps characters discover their true selves. Two-time Oscar winner Dustin Hoffman plays the 243year-old store owner, who possesses the unique skill of finding the magic in everyone around him. In preparing to play this aged character, he shared at the film’s New York press conference that prosthetics weren’t necessary to make Mr. Magorium into a character that the audience would believe. “What’s important is if you think you can believe. . .You just have to have 5 percent of the character in you. . .My character is a kid who did not want to grow up. I had that in me.” The word “play” also has a philosophical undertone for Dustin Hoffman and brought him to reflect on the profession of acting. He pointed to working on “Finding Neverland” with Johnny Depp and director Marc Forster when they once discussed the playwright Arthur Miller. Miller felt that a play is just a play, intended to be drama performed by the actors. However, Hoffman feels differently. “My own feeling is that I don’t think actors do anything differently than all of us, because we all do that. We all act. And we all play, and we all put on a face depending upon what it’s for.” The young, Oscar-nomi- BIG KIDS: Dustin Hoﬀman and Natalie Portman in a scene from the G-rated “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium,” a ﬁlm that’s appealing to both children and adults. FOX WALDEN nated actress Natalie Portman portrays Molly Mahoney, the manager of the magic store. For Portman, this was her first film for children. “It let me go back to my childhood in a way. What was interesting is that I started working as a kid. You know, I started working when I was 11, but I was never in a kids’ movie, and now I’m suddenly in a kids’ movie, but I don’t get a kid’s treatment, because I am Holiday Movie Reviews a grownup. That was sort of a bizarre experience.” Even though the special effects, stunning photography, and a cornucopia of toys help the audience embrace the kids’ wonderland, the film’s most magical moments are the most realistic and simple scenes, such as Mr. Magorium dancing on bubble wrap in the park the day before he is supposed to die. This light-hearted and humanistic film does not fall short of tackling adult themes of life and death, insecurity, and finding one’s own path in life. Natalie Portman found a strong relation to what the film’s main messages were. “It’s that transition from playing someone else’s [musical] pieces to writing your own [musical] piece. And the metaphor is that of conducting your own life rather than just playing music. It is about the courage to put yourself out there. This is what I’m making, this is me, this is a piece of me. What do you think of it? Putting yourself out there is a big deal, and there is always this insecurity. And then it’s finding magic in every moment. Can we find magic in ourselves? Directed by the brilliant writer Zach Helm (“Stranger Than Fiction”), “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium” is a sweet holiday treat for both kids and adults. ‘Fred Claus’ & ‘The Perfect Holiday’ The holiday season is officially underway. Here are two PG-rated, family movies good for a few laughs and to help you get in the holiday spirit. ‘Fred Claus’ ‘The Perfect Holiday’ Fred Claus has lived his entire life in his brother’s very large shadow. Fred tried, but could hardly live up to the example set by the younger Nicholas, who was just a perfect, well, saint. True to form, Nicholas grew up to be the model of giving, while Fred became the polar opposite: a fast-talking repo man who’s run out of luck and money. Over Mrs. Claus’s objections, Nicholas agrees to help his brother on one condition—that he come to the North Pole and earn the money he needs by working in Santa’s Toy Shop. The trouble is that Fred isn’t exactly elf material and, with Christmas fast approaching, Fred could jeopardize the jolliest holiday of the year. Nancy is a divorced mother of three who is so busy raising her children that she’s forgotten to take care of herself. With Christmas coming, she decides to take her kids to the mall to meet Santa Claus, not knowing that youngest daughter Emily has sensed her mother’s sadness and is determined to use her time with Santa to make her mom happy again. Just a few days prior, Emily heard her mom say that all she wanted for Christmas was a compliment from a man, so that’s exactly what she tells Santa. Ironically, Santa, as it turns out, is office supply salesman and struggling songwriter Benjamin, who ends up giving Nancy just what she wants for Christmas, and much, much more.
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