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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Uma Thurman reunited with Harvey Keitel and Tim Roth on Friday (18Oct13) to honour their Pulp Fiction director Quentin Tarantino at an emotional tribute in France. The filmmaker was praised by colleagues and collaborators at a ceremony in Lyon as he received the prestigious Prix Lumiere accolade in recognition of his Hollywood career.
Keitel was moved to tears as he spoke about his relationship with Tarantino, telling the audience, "Damn, I'm not going to make it through this... I always felt we were meant for each other and nothing could keep us apart. Maybe if he had been a woman we could have gotten married, had kids! Working with Quentin is like reading a great novel or hearing a great symphony or piece of music - it changes you. You don't know how, but it has."
Handing the Prix Lumiere to Tarantino, Thurman gushed, "For all your wildness, your work always has aspirations for justice, freedom from oppression, courage, and most of all love and passion... You have been an explosion of dynamite in the art of cinema itself."
Tarantino thanked the stars for making his scripts come to life, declaring, "I don't have words for how I feel - probably one of the first times that has happened to me. I have always thought of myself as a lone wolf, but always because I never really had a family, but these people are my family. Their affection and respect is all I ever want."
Previous recipients of the Prix Lumiere include Clint Eastwood, Milos Forman, Gerard Depardieu and Ken Loach.
Backstage, Tarantino was later handed France's highest cultural honour as he was made a Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters (Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) by culture minister Aurelie Filippetti, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Oscar winner Adrien Brody will be making magic on the small screen in a new mini-series about legendary illusionist Harry Houdini. The Piano star will play the master magician, who wowed crowds around the world with his death-defying escapes at the beginning of the 20th Century, in a new project for the History Channel.
It will focus on how the American-Hungarian performer overcame an impoverished background to become an international sensation, famed for escaping from handcuffs and straitjackets under water.
House of Cards star Kristen Connolly will play Houdini's wife Bess in the four-part series, which will begin filming later this year (13).
Tony Curtis, Harvey Keitel and Guy Pearce have all played the enigmatic escapologist before.
John Travolta and director Oliver Stone were the toast of the 48th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic as they were both honoured for their outstanding contribution to film. The stars, along with Czech costume designer Theodor Pistek, were each handed the Crystal Globe Award for Outstanding Artistic Contribution to World Cinema at the festival's closing ceremony on Saturday (06Jul13).
Stone delivered an impassioned speech to the audience on accepting the prize in which he credited his inner turmoil and passion for self exploration with driving him to succeed.
He said, "I'm honoured by your recognition... Films continue to teach me and I hope to continue to make films. As you know from watching mine, there is still in me a tension that has haunted me all my life...
"These tensions will not allow me to let this award, or any honour... to stop me from looking for the next undiscovered land... In the spirit of this I will say to those of you out there, young dreamers, do not cease the exploration of yourselves."
Stone and Travolta, who unveiled his new thriller Killing Season at the festival, follow in the footsteps of stars including Dame Helen Mirren, Harvey Keitel and John Malkovich who have all been honoured with the accolade.
It's a kinder, gentler movie blog. Thumbs & Ammo takes the most iconic, gun centric movie shots at renders them upbeat. All it takes is a little Photoshop.
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Unearthed by PetaPixel, Thumbs & Ammo runs with the tagline "Real tough guys don't need guns, they just need a positive, can-do attitude." And everyone, from James Bond to Angelina Jolie to Indiana Jones, has been changed to a really upbeat guy or gal — no guns necessary.
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Now, it's not totally clear whether or not this blog has any ulterior motive aside from a little photoshop fun, but it touches on the hot-button topic of guns in movies in an interesting way. What would movies look like without guns? Probably not quite like this, but they'd be greatly changed for sure. Take a look for yourself:
Who's got two thumbs and a mischevious disposition? This guy.
Good going, Han. Rambo really applauds your positive attitude.
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler
[Photo Credits: Thumbs & Ammo (3)]
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The moviemaker threw a huge bash at the Spotted Pig restaurant to mark his milestone and the guest list read like a Who's Who of Hollywood.
Jonah Hill, Patricia Clarkson, Harvey Keitel, Michael J. Fox and Boardwalk Empire stars Steve Buscemi and Michael Pitt also attended the party, which included a four-course dinner, a chocolate cake and a champagne toast, according to editors at New York Post's gossip column Page Six.
The Knocked Up star was among the famous faces who donated auction prizes for the Night of Too Many Stars benefit and he offered up the chance to share a toilet run with him.
