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
CBS Television Network
If you're one of the viewers that routinely switches off CBS as soon as Mike and Molly ends, well, shame on you: you're missing out on Mom. The freshman sitcom starring Anna Faris as a recovering alcoholic single mom who moves in with her also recovering mother, played by Allison Janney, holds enough of the audience on CBS' Monday night lineup that it will probably earn a second season, but that's not good enough. The show deserves more.
Faris has had an up-and-down career in the movies, but her emotional vulnerability and comedic timing has found a home on the sitcom. Her Christy, a waitress and AA regular, is hopeful and easy to root for as portrayed by the doe-eyed actress. Having a character that the audience can root for isn't always a given on a Chuck Lorre show, nor is having fully formed female characters... as anyone that's watched Melissa McCarthy descend into caricature on Mike and Molly can attest.
Janney, who's proven her chops in everything from The West Wing to Juno, provides even more incentive to watch. She infuses her Bonnie with a seen-it-all outlook that works perfectly for a character that's not as enamored of the sober lifestyle as her daughter is. More than that, Janney plays Bonnie as a real person, even when the writing is broad. She doesn’t work too hard for the laughs, but instead lets them come naturally, which helps temper the over-the-top elements that are a Lorre hallmark.
The show has also featured an enviable group of guest stars, starting with Kevin Pollak as Christy's long-absent father. The veteran comedian was the perfect choice to play off of the two leading ladies as a mensch who's trying to make things right. Justin Long, Mimi Kennedy, and Octavia Spencer have also put in appearances.
The show isn't perfect; the writers have yet to find a good rhythm for Christy's daughter, played by Saddie Calvano, and her boyfriend (Spencer Daniels). Additionally, Matt Jones and French Stewart, who play Christy's ex and boss respectively, seem like they might be more at home on Lorre's Two and a Half Men. While not everything might have jelled quite yet, the performances by the leads rises above any of the first year quibbles.
It's hard to play addiction recovery for both laughs and empathy, but Faris and Janney are doing a brilliant job of exactly that. Their efforts deserve to be rewarded with viewers that seek the show out as opposed to ones that just forget to change the channel after Mike and Molly.
Show Mom some love and you won't be disappointed.
After garnering widespread praise (and an Oscar nomination for screenwriting) for his 2000 directorial debut You Can Count on Me Kenneth Lonergan was in-demand. In September 2005 the writer/director began production on a follow-up feature: Margaret which touted Anna Paquin Matt Damon Mark Ruffalo Matthew Broderick Allison Janney as well as legendary filmmakers Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella (The English Patient) as producers. The movie wrapped production in a few months time. The buzz was already growing.
Now six years later the movie is finally hitting theaters. So…what took so long?
The journey to this point hasn't been an easy one and it shows. If a film's shot footage is a block of granite and the editing process is the careful carving that turns it into a statuesque work of art Margaret feels like it was attacked by a blind man with a jackhammer. The film is a cinematic disaster a mishmash of shallow characters overwrought politics and sporadic tones. The story follows Lisa Coen (Paquin) a New York teenager who finds herself drowning in chaos after distracting a bus driver (Ruffalo) causing him to hit and kill a pedestrian (Janney). Initially Lisa tells the police it was all an accident but as time passes regret takes hold and the girl embarks on a mission to take down the man she now regards as a culprit. That's just the tip of the iceberg–along the way Lisa deals with everyday teen stuff: falling for her geometry teacher (Damon) combating her anxiety-ridden actress mother losing her virginity dabbling in drugs debating 9/11 and the Iraq War cultivating a relationship with her father in LA and more. There are about eight seasons of television stuffed into Margaret but even a two and a half hour run time can't make it all click.
For more on Margaret check out Indie Seen: Margaret the Long Lost Anna Paquin/Matt Damon Movie
The on-again off-again discussions between Michael Jackson and Dick Clark regarding whether or not Jackson will appear at Clark's upcoming American Music Awards verses the Grammys are officially off. Again. Jackson has made a diplomatic move: he'll appear on the AMAs, but will not perform. The American Music Awards broadcast airs Jan. 9. The Grammys ceremony airs on Feb. 27.
Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler magazine, filed a lawsuit on Friday against the U.S. Defense Department, arguing that reporters must be present on the front lines in the war in Afghanistan. Flynt wants Hustler to cover the war...for some reason.
The Country Music Grammy nominations were announced on Friday. Leading the pack is "Timeless -- Hank Williams Tribute," a re-recording of his top tunes that features several country favorites, including Johnny Cash and Lucinda Williams.
Brian McFadden, a member of the boy-band Westlife, married former Atomic Kitten singer Kerry Katona on Saturday in Ireland.
TV producer Julie Christy is suing FOX Broadcasting, claiming that the network's upcoming series The Chamber is a direct rip-off of her upcoming ABC show The Chair.
On Friday, a spokeswoman for singer Waylon Jennings told the press that the country star had his left foot amputated on Dec. 19. The amputation was necessary due to complications with diabetes.
For the first time since SoundScan has been tracking annual album sales, 2001 saw a drop in sales, according to USA Today.
Slash, once the jammin' guitarist of rock band Guns N'Roses, was banned by lead singer Axl Rose from the revamped G N'R's concert on Sunday at the Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel. Acting on Rose's orders, security guards turned Slash away at the door when he tried to get into the sold-out show. Rose told ABC news.com that he would walk off the stage if he saw any of the former band members in the audience. It was only the second time in eight years Rose and his new band has performed for an American audience.
Hassan Tantai, an actor in the new Afghanistan film Kandahar, has turned out to be American David Belfield, a wanted assassin and terrorist. Maryland's Montgomery County State's Attorney Douglas Gansler confirmed to the Associated Press that Tantai and Belfield are indeed the same man who killed an Iranian dissident in Washington, D.C., in 1980 and then fled to Iran. The film's director, Mohsen Makhmabalaf, has denied any knowledge of the actor's past history.
Director/actor Ed Burns and his fiancee, supermodel Christy Turlington, closed on two adjacent triplex penthouses in Manhattan for $8 million, The Post reports.
French designer Yves Saint Laurent has scheduled a press conference with Paris fashion editors for Monday, fueling speculation of his impending retirement. The 65-year-old fashion designer, rumored ill, recently handed over his ready-to-wear operation to Gucci designer Tom Ford and has only been working on two exclusive haute couture collections per year.
Due to her feminist principles, plus-size model Emme turned down Hugh Hefner's invitation to pose for Playboy magazine--although she takes it as a compliment. In an interview with People magazine, the 38-year-old admitted, "I was pretty slack-jawed," about the invite and added, "I want to frame this letter and put it in my office."
Veteran Hollywood director and animator David Swift, best known for directing the film How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and the original The Parent Trap and for creating the 1950s TV show Mr. Peepers, died of a heart attack Dec. 31 at Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 82. He is survived by his wife, Micheline, two daughters and two grandchildren.
Actress and model Catya Sassoon, daughter of hairstylist Vidal Sassoon, died in her sleep after attending a New Year's party at a friend's house in Los Angeles. She was 33. Her manager, Hilly Elkins, said she suffered from high blood pressure. Sassoon also had admitted to having severe drug and alcohol problems in her younger years.
Three men were arrested in conjunction with the robbery of actress Kim Novak's rural home Dec. 26, where more than $20,000 worth of firearms and tools were stolen. The men broke into the home through a paneled door. The stolen property was recovered.
Ronrico Madison has been indicted on mail and wire fraud charges for impersonating R&B singers Ginuwine and DeVante of the group Jodeci. Madison attempted to get models' phone numbers and have the victims' pay his personal bills under the guise of the singers.
Cate Blanchett is in negotiations to join co-star Kevin Spacey in Miramax's "The Shipping News," the film adaptation of Annie Proulx's 1994 Pulitzer prize-winning novel. The film is to be directed by Lasse Hallstrom ("Chocolat").
