Focus Features via Everett Collection
With the release of The Grand Budapest Hotel approaching, it's an appropriate time to look back at Wes Anderson's filmography and rank his contributions to the cinematic medium. An extremely eccentric and divisive filmmaker, Anderson is an uninhibited auteur. Those who love his work admire his quirky sensibility and meticulously designed compositions, and those who loathe his work find his films too precious and pretentious. I'm somewhere in the middle, and it usually depends on the particular project. Below are Anderson's films ranked from best to worst. Where do you think The Grand Budapest Hotel will fit when it hits theaters on March 7?
1. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
This whimsical love story is Anderson's greatest achievement. Like other Anderson films, Moonrise Kingdom contains marvelous set pieces and beautiful camerawork, but it's arguably the only one that makes a case for the preciousness so many people despise. This is a film about children, after all, and Anderson understands exactly how it feels to be young and misunderstood.
2. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)
The most Andersonesque film of Anderson's career, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is full of the usual flourishes. It's completely strange, but Bill Murray anchors the film with a deadpan performance for the ages. How can you not love the Sigur Rós scene?
3. Bottle Rocket (1996)
Anderson's debut feature is a wildly funny caper that reinvigorates the heist movie and introduces the world to Anderson, Owen Wison, and Luke Wilson. Martin Scorsese rightfully named Bottle Rocket one of the best films of the 1990s.
4. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
The Royal Tenenbaums is Anderson's most popular film, with a stellar cast, perfect soundtrack, and a melancholy story of a fractured family. It doesn't quite work as a comedy, but it's a poignant, powerful drama.
5. Rushmore (1998)
This quirky coming-of-age comedy is a defining film of the 1990s and one of the hallmarks of the independent film movement. Bill Murray is terrific and Jason Schwartzman gives a typically off-kilter performance, but it doesn't hold up to Anderson's more recent work.
6. Fantastic Mr. Fox (2010)
The voices of Meryl Streep and George Clooney couldn't save Anderson's first and only foray into animation. Some fans and critics love it, but it's too odd and quirky for its own good, and the animation doesn't help.
7. The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
While Fantastic Mr. Fox can be admired for its boldness, The Darjeeling Limited is a mere rehash of better Anderson films. With the exception of an excellent opening scene, this is the only film where Anderson seems to be slumming it.
Composers behind the scores for Academy Award-nominated movies Gravity, Her, Philomena, Saving Mr. Banks and The Book Thief were given their chance to shine on Thursday (27Feb14) at the first ever Oscar Concert. Best Original Score nominees William Butler and Owen Pallett (Her), Alexandre Desplat (Philomena), Thomas Newman (Saving Mr. Banks), Steven Price (Gravity), and John Williams (The Book Thief) were invited to take to the stage at the University of California, Los Angeles' Royce Hall, three days before Hollywood's big night, to conduct and direct their works in full.
During the special show, which was hosted by rapper/actor Common, five-time Oscar winner Williams was given a round of applause as he declared, "(Movies) wouldn't be what they are and couldn't be made without the service of a great orchestra."
The Best Original Song nominees were also performed, with Jill Scott taking on Pharrell Williams' Happy from Despicable 2, and composer Kristen Anderson-Lopez taking on Idina Menzel's vocals on Frozen's Let It Go.
The Wolf of Wall Street actress Cristin Milioti covered Karen O's The Moon Song from Her, while former The Voice contestant Matt Carmanski belted out U2's Ordinary Love from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.
Each of the artists behind the nominations for Best Original Song will take to the stage at Sunday's (02Mar14) Oscars in Hollywood.
Actor Liam Neeson has expressed his disgust after bosses at the Canadian ski resort where his wife Natasha Richardson suffered a tragic accident in 2009 failed to reach out to the widower following her death. The British actress, 45, sustained a traumatic brain injury after falling during a beginner's skiing lesson at the Mont Tremblant Resort in Quebec and she died on 18 March, 2009 after being transferred to a hospital in New York City, where she lived with Neeson and their two sons.
The Taken star recently opened up about his loss during a candid TV interview with U.S. newsman Anderson Cooper, in which he admitted her death, which was ruled accidental, still doesn't feel "real".
Neeson went on to discuss the lack of remorse shown by resort executives, but that part didn't make the final edit of the hour-long programme.
