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 Jason Miller play, centred on four former high school basketball players who meet up with their coach 20 years on, originally debuted at an off-Broadway theatre in 1972, and went on to scoop a Tony Award for Best Play and a Pulitzer Prize the following year (73).
It emerged last year (10) that director Gregory Mosher would helm a revival of the show, starring Sex and the City actor Noth and 24's Sutherland in his Broadway debut - but the reboot has not impressed reviewers.
The New York Times' chief theatre critic Ben Brantley branded it "extroverted", "star-swollen", and dated, adding: "Gregory Mosher's production... seems to be shouting at you."
Bloomberg's Jeremy Gerard brushed off the show as an "irony-free revival", and slammed Noth's performance, writing, "Mosher hasn't coaxed much more than whining and empty bluster from his cast. Hardest to take is Noth, who fills the theatre with Serious Acting, entailing much grimacing and mangling of words".
Scott Brown, writing in New York magazine, describes the play as "dog-eared", "a season or 40 out of date", with a "distinct cologne of embalming fluid", and damns the second half of the show as "interminable".
But USA Today's Elysa Gardner took some positives from the performance, insisting That Championship Season is "a capably crafted and solidly acted show".
Here’s an interesting conundrum. Media Rights Capital has just purchased a script from writer Tony Mosher entitled The Civilian. It’s not based on a comic book, a novel, a short story, a video game, a bubblegum wrapper, a toy, or anything else that previously existed. What do we know about it? It’s about a former soldier who has to shape up and save the day when a weapons convention is taken hostage at the San Diego Convention Center. That is literally everything we know about this movie.
Tony Mosher doesn't even have a recognizable picture on Google Image and IMDb and Media Rights Capital is so stingy about their image, we had to give you a picture of the Convention Center itself! We may know nothing about this movie until it comes out.
What is going on with the world today? How are we, as an audience, supposed to connect with a film when it isn’t tied in with some other previous form of media? This isn’t fair. The trailer better be really informative or the viewers won’t be able to follow the plot or characters that we haven’t ever seen before. Oh, what’s this? It’s supposed to be in the vein of Die Hard? Oh thank heavens, I can finally relate this to something else and understand it. Yippie ki-yay!
Absolutely nothing else is known about the film besides the original writer and the company that picked it up. Does this stop us from wildly speculating on who will act in it? You bet your gun strapped to your backs it doesn’t! I would like to see Will Arnett become the next action star. If Ben Stiller can pack on the guns for Tropic Thunder, than Will Arnett can bring his sexy voice to the screen. In never-gonna-happen-in-a-million-and-two-years guessing, Emma Watson would be a fantastic action star. But then again, I would watch her count bricks, so my judgement might not be the best.
Fela!, about the life of revered African world music star Fela Kuti, will go up against Green Day's American Idiot, Memphis, and Million Dollar Quartet in the coveted Best Musical category at the 64th annual prizegiving, which honours the best on Broadway.
Meanwhile, Grammer and Hodge, who star as a camp gay couple in La Cage, will compete against Sean Hayes (Promises, Promises), Chad Kimball (Memphis) and Sahr Ngaujah (Fela!) for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical.
The evening is sure to be a star-studded event, with Hollywood actors Jude Law (Hamlet), Alfred Molina (Red), Liev Schreiber (A View from the Bridge), Christopher Walken (A Behanding in Spokane) and Denzel Washington (Fences) pitted against each other for the Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play award.
Washington's co-star Viola Davis will battle it out in the category for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play, against Valerie Harper (Looped), Linda Lavin (Collected Stories), Laura Linney (Time Stands Still) and Jan Maxwell (The Royal Family).
Catherine Zeta-Jones (A Little Night Music), Kate Baldwin (Finian's Rainbow), Sherie Rene Scott (Everyday Rapture), Montego Glover (Memphis) and Christiane Noll (Ragtime) received nods for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical, and Scarlett Johansson's Broadway debut in A View from the Bridge has earned her a nomination for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play.
Nominations for Best Play include In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play), Next Fall, Red and Time Stands Still.
The winners will be announced on 13 June (10) at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
The main list of nominees is as follows:
In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play)
Time Stands Still
Million Dollar Quartet
Best Book of a Musical:
Everyday Rapture - Dick Scanlan and Sherie Rene Scott
Fela! - Jim Lewis & Bill T. Jones
Memphis - Joe DiPietro
Million Dollar Quartet - Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux
Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre:
The Addams Family - Music & Lyrics: Andrew Lippa
Enron - Music: Adam Cork, Lyrics: Lucy Prebble
Fences - Music: Branford Marsalis
Memphis - Music: David Bryan, Lyrics: Joe DiPietro, David Bryan
Best Revival of a Play:
Lend Me a Tenor
The Royal Family
A View from the Bridge
Best Revival of a Musical:
La Cage aux Folles
A Little Night Music
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play:
Jude Law - Hamlet
Alfred Molina - Red
Liev Schreiber - A View from the Bridge
Christopher Walken - A Behanding in Spokane
Denzel Washington - Fences
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play:
Viola Davis - Fences
Valerie Harper - Looped
Linda Lavin - Collected Stories
Laura Linney - Time Stands Still
Jan Maxwell - The Royal Family
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical:
Kelsey Grammer - La Cage aux Folles
Sean Hayes - Promises, Promises
Douglas Hodge - La Cage aux Folles
Chad Kimball - Memphis
Sahr Ngaujah - Fela!
