You don't arrive at the Grand Budapest Hotel without your share of Wes Anderson baggage. Odds are, if you've booked a visit to this film, you've enjoyed your past trips to the Wes Indies (I promise I'll stop this extended metaphor soon), delighting especially in Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, and his most recent charmer Moonrise Kingdom. On the other hand, you could be the adventurous sort — a curious diplomat who never really got Anderson's uric-toned deadpan drudgings but can't resist browsing through the brochures of his latest European getaway. First off, neither community should worry about a bias in this review — I'm a Life Aquatic devotee, equally alienating to both sides. Second, neither community should be deterred by Andersonian expectations, be they sky high or subterranean, in planned Budapest excursions. No matter who you are, this movie will charm your dandy pants off and then some.
While GBH hangs tight to the filmmaker's recognizable style, the movie is a departure for Anderson in a number of ways. The first being plot: there is one. A doozy, too. We're accustomed to spending our Wes flicks peering into the stagnant souls of pensive man-children — or children-men (Moonrise) or fox-kits (guess) — whose journeys are confined primarily to the internal. But not long into Grand Budapest, we're on a bona fide adventure with one of the director's most attractive heroes to date: the didactic Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes mastering sympathetic comedy better than anyone could have imagined he might), who invests his heart and soul into the titular hotel, an oasis of nobility in a decaying 1930s Europe. Gustave is plucked from his sadomasochistic nirvana overseeing every cog and sprocket in the mountaintop institution and thrust into a madcap caper — reminiscent of, and not accidentally, the Hollywood comedies of the era — involving murder, framing, art theft, jailbreak, love, sex, envy, secret societies, high speed chases... believe me, I haven't given half of it away. Along the way, we rope in a courageous baker (Saoirse Ronan), a dutiful attorney (Jeff Goldblum), a hotheaded socialite (Adrien Brody) and his psychopathic henchman (Willem Dafoe), and no shortage of Anderson regulars. The director proves just as adept at the large scale as he is at the small, delivering would-be cartoon high jinks with the same tangible life that you'd find in a Billy Wilder romp or one of the better Hope/Crosby Road to movies.
Anchoring the monkey business down to a recognizable planet Earth (without sacrificing an ounce of comedy) is the throughline of Gustave's budding friendship with his lobby boy, Zero (newcomer Tony Revolori, whose performance is an unprecedented and thrilling mixture of Wes Anderson stoicism and tempered humility), the only living being who appreciates the significance of the Grand Budapest as much as Gustave does. In joining these two oddballs on their quest beyond the parameters of FDA-approved doses of zany, we appreciate it, too: the significance of holding fast to something you believe in, understand, trust, and love in a world that makes less and less sense everyday. Anderson's World War II might not be as ostensibly hard-hitting as that to which modern cinema is accustomed, but there's a chilling, somber horror story lurking beneath the surface of Grand Budapest. Behind every side-splitting laugh, cookie cutter backdrop, and otherworldly antic, there is a pulsating dread that makes it all mean something. As vivid as the worlds of Rushmore, Tenenbaums, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Moonrise might well have been, none have had this much weight and soul.
The best player in the World for movie trailers, Hollywood interviews and movie clips.
So it's astonishing that we're able to zip to and fro' every crevice of this haunting, misty Central Europe at top speeds, grins never waning as our hero Gustave delivers supernaturally articulate diatribes capped with physically startling profanity. So much of it is that delightfully odd, agonizingly devoted character, his unlikely camaraderie with the unflappably earnest young Zero, and his adherence to the magic that inhabits the Grand Budapest Hotel. There are few places like it on Earth, as we learn. There aren't many movies like it here either.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter
| Follow @Hollywood_com
The director began shooting the project, about a woman who fights for better healthcare in the U.S. after getting shot in the head with a nail gun, in 2008, but the film has been left in limbo due to a series of troubles.
Filming was halted several times due to financial issues as it emerged crewmembers and acting guild members had not been paid their fees, while producer David Bergstein had to fight off creditors after failing to properly fund the shoot.
Russell subsequently quit Nailed last year (10) as they prepared to re-shoot certain scenes and the political satire, which also stars Jake Gyllenhaal, remains unfinished.
Biel has no idea if the project will ever get released and she's upset to think that their work will go to waste.
She tells Elle magazine, "I honestly don't know (if it will ever be released). It's frustrating. It was a major heartbreak. But you know, I got a chance to work with David, and I've been heartbroken about it for long enough... I'd do anything to work for him again."