He revealed the news during an appearance on U.S. talk show Watch What Happens Live on Thursday (27Feb14), when host Andy Cohen asked if it was tough for him to speak so candidly about his late wife.
Neeson replied, "It was and it wasn't (hard to open up). It was time to talk about it. And there were some other things I said that got edited out, that I wish had been kept in."
He continued, "The ski resort where Natasha met her death... We got hundreds, maybe a couple thousand, sympathy cards, emails, and stuff from all over the world, especially America - not one from that ski resort. I kid you not. Not one."
Reality TV star Kim Kardashian reportedly stormed out of the lavish Vienna Opera Ball in Austria on Thursday night (27Feb14). The socialite was a guest of Austrian businessman Richard Lugner, 81, who has a history of doling out thousands of dollars to have famous women accompany him to the annual event. Pamela Anderson, Paris Hilton, Sophia Loren, Raquel Welch and Lindsay Lohan have all served as Lugner's dates in the past.
This year (14), he reportedly paid $500,000 (£299,580) for Kardashian to join him, but apparently the pair did not get on, according to TMZ.com.
The gossip site reports Kardashian felt uncomfortable and left early. Other reports suggest the reality TV star skipped dinner and refused to dance with Lugner, leaving her mother Kris Jenner to take her place.
Director Wes Anderson has commissioned a cologne inspired by his new film, The Grand Budapest Hotel. The filmmaker's latest project centres on a concierge at a Central European hotel, played by Ralph Fiennes, who has a penchant for spritzing himself with a fragrance called L'Air de Panache.
Anderson, who previously described the scent to the New York Observer as having a "Russian quality, like Orthodox incense", decided to bring the cologne to life with the help of perfumer Mark Buxton.
Experts at Buxton's French boutique Nose have now created a complex aroma, which is described on the store's website as a "return to the wild forest".
While L'Air de Panache is not available for purchase, fragrance fans can stop by the Paris boutique to get a whiff of the scent, and it will be displayed at the various premieres for the film around the world.
Motley Crue rocker Tommy Lee is engaged to marry his longtime girlfriend. The drummer announced his engagement in a post on Twitter.com on Monday night (24Feb14), revealing he is set to wed his singer partner Sofia Toufa.
He wrote, "There comes a time in a man's life when you just know your partner is for life!! Say hello to my fiancee and soon to be wife."
The marriage will mark Lee's fourth trip down the aisle - he was previously wed to Elaine Starchuk, Heather Locklear and Pamela Anderson, the mother of his two teenage sons.
He famously married Anderson just four days after they first met in 1995.
U2 star Bono helped Liam Neeson's children cope with the death of their mother Natasha Richardson by sharing his own experiences with tragedy. The Schindler's List star reveals the singer visited his family shortly after the actresses' shocking death in 2009 and opened up about losing a parent at a young age.
Neeson tells U.S. newsman Anderson Cooper, "Bono is a pal and he came round to have a dinner. I remember he was sitting beside Michael and, just out of the blue he said, 'What age are you, Michael?' (and) Michael said, '13'. And he said, 'Yeah, that's the age I was when I lost my mum'.
"That was it... I coulda kissed him for it. He was saying, 'You know, I lost my mom at this age and I'm doing OK. And you will do OK too'."
Richardson passed away in March, 2009 after suffering a traumatic brain injury following a skiing accident.
Movie star Liam Neeson still struggles to come to terms with the 2009 loss of his wife Natasha Richardson, insisting her death doesn't feel "real". The British actress, 45, passed away after suffering a traumatic brain injury in a skiing accident in Canada and Neeson admits there are times even now, as the fifth anniversary of her death approaches, that he cannot believe she is gone.
In a candid interview with CNN newsman Anderson Cooper, which will air in the U.S. on Sunday (23Feb14), he says, "(It) was never real. It still kind of isn't...
"There's periods now in our New York residence when I hear the door opening, especially the first couple of years... Any time I hear that door opening, I still think I'm going to hear her."
The Taken star claims the grief of losing his wife of 15 years has never gone away: "It hits you. It's like a wave. You just get this profound feeling of instability. The earth isn't stable anymore and then it passes and it becomes more infrequent, but I still get it sometimes."
Neeson also recalls the moment he first laid eyes on Richardson after the accident, as she lay lifeless in a Canadian hospital, and reveals the couple had previously made a pact with one another to "pull the plug" if either of them had been left in a vegetative state - so he knew exactly what he had to do.
