Movie Review – The Grand Budapest Hotel

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Oct 142014
 

Grand Budapest HotelGRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL recounts the adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. The story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting and the battle for an enormous family fortune — all against the back-drop of a suddenly and dramatically changing Continent.

Rating: 8.2/10 (179,874 votes)
Director: Wes Anderson
Writer: Stefan Zweig (inspired by the writings of), Wes Anderson (screenplay), Wes Anderson (story), Hugo Guinness (story)
Stars: Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody
Runtime: 100 min
Rated: R
Genre: Comedy
Released: 28 Mar 2014

I watched this a couple of Saturday’s ago by myself when Lay had to work. I’d worked especially had during the week day evenings to get chores done, and have a real day off. While I did wind up having to trim a rather large and tall hedge we have on one side of the house. But this was a nice way to spend a quiet Saturday afternoon.

This film is funny, absurd (what else would you expect from Wes Craven), poignant, and exciting all at the same time.  Continue reading »

Finding Forrester

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Mar 122005
 

Finding Forrester (2000)An afro-american teen writing prodigy finds a mentor in a reclusive author.

Directed by
Gus Van Sant

Genres
Drama

Cast
Sean Connery, Rob Brown, F. Murray Abraham, Anna Paquin, Busta Rhymes, April Grace, Michael Pitt, Michael Nouri, Richard Easton, Glenn Fitzgerald, Lil’ Zane, Stephanie Berry, Fly Williams III, Damany Mathis, Damien Lee

It could definitely have been a better movie, but then again what movie can’t you say that about? In terms of plot and character development what it needed most was another 30 minutes, but at two and a quarter hours already most studios would never allow that. (Note that the movie did not seem nearly that long to me.) Perhaps the plot and story could have been tighter, but it’s really a remarkable job for first-time screenwriter Mike Rich.

The acting, while not always remarkable, was quite good. Connery brilliantly underplayed Forrester, yielding a less dramatic but much more realistic portrayal of the writer. Rob Brown’s portrayal of Jamal was equally reserved yet forceful. The directing held the two characters in balance well. The other characters were well-acted though not generally well-developed (hence much criticism of this movie).

Others have compared Finding Forrester to Goodwill Hunting (also directed by Gus Van Sant) and to Scent of a Woman, suggesting that it is just a ripoff of the plot in those two. If so (which I doubt), those are two pretty good movies to plagiarize. The basic concept of Forrester’s story (first novel wins Pulitzer — what do you do for an encore?) has also been done before, but I’ve never seen it done so well (and without resorting to The Bottle as an excuse for a wasted life).

What’s been missed in the reviews I checked was a discussion of who found whom. When you boil it down, Jamal found Jamal and Forrester found Forrester (just in time), though they found themselves by reaching out to each other and forming a bond of friendship across a gulf of age, suspicion, and race. The way they do this, without the usual twists of self-destruction and miraculous salvation, is both touching and refreshingly real. And finding oneself, in its essence, is what EVERY good drama is about, so, yes, there is a similarity to Goodwill and Scent and every other good movie ever made.

All in all, while not The Great American Movie, it’s a very good movie and well worth watching.

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