Disney Agrees to Sell Miramax to Tutor, Colony & Co. for $660M
After a six-month bidding process, Disney has agreed to sell Miramax to a group that includes Ronald Tutor and Colony Capital for $660 million.
The transaction is subject to certain regulatory approvals and is expected to close sometime before the end of the year. In a statement, Disney chief Robert Iger said, “Although we are very proud of Miramax’s many accomplishments, our current strategy for Walt Disney Studios is to focus on the development of great motion pictures under the Disney, Pixar and Marvel brands.”
Tutor, the chief executive of the Tutor Perini Corporation, and Tom Barrack, the chief executive of Colony Capital, and other individuals bought Miramax through Filmyard Holdings. The press release did not mention any other minority investors, such as James Robinson of Morgan Creek, Gulf Capital of Dubai and actor Rob Lowe, who said last week that he was part of the group, notes The Hollywood Reporter. Nor was there any mention of Pangea Media Group CEO David Bergstein, who first brought the deal to Tutor and has been acting as a consultant on the sale.
According to The Los Angeles Times, Jerome Swartz, who co-founded mobile technology company Symbol Technologies, was expected to invest between $25 million and $50 million in the new venture.
The purchase includes the rights to 700 library titles, plus the Miramax name, books, development projects and other assets.
Disney will handle distribution of a handful of completed Miramax films that have yet to be released, an arrangement that may be in place for up to a year after the transaction is completed, Variety notes.
The ultimate price for the indie label was higher than what others, including Miramax founders Harvey and Bob Weinstein backed by Ron Burkle, were prepared to offer.
As much as $150 million of the Miramax unit’s value remains tied to film franchises like the Spy Kids and Scary Movie series in which the Weinsteins have rights, a source told The New York Times.
Unclear is how Tutor’s group will deal with the Weinstein presence, given the brothers’ chagrin in recent weeks at not having prevailed in the bidding, says the NYT.
Deadline notes that Colony Capital's Richard Nanula will be the key person picking a CEO and CFO from the usual roster of experienced movie executives. An insider told Deadline, "He'll make sure Miramax doesn't end up hiring someone who'll use distribution as an excuse to go into production. Because that would be disastrous."
David O. Russell's long-delayed dramedy Nailed, a political satire starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Biel, has hit yet another snag. Today, the foul-mouthed, disrespectful director of the dismal I Heart Huckabees has abandoned the film after more than two years of production. Russell has withdrawn from the $26 million production after one-on-one negotiations with financier Ronald Tutor, who controls rights to the movie with Pangea Media Group CEO David Bergstein, broke down.
The movie is about a small-town waitress who is shot in the head by a nail gun and later goes to Washington to fight for better health care; there, she meets a clueless congressman, and a romance develops. Neither Tutor nor Russell would go into detail about why they could not come to an agreement, but THR has learned that Russell apparently was not happy that producers Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher of Red Wagon Prods. were being squeezed to cut their fees in half.
This has been a painful process for me," Russell told the trade on Tuesday. "The multiple production delays and stoppages, which were caused by David Bergstein and preceded Ron Tutor's direct involvement with me, have now spanned two years, and the circumstances under which the film would now be completed are much different on several fundamental levels than when we embarked several years ago. I, unfortunately, am no longer involved in the project and cannot call it 'my' film. I wish Ron Tutor well."Tutor chimed in with the following words: "Russell conducted himself like a perfect gentleman. I understood his position. It really didn't have anything to do with him but with others, and we just reached a point where I couldn't do what he wanted. But it was a decent negotiation between the two of us. No lawyers. No idle threats, just two people trying to clean something up, and we couldn't get there."
If this piece of news involved a more likable filmmaker, then I'd probably have an iota of feeling about the ongoing delays of the movie and the time spent on the project that was ultimately wasted. Since we are talking about David O. Russell, though, I could care less, despite the fact that I've been looking forward to the film based on it's quirky premise. Even though I despise an individual who could be as cruel to his cast and crew as he is known to be, the whole situation is wrong. I never like seeing a filmmaker lose credit on a movie that has taken up so much time in their lives. Hiring another director to finish up post-production work on a film that is probably close to completion is a low-blow and even Russell deserves better. Still, his new film The Fighter will open on December 10th and that will probably ease the sting of this defeat.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
David O. Russell has walked away from the troubled project, about a woman who fights for better health care in the U.S. after getting shot in the head.
