I Want to Spend a Night in “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

In Movies on October 25, 2014 at 5:50 pm


Last night, I was fortunate enough to go to a free screening of “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and witness a Q&A following the screening with Jeremy Dawson a producer on the film who has worked with Wes Anderson, the director of the aforementioned film, on several other films as well.

For those of you who don’t know what “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is or who the heck Wes Anderson is, let me enlighten you. This movie contains within it three stories. The most important and lavish story, is the one that contains young Zero Mustafah, played by Tony Reveolori, who is the Lobby Boy for the hotel and M. Gustave, played by Ralph Fiennes, who is the concierge for the hotel. These two meet after M. Gustave has an unusual encounter with Madame D., played by Tilda Swinton, who appears to believe that her life is in danger. What befalls after that includes an advernture involving a henchman, played fantastically by Willem DaFoe as Jopling, and includes Dmitrie, Madam D.’s son, played by Adrien Brody and a long cast containing Harvey Keitel as Prisoner inmate Ludwig, Jeff Goldlbum, as Deputy Kovacs, Edward Norton as Police Chief Henckels, Bill Murray as M. Ivan, Owen Wilson as M. Chuck, and Jason Scwatrzman as M. Jean. Without spoiling the entirety of this brilliant picture, this movie is about love, humanity, and courage in the face of danger. But, you may ask, isn’t just about every movie about something like that? Why, yes it is. However, this movie is also immensely funny and I believe one of the best, if he were to die today, I would say the best We Anderson movie out there. Who is Wes Anderson you ask?

Well he’s a director known for his unusual oddly humorous characters, intense color schemes, fantastic set designs, and mixing humor and drama quite effectively. He’s directed such works as “Rushmore”, “The Royal Tenebaums” and my personal favorite, second, of course to “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, “Fantastic Mr. Fox”. Mr. Anderson bits and pieces from his prior films to make something authentic and worth seeing in “The Grand Budapest Hotel”.

The set design for this movie was fantastic and outrageous. The chandeliers, the alley ways, the bakery shop, were all incredibly done and done with such detail. There was also several uses of stop-motion animation throughout the film that were hilarious but still kept the story moving. Revolori and Fiennes were fantastic and I guess what really drew me to enjoying this film was that I liked their relationship. I didn’t care for many of the characters in both “Rushmore” and “The Royal Tenebaums” and maybe I wasn’t supposed to but Zero and M. Gustave I enjoyed. I wanted them to succeed. I am also a sucker for a good adventure and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” was exactly that. From prison breakouts to infiltrating a priest hood, Zero and M. Gustave had an adventure that they surely will not forget.

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” contains the best parts of any Wes Anderson film and it is one that I think people everywhere should watch.

P.S. Also, just something funny to note, the producer revealed to us that Harvey Keitel was so intent upon nailing his prison inmate character, that he spent the night in the East German prison that they filmed it, because, well….he wanted to. There was no heating, no lights, just blankets and warm bodies. Just Harvey Keitel and a few German extras spending the night in an old East German prison. No big deal or anything.

Six Feet Under is..Nearly Undescribable

In Television on September 17, 2014 at 10:19 pm


But I will attempt to do so because I think everyone should watch this show. Binge it, watch it one episode per week, but however you watch this show, you should just watch it.

On the surface, Six Feet Under” is easy to describe, it’s a show about a family that runs a funeral business. However, there is so much more to this show than just the business. David Fisher played by Michael C. Hall plays the youngest son within the Fisher family but is a closeted homosexual who struggles with relationships as well as how his family perceives him as well. Nate Jr. Fisher played by Peter Krause, is the prodigal son returned to take over the business of his father, Nathan Senior played by Richard Jenkins, who passes away in the first episode but makes various appearances throughout. Frances Conroy plays Ruth Fisher who throughout the series struggles to find herself alongside her only daughter Claire, played by Lauren Ambrose, who is the youngest within the Fisher clan. Within the Fisher and Sons funeral home, Federico Diaz, played by Freddy Rodriguez, assists the Fisher brothers why also relieving the relationship he had with Nate Senior.

