Tomorrow Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel will be released on Blu-Ray & DVD. As of today the film has earned $58 million at the American box office and over $100 million worldwide, making it by far his highest grossing film to date. Looking at Anderson’s filmography it’s easy to see why: The Grand Budapest Hotel is a very entertaining film, plot-heavy and star-filled. Fox Searchlight’s marketing push has been just as creative and quirky as Anderson’s films. I especially liked when they revealed the recipe for the Courtesan au Chocolat. Continue reading
If you’ve seen The Grand Budapest Hotel, you probably left the theater craving some of the delicious pastry that was being served in the film. In a brilliant promotional video for Wes Anderson’s new movie, there’s a tutorial that shows you how to make your own Courtesan au Chocolat. Knowing my limited baking skills the results will probably never look as good as Mendl’s, but I still really want to try it out. Below you find a transcript of the recipe and the video guiding you step by step. It does seem to require a lot of work, but I’m sure it’s totally worth it. Continue reading
Monsieur Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes) is a legendary and dashing concierge at the famous Grand Budapest Hotel in Nebelsbad, Zubrowka. The year is 1932 and the war is about to begin. One of Gustave’s wealthy, but elderly lovers, Madame D. (Tilda Swinton) has just died. The police think it was murder. The murderers try to frame Gustave and have him arrested. Luckily his loyal lobby boy Zero (Tony Revolori) helps him get out of prison. Once out Madame D’s evil son Dimitri (Adrien Brody) and his henchman Jopling (Willem Dafoe) are after them, because they know the truth. Continue reading
Sometimes an ad can be just as awesome as a short film. Especially when they hire an auteur to direct it. The Prada Candy co-directed by Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola are an excellent example. The “series” consists of three seventy seconds clips and they all-star Léa Seydoux (Blue is the Warmest Color) as Candy. In the first spot Julius (Rodolphe Pauly) is in a French café with Candy and she’s eating a banana split. They just met. Next thing you know Julius’ trouble maker friend Gene (Peter Gadiot) comes in suddenly it’s an uncomfortable ménage a trios. Continue reading
2013 is coming to an end. We’ve had some great movies. Some have not yet been released for wide audiences or in foreign territories. That always happens. So before I get into my most anticipated films of 2014, I’d like to mention the 2013 films that I’ll only get to see next year at this point. Some of these will be (or are already) available for my American friends by the end of the year, but not in sad and small Switzerland. Here it goes: Catherine Breillat’s Abuse of Weakness, Spike Jonze’s Her, Kim Ki-duk’s Moebius, Alexandre Payne’s Nebraska, Lukas Moodysson’s We Are the Best, Sono Sion’s Why Don’t You Play in Hell? and Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street. As you can tell from this list I base my anticipations for a film mostly on the director. Now then, let’s see what 2014 has in store for us. Continue reading
Premiering at the opening night of the 2014 Berlin Film Festival Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel just got a new poster and trailer. Both of which are emphasizing the amazing cast of characters. So who’s going to be in this soon to be Criterion? Let me give you the entire list: Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalbic, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Saorise Ronan, Jason Schwartzman, Léa Seydoux, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, Owen Wilson and newcomer Tony Revolori. Try to top that. Continue reading
Quirky indie director Wes Anderson made a new short film financed by Italian fashion brand Prada. The almost 8-minute long short is about an Italian American (played by Jason Schwartzman) race car driver crashing his car during a race in a (fictitious) Italian small town (Castello Cavalcanti) in the 1950s. Of course the film/ad looks beautiful as only cinematographer Darius Khondji is able to do. The story was co-written with no one other than fellow Academy Award nominee Roman Coppola and has a very Italian feel, while at the same time feeling unmistakably Wes Anderson.
As an Italian I was thrilled to hear my language spoken in a Wes Anderson film. Prada and Anderson are of course a great fit. He has worked for them before doing a commercial for Prada Candy L’eau (with Léa Seydoux). This isn’t the first time Anderson has worked with luxury brands (in general), for example on The Darjeeling Limited where all the luggage was designed by Louis Vuitton. He’s also done his fair share of Adidas product placement in films such as The Royal Tenenbaums and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.
Personally, I’m all for directors working with big brands if it helps them getting money to finance more of their art. Especially art house directors and auteurs who sometimes struggle with getting their projects financed are able to do something creative in exchange of a bit of “selling out”. Other notable examples I’d love to mention are David Lynch’s Blue Lady Shanghai (for Dior), Wong Kar-wai’s BMW short The Follow and any ad that has Sofia Coppola’s name on it of course.
Wow! Way to strike while the iron’s hot. Just a couple days ago we got a first poster for Wes Anderson‘s new film The Grand Budapest Hotel and now here comes the first official trailer. It is spectacular. Funny, beautiful and full of action, just like my ladies (just kidding). It seems like Wes has shot this in full frame (4:3 aspect ratio), which is how films were presented back in the 1920s, where the film is set. This trailer could be considered “spoiler-y” so I won’t go into any plot details. It is a very fast-cut trailer, which shows a lot scenes and sets and characters (hey, with a cast like that I would too).
The film basically about a hotel concierge (Ralph Fiennes) and his friendship with a lobby boy (Tony Revolori) who becomes his protégée. Like all of Anderson’s films I’m sure there will be themes of surrogate family, bourgeois living and romance. Personally, I am very excited for this film and I can’t wait to see it. However I will avoid any further trailers, because they could spoil too much, this one is more than enough to get me excited. On an odd note: Johnny Depp was supposed to be playing the lead role (now taken over by Ralph Fiennes) and looking at this trailer I am so glad he’s not.