The movie has been plagued by difficulties since filming began in 2008 - shoots were halted several times due to unpaid fees to crew and acting guild members. It came as producer David Bergstein had to fight off creditors after failing to properly bankroll the movie.
A new financier, Ronald Tutor, has since come on board - but Russell feels unable to continue working on the film.
He tells The Hollywood Reporter, "This has been a painful process for me. The multiple production delays and stoppages, which were caused by David Bergstein and preceded Ron Tutor's direct involvement with me, have now spanned two years, and the circumstances under which the film would now be completed are much different on several fundamental levels than when we embarked several years ago.
"I, unfortunately, am no longer involved in the project and cannot call it 'my' film. I wish Ron Tutor well."
Tutor adds, "(Russell) conducted himself like a perfect gentleman. I understood his position. It really didn't have anything to do with him but with others, and we just reached a point where I couldn't do what he wanted.
"But it was a decent negotiation between the two of us. No lawyers. No idle threats, just two people trying to clean something up, and we couldn't get there. It was surprising and disappointing, but I understood."
The Wrap reported yesterday afternoon that an agreement has been reached for Disney to sell Miramax to LA billionaire Ronald Tutor and his partners Morgan Creek, Colony Capital and David Bergstein. The sale price was said to be $675 million.
"The deal is not done, but it's going to get done," a person with knowledge of the deal told The Wrap. "We've agreed in principle." Following is a round-up of what folks are saying a deal would look like and what obstacles remain.
Speaking to Deadline, an insider said it's "95% just about done. A couple of deal terms and timing issues remain. Like when does the deal actually close? When do all of the contingencies Disney needs to deliver get cleared? Right now there's not really a Miramax because it's been comingled with other Disney assets. So what has to happen is those assets have to go in and out so that the partnership can end up buying Miramax with clean assets and no liabilities. By tomorrow we could have a deal in principle. But it'll be up to Disney to decide when to sign it and announce it."
As to the price being paid, a source told Deadline: "The headline will be $675 million but it's really north of $675 million."
Tutor, according to TW, will take the lead management position while the embattled Bergstein is expected to take a prominent advisory role. A Deadline source, however, said of Bergstein: "He gets paid for packaging the deal and consulting on the transaction. Then that's it." The Los Angeles Times seconds that, saying Bergstein will not work for the new Miramax.
Morgan Creek would be a distribution partner for the new Miramax, but is also putting capital into the deal, says TW. (Deadline says Morgan is contributing equity of $50 million with James Robinson looking for a seat on the board, although "there have not been any discussions" about linking Morgan Creek's product or employees to Miramax.)
Colony Capital’s Richard Nanula, who heads the fund's entertainment division, is a former CFO of Disney. The private equity firm is run by founder and CEO Thomas Barrack Jr. Two other equity partners are involved in the purchase, but have chosen to remain anonymous, says TW. The Hollywood Reporter includes Gulf Capital, an investment firm based in Abu Dhabi, as one of the investors.
In addition to distributing the library, the new Miramax is expected to produce several new movies annually. For the first year, Walt Disney Studios will distribute its movies until a new distribution operation has been formed, reports the LAT.
The deal is expected to officially close by the end of July.
News of the agreement brought out some skeptics: A rival bidder told TW that Tutor would have two weeks to find banks to provide about $200 million in debt financing and get the deal closed, but that this would not happen at $675 million. "They can't close this deal at $675 million," said the skeptic.
Indeed, notes Variety, there have been many times over the past few months that Disney was about to sign a deal to hand the keys back to Bob and Harvey Weinstein. Sources this week signaled to the trade that the Weinsteins remain contenders for the company with an offer backed by billionaire Ron Burkle.
"A sharp drop in the number of active lenders, the current conservative environment and a significant drop in library values generally could combine to make closing a deal of any significant size challenging," Clark Hallren, managing partner of Clear Scope Partners, an entertainment advisory that also raises senior debt capital told THR.
But David Davis, managing partner of entertainment advisory Arpeggio Partners, said raising bank debt of the level sought appears feasible. "Colony has strong backing behind it and having the former Disney executive is a plus," Davis told THR. "There are a lot of people involved who can raise $300 million-plus."
Meanwhile, THR adds that despite reports Rob Lowe is not involved in the Tutor consortium, though his name was recently linked to Colony.