Rogen's bizarre lot attracted plenty of bids and two lucky winners sealed the deal to share a bathroom with the actor, according to E! Online.
Other prizes offered up during the evening included a two-day visit to the set of hit TV show Breaking Bad, which sold for $22,000 (£13,750), and the chance to have a holiday card picture taken with actor Al Pacino, which went for $25,000 (£15,625).
Former Saturday Night Live co-stars Tina Fey and Amy Poehler offered up their company to the highest bidder, and two women paid $36,000 (£22,500) to be the comediennes' friends for the night.
The event at Manhattan's Beacon Theater also included performances by Carly Rae Jepsen, who sang her hit track Call Me Maybe with actor Harvey Keitel, and Katy Perry, who belted out her song Firework with a young autistic girl accompanying her on piano.
The bash raised funds for a number of autism education and family service programs across the U.S.
It was 1999, and David O. Russell was new to the industry — he had only directed two films to date, fostering stars like Jeremy Davies (Spanking the Monkey) and Ben Stiller(Flirting with Disaster). And then came Three Kings. The filmmaker's first straight drama, his first pickup by a Big Five production company, is also his first collaboration with Mark Wahlberg: his muse in the making.
Following Three Kings, Russell and Wahlberg partnered on the offbeat comedy I Heart Huckabees and the Oscar-nominated drama biopic The Fighter. And for a while, it was expected that Wahlberg would take the lead in Russell's upcoming romance/dramedy, Silver Linings Playbook. But top-billing in that picture ultimately landed in the hands of Bradley Cooper, whom Russell has cast in his next movie, an untitled project formerly named American Bulls***. On top of this, Russell discussed with The Hollywood Reporter on a desire to work with Cooper on a third film: American Sniper — a property to which Cooper presently has the rights.
So, the days of Russell/Wahlberg might be over. But will Russell's partnership with Cooper really be able to reproduce, or perhaps top, the magic he and his first muse managed in Three Kings, I Heart Huckabees, and the critical/popular topper of the lot, The Fighter?
It's not like it hasn't been done — there have been plenty of directors who have moved from one acting muse to another, for whatever reason, resulting in some fantastic work:
Original Muse: Robert De Niro
Collaborations: Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, New York, New York, Raging Bull, The King of Comedy, Goodfellas, Cape Fear, Mad Dog and Glory, Casino
Replacement Muse: Leonardo DiCaprio
Collaborations: Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed, Shutter Island, The Wolf of Wall Street
Original Muse: Matt Damon
Collaborations: Oceans Eleven, Ocean's Twelve, The Brothers Grimm, Syriana, Ocean's Thirteen, Che, The Informant!, Contagion
Replacement Muse: Channing Tatum
Collaborations: Haywire, Magic Mike, The Bitter Pill
Original Muse: Tarantino has collaborated with several people on multiple occasions — Samuel L. Jackson, Harvey Keitel, Steve Buscemi, Tim Roth — but the director's true original muse is undoubtedly Uma Thurman
Collaborations: Pulp Fiction, the Kill Bill movies
Replacement Muse: Christoph Waltz
Collaborations: Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained
Original Muse: Diane Keaton
Collaborations: Play It Again, Sam, Sleeper, Love and Death, Annie Hall, Interiors, Manhattan, Radio Days, Manhattan Murder Mystery
Replacement Muses: Diane Wiest, Mia Farrow, Daryl Hannah, Judy Davis, Scarlett Johansson, Penelope Cruz...
Collaborations: Every remaining movie he has ever made
So is it possible? Heck yes. Clearly, Russell has found something in Cooper that inspires him. That's all it takes for two talented people to make magic. I Heart Huckabees-level magic, though? Hard to say...
[Photo Credit: The Weinstein Company]
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Actor Harvey Keitel was the toast of France's Deauville American Film Festival, which kicked off on Friday (31Aug12) by paying tribute to his career. The Reservoir Dogs star was handed a special plaque at the seaside resort of Deauville as he helped launch the 38th annual event, which celebrates American film.
"Having worked with Harvey a couple of times before, I knew him to be a very dense man... Somehow he's five-foot-eight and weighs, like, 240 (pounds) and there's no fat on him; it's all this granite-like body and so when Wes (Anderson) showed me these scenes where I was gonna run around with him on my back and leap over rivers, I said..., 'I really think we need to work something out...' We ended up coming up with the Harvey Keitel backpack dummy, which is a dummy of Harvey but with backpack straps that I could wear." Actor Edward Norton on the trick he used to carry his heavy co-star in new film Moonrise Kingdom.