The Grand Budapest Hotel

Grand Budapest Hotel Cast

Wes Anderson‘s The Grand Budapest Hotel is his most ambitious film to date. Filled with locations, costumes, and set pieces, there is quite a bit going on in almost every frame including some well-crafted action. Anderson has proved himself as a capable action director over the past few years, what with the chases in The Fantastic Mr. Fox and, of course, Steve Zissou’s toe-to-toe battle with pirates. While Paramount may not be calling him to helm the next Transformers – not yet, anyway — he continues to show a real knack for action. Even though The Grand Budapest Hotel has a relentless pace, it’s still a character-driven story for Wes Anderson. It’s kind of a buddy comedy, following Monsieur Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes) and his lobby boy, Zero (Tony Revolori), as they try to prove Gustave’s innocence in a murder case. That synopsis is reductive, but it’s the main focus of the story, which Anderson worked on with his buddy Hugo Guinness. Anderson has collaborated with other screenwriters on all his films, from Owen Wilson to Noah Baumbach to Roman Coppola, but this is his first solo credit. Our discussion with Anderson began with his penchant for not writing alone. Here’s what he had to say about his process, from his scripts to making commercials, at SXSW:

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Veronica Mars

We spent an entire week talking about movies at SXSW 2014. Between Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Letterboxd and our published reviews on the very site which you are currently reading, myself and the team of Film School Rejects covered a solid swath of the 130+ feature films that played this past week in Austin, TX. Some of them are still playing (and still to be reviewed, so stay tuned). But those are just the ones that we made it to. Which ones did you, the fans and attendees of SXSW, talk about most? Wonder no further, as the folks from Way to Blue have invested some time and energy into researching the buzz around the 10 most discussed films of this year’s festival. “We’ve broken down not only how many mentions the movies have secured as a result of their screenings at SXSW,” they explain. “But also what proportion of the conversation has resulted in social chatter expressing a desire or excitement to see the films themselves. We call this Intent To View.”

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Grand Budapest Hotel

What is it about Wes Anderson’s latest film that requires a red band trailer, the equivalent of R-rated marketing? Some language, for sure. A bit of nudity, though not the kind you are expecting. And a certain dash of violence. In fact, The Grand Budapest Hotel has more violence than we’re prone to expect from Mr. Anderson, whose last two movies were about a stop-motion animated fox and a couple of kids traversing the wilderness for love. It’s a welcomed change of pace from the man whose style is so unmistakable. A kitschy murder mystery with all the rhythm and wit that fits so well in his filmography that you’d expect Royal Tenenbaum to be checked in to the titular vacation spot. But enough about that, let’s watch this red band trailer and enjoy the splendor of some vulgarity, shall we?

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Stefan Zweig

In the coming weeks, it is likely that at least one or two articles will be run through the movie blogosphere about a seemingly random topic: an early 20th century German writer who was hugely popular in his day but has since plunged into obscurity. His name is Stefan Zweig, and the reason you’ll be reading about him is that he gets a shout-out at the beginning of the credits of The Grand Budapest Hotel. When I saw the name, I was quizzical but intrigued — it was completely unfamiliar to me. But learning about Zweig actually helped me to better understand and appreciate the new Wes Anderson movie, and so I would recommend looking up the man and his work before going into the film. Read more at Nonfics.com

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Fantastic Mr. Fox Movie

“They say all foxes are slightly allergic to linoleum, but it’s cool to the paw – try it. They say my tail needs to be dry cleaned twice a month, but now it’s fully detachable – see? They say our tree may never grow back, but one day, something will. Yes, these crackles are made of synthetic goose and these giblets come from artificial squab and even these apples look fake – but at least they’ve got stars on them. I guess my point is, we’ll eat tonight, and we’ll eat together. And even in this not particularly flattering light, you are without a doubt the five and a half most wonderful wild animals I’ve ever met in my life. So let’s raise our boxes – to our survival.” Filmmaker Wes Anderson‘s preoccupations may be myriad, but when it comes to building out entirely new, totally whimsical worlds, such obsession is necessary. Details are key. Flourishes are essential. And even characters who appear to run almost totally on vim, vigor, and absolute charm need to eat (for stamina, you see, and also survival and maybe even a jail break or two), and Anderson is more than happy to ply them with frosting and cheap burgers in equal measure. What are some of Anderson’s best cinematic food offerings? Take a bite and taste them for yourself.

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Grand Budapest Hotel

It’s funny to think one of the most honest movies about families stars stop-motion foxes. Then again, when you know Fantastic Mr. Fox was helmed by none other than Wes Anderson, it’s no surprise that the ins and outs of family have been explored with wit and earnestness. His newest movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel, doesn’t have any foxes voiced by George Clooney, but that doesn’t mean Anderson doesn’t strive again for the same nuance underneath the grand theatrics. The magnificence of the acclaimed filmmaker’s eighth feature film comes from both onscreen and off. Some critics have called this his most ambitious work to date, covering various time periods, a huge ensemble cast, and heavy themes reinforced by a sharp sense of humor. It’s also his bloodiest movie yet, which Anderson finds amusing. With all the fascists at this party — attended by a stellar cast too long-winded to namecheck — it makes sense there’s more blood drawn in this crime picture than any of his previous movies.

