House Logo
Explore categories +

Ralph Fiennes (#110 of 15)

Review: Matt Zoller Seitz’s The Wes Anderson Collection: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Comments Comments (...)

Review: Matt Zoller Seitz’s The Wes Anderson Collection: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Review: Matt Zoller Seitz’s The Wes Anderson Collection: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Matt Zoller Seitz’s The Wes Anderson Collection: The Grand Budapest Hotel is fueled by a sense of escalating invention and exploration. Nothing is taken for granted in this book. You might be glancing through an interview, skimming before taking the cover-to-cover plunge, only to be side-swept by a footnote that’s a self-contained mini-essay pertaining to, say, the brief rise of narration in fiction films in the 1940s, or by a remark about an actor that segues into a brief encapsulation of their notable roles. The book is charged by an obsession that recurs in both Anderson and Seitz’s work: with getting to the bottom of something, thoroughly and resolutely. Any sentiment expressed by either man is liable to be treated as a thread to be pulled so as to initiate a new investigation, which might reveal another sidebar (or illustration, or detailed diagram, or storyboard, or book of sheet music, or painting), which will feature other gems of information and beauty. These gradually accumulate to offer an immersive portrait, not just of The Grand Budapest Hotel, but of life as an ongoing gesture of education as route to refining a sense of empathy.

The 20 Best Film Performances of 2014

Comments Comments (...)

The 20 Best Film Performances of 2014
The 20 Best Film Performances of 2014

Ironically, for an awards program meant to highlight standout performances, the Academy Awards have turned into the 800-pound gorilla of fall and winter entertainment coverage, stomping out other movie news to deposit mounds of hype about a relatively small group of “frontrunners.” Some of our favorite performances of the year were in movies that are being talked up for Oscars, but many were in films too quirky or dark or subtitled for the Academy of Arts and Sciences’s taste, and it would be a shame if that consigned them to the shadows. With this list, we hope to shine a little light on these brilliant, touching, often funny performances, which enrich our understanding of what it means to be human. Elise Nakhnikian

Berlinale 2014 The Grand Budapest Hotel

Comments Comments (...)

Berlinale 2014: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Berlinale 2014: The Grand Budapest Hotel

At their worst, Wes Anderson’s films are mere showpieces. They’re meticulously stage-managed, lavishly appointed cross-sectional dollhouses erected as staging grounds for their director’s rarely not enervating quirks and obvious opportunities for Hollywood A-listers to recharge their thespian cache. (The idea that Anderson is an “actor’s director”—as if there’s another kind?—has always smacked bogus, given that to perform in a Wes Anderson movie is generally to perform in a self-consciously stilted, nouveau-Victorian, drained, and affectless pantomime that would play as totally unchallenging were it not so observably different.) And in the best cases, Anderson squares his paisley trick-bag of Godardian compositions and book of vintage carpet samples with a congruent thematic meaning. In 2011’s excellent Moonrise Kingdom, Anderson’s incurable nostalgia was a nostalgia for the lost summers of childhood. Here, in The Grand Budapest Hotel, which is either his best film or his best film since his last film, it’s the waning of historical memory, of the past slipping irretrievably beyond some distant horizon.

Oscar Prospects The Great Gatsby, Young, Beautiful, and All Dressed Up for Eye-Candy Wins

Comments Comments (...)

Oscar Prospects: The Great Gatsby, Young, Beautiful, and All Dressed Up for Eye-Candy Wins
Oscar Prospects: The Great Gatsby, Young, Beautiful, and All Dressed Up for Eye-Candy Wins

Even more than Foreign Language Film, the category of Original Song is Oscar’s most fickle, rewarding Three 6 Mafia over Dolly Parton one year (2005), crowning a track from a documentary the next (2006), and, just two years ago, screwing over songs from every film save Rio and The Muppets. Last year, Adele’s titular, crossover ballad from Skyfall scored a somewhat sanity-restoring win, becoming the first James Bond theme to ever claim the trophy, and standing as the most popular victor in the field since Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” from 2002’s 8 Mile. While no one will ever be able to explain away the stupidity of 2011’s two-tune lineup, one of the things that makes this category so tricky, particularly in the guessing-game stages, are the many stringent nuances of song eligibility. Does the track start early enough during its movie’s closing credits? Does it have a sliver of previously released material that might taint its “originality?” So layered are these oft-excessive provisos that many Oscar pundits won’t even bother making their predictions until the Academy announces its official list of potential candidates (you’ll notice Original Song is one of the few categories not yet accounted for over at tracker site Gold Derby). But if there’s a single song that stands out with anything close to the in-the-bag ubiquity of Adele’s triumph, it’s Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful,” the wistful love theme from Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby.

