The French Dispatch

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Disney/Searchlight;
Comedy;
Box Office $16.05 million;
$19.99 DVD, $29.99 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for graphic nudity, some sexual references and language.
Stars Benicio del Toro, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Léa Seydoux, Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Lyna Khoudri, Jeffrey Wright, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Christoph Waltz, Edward Norton, Jason Schwartzman, Anjelica Huston.

Writer-director Wes Anderson’s penchant for quirky storytelling is on full display in The French Dispatch, an ode to journalism and the eclectic practitioners of the profession.

The film is an anthology structured like the format of a magazine, in this case a journal for the fictional French town of Ennui. The magazine, called The French Dispatch, is the local arm of a newspaper in Kansas. The vignettes shown in the film represent the final issue of the magazine, which is shut down upon the sudden death of its editor (Bill Murray), whose life story is presented through his obituary.

The tribute issue begins with a roving reporter (Owen Wilson) giving a brief recap of the history of Ennui, where little has changed culturally in 200 years.

The main story concerns an artist (Benicio del Toro) sentenced to prison for murder, whose paintings are inspired by a guard (Léa Seydoux) with whom he has fallen in love. His work catches the eye of a corrupt art dealer (Adrien Brody), while the tale is recounted by an indulgent lecturer for the gallery that ended up with the prisoner’s work.

Next up is the story of a student protest whose leader (Timothée Chalamet) inspires the writer of the piece (Frances McDormand) to break her objective coverage of the situation and help him write his manifesto while they enjoy a love affair.

The final segment involves a food journalist (Jeffrey Wright) whose examination of a new type of cuisine specially designed for police officers is interrupted when the town’s criminal syndicates kidnap the son of the police commissioner.

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The sketches are infused with Anderson’s usual eccentricities, such as varying aspect ratios, an intermixing of color and black-and-white, charming personalities, sharp wit, spitfire dialogue, rapid editing, and the precise framing of each scene with imagery evocative of a snapshot.

The set designs and visual style make the film seem like somewhat of a spiritual cousin to The Grand Budapest Hotel.

The Blu-ray doesn’t include any bonus materials, but since it’s a Wes Anderson movie there’ll probably be a Criterion Collection release in a few years offering a smattering of supplements.

Disney Sets Home Release Dates for Artsy Comedy ‘The French Dispatch’

Disney has announced home release dates for Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch, an homage to literary journalism, French culture and classic cinema.

The film, from Searchlight Pictures, will be released through digital retailers on Dec. 14, followed two weeks later by its release on DVD and Blu-ray Disc (on Dec. 28).

The French Dispatch brings to life a collection of stories from the final issue of an American magazine published in the fictional 20th-century French city of Ennui-sur-Blasé. The cast includes Benicio Del Toro, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Léa Seydoux, Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Lyna Khoudri, Jeffrey Wright, Mathieu Amalric, Stephen Park, Bill Murray and Owen Wilson.

The film has been praised by critics for its exquisite visuals, captivating performances and unique artistry.

‘Isle of Dogs’ Due June 26 on Digital, July 17 on Disc

Director Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs will be available for digital ownership (including Movies Anywhere) June 26 and on Blu-ray and DVD July 17 from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

The film tells the story of Atari Kobayashi, 12-year-old ward to corrupt Mayor Kobayashi. When all the canine pets of Megasaki City are exiled to vast Trash Island, Atari sets off in search of his bodyguard dog Spots. With the assistance of his newfound mongrel friends, he begins an epic journey that will decide the fate and future of the entire Prefecture.

The cast voicing the dog and human characters includes Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Bob Balaban, Jeff Goldblum, Scarlett Johansson and Frances McDormand.

The film earned $31.4 million at the domestic box office.

Special features on Blu-ray and digital include six featurettes, “Animators,” “Isle of Dogs Cast Interviews,” “Puppets,” “An Ode to Dogs,” “Magasaki City and Trash Island” and “Weather and Elements”; and image gallery; and the theatrical trailer.