He says, "When I saw her and saw all these tubes and stuff, that was my immediate thought: 'OK, these tubes have to go. She's gone...'
"I just told her I loved her, said, 'Sweetie, you're not coming back from this. You banged your head. I don't know if you can hear me, but this is what's gone down. We're bringing you back to New York, all your family and friends will come.' That was more or less it."
Three of Richardson's organs were donated to help others following her death and Neeson is proud there was some good that came out of his loss, "It's terrific. And I think she would be very thrilled and pleased by that, too, actually."
TriStar Pictures via Everett Collection
An hour and change into Pompeii, there's a volcano. You'd think there might have been a volcano throughout — you'd think that the folks inhabiting the ill-fated Italian village would have been dealing with the infamous volcano for the full 110 minutes. After all, volcano movies have worked before. Volcano, for instance. And the other one. But for some reason, Pompeii feels the need to stuff its first three quarters with coliseum battles, Ancient Rome politics, unlikely friendships, and a love story. But we don’t care. We can't care. None of it warrants our care. Where the hell is the volcano, already?
To answer that: it's off to the side — rumbling. Smoking. Occasionally spiking the neighboring community with geological fissures or architectural misgivings. Pretty much executing every trick picked up in Ominous Foreshadowing 101, but never joining the story. Not until Paul W.S. Anderson shouts, "Last call," hitting us with a final 20-odd minutes of unmitigated disaster (in a good way). If you've managed to maintain a waking pulse throughout the lecture in sawdust that is Pompeii's story, then you might actually have a good time with the closing sequence. It has everything you’d expect — everything you had been expecting! — and delivers it with gusto. Torpedoes of smoke running hordes of idiot villagers out of their homes and toward whatever safety the notion of forward has to offer. Long undeveloped characters rising to the occasion to rescue hapless princesses who thought it might be a good idea to set their vacation homes at the foot of a lava-spewing mountain. The whole ordeal is actually a lot of laughs. But it amounts to a dessert just barely worth the tasteless dinner we had to force down to get there.
TriStar Pictures via Everett Collection
To get through the bulk of Pompeii, we recommend focusing all your attentions away from the effectively bland slave/gladiator/hero Kit Harington — sorry, Jon Snow (he's actually called a bastard at one point) — and onto his partner in crime: a scowling Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje — sorry, Mr. Eko (he and Snow actually trade valedictions by saying "I'll see you at another time, brother" at one point) — who warms up to his fellow prize fighter during their shared time in the klink, and delivers his moronic material with a sprinkle of flair. Keeping the working man down is Kiefer Sutherland — sorry, Jack Bauer — as an ostentatious Roman senator, doling out vainglory in Basil Fawlty-sized portions. When he's not spitting scowls at peasants, ol' JB is undermining the efforts of an earnest local governor Jared Harris — sorry, Lane Pryce (he actually calls someone a mad man at one point) — and his wife Carrie-Anne Moss — sorry, Katherine O'Connell from Vegas (joking! Trinity) — and finagling the douchiest marriage proposal ever toward their daughter Emily Browning — sorry, but I have no idea what she's from.
But questionable television references and some enjoyably daft performances by Eko and Jack can't really make up for the heft of mindless dullness that Pompeii passes off as its narrative... until the big showstopper.
In truth, the last sequence is a gem. It's fun, inviting, and energizing, and might even call into question the possibility that Pompeii is all about how futile life, love, friendship, politics, and pride are when even the most egregiously complicated of plots can be taken out in the end by a sudden volcanic eruption. But you have to wade through that egregious complication to get there, and you shouldn't expect to have too much of a good time doing so.
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Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel is to be recreated in London for a special screening event. The new movie, which stars Ralph Fiennes as a concierge accused of murder, is set in a fictional hotel in eastern Europe and the set is to be brought to life as part of an immersive cinema experience event in the U.K. capital.
Organisers behind the Secret Cinema events have previously recreated classic films for screenings in warehouses, which are often mocked up to look like the films sets complete with props and actors, and now they will do the same for new releases.
The Grand Budapest Hotel will be recreated, complete with dining rooms, restaurants and a spa, at a secret location to coincide with the film's U.K. release date in March (14).
Secret Cinema's artistic director Fabien Riggall says of the screening, "When you do Dirty Dancing or Lost Boys people have played the film in their minds constantly. But this has the added benefit of being a surprise."