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Merrick here...
Mastidon wrote in after seeing THE HOTEL CHEVALIER and THE DARJEELING LIMITED. CHEVALIER is a short "introduction" to / set-up for DARJEELING, to which it is attached. I've never been a gigantic Wes Anderson fan, so I'll step aside and let Mastidon do all the talking.
Here's Mastidon...
Been tough writing reviews today as I am really tired from staying out until 2:30 am then getting up at 6:45 in order to buy tickets for the Tim Burton Lifetime Achievement Tribute tomorrow so please bear with me if this is not my best work. I'm reviewing the two films a single since they are both tied together and will hopefully be screened that way when finally released in the cinema. Hotel Chevalier and The Darjeeling Limited - 4 stars (out of 5) Owen Wilson as Francis, Adrien Brody as Peter, Jason Schwartman as Jack, Natalie Portman as the girlfriend, Bill Murray as The Businessman. Written and Directed by Wes Anderson I was highly skeptical going into this film as I had seen "The Royal Tenenbaums" and never liked it. I never could click with the humor and just didn't see why people liked it so much. Well, not only did I like the film, but I am here to tell you that it is simply the most entertaining thing I have seen in my time here in Venice. The movie had me laughing out loud more than once. The cinematography is great with the use of color to underline anything that is going on. And the acting is superb. ***SPOILERS*** The Hotel Chevalier is a 13 minute short film that introduces us to the universe in Darjeeling. The film opens with a guy in a trashed hotel room getting a phone call from a woman informing him that she will arrive in 30 minutes. From the conversation you get that they had history and are now broken up. By the time she arrives, the room is spotless with just the right music playing on his iPod. After some dancing back and forth, all clothes come off. Natalie Portman shows a surprising amount of flesh considering. She is completely naked and is shown from behind and the side. You see her body is covered in bruises but you never find out why. You also catch the first glimpse of a suitcase with the number 3, some initials, and an animal pattern on it. The end credits roll without you ever learning the names either character. The Darjeeling Limited opens with Bill Murray on a wild taxi ride through some city in India. The taxi takes him to the train station where he does his best OJ in an airport impersonation to run to catch his train. As he is running, the train is pulling away. The camera than shifts to another character who is running with the same style luggage as in Chevalier. This character passes Bill and gets on the train. Bill doesn't make it and we switch back to his view as he is gasping for breath as the train drives away with a sign on the back "The Darjeeling Limited ". Both film titles have nothing to do with the storyline except for the locations where the events occur. The character who just made the train enters a cabin where he meets the guy from Chevalier. He is greeted with "Hello Jack". Jack wakes up and responds by saying "Hello Peter. Jack asks if he has seen Francis yet who then enters the room on queue. Owen Wilson has his head wrapped in bandages and it is a little bit strange to see him considering the news from the past week. I read somewhere that his character was supposedly recovering from a suicide attempt. If this was the case, it was never made clear in the film. Francis explained it as a car crash into the side of a mountain. The journey across India is the idea of Francis to reunite the relationship between the 3 brothers. Turns out they had not been together since their father's funeral the year earlier. As brothers, they have a great dynamic with each other. Both Jack and Peter share secrets with each other and promise not to tell Francis. When either is pissed at the other, they end up informing Francis right away so all comes out in the end. Francis's goal is to bring the 3 brothers together in a spiritual harmony to then continue on an important family quest which I will not spoil here. The movie has many funny moments, I love the bit with Peter and the snake. Also, Jack seduces the train hostess and plays the same music from Chevalier on his iPod. The whole luggage thing is quiet funny as they have about a dozen bags in total all with the same crazy pattern with different numbers on each. The dynamics with Francis always trying to order for his younger brothers is brilliant as well. When Peter demands to order for himself, he orders exactly what Jack would have for him. ***END SPOILERS*** As somebody with 2 older brothers, I can easily relate to the dynamics of this family. The characters are well developed with their ties and you can really see and follow them on a journey from being estranged to being a family again. I can't recommend it highly enough if you want a good piece of entertainment that will leave you with a big smile on your face. -Mastidon

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