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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From the 1950s arrival of star imports such as Alfred Hitchcock, Laurence Olivier and Julie Andrews, to the original Avengers smash hit in the '60s and Upstairs,Downstairs in the '70s, the British impact on American television has always been around. We take a look at the current crop of US-UK remakes, current series stars played by Brits, and the influx of the new British renaissance. For more, check out the story on Studio System News.
A kids’ movie without the cheeky jokes for adults is like a big juicy BLT without the B… or the T. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted may have a title that sounds like it was made up in a cartoon sequel laboratory but when it comes to serving up laughs just think of the film as a BLT with enough extra bacon to satisfy even the wildest of animals — or even a parent with a gaggle of tots in tow. Yes even with that whole "Afro Circus" nonsense.
It’s not often that we find exhaustively franchised films like the Madagascar set that still work after almost seven years. Despite being spun off into TV shows and Christmas specials in addition to its big screen adventures the series has not only maintained its momentum it has maintained the part we were pleasantly surprised by the first time around: great jokes.
In this third installment of the series – the trilogy-maker if you will – directing duo Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath add Conrad Vernon (director Monsters Vs. Aliens) to the helm as our trusty gang swings back into action. Alex the lion (Ben Stiller) Marty the zebra (Chris Rock) Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) are stuck in Africa after the hullaballoo of Madagascar 2 and they’ll do anything to get back to their beloved New York. Just a hop skip and a jump away in Monte Carlo the penguins are doing their usual greedy schtick but the zoo animals catch up with them just in time to catch the eye of the sinister animal control stickler Captain Dubois (Frances McDormand). And just like that the practically super human captain is chasing them through Monte Carlo and the rest of Europe in hopes of planting Alex’s perfectly coifed lion head on her wall of prized animals.
Luckily for pint-sized viewers Dubois’ terrifying presence is balanced out by her sheer inhuman strength uncanny guiles and Stretch Armstrong flexibility (ah the wonder of cartoons) as well as Alex’s escape plan: the New Yorkers run away with the European circus. While Dubois’ terrifying Doberman-like presence looms over the entire film a sense of levity (which is a word the kiddies might learn from Stiller’s eloquent lion) comes from the plan for salvation in which the circus animals and the zoo animals band together to revamp the circus and catch the eye of a big-time American agent. Sure the pacing throughout the first act is practically nonexistent running like a stampede through the jungle but by the time we're palling around under the big top the film finds its footing.
The visual splendor of the film (and man is there a champion size serving of it) the magnificent danger and suspense is enhanced to great effect by the addition of 3D technology – and not once is there a gratuitous beverage or desperate Crocodile Dundee knife waved in our faces to prove its worth. The caveat is that the soundtrack employs a certain infectious Katy Perry ditty at the height of the 3D spectacular so parents get ready to hear that on repeat until the leaves turn yellow.
But visual delights and adventurous zoo animals aside Madagascar 3’s real strength is in its script. With the addition of Noah Baumbach (Greenberg The Squid and the Whale) to the screenwriting team the script is infused with a heightened level of almost sarcastic gravitas – a welcome addition to the characteristically adult-friendly reference-heavy humor of the other Madagascar films. To bring the script to life Paramount enlisted three more than able actors: Vitaly the Siberian tiger (Bryan Cranston) Gia the Leopard (Jessica Chastain) and Stefano the Italian Sealion (Martin Short). With all three actors draped in European accents it might take viewers a minute to realize that the cantankerous tiger is one and the same as the man who plays an Albuquerque drug lord on Breaking Bad but that makes it that much sweeter to hear him utter slant-curse words like “Bolshevik” with his usual gusto.
Between the laughs the terror of McDormand’s Captain Dubois and the breathtaking virtual European tour the Zoosters’ accidental vacation is one worth taking. Madagascar 3 is by no means an insta-classic but it’s a perfectly suited for your Summer-at-the-movies oasis.
