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
If a major motion picture studio gave you $50 million to make the movie of your choice what would it be like? If you’re producers Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner and writers Simon Pegg and Nick Frost it’d be a loving lampoon of geek culture and an homage to the films of the Spielberg/Lucas revolution but nostalgia is both an advantage and disadvantage in director Greg Mottola’s Paul.
Pegg and Frost star as a pair of nerds from across the pond who fulfill lifelong dreams when they fly to San Diego for the annual Mecca of nerdom Comic-Con. The doofy duo extend their trip to tour America’s extraterrestrial hot spots including Area 51 where they pick up an unexpected alien hitchhiker on the run from the proverbial men in black. Across the country they go getting into trouble picking up more passengers and building bromantic bonds as the little green man Paul inches closer to his escape from planet Earth and the shadowy government official who has been exploiting his knowledge of the universe since he crash landed in Wyoming over 60 years ago.
Fan-favorite filmmakers since 2004’s Shaun of the Dead Pegg and Frost have been making geek chic for years now and continue to create identifiable roles for themselves while finding humorous ways to write their like-minded friends into their movies. Their collection of wacky characters is charming if incredibly derivative but for better or worse they are the heart and soul of the film. Jason Bateman Kristen Wiig Bill Hader and Jo Lo Truglio turn in fun performances but I expected a bit more from the Jane Lynch David Koechner and Sigourney Weaver cameos. Still Seth Rogen’s vocal performance as Paul adds significant layers to an already adorable alien and enlivens the adequately rendered CG character.
The comedy is surprisingly sweet and doesn’t bite like Mottola’s Superbad though there are enough religious jabs and signs of anti-establishment fervor to call it mildly subversive. Lack of laughs isn’t the issue here; lack of originality is. Mottola is too dependent on pop-culture references and inside jokes pertaining to E.T. Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind so much so that the film ultimately becomes a parody of itself as its storyline mirrors that of Steven Spielberg’s massive 1982 blockbuster (in this world the movie mogul actually consults the incarcerated alien for inspiration for his beloved family film). While these nods are all amusing they’re not enough to carry the film and Mottola/Frost/Pegg offer little else. At its worst Paul will give you a reason to revisit those classic sci-fi staples and remember the good old days. At best it provides a few mindless chuckles and gives you good reason to give the geek next to you a great big hug.
Beyonce, Kings of Leon and Taylor Swift were the toast of the music world on Sunday night after taking home the 52nd annual Grammy Awards' biggest prizes.
Beyonce was the Los Angeles event's biggest winner, claiming six of the 10 honors for which she was nominated.
These included Song of the Year, Best R&B Song and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance awards for "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)."
Swift took home her first four Grammys, including the coveted Album of the Year award, and Kings of Leon's anthem "Use Somebody" earned the rockers prizes for Record of the Year, Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.
The Black Eyed Peas and Jay-Z were also triple winners at the Grammys, as was the San Francisco Symphony, thanks to its album Mahler: Symphony No. 8; Adagio from Symphony No. 10.
The event's winners were overshadowed by a clutch of terrific performances from acts like Green Day, Pink, Dave Matthews Band, Beyonce and the Black Eyed Peas.
Elton John and Lady Gaga collaborated to open the show, and there were further mash-ups for Jamie Foxx, T-Pain and Slash, Mary J. Blige and Andrea Bocelli, Eminem, Drake and Lil Wayne, and Taylor Swift and Fleetwood Mac star Stevie Nicks.
But the event's highlight was a star-studded tribute to Michael Jackson; Celine Dion, Jennifer Hudson, Usher, Smokey Robinson and Carrie Underwood teamed up to perform the King of Pop's "Earth Song."
The stunning collaboration was accompanied by a 3-D version of the "Earth Song" video Jackson planned to use as a backdrop during his This Is It concerts last summer.
Stars like Beyonce, Rihanna and will.i.am were among the audience members who donned special 3-D glasses to fully appreciate the spectacular musical moment.
They ended the song with their backs to the crowd, staring at images of Jackson, which were flashed onto the big screen behind them, as the audience rose to its feet to applaud the performance, which presenter Lionel Richie called "unbelievable."
