4 Notes

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) 8.9

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  • Direction: 2.9 out of 3.0
  • Writing: 1.3 out of 1.5
  • Performances: 0.9 out of 1.0
  • Cinematography: 0.8 out of 1.0
  • Editing: 0.8 out of 1.0
  • Sound & Music: 0.8 out of 1.0
  • Creativity/Originality: 1.4 out of 1.5
  • Total: 8.9 out of 10

To criticize the films of Wes Anderson as being hermetically sealed terrariums with bric-a-brac ecosystems so overly controlled as to leave little room for human emotion would be to overlook the undercurrent of melancholic longing and regret that runs through the director’s work.  That his style, which probably reached its maximalist peak with The Fantastic Mr. Fox, can at times begin to suffocate, however, is difficult to ignore.  The Grand Budapest Hotel, a screwball caper set in three distinct time periods (each with its own distinct aspect ratio) mostly avoids this pitfall by being easily the most visceral entry in Anderson's filmography, throwing in a murder, severed body parts and a first person point-of-view high speed chase down a snow covered mountain.  Danger, at least what passes for it in the cinematic world of Anderson —skull ring and leather wearing thugs and an invading fascist army with one hell of a designer— lurks around every corner for the inhabitants of the fictional alpine state of Zubrowka.

The Grand Budapest Hotel sports several layers of story within story, but the film’s ostensible narrative follows the adventures of the hotel’s charmingly roguish concierge Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes) and his wonderfully named lobby boy sidekick Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori).  When one of the many wealthy, older guests that Gustave has made a habit of bedding passes away under mysterious circumstances, the legendary concierge finds himself to be the target of both the authorities and the woman’s treacherous family.  It’s not news that actors seem to love to work with Anderson as what could be considered as his stock company contains some of Hollywood’s most recognizable faces, but the ease with which established and experienced stars such as Fiennes slip into his ensembles remains surprising.  Even if he occasionally underuses a genius talent like Mathieu Amalric, he makes up for it by doing things like having Willem Dafoe chop off people’s fingers. He may never top the freshness and immediacy of Rushmore when it was released, but aside from that, The Grand Budapest Hotel could well go down as his best film.          

Notes

Viewing Habits 

My Letterboxd for the past 56 days.

1 Notes

//M/S/P// Best of 2013: Cinema Edition: Top 50 Narrative Features of the Year

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Each of the above films received their initial U.S. release, theatrical or otherwise, in 2013.  Links to the original reviews of the films that I wrote about are built in to the list on my Letterboxd page which is linked here.  There you can also sift through my viewing diary looking for the holes in 2013 viewing such as Zhangke Jia's A Touch of Sin or Jonathan Rosenbaum favorite Gloria

2 Notes

//M/S/P// Best of 2013: Cinema Edition: Top 10 Directors of the Year

  • 10. Ethan & Joel Coen - Inside Llewyn Davis

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  • 9. David Lowery - Ain’t Them Bodies Saints

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  • 8. Steve McQueen - 12 Years a Slave

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  • 7. Martin ScorseseThe Wolf of Wall Street

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  • 6. Abbas KiarostamiLike Someone in Love

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  • 5. Andrew Bujalski - Computer Chess

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  • 4. Jem Cohen - Museum Hours 

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  • 3. Alain Resnais - You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet 

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  • 2. Spike Jonze - Her 

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  • 1. Shane Carruth - Upstream Color 

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19 Notes

//M/S/P// Best of 2013: Cinema Edition: Top 10 Female Lead Performances of the Year

  • 10. Brie Larson as Grace in Short Term 12

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  • 9. Rooney Mara as Ruth Guthrie in Ain’t Them Bodies Saints

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  • 8. Julie Delpy as Celine in Before Midnight 

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  • 7. Bérénice Bejo as Marie Brisson in The Past

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  • 6. Mary Margaret O’Hara as Anne in Museum Hours

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  • 5. Cate Blanchett as Jasmine in Blue Jasmine 

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  • 4. Greta Gerwig as Frances in Frances Ha 

