Listen To Entertainment Reporter Jan Wahl, Fridays at 8:53am & 4:53pm On KCBS All News 740AM | 106.9FM

Jan Wahl Movie Review: 'Moonrise Kingdom'

Cast of “Moonrise Kingdom” (credit: Focus Features)

(CBS SF) – KCBS Entertainment Reporter, Jan Wahl reviews ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ staring Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and Jason Schwartzman.

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We know Director Wes Anderson as imaginative, melancholy and often magical. From his first film Bottle Rocket though The Life Aquatic, Royal Tenenbaums, Rushmore to his last one, the stop motion Fantastic Mr. Fox, he shows affection for the odd one out or the marginalized as well as marvelous and clear visuals.

In this newest film, Moonrise Kingdon (PG-13), we get unforgettable characters. Plus, a location of a fictitious island filled with color and the whimsical both in buildings and landscape. The movie takes us to a camp run by a strict leader as well as a busy family home; but most of the film focuses on a pair of twelve year olds. One is an expressive girl who looks at the world through binoculars. She hopes to see a camp runaway, a smart, industrious (especially as a camper!) and feisty orphan made fun of by his peers and cast out by his foster family.

The two outsiders find each other.

The beautiful windswept island comes alive in every shot, clearly drawn by Anderson, whose original ambition was to be an architect. Period detail also works in every shot since this takes place in 1965.

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But, it is the casting of the youngsters, Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman, that stands front and center. The characters around them create a texture and mood, including Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray and a perfectly cast Bruce Willis as a sad sack policeman.

One misplaced adventure with a dog is a harder edge than necessary. Aside from that, gorgeous cinematography, a youthful adventure mixed with quirkiness and the celebration for the eccentricity of the everyday. Three hats.

The rest is history as we follow this comedy – that is based on a true story – with some unforgettable Victorian characters. Director Tanya Wexler keeps it fun, while making political and social statements and sometimes just being outrageous. Three hats.


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Home Viewing/DVD: Carol Channing: Larger Than Life, W.E., Albert Nobbs, We Were Here: Voices from the AIDS Years in San Francisco, Rampart, We Need to Talk About Kevin

You can hear KCBS Entertainment Editor Jan Wahl’s movie reviews on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM Fridays at 8:53am & 4:53pm.

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