Wes Anderson

Grand Budapest Hotel

Three contests in one week… We must be going crazy. Then again, perhaps we should have just called it ‘Reader Appreciation Week’ and come up with a kitschy logo for it. Then again, every week is reader appreciation week here at Film School Rejects. We do so adore those of you who visit the site, click through to the many wonderful articles and help us keep the lights on. In return, we like to give something back (beyond our world-renowned insight and wit). Today we’re taking a trip to the fictional Republic of Zubrowka and the Wes Anderson-devised Grand Budapest Hotel. The movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel, just hit Blu-ray this week and as we’ve expressed before, the film is well worth your time. To help you get a room at The Grand Budapest, we’re giving one (1) lucky reader a prize pack that includes a Blu-ray copy of the movie and an autographed copy of the soundtrack signed by director Wes Anderson. Entering is an easy 2-step process…

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Grand Budapest Hotel Lego

Check out an update about this great Lego mystery, after the break! Red alert, red alert, people, this is not a drill! This is either some seriously misunderstood marketing or a big hint at one of the most welcome, charming and unexpected Lego sets of all time. Are you ready? Are you even sitting down, perhaps on a velvet-covered divan while wearing your finest vintage military uniform and mourning a lost love? Good. Yesterday afternoon, an email from Think Jam, a digital marketing agency whose clients include some big Hollywood studios – like Fox Searchlight Pictures, information that will come in handy soon — started circulating among entertainment journalists. It was a mass send-out, it came with a simple subject line (“The Grand Budapest Hotel”) and it contained just one thing, a single graphic that ostensibly advertises Wes Anderson‘s The Grand Budapest Hotel (perhaps pushing the film’s imminent home release?) but that also includes a pink Lego brick as its focal point. Here, take a look!

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Heathers Movie

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The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel hinges on three tiers of nostalgia that match its division of time periods and aspect ratios. On one tier is The Author (Tom Wilkinson and Jude Law), who in 1985 publishes his memories of staying at the dwindling (yet grand) Budapest and meeting its enigmatic owner. On that second tier is said owner, Zero Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham and Tony Revolori), who in 1968 reminisces on his bittersweet years at the hotel between the wars, during his tutelage under M. Gustave H. (Ralph Feinnes). The final tier of nostalgia is Gustave’s, who carefully maintains the hotel strictly in line with a vision of an old Europe that is starting to crumble at the promise of yet another brutal global conflict. Unlike these prior two tiers, Gustave’s nostalgia is never granted the concrete benefit of its own flashback. His desperate hold on the facade is only alluded to, and finally acknowledged in one brief part of a voiceover during the film’s final moments. Gustave, has, in a way, made the Grand Budapest into a fantasy that hardly corresponds to (and is frequently threatened by) the dark and foreboding reality existing outside its walls. Useful comparisons have been made alleging that Gustave is a stand-in for Anderson himself, who similarly constructs intricately detailed, strictly realized, and intoxicating worlds that are also palpably anachronistic. Yet if we look at Anderson’s filmography more broadly, we can see that Grand Budapest is yet another shift in Anderson’s ongoing obsession not […]

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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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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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Wes Anderson Commercial

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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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The Royal Tenenbaums

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cc rushmore

With only a singular exception (The Darjeeling Limited), all of Wes Anderson‘s films have been works of art that are equal parts entertainment and emotion. Everyone will have their own favorite, but for me the top spot is a rotating position alternately occupied by Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums. Both films are pure perfection, but while the latter satisfies my darker moods, the exploits of Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman) and friends are perfect whenever. It’s beautiful, funny, smart, and loaded with heart courtesy of Bill Murray. The Criterion Collection added Rushmore to their Blu-ray roster in 2011, and among the numerous extras is a commentary track featuring Anderson, Owen Wilson, and Jason Schwartzman. Unfortunately, the trio appear to have recorded separately, but they still have a collective wealth of information to share on a movie they still hold dear.

