Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Movie Review: The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel
is the latest Wes Anderson film that director Wes Anderson has decided to unleash upon us and it's probably the most Wes Anderson-y movies he's ever made.

Some of you might recall that I'm no Wes Anderson fanboy. The Grand Budapest only reaffirms this. The dude is clearly a talented director, with a near mastery of the technical aspects of filmmaking. Unfortunately, his brilliant visual prowess can't make up for his lackluster storytelling. More often than not, his characters are usually one dimensional caricatures stuck in deadpan or ham mode, spewing cringe worthy dialogue for the sake of being witty/ironic/whimsical. It's all so self aware, pretentious and just flat out annoying, that it makes Tarantino seem like a model of restraint. Hats off to the man for successfully creating his own distinctive cinematic universe, even if his movies feel like taped community theater productions at best, or gigantic dioramas at worst.

Despite my rant above, Anderson's new film ain't all bad. Ralph Fiennes' performance is easily The Grand Budapest Hotel's saving grace. His turn as the hotel's charismatic concierge was entertaining enough to prevent me from gouging my eyes out. The lavish sets and costumes are dazzling and Anderson's decision to switch aspect ratios during the film's different time periods was clever. There was also a few moments of genuine tenderness and emotion sprinkled throughout the film that pierced through the thick veil of camp Anderson's movies are smothered in, but they were few and far between.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is the latest in a long line of self congratulatory circle jerks brought to you by the whimsical wunderkind known as, Wes Anderson. Did I hate it? Almost, but not quite. Will Wes Anderson ever evolve as a filmmaker and leave the Candy Land formula/crutch behind? Probably not...but I hope so.

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