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The Grand Budapest Hotel Review

As proven by all of his previous films, Wes Anderson understands comedy, drama, music, writing, and structure. He’s been lauded as having an original voice for comedy and drama, but one thing he doesn’t get enough credit for? His action chops. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and his newest film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, all have their share of action, and each one of their set pieces are wonderful. They came in small doses usually, but The Grand Budapest Hotel is a full on action thriller, completely done with Anderson’s sensibilities. And an action movie from Wes Anderson is as delightful, and as busy, as it sounds. The film jumps around a few different moments in time, but it’s mainly set in the fictional Republic of Zubrowka during the 1920s. Zubrowka is the home of The Grand Budapest Hotel, a lavish establishment visited by old ladies who come solely for Monsieur Gustave H.’s (Ralph Fiennes) companionship. Gustave is the smoothest hotel concierge in all of Europe, and it’s easy to see why: he’s charming, he treats his clientele with the utmost respect, and, at least in some cases, he genuinely loves his guests. One of his most beloved is Madame D., a woman in her 80s who’s at her liveliest when she’s with Gustave. Soon after her visit she’s murdered, and Gustave is the #1 suspect in the case. Chased by Madame D’s son Dmitri (Adrien Brody), his ruthless sidekick Jopling (Willem Dafoe), and fascists led by a typecast Edward Norton, Gustave is forced […]

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Grand Budapest Hotel

March may not be the most wonderful time of the year, but this year it’s a pretty wonderful 31-day span. There’s a Wes Anderson movie, Muppets, a biblical epic, and the return of one of TV’s most charming characters. This month is overwhelming with quality, so much so that I had to exclude Eva Green’s performance in 300: Rise of an Empire from this list. Not only is that semi-sequel more fun, self-aware, and bonkers than the original, but Green chews up every bit of CG scenery in her sight. I already feel shame for scratching it off. Make sure to experience Green’s performance in 3D. Never before has a woman kissing a decapitated head been portrayed with such grace, but somehow Green and the power of a third dimension makes the romantic act more beautiful and visceral than ever. None of the 10 films featured below has the actress killing it in the third dimension, but they all have their own things going for them. Again, it’s an excellent month to look forward to.

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Bill Murray Retirement

Inarguably one of Bill Murray‘s best performances is Don Johnston from Jim Jarmusch‘s Broken Flowers. Murray has successfully played a variety of characters over his career, so pinning down Murray’s defining performance isn’t easy, but Broken Flowers is certainly close to the top in that regard. It’s a performance devoid of any associations we have of Murray as an actor. There’s no overt charm to Johnston. The jumpsuit-wearing character has a dry humor to him, but he’s not one of Murray’s characters we’d all jump at the chance to hang out with. However, we certainly want to watch him through Jarmusch’s lens for a few hours. The journey that the Don Juan character goes on is quielty powerful, leaving you completely feeling for this guy who’s hurt more than a few people in his life. It’s a testament to Jarmusch as a filmmaker, but also to Murray as an actor. Murray considers Johnston his finest work. Recently on Reddit, Murray mentioned how he briefly retired after Broken Flowers, believing he couldn’t do any better. And yet, he came back, for reasons he didn’t really discuss in that Q&A.

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The-Grand-Budapest-Hotel-Poster_header

Wes Anderson‘s latest foray into the world of forbidden love is a little more off-kilter than 2012′s sweet childhood romance Moonrise Kingdom. It’s not that Sam and Suzy’s budding union was all sunshine and butterflies; it’s just that The Grand Budapest Hotel‘s events are set off by a mustachioed Ralph Fiennes having relations with an 84 year-old Tilda Swinton. Fiennes plays a top-notch concierge named Gustave H., who takes on an apprentice and confidant to shadow him in all his endeavors. When Swinton’s wealthy heiress suddenly dies, all hell breaks loose as her gang of relatives come after him (“I go to bed with all my friends,” he purrs to her son Adrien Brody. Brave man.) as they realize she’s left some very valuable assets to him in her will. There’s also a small predicament that some believe that he may have murdered her as well. The film appears to be told through the eyes of Gustave’s apprentice, meaning we’re getting a look at a very ridiculous world of adults, even if he truly believes it to be serious and respectable. In true Andersonian fashion, the landscapes are lush, the hotel is ornate and the colors are vibrant; even if the situation is grim, it’s kind of a world you want to be immersed in. Favorite shot of an adult doing a silly task: Willem Defoe riding a motorbike with tiny goggles. Check out the trailer here:

