Glenn doesn't have any friends yet.
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)There are two kinds of people in the world - those who love rubik's… More There are two kinds of people in the world - those who love rubik's cubes and those who do not. By the same token, one could separate the masses by those who love Wes Anderson's films and those who do not. The groupings would be the same, I have no doubt. I can appreciate geometry and visual twists and turns as much as the next guy, but without an emotional connection, it's just something cool to admire. Ever since his debut with RUSHMORE, Anderson has always offered up deadpan performances and droll storytelling coupled with a striking and singular visual vocabulary. Drop the needle on any 10 seconds of any of his films and you will know it's one of his. That's a rare gift amongst any filmmaker living or dead and one to be celebrated, if only he would expand his lane. With the exception of THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX, I feel like Anderson has been stuck in the same wheelhouse throughout his entire career. There could be worse places to be stuck (Michael Bay anyone?), but stuck he has remained. He's the Aimee Mann of film directors churning out his predictably twee works of art year after year. Such is the case (mostly) with THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, although this time out, he has a truly wonderful performance from his lead actor (Ralph Fiennes) and a slapstick caper genre which makes the lack of depth entirely forgivable. It's possible to enjoy this delirious ride without harping on its shallowness. This is the story of a concierge (Fiennes) and his young trainee Zero (Tony Revolori doing a variation on Pedro from NAPOLEON DYNAMITE) who become involved in the theft of a painting and the myriad of events leading to its recovery. Fiennes gives a rare, joyous performance of an unfailingly polite man who only lets his rage out in one astonishing confessional scene. Fiennes has never been so loose and delightful, breaking through the Anderson veneer to make his character truly loveable. The rest of the cast, however, complete with enough Academy Awards or nominations to create an Agent frenzy over dressing room sizes, give classic Wes Anderson drollness and little else. I hope they had a good time playing this type of comedy, but the standout scenes are about the beautifully crafted miniatures rather than any performance nuances. I don't know that Adrien Brody knew that a horizontal dolly shot of him walking down a hall would look so cool on a geometric level, but that's where the pleasures lie. Put Fiennes and Revolori in an alpine ski chase or on a mountain gondola and you have sumptuously thrilling sequences guaranteed to make you smile. I also loved the extended prison escape section of the film for its swooping and gliding up and down the different levels of the structure, something Anderson has turned into a signature. There IS an attempt to make the film into something deeper, with its double wraparounds about the value of storytelling. F. Murray Abraham and Jude Law bring genuine warmth to their scenes as our de facto narrators, making this veritable pop-up book come to life into a sweet-natured treatise on the value of a good storyteller. THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL makes you hungry to read a great adventure novel, and that's not a bad thing at all, but I truly hope Wes Anderson decides (and soon) to go all out and make a simple, emotionally naked, humanistic film without all his usual visual crutches. It may fail and/or disappoint his core fan base, but the guy could use a stretch, no?
25 days ago via Flixster