Say ISLE OF DOGS several times fast and it comes out sounding a lot like "I like dogs," which makes sense, since that's pretty much the chief takeaway from Wes Anderson's delightful new animated feature. Canine antics abound in this leisurely tale of abandoned mutts taking on a corrupt human government.
Set "before the age of obedience," and exquisitely animated in the style of historical woodcuts, a quick prologue establishes the history of how cats became the dominant pet in Japanese society, while dogs have been banished to the offshore Trash Island. While the quest at the center of its narrative sounds positively Pixar-esque, the magic and hijinks are found in the details and sweet vignettes. The canine voices are a who's who of great actors: Edward Norton, Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray, Yoko Ono, Liev Schreiber, Greta Gerwig, Jeff Goldblum, Tilda Swinton, Harvey Keitel, Frances McDormand. Watch this hilarious interview with the cast. "A triumph of pure imagination. Expect to wag your metaphorical tail in delight." -Rolling Stone
Fourteen years ago I programmed an independent film called MY SUMMER OF LOVE, with a relatively unknown actress by the name of Emily Blunt. Happily the unknown part has vanished, because this woman is a great talent. Her near-silent performance in the hit thriller A QUIET PLACE is a stunner. Don't be scared off by the giant creatures who threaten the family at the heart of the story. It's worth the thrills, and just remember that later this year Ms. Blunt returns in a new remake of MARY POPPINS.
There are just two days left to see BIG SONIA. It is a wonderful documentary about a remarkable, inspiring woman who is making the world a better place. My sincere thanks to filmmakers Leah Warshawski and Todd Soliday, who delighted audiences this past weekend with their stories about Sonia and the film's production.
THE DEATH OF STALIN is holding over in the Starlight for one more week, and LEANING INTO THE WIND - ANDY GOLDSWORTHY will also be playing up there, but only through Sunday.
Since our Classics Night in the Starlight always sells out well in advance of the show, here's a hot tip. I just booked a great screwball comedy called BALL OF FIRE (1941) for May 18th. It stars Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper and was directed by Howard Hawks. And the great Billy Wilder cowrote the script. This movie is guaranteed to tickle every funny bone in your body. Nominated for six Academy Awards.
And since we turned people away from KING OF HEARTS last Wednesday, we're bringing it back for another show in the Rose on Saturday, April 21st.
The Metropolitan Opera presents LUISA MILLER this Saturday at 9:30 in the Rose.