Following the showstopper, Jackson's children Prince and Paris took the Staples Center stage to honor their father, a recipient of one of the night's Lifetime Achievement Awards.
In his first public speaking appearance, Prince thanked God for "watching over us these past seven months" and "our grandma and grandpa for their love and support."
Both Jackson children ended their brief acceptance speeches with the words "We love you daddy".
The big winners of the 2010 Grammys are:
Record Of The Year: Use Somebody - Kings of Leon
Song Of The Year: Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) - Beyonce
Best New Artist: Zak Brown Band
Album Of The Year: Fearless - Taylor Swift
Best Female Pop Vocal Performance: Halo - Beyonce
Best Male Pop Vocal Performance: Make It Mine - Jason Mraz
Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals: I Gotta Feeling - The Black Eyed Peas
Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals: Lucky - Jason Mraz & Colbie Caillat
Best Pop Instrumental Performance: Throw Down Your Heart - Bela Fleck
Best Pop Instrumental Album: Potato Hole - Booker T. Jones
Best Pop Vocal Album: The E.N.D. - The Black Eyed Peas
Best Dance Recording: Poker Face - Lady Gaga
Best Electronic/Dance Album: The Fame - Lady Gaga
Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album: Michael Buble Meets Madison Square Garden - Michael Buble
Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance: Working On A Dream - Bruce Springsteen
Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals: Use Somebody - Kings of Leon
Best Hard Rock Performance: War Machine - AC/DC
Best Metal Performance: Dissident Aggressor - Judas Priest
Best Rock Instrumental Performance: A Day In The Life - Jeff Beck
Best Rock Song: Use Somebody - Kings of Leon
Best Rock Album: 21st Century Breakdown - Green Day
Best Alternative Music Album: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix - Phoenix
Best Female R&B Vocal Performance: Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) - Beyonce
Best Male R&B Vocal Performance: Pretty Wings - Maxwell
Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals: Blame It - Jamie Foxx & T-Pain
Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance: At Last - Beyonce
Best Urban/Alternative Performance: Pearls - India.Arie & Dobet Gnahore
Best R&B Song: Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) - Beyonce
Best R&B Album: Blacksummers' Night - Maxwell
Best Contemporary R&B Album: I Am... Sasha Fierce - Beyonce
Best Rap Solo Performance: D.O.A. (Death Of Auto-Tune) - Jay-Z
Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group: Crack A Bottle - Eminem, Dr. Dre & 50 Cent
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration: Run This Town - Jay-Z, Rihanna & Kanye West
Best Rap Song: Run This Town - Jay-Z, Rihanna & Kanye West
Best Rap Album: Relapse - Eminem
Best Female Country Vocal Performance: White Horse - Taylor Swift
Best Male Country Vocal Performance: Sweet Thing - Keith Urban
Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals: I Run To You - Lady Antebellum
Best Country Collaboration With Vocals: I Told You So - Carrie Underwood & Randy Travis
Best Country Instrumental Performance: Producer's Medley - Steve Wariner
Best Country Song: White Horse - Taylor Swift
Best Country Album: Fearless - Taylor Swift
Best Spoken Word Album: Always Looking Up - Michael J. Fox
Best Comedy Album: A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift Of All! - Stephen Colbert
Best Compilation Soundtrack Album For Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media: Slumdog Millionaire - Various Artists
Best Score Soundtrack Album For Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media: Up - Michael Giacchino
Best Song Written For Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media: Jai Ho (From Slumdog Millionaire) - Gulzar, A.R. Rahman & Tanvi Shah, songwriters
Lifetime Achievement Award: Leonard Cohen
Lifetime Achievement Award: Michael Jackson
Lifetime Achievement Award: Loretta Lynn
Lifetime Achievement Award: Bobby Darin
Lifetime Achievement Award: Clark Terry
Lifetime Achievement Award: David 'Honeyboy' Edwards
Lifetime Achievement Award: Andre Previn
Trustees Award: Walter C. Miller
Trustees Award: Florence Greenberg
Trustees Award: Harold Bradley
Presidents Merit Award: Doug Morris
Presidents Merit Award: Placido Domingo
Presidents Merit Award: Ken Ehrlich
MusiCares Person of the Year: Neil Young
(c) 2009 WORLD ENTERTAINMENT NEWS NETWORK LTD. All global rights reserved. No unauthorized copying or re-distributing permitted.