Poster and Trailer Drop for Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel

Comments Comments (...)

Poster and Trailer Drop for Wes Anderson’s <em>The Grand Budapest Hotel</em>
Poster and Trailer Drop for Wes Anderson’s <em>The Grand Budapest Hotel</em>

Assuming he’s one filmmaker who’s heavily involved with the marketing of his movies, Wes Anderson has become a master of the fetching teaser poster, using mysteriously detailed, illustrative one-sheets that only hint at what the given film is about. Recently, the posters for his films fall somewhere in between those that peddle attractive casts and director-as-brand, and those that merely tease a brand itself. Anderson is so unfailingly unique and exciting a filmmaker that he has become his own draw, but he doesn’t seem to rely on that, nor do his marquee names seem to be scrawled across his ads just to sell his pictures. They’re doing that, of course, but given that Anderson has come to work with recurring players in a kind of company, the cast list reads more as a celebration of an ensemble, particularly when the biggest name in the lineup is Bill Murray. And how glorious it is to gaze upon a poster that is pushing nothing recognizable, no known faces or logos, but simply something curious, handsome, and new.

Twice in a row, Anderson has employed this specific approach, first with last year’s poster for Moonrise Kingdom, which we named one of the best movie posters of 2012, and now with his poster for The Grand Budapest Hotel, unveiled just days ago. Like the Moonrise Kingdom ad, we’re given a fairy-tale tableau, with an unfamiliar subject in the foreground (here, the titular inn substituted for a Hansel-and-Gretel duo), and a background that stretches off to the horizon. Furthermore, the wedding-cake-esque hotel is surrounded by numerous quirky details, like the perched buck that appears statuesque, the topiaries on the lower terrace that seem to be playing chess with one another, and the cemetery-style arch that bears the movie’s title, perhaps implying that death is afoot.

15 Famous Movie Drug Dealers

Comments Comments (...)

15 Famous Movie Drug Dealers
15 Famous Movie Drug Dealers

In Pusher, which hits theaters this weekend, Briton Richard Coyle stars as a mid-level drug dealer, whose business is booming in London’s underground culture. A remake of Nicolas Winding Refn’s 1990s thriller, the film (which also marks director Luis Prieto’s English-language debut) watches as a drug lord’s life implodes, a process with which filmgoers are quite familiar. Throughout much of cinema history, and especially in recent decades, drug pushers of all walks have graced the screen, providing brief escapes for lost souls and party people. But be them morphine sellers, pot distributors, or even moonshine runners, the party has to stop some time.

Oscar 2012 Nomination Predictions: Makeup

Comments Comments (...)

Oscar 2012 Nomination Predictions: Makeup
Oscar 2012 Nomination Predictions: Makeup

Seven finalists remain in the Oscar race for Best Makeup, the category that’s poised to prove just how strong a frontrunner The Artist actually is, not to mention stoke the fire of the film’s backlash. The tinting of Jean Dujardin’s toothy mug to accommodate black-and-white cinematography is about to rob recognition from the folks who toiled away, one last time, on magically morphing Ralph Fiennes into the pasty bane of Harry Potter’s existence. It’s also going to beat out Ben Kingsley’s carnivalesque transformation into Georges Méliès in Hugo; Vanessa Redgrave’s caked-on, Elizabethan kabuki in Anonymous; and the fake ears, nose tip, and finger-weave hair that turned Glenn Close into a mouse man in Albert Nobbs. All of this says nothing of the worthy candidates The Artist already beat to the shortlist, like J. Edgar, whose old-age artistry was wrongfully knocked in reviews, and Green Lantern, which saw Peter Sarsgaard grossly mutate into the ultimate toxic egghead.

AFI Fest 2011: Miss Bala, Coriolanus, & The Forgiveness of Blood

Comments Comments (...)

AFI Fest 2011: <em>Miss Bala</em>, <em>Coriolanus</em>, & <em>The Forgiveness of Blood</em>
AFI Fest 2011: <em>Miss Bala</em>, <em>Coriolanus</em>, & <em>The Forgiveness of Blood</em>

Acts of war have a way of warping the perception of the world that lasts far longer than the simple gouts of blood and explosive firestorms that accompany them. And while the cinema is especially suited to capture the visceral qualities of that violence, in the hands of skilled filmmakers it also has the potential to elucidate that shift in perception: the way the human psyche and human society reorient themselves in the face of large-scale trauma. It’s a tie that binds a number of films at this year’s AFI Fest: the stories of those who survive and those who do not, of solitary people navigating through the incomprehensible chaos of war and the films that try to make it comprehensible to the audience.