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.
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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.
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The former 24 star and his wife Andrea were left shaken when their eldest son Holden nearly died while riding a dirt bike near their California home.
A source tells the National Enquirer, "That accident changed Rick and Andrea forever. After almost losing Holden, they realised just how fragile life is, and that everything they hold dear to them could be gone in an instant."
So the couple has decided to move to Europe to allow interior designer Andrea the chance to pursue her love of craft and learn the Spanish language.
The insider adds, "(Schroder) told a pal, 'This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Andrea wants to take her shot. We can always come back to Hollywood.'"
And the Schroders plan to ring in 2010 in their new home. The source adds: "They're packing and intend to be out of California by the New Year."
Rap artist Eminem may sing about murdering his own wife and warble about his mother being a drug addict, but it's only to create controversy. The Grammy-winning artist says that everything he does is for his 5-year-old daughter Hailie.
Eminem told Q magazine that his daughter "knows at the end of the day Daddy is not what he says in his songs."
"When I say I'll murder my baby's mother, maybe I wanted to do it but I didn't do it. Anybody who takes it literally is a bigger idiot and 10 times sicker than I am," Eminem said.
The money the rapper earns is being saved for Hailie's college education, Eminem told the publication.
On Aug. 8, actor Rick Schroder's wife, Andrea, gave birth to the couple's fourth child, Faith Anne, Schroder's publicist David Pollack told People magazine.
Tupac Amaru Center for the Arts is being built in honor of slain rapper Tupac Shakur, The Associated Press reports. The Stone Mountain, Ga. arts center will open in March 2003, and will feature studio space for performing arts and a gallery containing art made by Shakur's fans following his death in 1996.
Red bathing suit-clad babes will grace the television screen again when Baywatch Blast is resuscitated as a two-hour TV movie to air during February sweeps on Fox Television, Reuters reports. Original cast members of the decade-old lifeguard drama, including David Hasselhoff, Carmen Electra and Pamela Anderson, are scheduled to appear.
The International Museum of Cartoon Art is leaving South Florida due to increasing debts, a looming mortgage payment and a shortage of paying visitors, The Associated Press reports. The $3.8 million building will be up for sale to pay for debts. Museum officials told the AP they are looking at several locations for a new home, including New York and Connecticut.
Rap star Nelly was refused entrance to Shooter's 21 nightclub on Saturday because an entourage of about 3,000 people followed him. The Missouri club's owner, John Teichman told the Lake Sun Leader newspaper that his nightclub was already full by midnight and that he had to call the police to help people from trying to get into the club through the locked doors.
When Spy Kids is released on video Sept. 18, audiences will not find any extra scenes that were added in a special re-release of the film on Aug. 9, Reuters reports. Writer/director Robert Rodriguez has been so busy filming Desperado 2: Once Upon a Time in Mexico and Sky Kids 2 that there was no time to make a special edition DVD.
Academy Award-winning director Robert Wise has added extensive tweaks to the sound mix and digital enhancements for more than 90 shots for the special edition DVD release of Star Trek: the Motion Picture--the Director's Edition on Nov. 6. "I'm happy with it now," Wise, 86, told Reuters. "This is the film that I really wanted."
U.S. filmmaker Taylor Hackford (Proof of Life) and Argentinean actress Cecilia Roth (All About My Mother) have been added to be juries of the 58th Venice International Film Festival, which will run from Aug. 29 to Sept. 8, according to Reuters. Italian actor-director Nanni Moretti will preside over the jury, which awards the Golden Lion in the traditional competition.
Louis Armstrong's estate is selling his very first cornet, which was on display at the Louisiana State Museum from the late 1970s until the mid-1990s, The Associated Press reports. Reputable auction house Sotheby's predicts it will bring up to $100,000 when it's auctioned on the Internet Oct.1-15.
Pieces of the airplane country singer Patsy Cline was in when it crashed March 5, 1963, near Camden, Tenn, are also up for sale. Two Tennessee brothers plan to auction the belly and tail of the Piper Comanche on eBay beginning Sept. 1 and lasting for 10 days.
Actor Rick Schroder, who last month announced he was leaving the ABC crime drama NYPD Blue, to The Associated Press on advice he gave to his replacement, actor Mark-Paul Gosselaar:
``Good luck, keep your head low, you have lots to learn, they're smart people, and do as you're told.''
NYPD Blue's Rick Schroder has turned in his badge and gun.
Schroder announced Friday that he's leaving the hit cop series because he wants to spend more time with his family.
"The long hours required to shoot NYPD Blue would prevent me from being where I really want to be at this time--which is with my family," Schroder said in a statement.
But should Schroder's exit really shock fans?
Several months ago, Schroder, 31, who played Detective Danny Sorenson on the show for 2 ½ seasons, appeared displeased with his experiences on Blue, telling Entertainment Tonight in a Jan. 10 interview of his growing desire to be with his children.
"It's too hard being apart ... terrible. Every Friday night I caught a plane home, every Sunday night I caught a plane back, and it was very tiring," he said.
But other clues soon surfaced concerning Schroder's unhappiness on Blue.
Earlier this season, former Saved by the Bell hunk Mark-Paul Gosselaar signed on for a role next fall, stripping Schroder of his title as series heartthrob. But the apparent nail in the coffin was Blue's season finale on May 22--in which Schroder did not appear.
For NYPD Blue producer Steven Bochco, parting ways with Schroder is bittersweet at best.
"Rick Schroder is a gifted actor who has had a tremendous 2 ½ years with NYPD Blue,'' he told Variety on Friday. "Rick is also a strong family man, and to honor his desire to spend more time with his wife and children, we are regretfully releasing him from his obligations to the show.''
ABC is distancing itself from whatever controversy may arise from Schroder's departure.
"This is something between the actor and [Bochco Productions]. The network does not officially have a comment on the matter," ABC spokeswoman Lauren Tobin said Friday.
Bochco Productions could not be reached for comment Friday.
For die-hard fans of Blue, Schroder's early departure should come as no surprise. After its first season in 1993, costar David Caruso left the show. Jimmy Smits, Caruso's replacement, left in 1998. Last year, original cast member Nicholas Turturro bailed, followed by Andrea Thompson, who abandoned acting to pursue a career in TV journalism. This past season, James McDaniel, another original cast member, said farewell to the 15th precinct. Kim Delaney also left, but she will star in Bochco's new courtroom series, Philly.
Does this steady exodus spell Blue's certain doom? NBC's Law and Order continues to thrive despite its constant cast changes. The X-Files fared slightly better in the ratings this past season despite David Duchovny's infrequent appearances and the addition of Robert Patrick.
If the change in cast doesn't kill the aging show, then a move from 10 p.m. Tuesdays to 10 p.m. Wednesdays might. Bochco has already voiced his concern that the timeslot change could do irreparably damage to a show that will embark on its ninth season in November. Ironically, NYPD Blue will make way on Tuesdays for Bochco's Philly. Bochco told Variety last week that he fears that viewers may think he is focusing on his new project at the expense of the hit series and called the move "enormously dangerous."