Winona Ryder was charged Friday with one count each of grand theft, commercial burglary, vandalism and possession of a controlled substance, stemming from her Dec. 12 shoplifting arrest at a Saks Fifth Avenue store in Beverly Hills. According to the Associated Press, prosecutors are also seeking to increase Ryder's bail from $20,000 to $30,000. The 30-year-old actress is due back in court Feb. 8 for arraignment.
The Girl, Interrupted star is accused of trying to lift $4,800 in clothing and accessories from the high-end department store and of carrying the painkiller Oxycodone without a prescription. After her arrest, her attorney Mark Geragos contended that Ryder was just carrying items between store departments and that she had receipts for other items she bought in the store, as well as a valid prescription for the painkillers.
Dubbed as the female equivalent of John Travolta in Battlefield Earth, Mariah Carey (Glitter) is this year's frontrunner for worst actress for the Golden Raspberry Awards, which honor the year's worst films. Preliminary tabulations also show Carey's cleavage may also receive a nod, so to speak, in the worst screen couple category, Ananova.com reports. The full list of Razzie nominations will be announced February 11.
Julia Roberts will appear at the Oscars again this year, but this time as a presenter rather than a nominee. It's the third time Roberts, who won Best Actress last year for her role in Erin Brockovich, has presented. The 74th Academy Awards will take place on March 24 at the new Kodak Theater in Hollywood.
Jamie Foxx, who has a house in Las Vegas, told the Las Vegas Review Journal that he may take on the role of Bosley in the Charlie's Angels sequel. Since Bill Murray, who played Bosley in the first film, will not be returning for Charlie's Angels 2, Foxx joked he could replace him as his son, the product of "a hot little night back in the 'hood."
Robert De Niro as fashion plate? An exhibit opening Wednesday at the American Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, New York, will celebrate the various get-ups the actor has worn on screen. Robert De Niro: Costume & Character will trace the actors cinematic ensembles including his leopard skin robe in Raging Bull and the apricot fire-singed suit from Casino, PageSix.com reports.
Hugh Hefner is reportedly looking for an apartment in New York. According to PageSix.com, Hef has enlisted the help of Gordon Golub and Howard Boyar of Citi Habitats to help him with his search. The Playboy king hasn't decided on new digs yet.
According to Nielsen data for Friday and Saturday, NBC is leading early sweeps thanks to strong series performances from Friends and Will & Grace, Variety reports. ABC came in second, thanks in part to Barbara Walters' 20/20 interview with Celine Dion's and Stephen King's Rose Red, with CBS following close behind. Fox came in last, but will probably move into the lead when Sunday's Super Bowl is factored into the February sweeps.
Super Bowl commercials, which sold for an average of just under $2 million for 30 second spots, ran a wide spectrum of topics this year, from fast food to anti-terrorism. Fox said 30 companies bought ads for 37 brands. Brewer Anheuser-Busch was the biggest sponsor with five minutes of ad buys.
NBC's The West Wing has yanked a television spot for this week's episode in which an American reporter is kidnapped, The New York Times reports. The network made the move after viewers pointed out similarities to the abduction of Daniel Pearl, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal. NBC has no plans to replace the episode, but will run a new ad focusing on a different angle of the same plot.
Pop star Brandy Norwood secretly married music producer Robert Smith last summer, reports celebrity gossip maven Florence Anthony. The singer and Cover Girl model said in a statement through her record company, Atlantic Records, "I've fallen in love with a very warm, gentle, understanding, and focused person...This summer we married quietly."
Following a two-year break, Celine Dion is getting back to work with a new album and a multimillion dollar Las Vegas performance contract, and is also making plans to have a second baby. According to Reuters, the 33-year-old singer has clinched a deal to sing five nights a week for three years at Caesar's Palace. In an interview with Barbara Walters last Friday, Dion also revealed plans to use a frozen embryo to try for a second child with her manager-husband Rene Angelil after her Las Vegas stint.
Paul McCartney is planning a tour for the first time in 10 years, Reuters reports. In a statement Monday, McCartney announced the Drivin' USA tour will start some time in early April and include 14 concerts in the United States plus one show in Canada.
