To those of you who’ve been waiting to see Wes Anderson’s latest, The Darjeeling Limited, but haven’t because of its limited release—or you’ve just been lazy—here’s an extra perk: According to the Times, when the film makes its jump to 800 screens this Friday, it’ll be preceded by “Hotel Chevalier,” a short that until now only screened at press screenings and festivals as part one of Darjeeling. The fine short has been downloaded for free on iTunes about 500,000 times, and after receiving some good press (most critics' responses to Darjeeling, on the other hand, were lukewarm at best), Fox Searchlight decided to screen it as Anderson intended. I still have my reservations about Jason Schwartzman’s chops in both (Natalie Portman’s great, though far too much has made of her nude scene). Still, "Chevalier" is the director’s most promising (note, I don’t say best) work since Rushmore. Hopefully he takes the less-is-more approach to heart in upcoming projects.
Fans of Bruce Robinson’s cult fave Withnail and I have reason to celebrate, too: Actors Paul McGann and Richard E. Grant have reunited for the first time in since that wonderfully quotable flick (“I demand to have some booze!” and “I feel like a pig shat in my head,” among many, many others) came out 20 years ago. The short, “Always Crashing in the Same Car,” makes for an interesting comparison: Instead of playing struggling actors during the waning days of ’60s drug culture, as they did in Withnail, they’re playing power-hungry London elitists. Best of all, Grant hasn’t lost his knack for maniacal, dirty ramblings (At one point he says to his wife, “Darling, there aren’t enough swear words in the cunt-ing dictionary for how wholly fucked we are.”) Two shorts, free of charge. Pour a drink and enjoy.