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  • 3. Amy Adams as Sydney Prosser in American Hustle 

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  • 2. Amy Seimetz as Kris in Upstream Color 

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  • 1. Adèle Exarchopoulos as Adéle in Blue is the Warmest Color

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7 Notes

//M/S/P// Best of 2013: Cinema Edition: Top 10 Male Lead Performances of the Year

  • 10. Toni Servillo as Jep Gambardello in The Great Beauty

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  • 9. Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave

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  • 8. Casey Affleck as Bob Muldoon in Ain’t Them Bodies Saints 

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  • 7. Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street

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  • 6. Matthew McConaughey as Ron Woodruf in Dallas Buyers Club

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  • 5. Bobby Summer as Johan in Museum Hours

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  • 4. Michael B. Jordan as Oscar Grant in Fruitvale Station 

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  • 3. Oscar Isaac as Llewyn Davis in Inside Llewyn Davis

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  • 2. Robert Redford as Our Man in All is Lost 

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  • 1. Joaquin Phoenix as Theodore in Her 

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2 Notes

//M/S/P// Best of 2013: Cinema Edition: Best Screenwriting of the Year

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  • 10. The Wolf of Wall Street - Terence Winter
  • 9. The Counselor - Cormac McCarthy  
  • 8. Mud - Jeff Nichols
  • 7. All is Lost - J.C. Chandor
  • 6. The Past - Asghar Farhadi 
  • 5. In the House - Juan Mayorga & François Ozon
  • 4. Before Midnight- Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke
  • 3. Inside Llewyn Davis- Ethan & Joel Coen
  • 2. Upstream Color - Shane Carruth 
  • 1. Her - Spike Jonze 

2 Notes

//M/S/P// Best of 2013: Cinema Edition: Best Cinematography of the Year

  • 10. Upstream Color - Shane Carruth

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  • 9. Like Someone In Love - Katsumi Yanagijima

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  • 8. 12 Years a Slave - Sean Bobbitt

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  • 7. Prisoners - Roger Deakins

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  • 6. Spring Breakers - Benoît Debie

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  • 5. Gravity - Emmanuel Lubezki (not to mention his work on To The Wonder)

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  • 4. Her - Hoyte Van Hoytema

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  • 3. Computer Chess - Matthias Grunsky 

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  • 2. Ain’t Them Bodies Saints - Bradford Young

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  • 1. Inside Llewyn Davis - Bruno Delbonnel

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Notes

//M/S/P// Best of 2013: Cinema Edition: Top 5 Male & Female Supporting Performances of the Year

Best Female Supporting Performances

  • 5. Carey Mulligan as Jean in Inside Llewyn Davis

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  • 4. Léa Seydoux as Emma in Blue is the Warmest Color

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  • 3. Octavia Spencer as Wanda in Fruitvale Station

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  • 2. Scarlett Johansson as Samantha in Her

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  • 1. Lupita Nyong’o as Patsey in 12 Years a Slave

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Best Male Supporting Performances

  • 5. James Gandolfini as Albert in Enough Said 

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  • 4. James Franco as Alien in Spring Breakers 

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  • 3. Barkhad Abdi as Muse in Captain Phillips 

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  • 2. Tadashi Okuno as Takashi Watanabe in Like Someone in Love 

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  • 1. Gerald Peary as Pat Henderson in Computer Chess

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1 Notes

//M/S/P// Best of 2013: Cinema Edition: Top 15 Documentaries of the Year

  • 15. Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me

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  • 14.  Another Day, Another Time:  Celebrating the Music of ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’

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  • 13. The Crash Reel

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  • 12. Rewind This!

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  • 11. Inequality For All

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  • 10. Cutie and the Boxer 

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  • 9. Stories We Tell

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  • 8. How To Make Money Selling Drugs

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  • 7. The Square

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  • 6. The Institute

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  • 5. A Band Called Death

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  • 4. Dirty Wars 

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  • 3. The Act of Killing

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  • 2. Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy?

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  • 1. Leviathan

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