Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Grand Budapest Hotel (a movie review post)

Wes Anderson is not your typical film maker, not by any standard. His films are, at best, quirky or, if it's not the kind of thing you like at all, actually, I suppose the best would be something more along the lines of weird. At any rate, they're different. If you want explosions and action, you're probably better off going somewhere else. Although there was a ski chase in this one...

The Grand Budapest Hotel is probably Anderson's best film. It's full of prison breaks, cats flying out of windows, and lots of perfume. It has a lot of humor, some of it black (like the cat flying out the window), and is full of weird and interesting characters. Also, it's a story within a story within a story. I still like Moonrise Kingdom the best, though.

Rather than talk about the movie, because I don't want to be spoilery, let's talk about the actors:

Ralph Fiennes as M. Gustave: I am not always completely satisfied with Fiennes. He seems to oscillate between extraordinary and, well, pretty awful. I'm not sure if it's that he just sometimes chooses poor roles or if he's erratic as an actor. Whatever the case, he was delightful in Grand Budapest. Utterly charming and debonair. It's a good thing, too, since the weight of the movie was on him. He pulled it off magnificently.

Adrien Brody as Dmitri: Not the role required much of him, but Brody was great in the role. He looked the part, and he played the part. What more can you ask?

Willem Dafoe as Jopling: Dafoe is just kinda creepy all by himself so, when you put him in a role as someone who is creepy, you kind of can't miss. Not to mention the... I don't know; it's like they gave him lower jaw fangs or something. Certainly not someone you want to mess with.

Jeff Goldblum as Deputy Kovacs: I'm not sure Goldblum went out of his way in this part; I mean, it's not like it required that much, but I loved him in it. He's just got a... presence, and I wish he did more movies. favorite line from Grand Budapest: "Did he just throw my cat out the window?"

[Can you see the theme with the flying cat? That's my theme, not a theme of the movie.]

Jude Law as Young Writer: Law has a great voice, so he works great as the story teller. Well, the story re-teller.

Tilda Swinton as Madame D.: If I hadn't known it was her, I wouldn't have known it was her. My only issue with the movie, if you can call it that, is that Swinton plays a woman about three decades older than she is, and I don't know why Anderson wouldn't just get someone of the appropriate age to play the part. But, then, there's Swinton doing this amazing job bringing that peculiar look she has even though you can't tell it's her at all, and I guess Swinton was the right choice.

Tony Revolori as Zero: Actually, Revolori was great as the sidekick/counterpart/protege to Gustave. His very direct manner worked to cut through Gustave's some of Gustave's pretense and offered some great moments in the movie. "Don't flirt with her."

It was also great to see Bill Murray and Owen Wilson make appearances. Oh, and Jason Schwatzman.

There are other actors I could mention, but these are the ones I thought stood out. These are not in any order, either. I mean, I didn't put them in any kind of descending order; I just went down the cast list and commented on the ones I had something to say about.

So... If you like Wes Anderson's movies, this one will certainly not disappoint. If you've seen others of his movies and were put off by them, this one is no different and won't convert you. Probably. If you've never seen an Anderson film, I'd say this one is a good one to start with. Or Moonrise Kingdom; you can't forget that one.

20 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sorry, very much NOT a Wes Anderson fan.

JeffO said...

Willem Dafoe is creepy. I can't look at him and not think of his role as Bobby Peru in Wild at Heart. / shudder.

Alex Hurst said...

I wanted to see that one... thanks for reminding me to go out and find it. :)

Briane P said...

I love every Wes Anderson movie, but now I'm THREE behind -- Mr Fox, Moonrise Kingdom, and then this.

Sweetie and I have a date night every month. This month, she had this pre-emptive strike:

"Want to go see a movie? Only NOT Budapest Hotel, I know that you go see all the movies I want to see even when you don't like them but I just can't stand his movies!"

*sigh*

I've got Moonrise DVR'd and waiting for me to get around to watching it. This one will join that, because Sweetie's plea was very heartfelt. That, AND it's never any fun seeing a movie with someone who actually doesn't like it at all.

I didn't know you were a Wes Anderson fan. Somehow, that seems out of character. Not in a bad way; just given everything else you talk about reading/etc., it seems like it's a bit out of the ordinary for you.

Pat Dilloway said...

Pretty much all his movies are great. I'll have to see this at some point. It's nice he's doing a more adult movie after the last couple were more kid-friendly. Someone had a funny line on Facebook that if they want to get Bill Murray into Ghostbusters 3 they should have Wes Anderson direct because he's appeared in every Anderson except Bottle Rocket, which was Anderson's first I think.

L.G. Smith said...

I saw the trailer for this and thought it was hilarious. Can't wait to see it. Great cast too.

A Beer For The Shower said...

Wes Anderson just doesn't do it for me. I don't hate his movies, but I don't love them, either. I'll probably skip this one, Bill Murray cameo or no.

randi lee said...

Thanks for this, Andrew. I was on the fence about seeing this one, but after your review I feel like I need to check it out!

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

Oh I've been thinking of seeing this. Your review has pushed me over the edge.

Andrew Leon said...

Alex C: I kind of expected that, actually.

JeffO: I can't remember if I've seen that or not, but I did think he was great as the Green Goblin because of his creepiness.

Alex H: No problem.

Briane: I think I've seen everything but Rushmore, and I may have seen that, but I'm not remembering it, so I think maybe not.

To go along with your surprise at Anderson, you should go watch a show I loved: Middleman. It was a TV series that didn't last.

Pat: And I'm pretty sure Owen Wilson has been in all of them except Moonrise Kingdom. But I didn't go check that so could be wrong.
Along the lines of Ghostbusters, I was thinking as I was writing the review how interesting it would be if he did a super hero movie.

L.G.: It is a great cast. And a lot of fun.

ABftS: I won't hold it against you.

randi: Have you seen any of his other movies?

Michael: Just make sure you land on your feet. And enjoy the movie.

Jo said...

I'm one of those people who don't pay any attention to who made a film and I have never heard of any of those actors either so don't think I would see it if I got the chance.

J E Oneil said...

...The poor cat.

The movie has a strong cast. I can't believe I haven't seen it before.

Andrew Leon said...

Jo: None of them? Not even Ralph Fiennes or Bill Murray?

Jeanne: It was a cat; I'm sure it deserved it.

Jo said...

Yup, Bill Murray, I might have heard of Ralph Fiennes, just didn't recognise the spelling

Arlee Bird said...

I do like weird and quirky. I didn't dislike Moonrise Kingdom but it wasn't my favorite either. It was well made though and kept me engrossed.

Cats flying out the window might be good.

I've never heard of this film, but I'll have to be on the lookout for it.

Lee
Wrote By Rote
An A to Z Co-host blog

Andrew Leon said...

Jo: Okay, as long as you've heard of Murray.

Lee: This one is thematically different.

Remembering Grace said...

The movie sounds great and I'm going to try and see it!

Andrew Leon said...

RG: Awesome! Let me know what you think.

Lexa Cain said...

Sometimes I like bizarre things and black humor, but it's all very personal taste. I haven't seen anything by this director, but I recently watched Jonas Akerlund's "Small Apartments," all about death, but hilarious!

Andrew Leon said...

Lexa: I'll look that one up. Never heard of it.