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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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Branagh Swan Song

This is a special edition of Short Starts, where we look at the Sundance shorts program class of 1993. 1992 and 1994 are very notable years in the history of the Sundance Film Festival. Mostly for features. In between, the 1993 event should be recognized for its short film program. It was only the second year of this section — though shorts were an increasingly significant part of the fest since 1988 — and it remains, two decades later, probably the most important (if not best) batch of short films to ever come together in Park City. Among the filmmakers receiving their first real notice in this program were Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson, David Wain, Eugene Jarecki, Tamara Jenkins, Ted Demme, Stanley Tucci (as writer/producer), Gary Fleder, Alex Sichel, Mike Mitchell and animators Eric Darnell and Matt O’Callaghan. Their early works played alongside shorts by Michael Almereyda, Lourdes Portillo and two eventual Oscar nominees, Christian Taylor‘s The Lady in Waiting and Kenneth Branagh‘s Swan Song. It is the last film that is especially relevant now because Branagh helmed the biggest new release in theaters this weekend, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. That’s the latest franchise entry for the actor-turned-director, another feature that’s very far removed from his initial reputation as a filmmaker interested primarily in Shakespeare adaptations and movies with an old fashioned dramatic sensibility (I don’t care how Shakespearean his Thor movie seems, it’s still just a Thor movie).

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Speed Racer

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Castello Cavalcanti

Why Watch? Dismissing the Prada connection (and the ramifications therein), this is another flashy stylesplosion from Wes Anderson starring (who else?) Jason Schwartzman and the color yellow. Unsurprisingly, the Amacord-inspired short didn’t have money in the budget for a plot, although it earns some heartwarming fuel by cribbing from the Cars storyline, and seeing Anderson blend Fellini’s idiosyncratic sentimentality with Pixar’s least-liked series is worth the price of admission. Plus, the colors! The richness! Visually sumptuous and exact as usual, but let’s not pretend you read this after seeing Anderson’s name. You were either in or out in that instance. As for me, I’m in.

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garth

Once upon a time, any artist who took money in order to hock product for some sort of corporate entity was widely considered to be a sell-out and a shill by the cultural elite. There was a shame in lending your talents to an advertisement or allowing an outside interest to have a say in your work. A shame that led to things like Wayne’s World mocking the rampant product placement that goes on in much of studio filmmaking, or A-list actors appearing in TV commercials in Japan, because the payday on those things is too good to pass up, but they know that they’d have their status as a celebrity diminished if they appeared in ads that ran in the US. On the other hand, in a world where the people who make our entertainment are increasingly unable to make a profit from their work due to things like online pirating, dwindling ticket sales in theaters, all-you-can-watch subscription services, and DVR devices that allow consumers to skip through commercials, we’re rapidly entering a reality where filmmakers are going to have to find new ways to keep the things that they make profitable, and it’s likely they’re going to turn to corporate interests to get that little boost of income needed to keep television series and feature films out of the red and in the black. As the interests of art and products merge, soon we could reach a point of singularity where we can’t even tell the difference between […]

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Directed By Wes Anderson

While the latest season of Saturday Night Live has so far been a mixed bag of the good, the bad, and the “why the hell is Miley Cyrus here again?,” it has found plenty of success when it comes to pre-made digital shorts that poke fun at some of pop culture’s other big obsessions. While the Girls parody trailer rung our bells earlier this season, this past weekend’s send-up of Wes Anderson films (and, more specifically, one that addresses what would happen if Wes Anderson directed a horror film) is not only the funnier of the two, it’s one of the funniest things they’ve done as of late. Our own Scott Beggs shared the fake trailer for The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders earlier today (you can catch up on it HERE), and while we’re still chuckling over its “critical lauds” (including a hilarious bit that shouts out our pals at Fangoria, who so amusingly penned a review to go along with it, a must-read you can check out HERE), we decided to do some digging for a few other parodies to keep the laughs flowing. While the SNL trailer may well be the Wes Anderson parody out there, it’s certainly not the only one, and if you’re suddenly ravenous for more adorably twee takes on the director’s oeuvre, we’ve lined up a few for you to enjoy after the break. Grab your kitten in a basket, best sweatband, and your Rushmore pin collection and take a look.

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Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders

Let’s be fair. It’s not all that difficult to parody Wes Anderson‘s movies. That’s the price of having a signature style. Still, Saturday Night Live nailed it with this orange-tinted horror film The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders, and they did it so well that I now desperately want to see a horror film from Anderson. The things you never knew you wanted, right? Edward Norton beautifully channels Owen Wilson’s drawl here, and while the thrust of the gag is essentially a litany of Andersonisms lifted straight from his movies and deposited into a home invasion thriller, the jokes work best when they involve objects and set ups that the director hasn’t used but definitely, absolutely could have. The only way it could have been better? Adding SNL and Anderson alum Bill Murray into the mix.

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