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical:
Kate Baldwin - Finian's Rainbow
Sherie Rene Scott - Everyday Rapture
Montego Glover - Memphis
Christiane Noll - Ragtime
Catherine Zeta-Jones - A Little Night Music
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play:
David Alan Grier - Race
Stephen McKinley Henderson - Fences
Jon Michael Hill - Superior Donuts
Stephen Kunken - Enron
Eddie Redmayne - Red
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play:
Maria Dizzia - In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play)
Rosemary Harris - The Royal Family
Jessica Hecht - A View from the Bridge
Scarlett Johansson - A View from the Bridge
Jan Maxwell - Lend Me a Tenor
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical:
Kevin Chamberlin - The Addams Family
Robin De Jesus - La Cage aux Folles
Christopher Fitzgerald - Finian's Rainbow
Levi Kreis - Million Dollar Quartet
Bobby Steggert - Ragtime
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical:
Barbara Cook - Sondheim on Sondheim
Katie Finneran - Promises, Promises
Angela Lansbury - A Little Night Music
Karine Plantadit - Come Fly Away
Lillias White - Fela!
Best Direction of a Play:
Michael Grandage - Red
Sheryl Kaller - Next Fall
Kenny Leon - Fences
Gregory Mosher - A View from the Bridge
Best Direction of a Musical:
Christopher Ashley - Memphis
Marcia Milgrom Dodge - Ragtime
Terry Johnson - La Cage aux Folles
Bill T. Jones - Fela!
Rob Ashford - Promises, Promises
Bill T. Jones - Fela!
Lynne Page - La Cage aux Folles
Twyla Tharp - Come Fly Away
Jason Carr - La Cage aux Folles
Aaron Johnson - Fela!
Jonathan Tunick - Promises, Promises
Daryl Waters & David Bryan - Memphis
Best Scenic Design of a Play
John Lee Beatty - The Royal Family
Alexander Dodge - Present Laughter
Santo Loquasto - Fences
Christopher Oram - Red
Best Scenic Design of a Musical:
Marina Draghici - Fela!
Christine Jones - American Idiot
Derek McLane - Ragtime
Tim Shortall - La Cage aux Folles
Best Costume Design of a Play:
Martin Pakledinaz - Lend Me a Tenor
Constanza Romero - Fences
David Zinn - In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play)
Catherine Zuber - The Royal Family
Best Costume Design of a Musical:
Marina Draghici - Fela!
Santo Loquasto - Ragtime
Paul Tazewell - Memphis
Matthew Wright - La Cage aux Folles
Best Lighting Design of a Play:
Neil Austin - Hamlet
Neil Austin - Red
Mark Henderson - Enron
Brian MacDevitt - Fences
Best Lighting Design of a Musical:
Kevin Adams - American Idiot
Donald Holder - Ragtime
Nick Richings - La Cage aux Folles
Robert Wierzel - Fela!
Best Sound Design of a Play:
Acme Sound Partners - Fences
Adam Cork - Enron
Adam Cork - Red
Scott Lehrer - A View from the Bridge
Best Sound Design of a Musical:
Jonathan Deans - La Cage aux Folles
Robert Kaplowitz - Fela!
Dan Moses Schreier and Gareth Owen - A Little Night Music
Dan Moses Schreier - Sondheim on Sondheim
Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre:
Regional Theatre Tony Award:
The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, Waterford, Connecticut
Isabelle Stevenson Award:
David Hyde Pierce
Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre:
Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York
The X-Men Origins: Wolverine star will take on the lead role of Eddie Carbone, an Italian-American dock worker who falls in love with his niece, when the production debuts next spring (10).
The show, which was last on the New York stage in 1997, will be directed by Gregory Mosher, reports the New York Post.
Schreiber last appeared on Broadway in 2005 when he won a Tony Award for his part in David Mamet's play Glengarry Glen Ross.
Actor/writer Spalding Gray, best known for his satirical and self-deprecating monologues, was found Sunday in New York's East River, two months after being reported missing, The Associated Press reports. He was 62.
His wife, Kathleen Russo, reported him missing Jan. 11, a day after he vanished from the couple's apartment after seeing the movie Big Fish with Russo and one of their children. Witnesses told police they saw Gray, who had battled depression and physical pain for many years, on the Staten Island ferry the night he vanished, and Russo said she feared he jumped off the boat. Dental records were used to identify the body.
A quirky character actor who appeared in films such as True Stories, The Paper, Beaches, Kate & Leopold, Gray enjoyed his greatest success with his Obie-winning monologue Swimming to Cambodia, which recounted in part his movie role in the Oscar-winning The Killing Fields. The monologue, developed over two years of performance, became a critically acclaimed film directed by Jonathan Demme.
Also turned into films were his monologues Monster in a Box and Gray's Anatomy, which was directed by Steven Soderbergh. Wrote Washington Post reviewer David Richards, "Talking about himself--with candor, humor, imagination and the unfailingly bizarre image--he ends up talking about all of us."
But Gray's life in recent years had been pockmarked by tragedy and depression. A horrific head-on car crash during a 2001 vacation in Ireland to mark his 60th birthday left him discouraged and in poor health, and he tried to kill himself in October 2002 by jumping from a bridge near his Long Island home.
The actor, whose mother committed suicide when she was 52, also spoke openly about considering the same fate. In an 1997 interview with the AP Gray said he'd even written an epitaph for his tombstone: "An American Original: Troubled, Inner-Directed and Cannot Type."
"I'm not Mr. Quick," Gray said in the interview. "I'm not a great social satirist. I need time to absorb life. I spend a lot of time mulling, cogitating."
"Spalding had an affinity with that material and its enormous sadness and wistfulness about lost opportunities and the mysteries of the universe," Gregory Mosher, who directed the 1989 Tony-winning Our Town revival starring Gray, told AP. "That probably was Spalding's main subject, wasn't it? Writing and thinking about the mysteries of life and death."
Gray is survived by wife Russo, two sons ages 11 and 6, a stepdaughter and two brothers. A memorial service will be held in a few months.