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Wes Anderson

If there is one thing that filmmaker Wes Anderson excels at (and, yes, he excels at more than just one thing – but this is a poster appreciation piece, not a Wes Anderson appreciation piece, though there’s always time for that later), it’s infusing his films with playful, colorful, and creative imagery, and his ability to do that has only gotten better with time (remember those wonderful YA books from Moonrise Kingdom?). Yesterday’s release of the first poster for his upcoming The Grand Budapest Hotel only speaks to Anderson’s apparent interest in crafting visually rich films that carry over their aesthetic to every piece of related marketing. That’s a florid way of saying that we love that damn poster and we can’t way to see more from the film in that same vein. But until we get more Andersonian posters (perhaps another character poster run, like the charming set from Fantastic Mr. Fox?), we’ve still got plenty of old work to flip back through and admire. Sure, things might have been rough (well, poster-wise) in the beginning of Anderson’s career, but they’re pretty stunning right now. Anderson’s films have, of course, also sparked plenty of alternate poster art – from home video cover art to fan-made one sheets to special edition pieces from established artists – but for this appreciation, we’re going straight theatrical. It’s like being back in the halls of your local multiplex! After the break, take a look at our totally subjective, wholly unscientific ranking of thirteen theatrical movie posters for Wes Anderson’s […]

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The-Grand-Budapest-Hotel-Poster_header

The poster for Wes Anderson‘s latest, The Grand Budapest Hotel, is a pretty little thing. And there’s no dispute that it’s one of his films; the poster has the trappings of an Anderson production written all over it. The intricate, palacial hotel looks like a dollhouse nestled in a storybook with a rickety but charming marquee spelling out the title. The only way this would be more Andersonian is if the front of the hotel was removed so you could see what all of the guests were doing in each of their rooms on every floor. I’m assuming that will happen at some point during the movie, though.

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Maggie Gyllenhaal

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting news roundup that’s been out of work since casting agents seem to be treating the week between Christmas and New Years as one prolonged food coma. If there’s one thing that Jurassic Park taught us, it’s that nature finds a way. Well, casting finds a way too. In a week where there isn’t any news getting leaked to the trades, leave it to Albuquerque Business First to break a new scoop. The eagle eyes over at The Film Stage noticed that, in an article about how that Michael Fassbender-starring rock and roll comedy called Frank is coming to town to shoot, the local source managed to break the news that Maggie Gyllenhaal is coming to town with it. Her involvement in the film sees her joining a cast that includes not just Fassbender, but two of the young MVPs of 2012, Domhnall Gleeson and Scoot McNairy, as well. Which, you know, makes her one of the luckiest ladies in the world.

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Nicolas Cage

What is Casting Couch? It’s your Monday look at all of the great work casting agents and PR people did over the weekend to keep those Hollywood gears turning. UPDATED: We dreamed too soon, kids. It seems like Sylvester Stallone is fully committed to his experiment of figuring out how many big name celebrities have to be packed into an Expendables movie before one of them actually becomes interesting. The latest news regarding his quest (found on Stallone’s Facebook page by JoBlo) is that Nicolas Cage has been confirmed for a role in The Expendables 3, and that Harrison Ford, Wesley Snipes, and Mickey Rourke are the names he intends on recruiting next. You keep on trucking there, Mr. Stallone. With the addition of just five or ten more celebrities, The Expendables 3 is bound to be the one that finally gets out of first gear and actually becomes a decent action movie. We have faith!

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Michael Fassbender

What is Casting Couch? It’s where you go to make sure Elijah Wood is adding another new job to his calendar every day. Turns out, today he kept the streak alive, read on… Colin Firth and Michael Fassbender are two of the best actors on the planet Earth; objectively, inarguably. What a coup, then, that director Michael Grandage has landed both of them for his upcoming project, Genius. Based on a book by A. Scott Berg, Genius is a biopic that explores the relationship between Thomas Wolfe (Fassbender) and his editor Max Perkins (Firth). Turns out Wolfe and Perkins were great friends, but the kind who butted heads over everything. Sure, listening to two guys argue over word choice wouldn’t normally sound like a very exciting idea for a movie, but with these two actors on board it absolutely does. Add this one to your to-do list. [Variety]

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Jason Schwartzman

Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom followup, The Grand Budapest Hotel, is a movie that’s shrouded in a (relatively thin) veil of secrecy. Sure, we know that it’s going to be about a hotel, and we know that it’s going to feature an ensemble cast, but as far as specifics regarding who exactly will be in the cast and what specifically the story is about go, Anderson is keeping his lips sealed. Despite his unwillingness to spill any of the precious beans, however, a couple names have been confirmed over the past few days.

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Johnny Depp to Start in The Grand Budapest Hotel

Notoriously meticulous director Wes Anderson seems to be speeding up his usual development process – which generally produces a new film every three years – and putting together the pieces for his next project. Hot on the heels of his successful, pubescent kids dancing in their underwear movie, Moonrise Kingdom, comes The Grand Budapest Hotel, an Anderson-penned script that is said to feature an ensemble cast, but is a mystery as far as character breakdowns or synopsis are concerned. News of the new Anderson project broke a little over a week ago, when Twitch reported they’d heard the director had begun casting on a new film, and that he was in various stages of negotiations with Johnny Depp, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Jude Law, Jeff Goldblum, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, and Angela Lansbury. A list of names that talented and notable may sound like wishful thinking, but a report from Deadline Clute now confirms that at least some of it is true. Not only did they get their hands on the title of the film, but they’re also reporting that Depp has been wrapped up and is officially set to star.

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published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.17.2014
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published: 04.17.2014
D+

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