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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Pop superstar George Michael baffled the star-studded crowd at his record launch party this week (beg03Mar14) when he failed to show up to unveil his first album in 10 years. The Faith hitmaker is gearing up for the release of his sixth solo record, Symphonica, his first since 2004's Patience, and stars including Spandau Ballet's Martin Kemp, Irish singer Ronan Keating, and actor Rupert Everett attended the launch event at Hamiltons Gallery in London on Tuesday (04Mar14).
However, Michael was noticeably absent from the party.
A representative for the star was unable to offer an explanation for the no-show, saying, "He hasn't given a reason for not attending the launch, but he is working on a further studio album and was probably busy with that."
For those of us still lamenting the loss of Khloé and Lamar Odom, these new Khloé Kardashian dating rumors are seriously troubling. New episodes of Keeping Up with the Kardashians have aired recently, showing some of the difficult moments leading up to their divorce. It's incredibly sad to watch, let alone experience. We understand that it's Khloé's life, but there are a few reasons to be completely, totally, morally opposed to the idea of her dating rapper Game. And in case the rumors weren't bad enough, Khloé is now teasing about their relationship (platonic or otherwise) on Instagram:
She posted this the other day with the caption: "I could explain but it's more fun this way @thedocumentary #10PlusYearsandCounting." Now this could be her fun way of explaining that they've been friends forever, but there's no telling. Plus, there was that whole twerking up in the club situation:
So let's adress these dating rumors once and for all.
Khloé & Game
No, this is not going to work. Khloé is great. Game is great. But the mother of Game's children is a super sweet elementary school teacher, and they had that adorable reality show together (Marrying The Game!), and we're going to need them to work it out. #TeamTiffney
Khloé & Matt Kemp
Shortly after her break-up with Lamar was announced, Khloé was linked to Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star (and former boo of Rihanna's) Matt Kemp. Rihanna's cool and all, but we think Khloé can do better than RiRi's sloppy seconds. Just sayin'... Anyway, Kemp denied these rumors a while back, as did Khloé.
Khloé & Nobody... Other Than Lamar
We're pretty much comfortable with Khloé being single, or Khloé being Mrs. Odom again. Is that selfish? Maybe. Do we have any basis for this, other than a reality show, and the cutest Instagram photos ever? No, we don't. But still! If these two could make it work, we would approve. Odom recently opened up about the relationship, and said probably the most romantic thing anyone could say about a woman divorcing them: "I love my wife. She'll always be my wife, no matter what." He also went on to say that the divorce isn't final yet, so who knows?
We're like Odom over here, keeping hope alive for a Khlamar reunion in 2014.
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Actor Tom Hardy is in talks to portray English twin crime bosses Ronald and Reginald Kray in a new film. Legend will centre on the brothers' relationship and their crime spree in London in the 1950s and 1960s, according to ScreenDaily.com.
42 filmmaker Brian Helgeland is directing and writing the movie, with production slated to begin in the U.K. later this year (14) and he's keen on the Inception star playing both brothers.
This isn't the first gangster role for the actor - he has also signed on to play a crime leader on British drama Peaky Blinders for two seasons.
The Kray Twins have previously been portrayed on the big screen by Spandau Ballet stars Martin and Gary Kemp, who portrayed the London crime bosses in 1990 movie The Krays.
Former newspaper boss Rebekah Brooks confirmed on Friday (21Feb14) that she cheated on British actor Ross Kemp during their marriage. The former News International chief is facing a string of charges at the high-profile phone-hacking trial in London, and the court has previously heard she had an affair with colleague Andy Coulson while married to the popular soap star.
Brooks began giving evidence in her defence earlier this week (beg17Feb14) and on Friday she was quizzed about allegations she and Coulson - who went on to work for Prime Minister David Cameron in Downing Street - had been lovers over a six-year period.
She told the jury there had been moments of intimacy between the two but denied they had been in an illicit affair for the entire six years.
Brooks, former editor of the News of the World, which was closed in 2011 in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal, was married to Kemp - a long-running star of hit soap opera EastEnders - from 2002 to 2009.
The former editor and Coulson both deny all the charges against them.
The trial continues.
British band Spandau Ballet are set to perform in America at the 2014 South by Southwest Festival, marking their first Stateside appearance since 1985. The Gold hitmakers achieved international success in the 1980s but they took a long hiatus in 1990 before releasing a comeback album and touring the U.K. in 2009.
They have since taken part in a documentary about the band which will debut at the festival in Austin, Texas on 2 March (14), and the musicians are set to perform on the same day to celebrate the film's world premiere.
