The Grand Budapest Hotel Review

grandbudapestI have been a Wes Anderson fan ever since Mum told us to go to the neighbouring town to see The Royal Tenenbaums, because it seemed like a quirky little film. Quirky enough not to be shown at our local cinema, at least. I was a young teenager, and knew nothing about films except that I loved them. I think what I found in Wes Anderson’s strange family tale was a love of every aspect of movie-making. Even though I love his other films, it is only The Grand Budapest that finally replaced Tenenbaum as my favourite. Luckily, it doesn’t feel like a culmination, nor has his style gotten tired or overused. I can’t imagine a time when it will.

The story of the Grand Budapest Hotel is a story in a story in a story. A young girl goes to visit the grave of a famous author, whose book tells the story of the time he met the owner of the Grand Budapest Hotel, and this owner in turn tells of how he came into its possession. But in actuality, the movie is about the great concierge of the Grand Budapest, Gustave H., played by Ralph Fiennes, and his adventures, for lack of a better term.

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The Avengers

“Some Assembly Required”

Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America: the First Avenger (and, if you’re feeling masochistic, the first Hulk movie). Five films that need to be viewed to truly appreciate the amazing, and perhaps unprecedented, achievement that is The Avengers. It’s been over a week since its premier, so this review might contain spoilers. Before I went in I tweeted asking if one could be disappointed that a movie so completely lived up to one’s expectations. If you like to write scratching reviews, then yes, but I simply bathed in the glorious fangirl hum of satisfaction.

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Kosmorama recap

Trondheim’s International Film festival is at an end, and I had an absolutely fabulous time. I watched a lot of movies, though I wish I’d seen even more. Here is a list of the movies I saw, with links to the reviews posted on! The dice rolls are in parenthesis, with a short explanation after.

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Old Movie Review: Inglorious Basterds

If you’ve never seen the mash-up of Inglorious Basterds and My Little Pony, search youtube for “Inglorious Ponies” right this second. Then come back here, please. 😉

Love or hate Quentin Tarantino, he can make one hell of a movie, and whether you love or hate this movie, it will certainly leave an impression. I don’t think people forget this movie very easily.

The most shocking thing about it isn’t the blood, gore or mangling of history: it’s how it gets the audience to laugh so hard while this blood and gore is playing out on the screen. Yet for all its action-packed funny gore, it’s really the conversations that make the movie.

Tarantino is a master of the slow build-up in this, and takes the time to stare into the characters’ eyes, watching as the sweat pebbles on their brows. It’s like watching a two and a half hour Mexican stand-off (especially during the Mexican stand-off). You’re eagerly waiting for the big finale when someone pulls the first trigger and everybody gets shot.

Maybe it’s too much for some people, and indeed, sometimes it gets a little full of itself, but I can’t help it: I love this movie. It’s ridiculous, bloody and delightful. It’s like someone made a movie out of your make-believe playtime as a kid, when you’d run around in the forest with your friends, and just made up a story, shouting out “I shot you, you’re dead,” whenever you wanted.

Is it a “masterpiece” as the line in the movie proclaims? No, I don’t think we could ever agree on a definition of masterpiece that would satisfy us, but for me, if Tarantino says it’s his masterpiece, then I’m okay with that.

Dice roll: 6

Old Movie Review: Inception

This is an amazing film. There, I said it. It’s certainly not flawless (no film is), but it’s closer than most films I’ve seen in recent memory. It engages the mind and senses, and the emotions – at least it engaged mine. After I watched it, I read some reviews, and I felt myself disagreeing with a lot of them.

Most people know the plot to Inception even if they haven’t seen it: a dream within a dream within a dream, all so a group of dream-spelunkers can implant an idea that might lead to the dismantling of a large corporation. Let’s be glad Google can’t do this (yet?).

What I found myself reading from reviewers is that, while beautiful and technically masterful, the movie lacks emotional appeal. All the characters are simply there to explain something, or to stand in for the audience.

I disagree. I found Dicaprio’s character, Cobb, to be a complicated character. You could see him as selfish for going on missions even though he knows his subconscious could be a danger to the others. You could characterize him as a lost romantic, still mourning his wife. You could say he is a loving father who will do anything to get back to his children. Or perhaps you just think he’s an asshole for ever agreeing to enter people’s dreams for money at all. All of these characterizations are true, and I don’t think that’s a flat character.

If you don’t find Cobb to be engaging, so what? For me, it wasn’t the characters who impacted me the most, but the film itself. Isn’t awe an emotion? Isn’t admiration, surprise, excitement? I felt all those things and more while watching Inception, and I wasn’t lamenting the fact that we didn’t hear more about the motivation and back story to the “forger” or “architect”.

Inception gives us more depth than a blockbuster has in years, but of a special kind. It’s not a character study, it’s not a personal drama, but it’s deep all the same. I’m not talking about the endless debates you can have about the nature of self and dreams, but the simple enjoyment you get from watching this movie. It’s wonderful, in the true sense of the word, with just enough drama thrown in.

Dice roll: 6