On Saturday, Russell Brand went on Twitter to complain about how he would have to cancel his show in Canada later that day because customs officials refused to let him into the country. His tweets included remarks such as, "How do you manipulate customs officials? Wasn't Hitler's father a customs officer? I'm pretty sure he was," and later added, "Tonight's Casino Rama show postponed. I'm sorry. I can't enter Canada. We must abolish the borders between our nations AND our minds." Since this wouldn't be the first time he's had problems with customs (this year Japan refused to let him in due to his criminal record) it was easy enough to believe, but it turns out none of this was true -- he was only pulling a prank on everyone. The real reason he was unable to make it to his show was because of mechanical problems with the plane. Casino Rama spokeswoman, Jenna Hunter, made a statement today to The Canadian Press, saying, "I think he's trying to be witty about the whole thing, but it really was just a plane issue, it wasn't a customs issue at all." Although I wouldn't blame them if there was a customs issue the next time he tried to visit Canada. Now that would be funny. - THR
James Marsden is back to living the single life. His wife, Lisa Linde, has officially filed for divorce from the dreamy actor, citing irreconcilable differences. A rep for Marsden stated, "This was a mutual decision. They are committed to raising their kids together and remain great friends." The couple married in 2000 and have two children together: Jack, 10, and Mary, 6. - US
On a happier note, Elizabeth Hurley and Shane Warne are now engaged. Apparently he popped the question while having dinner at Dunhill in St. Andrews. A rep for the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship put out a press release, stating, "Shane Warne has confirmed his engagement to actress Elizabeth Hurley after proposing at the Alfred Links Championship." Shane made it clear though that this was not made a public event and took to Twitter, explaining, "I didn't propose in front of 200 people at dinner. It was done privately and was very romantic -- if I say so myself. Ps left knee is sore!!!" Congratulations to the happy couple! - People
The pair has been dating since last year (10) following the breakdown of her marriage to Arun Nayar, who she divorced in June (11).
Now the Bedazzled star looks set to walk down the aisle again after her Aussie beau proposed during a romantic break in Scotland.
According to Britain's Daily Mail, Warne popped the question during dinner at the Old Course Hotel in St Andrews, where they attended the Alfred Dunhill Links golf championship.
A source tells the publication, "Shane proposed over dinner and it was fairly public, not a private affair.
"It was a VIP crowd in there this evening. It was residents only, including Dunhill past players.
"He didn't get down on one knee, but when it was announced the other guests in the restaurant stood up and applauded. Everyone there was absolutely delighted."
The Wall Street icon spent six months fighting throat cancer last year (10), undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment.
He was given the all-clear earlier this year (11) but is continuing to undergo regular check-ups to ensure the tumour doesn't return.
Keen golfer Douglas has signed up to be the star guest at this week's Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St. Andrews in Scotland, and he is hoping the challenge helps him relax.
He says, "It has been a few years since I played. I love the place and the atmosphere and I have missed it a lot.
''It has been an eventful time for me recently. However, I am now feeling good and am looking forward to an excellent week on some of the greatest links courses in the world.''
The Tourist is about as difficult to get through as spotting the vowels in the name of its director. Florian Henckel von Donnersmark was last seen receiving a Best Foreign Film Oscar in 2007 for The Lives of Others which was about a couple living in East Berlin who were being monitored by the police of the German Democratic Republic. Its positive reception made way for the assumption that Donnersmark would continue to populate the USA with films of seemingly otherworldly and underrepresented themes. But his current project is saddening in its superficiality and total implausibility.
The film’s only real upside is its stars: two of our most prized Americans. Johnny Depp plays Frank Tupelo a math teacher from Wisconsin who travels to Europe after his wife leaves him presumably because of his weakness and simplicity. While en route to Venice he meets Elise Clifton-Ward (Angelina Jolie) who situates herself in his company after she receives a letter from her criminal lover Alexander Pearce (who stole some billions from a very wealthy Russian and the British government) with instructions to find someone on a train who looks like him and make the police believe that he is the real Alexander Pearce to throw the authorities and the Russians off his track. Elise picks Frank and after they are photographed kissing each other on the balcony of Elise’s hotel everyone begins to believe Frank is the real Pearce and so begins the chase.