Within the first episode, the audience is introduced to death, uncomfortable family moments, and Brenda Chenowith, played by Rachel Griffiths who becomes a season regular alongside her brother Billy played by Jeremy Sisto, who suffers from Bipolar Disorder and an uncomfortably close relationship with his sister.

The show displays what happens when a family loses someone as well as what it means to be a close family. From drug abuse to illicit affairs, the Fisher’s experience it all. But this isn’t “7th Heaven” these incidents occur in a realistic fashion and the character’s reactions to these events makes sense. It is honestly one of the best character driven shows I’ve seen. There isn’t gratuitous random violence or even a lot of nudity, there are just people being people.

Which bothers me because, I feel, that this show isn’t included amongst those critics who look longingly back into the early 2000s and late 90s when looking at “The Sopranos” and “The Wire” and tell us that with Heisenberg gone, there will be no more good television. But they always fail to mention this show. Recently, A.O. Scott wrote a piece about the death of adulthood in present-day television and draws comparisons to “The Sopranos” and “Broad City” but fails to mention “Six Feet Under” at all. A show that, at its heart, looks at how the relationships of people change as they age, have children, and become closer or farther apart as a result. I’ve read countless articles lamenting the golden age of television that began with Tony Soprano and will end with Don Draper, but never have I read any mention of “Six Feet Under”.

Despite, having never heard of it a coworker and a friend recommended it to me and I was blown away by the performances, Michael C. Hall, for all those “Dexter” fans out there, really brings it and Frances Conroy, for all those “American Horror Story” fans out there, truly becomes Ruth Fisher. The episodes are fantastic and the finale is heart wrenching and had me thinking for several days after.

Be Like Bojack

In Television on August 30, 2014 at 12:34 pm


I haven’t heard much about “BoJack Horseman”. None of my friends watched it or recommended it to me and the only way I really found out about it was through Netflix and Twitter. I gave it a shot a few weeks ago and just finished it. It. Was. Excellent.

“BoJack Horsman” is a Netflix original animated show created by Raphael Bobs Waksberg and starring Will Arnett, Amy Sedaris, Aaron Paul, and Alison Brie. Patton Oswalt, Kim Jeong, Chris Parnell, and Stephen Colbert are a few of the many who have lend their voice to this outrageous hilarious and still poignant show. “BoJack Horseman” tells the story of Bojack who is voiced by Will Arnett as his struggles with the Hollywood life after starring in his hit television show, Horsing Around., while also utilizing Diane, voiced by Allison Brie, who is a ghost writer, writing BoJack’s memoirs. Now, just a quick note, animals, within this universe, can speak, they wear human clothing, and they often walk upright. It is an animated show, after all. Despite getting over the initial hump of how weird this universe is, the show is hilarious. While containing a continuous and linear story line, the show doesn’t balk at makings quips about what it means to live in Hollywood, or any big city now a days. For instance, in one episode, BoJack and Todd, voiced by Aaron Paul who is BoJack’s parasitic like roommate go to a story in which they can pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to by wooden materials that appear to have been dragged in from the street. In another episode, BoJack’s on screen daughter, Sarah Lynn, voiced by Kristen Schaal, depicts the struggles of growing up as a female child star in  an increasingly sexualized Hollywood in the appropriately titled episode Prickly Muffin. In another episode Todd must court two rival gang members in a scene reminiscent of Mrs. Doubtfire. The amount of pop culture references within this show, from Orange is the New Black, to Beast Buy, are just fantastic and kept me tuned in because I was afraid I was going to miss them.

The show takes itself seriously without taking itself too seriously. There are often quick cuts and scenes in which the animals actually act like animals. There is also a drug-trip scene that is equally hilarious and horrifying. The show recently got renewed for a second season and I expect many people will begin talking and raving about it because of how good and funny it is. Have you watched “BoJack Horseman”? If so, what did you think? And if you haven’t. Check it out!


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