I saw 2 movies this weekend and they are very different but both very good.
Well, it’s a man in a car talking on the phone for an entire movie. I’m serious. There are no other actors, just voices you hear and I’m telling you it is completely riveting.
It’s so hard to talk about this movie without giving spoilers away but basically Tom Hardy is on a drive to do something he know he needs to do but wishes he didn’t have to. Then as the car ride goes it becomes the worst day of his life. Home, family, work, are complete chaos but he is a man who has a plan and knows he can make it all right, but as the story goes you and him start to become less secure that even he can salvage any of it.
It’s so tense and the music and lighting build until you worry he is going to drive off the freeway or have some kind of panic attack. Then just when it seems he is losing control a conversation will happen that gives him a breath of hope and we start the cycle of anxiety all over again. It was a thriller but about a person’s life falling apart and isn’t that kind of the scariest thing of all?
There are also moments where a character brings up a soccer game and after all he has been through it feels so stupid. It kind of puts a lot of things we think are important in perspective. It’s just pretty brilliant.
I’m telling you give it a shot. The photography by director Steven Knight and cinematographer Haris Zambarloukos alone has to be appreciated. The lights and reflections off the windows add to the tension.
In a way it feels like someone in a hostage negotiation but the hostage is his life and happiness.
Steven Knight also wrote Locke and they made it for 2 million dollars. It just goes to show with good writing and storytelling anything can be good, even a man driving for 84 minutes.
I was blown away.
It does have a lot f bombs so definitely adults only.
Content Grade- F, Overall Grade- A
GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
It is no secret I am not the biggest Wes Anderson fan. Like Tim Burton, he can be more style over substance, but I don’t think any of his movies are terrible. Just not a fangirl. (I am Mormon which means I am so not a hipster…)
Anyway, the Grand Budapest Hotel is probably Anderson’s most approachable film even though I still didn’t love it but I enjoyed it. The reason I liked this better than previous works (I haven’t seen all of them) is it is a story being told as opposed to something grounded in ‘real life’ like his other films. It makes more sense to have his quirky style in a work in a fictional world to me.
It’s a little confusing because there are layers of storytellers. Tom Wilkinson is an author telling the story to a little girl that he heard told to him by the GBH owner played by F Murray Abraham. So you have details from the girl, Wilkinson, Abraham and the actors. This makes it seem like even more of a fairytale. It is also set in a fictional town of Zubrowka (again more fairytale like).
It’s kind of a convoluted plot but basically it is about a concierge of the hotel named Gustave played by Ralph Fiennes and his devoted lobby boy played by Tony Revolori.
Gustave is dedicated to the hotel and to giving great service with rewards from the elderly female patrons on the side. One of the patrons played by Tilda Swinton gives him a valuable painting on her death. Her family is furious and so feeling it is his right he steals the painting and flees.
What follows is a cat and mouse chase with a lot of humor and whimsey. We get a ton of actors involved in the chase including Adrien Brody, William Dafoe, Mathieu Amalric, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Bob Balaban and Owen Wilson.
It does get a little tiresome after a while but it isn’t that long of a movie so I was ok with the story and the Anderson cuteness. Like I said, it fit this particular tale better than some of his others and was generally nicer too. Some of his more popular movies I have a hard time bonding with because the characters come across as kind of mean and unlikable. (see I am so not a hipster).
But this I liked. It isn’t my favorite movie by a long shot but I enjoyed the style, story was fun and performances all very good.
It does have nudity that is quick and easy to miss but strong and a fair amount of profanity so I would say adults or mature teens only.
I would love to see Wes Anderson try his eclectic style in a different genre. Like what could he do with a comic book movie or a musical? I guess he kind of did that with Fantastic Mr Fox, which is my favorite Anderson film, despite it being more for adults than kids in pacing and tone.
Content Grade- D, Overall Grade- B
Any of you seen either of these? What did you think? What a great year 2014 was for movies! I can’t think of another better in nearly every genre (don’t start a debate on that topic bc it really doesn’t matter what year is best. I just really liked this one!).
Please put in your comments what you thought of either film? I’d love to hear. Both are seemingly different but have a certain challenge to conventional storytelling which I really dug. Fun times at the movies!