The group hopes the documentary will launch its U.S. comeback, with plans to release a greatest hits album and embark on a Stateside tour for the first time in almost 30 years, according to Billboard.com.
Guitarist Gary Kemp says, "We're hoping for theatrical release and we hope to be announcing a tour with the U.S. (sic) late this year or early in 2015. We want to do everything this time."
Spandau Ballet star Martin Kemp has credited his longtime friend George Michael with saving his life by finding the specialist who beat his brain tumour. The 1980s pop star was diagnosed with a tumour just two years after he had a previous growth surgically removed, and he later underwent a revolutionary medical procedure to shrink it.
Kemp went on to make a full recovery and he has now revealed the Faith hitmaker was instrumental in securing him the life-saving treatment as he helped the singer's wife, Pepsi & Shirlie star Shirlie Holliman, track down the specialist.
In an interview on U.K. TV show Piers Morgan's Life Stories, Kemp says, "Shirlie went off with George Michael and they found this professor and he said to me, 'They haven't tried it before but there's a machine in Barts Hospital called stereotactic radiation where they zap it from all different angles'. They'd only tried it on cancer patients and never on a benign tumour so they didn't know if it was going to work. I went there and within 20 minutes of being zapped the thing started to die. So it was a lot of stress and a lot of worry, but I'd finally reached the end of it... He's a special person, George. He's been a good friend to us for years."
Kemp goes on to reveal Michael also helped set him up with his wife and even joined the couple on their first date.
The singer adds, "'It's funny because I remember the first date that Shirlie and I ever went on. George came as a chaperone. I spent the whole evening trying to lose him so that me and Shirlie could sneak off somewhere and snog (kiss)."
Spandau Ballet star Martin Kemp has renewed his wedding vows with his former pop singer wife Shirlie in a romantic ceremony on a beach in St Lucia. The stars married in 1988 and decided to celebrate their 25th anniversary by heading back to the scene of the nuptials in the Caribbean to re-affirm their love for each other.
They stood on the sand and restated their vows in front of their daughter Harley, son Roman, and Shirlie's former pop bandmate Helen 'Pepsi' DeMacque and her husband James Crockett.
After the ceremony, bassist Kemp told British magazine OK!, "We've had good times and bad times, and it's nice to come through all of the bad times and do something loving again in front of everybody."
Shirlie adds, "It was our 25th anniversary and many people had asked if we would do it. Then we decided that to have our children see their parents do something like that would be lovely. Harley was fantastic and helped me get ready. Roman was very laid-back."
Reality TV star Khloe Kardashian has begged tabloid editors to stop spreading lies about her love life after she was falsely linked to another sportsman days after filing for divorce from basketball player Lamar Odom. Kim Kardashian's little sister called time on her troubled marriage last Friday (13Dec13), citing irreconcilable differences for the end of the four-year union.
She hit headlines again this week (begs16Dec13) when reports suggested the 29 year old had already moved on to date Rihanna's ex-boyfriend, Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star Matt Kemp, but the newly-single socialite insists the claims are unfounded.
Taking to her Twitter.com blog on Wednesday (18Dec13), she writes, "This, in and of itself, is heartbreaking and torture to my soul. Please, I don't need the extra rumors and BS (bulls**t) right now."
Kardashian's relationship with Odom began unravelling earlier this year (13) amid allegations her husband had been secretly struggling with a drug addiction, which led to a DUI arrest in August (13) and a brief stint in rehab.
Scottish actor Ewan Mcgregor is among the famous faces who have paid tribute to The Professionals star Lewis Collins following his death this week (beg25Nov13). The beloved British actor passed away at home in Los Angeles on Wednesday (27Nov13). He was 67.
Collins was best known for playing tough guy William Bodie on the hit crime show, and Hollywood star Ewan McGregor, who grew up watching the TV series, was sorry to hear news of his death, writing in a post on Twitter.com, "I am sorry to hear the sad news that Lewis Collins has passed away. Grew up watching him. Hard man!"
Singer/actor Gary Kemp insists Collins should have played James Bond, a role the actor auditioned for several times. He writes, "The man who should have been Bond. RIP Lewis Collins. You were supercool."
While 1980s pop star-turned-actor Luke Goss shared similar sentiments, "Lewis Collins passed today, have always been a huge fan. The man who should have been Bond. A real loss RIP."
Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright posted a video of The Professionals opening credits, adding, "Farewell to Mr. Lewis Collins. This was perhaps the most exciting 45 seconds of my youth... It's still exciting."