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The Grand Budapest Hotel - Blu-ray Review

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Grand Budapest Hotel - Movie Review

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5 stars

Blazing with filmmaker Wes Anderson’s usual zippy energy, your stay at The Grand Budapest Hotel will certainly not disappoint. The madcap movie is a wonderful example of Anderson’s eye for detail and his rapier-wit and, while being his newest and freshest comedy, is probably a great introduction to his quirk for anyone unsure of what to expect from the filmmaker behind Rushmore, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and The Life Aquatic.

Does this mean that the film is more audience-friendly? More accessible? Certainly not. The Grand Budapest Hotel is Anderson through and through its just filled with a bit more comedic pratfalls than one might expect. His particular brand of art-house theatre is still intact. The use of his technical mechanics – down to the spring-operated motions of the actors themselves – is spellbinding and, maybe more so here than in any previous Anderson film, share a commonality with the talents of Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, and other silent era comedians.  

The film is spearheaded by a fully engaged performance from Ralph Fiennes as M Gustave, a show-boating bi-sexual concierge who feels a strong sense of duty when in uniform for The Grand Budapest Hotel. Going above the call of duty, he literally charms the pants off his guests, making sure their every need and desire is met. Of course, all this description is too simple for the story-within-story plotting of the screenplay.

M Gustave gets a lot of repeat business due in large part to his talent as host but one elderly lady – Madame D (Tilda Swinton in yet another chameleon role that showcases her talents) – complicates his life by leaving him a painting of value that turns her family of crooks and thieves – led by her conniving son (Adrien Brody) and his nazi-like thug (Willem Dafoe) against him and the bellboy in training (Saoirse Ronan).

The three-person narration – first Tom Wilkinson, the second Jude Law, and the third being F Murray Abraham – guides Anderson’s screenplay (inspired by the writings of Stefan Zweig) along its merry way until M. Gustav is cleared of murder and the priceless Renaissance painting is recovered. And, yet, when you have roles portrayed by Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum, Jason Schwartzman, and Owen Wilson it’s easy to get caught up in the celebrity spectacle of Anderson’s club. The cameos never take away from the pattern of the script and when your special effects are obvious paintings, cardboard railcars, models, and animation, you understand the childlike wonder of Anderson’s environments and go-to actors are only decoys for the faux reality he so playfully maintains from film to film.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is a slapstick mad romp across the imaginary European state of Zubrowka. Guided by meticulous madness and Anderson’s trademark zoom and pan cameras, the film is a testament to just how talented the director is at theatrical framing while engaging the audience with massive wit and charm.

The cartoon caricature of The Grand Budapest Hotel is not to be missed.

Grand Budapest Hotel - Movie Review

MPAA Rating:R for language, some sexual content and violence.
Runtime:
99 mins
Director
: Wes Anderson
Writer: Wes Anderson
Cast:
Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric
Genre
: Comedy | Drama
Tagline:
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Memorable Movie Quote: "Keep your hands off my lobby boy!"
Distributor:
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Official Site: http://www.grandbudapesthotel.com/
Release Date:
March 7, 2014 (limited)
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
June 17, 2014
Synopsis: Wes Anderson's The Grand 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.

Grand Budapest Hotel - Movie Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - June 17, 2014
Screen Formats: 2.30:1, 1:82:1, 1.33:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Dutch, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Latvian, Mandarin (Simplified), Polish, Romanian, Russian, Slovenian, Turkish, Ukrainian
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; French: DTS 5.1; Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1; Russian: DTS 5.1; Czech: Dolby Digital 5.1; Hungarian: Dolby Digital 5.1; Polish: Dolby Digital 5.1; Turkish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD); UV digital copy; Digital copy
Region Encoding: Region-free playback

The film’s home release debut looks every bit as great as you’d expect from a new Wes Anderson picture – wildly vibrant, incredibly crisp, and visually exquisite.  Oddly, the film’s shifting aspect ratios, which did not disturb the theatrical experience in any way, is somewhat distracting on the small screen.  This is partially due to the fact that the modern day scenes are strangely window-boxed and the academy ratio segments don’t completely reach the top and bottom of the screen for whatever reason.  Overall, it still looks top-notch.  The disc also packs an expressive DTS-HD 5.1 track pushing the rapid fire dialogue with extreme clarity and Alexandre Desplat’s playfully paramount soundtrack pulsating mostly through the frontal mains.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

The Blu-ray has a small smattering of extras, including a 4 minute deal with Bill Murray giving us a tour of the filming location/company barracks, 18 minutes of EPK materials about the making of the film, and three in-character vignettes about the Republic of Zubrowka, about how to make the pastries in Mendl’s Bakery, and the mystery of the Society of the Crossed Keys. Enjoyable but light for sure.  One can expect a much more in-depth Blu-ray release when the film inevitably finds its way to Criterion.  A digital download is also included.

  • Bill Murray Tours the Town (4 min)
  • Vignettes (25 min)
  • Stills Gallery
  • Trailers

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