A tribute to the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack featuring Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, Ralph Stanley, Gillian Welch and the Soggy Bottom Boys will be among the first musical acts for the 44th annual Grammys, Variety reports. The Dave Matthews Band, 'N Sync, Nelly, U2 and Alicia Keys were previously announced as performers.
Movin' Out, a musical featuring 26 of Billy Joel's songs and instrumental compositions, will begin Broadway performances at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on September 30, Broadway.com reports. The show is scheduled to play a world premiere engagement at Chicago's Shubert Theatre from June 25 to August 4 before heading to New York.
Musicians strike back
As Americans try to get their life back together after the tragic Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, musicians also are re-working their music, performing tribute concerts, and donating money to help aid relief efforts.
John Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, published a full-page add in The New York Times on Sunday with the simple message: "Imagine all the people living life in peace," in the wake of the attacks.
The eight-word quotation from Lennon's "Imagine" was unaccompanied by any photos or text because Ono felt "it would be more effective if her name wasn't on it," her spokesman told The Associated Press.
Ono also plans to feature a billboard in Times Square with the lyric "Give peace a chance."
Celine Dion will headline a five-hour show Friday in Montreal with about 200 Quebec artists, including members of the famed Cirque du Soleil, Reuters reports. Proceeds will be donated to the Red Cross to help families of the nearly 7,000 people killed or missing in the attacks.
Former Beatle Paul McCartney, will perform a concert in New York City to benefit the city's firefighters in the next month.
"I also have a connection here, because my father was a fireman in Liverpool during World War II," McCartney told New York's WPLJ radio station on Sept. 21. According to Rolling Stone magazine, McCartney is currently looking into New York City venues to host the event.
Members of The Dave Matthews Band have changed their mind about releasing "When the World Ends" as the band's next radio single, feeling it would be insensitive given people's fears after the hijackings, the band's publicist told SonicNet.com on Tuesday. Instead, the group will ask programmers to play the title track for their latest album, Everyday.
Alanis Morissette has released "Utopia," a song that the Canadian singer describes as it being "shared in the spirit of wanting to offer comfort to everyone who is grieving, with my experiencing my own grief alongside them," she writes in an online post on her official Web site. According to Launch.com, the song can currently be heard on her official site.
Creed's With Arms Wide Open Foundation, which works to foster strong relationships between children and their parents, has donated $50,000 to New Yorkers for Children (NYFC), a nonprofit organization that raises funds to support the New York City Administration for Children's Services (ACS).
"Everyone at the Foundation is just shocked and saddened, not only by the events of last week, but by what they mean for far too many children," lead singer Scott Stapp told Rolling Stone magazine on Friday.
The Cure has removed the song "Killing An Arab," from their Nov. 13 Greatest Hits collection release for fear of creating conflict after the attacks on America early this month. Considered one of The Cure's early classics, and a concert staple, "Killing An Arab" was originally featured on 1980's Boys Don't Cry album and featured on the 1986's compilation Staring At The Sea: The Singles. The Cure's lead singer Robert Smith told Launch.com on Tuesday that the song drew the attention of many and "in America there was a ferocious lobby for us to withdraw the album from the shelves or take the song off."
Timberlake & Spears robbed
Teen pop's most envied couple, Britney Spears and 'N Sync's Justin Timberlake, were on vacation with friends and family in Destin, Fla., when four teen-age boys broke into their rented beach house and stole personal possessions, The Associated Press reported on Tuesday.
Local police arrested the four minors after neighbors saw them fleeing the scene with the goods, which were later returned to the couple. Among the items stolen were $5,000 worth of video camera equipment, liquor bottle, clothes, and videotape showing "personal" moments that police found while one of the teens dubbed a copy. Well, then, maybe Britney isn't the goody two shoes she claims to be?
Ramones, Sex Pistols nominated for Hall of Fame
The punk rockers The Ramones and The ex Pistols are among the artists nominated for admission into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame's 2002 class. According to Rolling Stone magazine, a list for the list for this year's nominees, which includes Black Sabbath, Talking Heads, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, AC/DC, Lynyrd Skynyrd, was released on Monday. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame honors the legendary performers, producers, songwriters, disc jockeys and others who have made presence in rock and roll for a decade and a half in their career. The winners will be announced later this fall.