While Donnersmark could not have picked two better looking people to film roaming around Venice his lack of faith in the audience is obvious. Every aspect of the characters is hammed up again and again as if Donnersmark felt burdened with the task of making us see his vision. Doubtful that we’re capable of getting to where he wants us he has crafted a movie completely devoid of subtlety. Elise’s strength and superiority over Frank are portrayed by close-ups and repeated instances of men burping up their lungs upon seeing her (as if her beauty is in any way subjective?). And in case we forgot that Frank is the victim in this story -- even though he’s been tricked chased and shot at - Donnersmark still felt the need to pin him with a lame electronic cigarette to puff on. Frank and Elise somehow manage to lack mystery even though we get very few factual details about each of them.
Nothing extraordinary comes to us in the way of the film’s structural elements either. There is very little of the action that The Tourist’s marketing led us to believe and the dialog is often painful. The plot itself is almost shockingly unbelievable especially when we’re asked to believe that Elise falls in love with Frank after a combination of kissing him once and her disclosed habit of swooning over men she only spent an hour with (yes that was on her CV).
The Tourist is rather empty and cosmetic. It’s worth seeing if you’re a superfan of Jolie or Depp but don’t expect to walk out of the theater with anything more than the stub you came in with.
The Irish-born star passed away on 12 December (09) following a suspected heart attack in Thousand Oaks, California.
Davis began his career on stage in his native Ireland, but was whisked off to New York City when he was spotted by the producers of hit Broadway musical Finian's Rainbow.
The actor subsequently moved to Hollywood and landed roles in 22 movies, including 1953's The Desert Rats with Richard Burton, The Wreck of the Mary Deare in 1959 with Gary Cooper and Charlton Heston, and 1968's Star! with Julie Andrews.
Davis also appeared on more than 100 TV shows throughout his career, including The Twilight Zone, Perry Mason, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents, as well as clocking up more than 1,000 appearances on Broadway.
In the 1950s he became co-owner of the Hollywood School of Drama and The Hollywood Repertory Theater with actor Dan O'Herlihy, and later went on to expand his resume with roles as a writer, director and film producer. He wrote and directed films including Kennedy's Ireland, Thunder Run and The Violent Ones, before he quit the movie business in 1984 to run for Congress, winning the Democratic primary but losing the general election.
In his later years, Davis taught acting classes at the Actors and Singers Studio in Thousand Oaks, which he co-founded with his daughter, singer/actress Maripat Davis.
Davis is survived by his wife of 59 years, actress Marilyn O'Connor, his daughter and a son.
The avid golfer reveals TV pundits covering the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St. Andrews in Scotland caught Grant's worst shot and opted not to show it - but he knows it's in their archives.
He recalls, "I lost a ball while putting, and on TV. I was putting uphill, and the ball rolled back down and into a stream.
"The TV fellows kindly didn't show it, but they recorded it."
And Grant admits his temper often gets the better of him on the golf course.
He tells Cigar Aficionado magazine, "There's a lot of club smashing. I once lost a three-wood in a tantrum when I threw it into a bush. Four players and caddies couldn't find it."
All Jackie Chan movies are basically the same right? Jackie is the good
guy who's on the run from or in pursuit of a truly evil bad guy. In
this one Jackie plays an Imperial Chinese guard sent to the American
west during the 1800s to rescue a kidnapped princess (Lucy Liu). He
buddies up with a bumbling outlaw (Owen Wilson) and as you might guess
action and laughs follow.
One reason for Chan's phenomenal success of recent years is that he
seems to realize his own strengths and weaknesses as an actor and plays
up to them. As he did with Chris Tucker in "Rush Hour " Chan plays the
straight guy while Wilson (doing a more slapstick type of comedy than in
"Bottle Rocket" and other films) acts the goof.
Well there's some nice scenery of the Sierra Nevadas and the old west
(where this stuff was actually filmed I have no idea but it looks
great) but other than that this film is a showcase for the actors. For
the most part director Tom Dey doesn't deviate from the tried-and-true
elements of a Hollywood western: Gunfights Indians brothels bounty
hunters barroom brawls hangings damsels in distress and so on. The
final fight between the good guys and bad guys is a lot of fun mixing
up swordplay gunplay martial arts and fighting sticks.