The story centers around a man (Spacey) who must rebuild his life after his wife runs off with his two daughters and sells them into prostitution. Blanchett will be playing the role of the ex-wife, Petal Bear.
Principal photography is scheduled to start before the potential strikes occur.
Blanchett, now being seen in the tense drama "The Gift," recently wrapped production on New Line's "Lord of the Rings."
A "DOMESTIC" BUSCEMI: Steve Buscemi ("Fargo") has signed to play a supporting role in Harold Becker's newest film, "Domestic Disturbance," for Paramount. Shooting started Monday in North Carolina.
Buscemi will join John Travolta and Vince Vaughn in a tale about a divorced dad (Travolta) who finds out unexpectedly that his 11-year old son's new stepfather (Vaughn) is not what he made himself out to be and must somehow save his son from the potential danger.
Buscemi most recently starred in "Double Whammy," which was picked up for domestic distribution at the recent Sundance Film Festival.
GRAHAM, TOMEI SEEK "SEX": Heather Graham ("Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me") and Marisa Tomei ("What Women Want") are in negotiations to star in director Daisy Mayer's comedy "The Guru of Sex," about a young man from India who comes to New York, seeking his fame and fortune. After a few hits and misses, he ends up becoming a guru for spiritual enlightenment through sex. Graham and Tomei will play two women instrumental in his rise to fame.
As a sidenote, Heather Graham may need a little real life sexual guidance. Seems ex-boyfriend, actor-director Edward Burns ("Saving Private Ryan"), who only broke off from Graham recently, is getting married to supermodel Christy Turlington, who recently broke up with actor, Jason Patric. Can we say rebound?
He might say that he is the Antichrist Superstar, but Marilyn Manson certainly is not immune to matters of the heart.
The shock rocker and his "Jawbreaker" actress gal pal Rose McGowan have broken off their engagement and called it quits, McGowan's publicist confirmed Thursday.
"There is great love, but our lifestyle difference is, unfortunately, even greater," McGowan said in a brief statement.
McGowan, 27, and Manson, 32, were engaged two years ago and were together for about a year before that.
COMING TOGETHER: In (reportedly) happier news: The New York Daily News is saying that Christy Turlington and director-actor Edward Burns are engaged. Its source? A "close" friend of Turlington, who told the tab that the model is wearing a big engagement ring.
We're waiting to hear from the actor's people regarding the scoop.
MEETING OF THE POP QUEENS: Call it bridging the generation gap. Britney Spears has confirmed to the Brazilian press in Rio de Janeiro -- where performed in the Rock in Rio music fest -- that her collaboration with pop queen Madonna is a definite go. The teen pop queen's record company also gave Reuters the news Friday.
"The duet with Madonna is going to happen," Spears told the local press. "Madonna is great. I grew up listening to her in my room.... I was really happy when she said she admired me."
And according to Spears, the only thing that's stopping the two from heading straight to the studio is their busy and conflicting schedules.
Yeah, we've heard that one before.
YOU GO, GIRL: Barbra Streisand means business when it comes to politics. According to Daily Variety columnist Army Archerd, Babs had apparently called 15 senators, urging them to reject the confirmation of Attorney General nominee John Ashcroft.
"We live in a great country," Streisand was quoted in saying. "We allow a woman the right of choice over her own body. We have some basic gun-control laws. We have affirmative action. We have laws that protect the environment. We have separation of church and state. We have laws that guarantee protection of civil rights and liberties. Why would we allow the chief law enforcement officer to be a person who doesn't believe in any of these laws?"
BYE, BYE, BYE: There will soon be much less glamour over at CNN. The news outfit will soon lose their fashion correspondent Elsa Klensch, who's been hosting the weekly staple "Style With Elsa Klensch" on the network for 20 years, The Associated Press reports.
Klensch has asked to be released from her contract so that she could spend more time with her family. Her contract is up Feb. 17.