The film will be released on March 7th, 2014 in the States. Anyone else looking forward to this?
While some of the year’s best films haven’t even been released yet, new awesome sounding projects for 2014 are already shaping up, like Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. The sure to be quirky comedy/drama about a hotel concierge (Ralph Fiennes) and his friendship with one of his younger employees will surely delight fans of the director. The film is written and directed by Anderson and set in 1920s France. Alexandre Desplat, who composed the music for Anderson’s last hit indie Moonrise Kingdom, will be returning to score the film shot by Wes’ long time cinematographer and collaborator Robert Yeoman. The editing however will be taken over by Barney Pilling (Never Let Me Go) who will work with Anderson for the first time.
Also new to a Wes Anderson film are cast members such as Jude Law, Lea Seydoux, Saoirse Ronan and the aforementioned Ralph Fiennes. Returning actors are Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Jason Schwartzman, Willem Dafoe, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Owen Wilson and, of course, Bill Murray. The first poster for the film clearly echoes Wes’ aesthetic and his passion for center shots, detailed set designs and minutia. Usually the posters for his films are also indicative of the color palette of the “final product”. Once again he seems to have something very specific in mind and a pink-brownish tone seem to be what he’s going for. I love the poster because it just shows the hotel, which seems to be a “main character” of the film and lists all the talent involved. It’s also great for indicating a time (the 1920s) and place (Europe), by simply evoking the hand-painted early 20th century marketing billboards.
More precisely I should specify dysfunctional families, because those are really the most interesting ones, right? Family is a beautiful thing, unfortunately no family is perfect, because every family is made of human beings and human beings are imperfect. Pets don’t count or maybe they do, who cares. What I’m saying is that we all want a family, we need a family. If our “blood” family sucks, we’ll probably look for a surrogate family, like in a Paul Thomas Anderson film. The thing is: We can’t escape being tied to a family, unless they’re dead. Sometimes even then they’re somehow with us, for better or worse.
This weekend Luc Besson‘s action/crime/comedy The Family comes out in American theaters, and so I thought I’d discuss one of my favorite sub-genres. Why am I particularly taken with this type of films? Well, because one way or another they’re useful to help you understand the dynamics within your own family. There’s also always a lot of drama going on usually, which is fun to watch, as long as it’s not your own family. I love my family and so here are some of my favorite films about family. I’m not even sure these are the top five, these are just five that are near and dear to me.
5. A Woman Under the Influence (1974, John Cassavetes)
A powerful drama about a man (Peter Falk) living with an insane woman, his wife (Gena Rowlands). This is one of my favorite films by John Cassavetes. It’s maybe more about marriage than family, but it’s definitely worthwhile and memorable. Cassavetes creates a nerve-wracking atmosphere that makes the film feel very heavy and weighty. Both lead actors give fantastic, possibly career-best performance in their respective roles. The film is also beautiful to look at and I’m not a big fan of the 70s aesthetic.
4. Der siebente Kontinent (1989, Michael Haneke)
The Seventh Continent is about a “failed” family. Failed in the sense that they all kill themselves. This is no spoiler, they set out to put an end to their existence from the get go. You know it’s going to happen, but in typical Haneke fashion of course it will take quite some time before it actually happens. The film takes it’s sweet time and that’s what makes it so intense and hard to watch. It’s a very depressing and cold film, and I usually tend to enjoy more romantic fare, but in this case it is totally appropriate to the narrative.
3. Festen (1998, Thomas Vinterberg)
The Celebration is a hand-held camera, documentary-style portrait of a family gathering together for a what is supposed to be a joyous occasion. You know who doesn’t seem to think so? Our main character. He has some “unresolved” issues with his father and they’re going to come to the surface in an epic climax. I won’t give anything away, but this film hit me very hard emotionally. There’s some dark stuff, but I love how it’s done and it’s very Danish. I’m a big fan of Danish humor and director Thomas Vinterberg.
2. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001, Wes Anderson)
Definitely on the lighter side (this is a comedy/drama) The Royal Tenenbaums is about a bourgeois family. Parents are divorced, kids grew up to be adults in arrested development with daddy issues and so on. To me this is still Wes Anderson’s best film and it’s interesting to see him really find his style and who he is as an auteur. Charming, funny, well-written, great attention to detail (especially in the set design and costuming), an incredible cast of character actors and some genuinely touching moments: What’s not to love?
1. Noriko’s Dinner Table (2005, Sono Sion)
When I first saw this film (a sequel to Sono’s Suicide Club) I hated it. Then thinking about it I realized that I hated one of the main characters, but the thing is: You’re supposed to hate her. She is a horrible person doing horrible things. The film’s premise is that two girls function as “family members for hire”. Much like actors they play the role a family asks them to in exchange for money, but of course being a Sono Sion film there’s more to it. Noriko’s Dinner Table is a powerful drama bringing up some interesting sociological and moral issues.
So as you may have noticed these films about family are not easy to swallow. Sometimes they’re very heavy and deal with taboo issues or things that are not often talked about publicly when mentioning family. Sometimes they’re also lighter like the charming quirky indie Pieces of April (starring the adorable Katie Holmes). Either way they always tend to get emotional, sometimes it’s earned and sometimes it’s cheesy and unrealistically “perfect”, like in most Hollywood films or films targeting families. That’s not to say indies can’t be heavy-handed, there are of course a lot of Oscar-baity films, but they’re not worth mentioning or talking about, so I’ll stick to the ones I’ve mentioned. Yeah, so if you could just tell me about your favorite films about family that would be great!