Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wes Anderson is like Terry Gilliam without the edge?

Once again, the post title is the thesis, doesn't that make it easier, like when a song is named after its most earwormy lyric ingredient?

We saw "Grand Budapest Hotel" at Coolidge Corner Theatre last weekend, where it had the third largest weekend gross in its history.  The reviews were good.  I had not yet seen a movie by Wes Anderson.  I don't watch movies much because most are so interminably tiresome like this one.

I went in thinking this some period piece but the pseudo period setting was just dress up, after some initial setup the script played with anachronism beyond its welcome.  It's a bad sign the first time a punchline is a cuss, junior high school style.

Hijinks ensue, characters were cartoons, sight gags, stunts, running jokes, some characters used a voice or an accent and some spoke Californian.  Cameos aren't a bad thing, they indicate respect in Hollytown. I perked up when Bill Murray was on screen, but he didn't do much and then was gone.  I couldn't follow the story at times. I was sorry they left the grand hotel, which had a nice look and where I had expected the story to take place, to run amok in the outside world.  Some of the gags were good, some groans.  One interesting thing, how every shot seemed to be centered and framed by symmetry.

Watching the clock by halfway, how long oh lord?  So much gratitude when the narrator voice indicated coming closure.  During "Drive" I sat in the bathroom reading my email I was so bored, this wasn't that bad, set pieces kept dropping and I had some hope something better might come.

So to expand the thesis, "Grand Budapest Hotel" is like a defanged Terry Gilliam movie, fanciful comedic fable, but without the edge, with lightweight character development, patchwork storytelling, a frame to hang scenes on, and not as funny.

Oh well it was a night out.  Then we went to Lemongrass for defanged Vietnamerican food for Brookline, I like that, I'm an old Yank myself, please no spicy.

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