The Stainless Steel Rat (stainsteelrat) wrote,
The Stainless Steel Rat

Film Reviews: The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) and Gone Girl (2014)

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014). Inspired by the writings of Stefan Zweig and written and directed by Wes Anderson. The story is initially set in the present day. A young girl approaches a monument in a cemetery, and hangs a key on it. The monument is dedicated to the "Author". She has a book in her hands which she turns over to reveal a photo of a writer, the same as the bust on the monument. The story then moves to 1985 where we see said author who reads an introduction to the rest of the film. The story is then told in further flashback, in 1968, when the author was spending some time resting at the Grand Budapest Hotel, located in the fictional Republic of Zubrowka. There he meets the owner of the hotel, in the rather rundown spa. The owner offers to meet him for dinner, where he tells the story of how he came to own the hotel, and the story moves further back to 1932. I'm not much of a fan of Wes Anderson, with the exception of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004). I find most of his films annoyingly pretentious, as if you're not in on the joke. Even The Life Aquatic feels somewhat that way, but is quirky and loveable enough to forgive it. So I approached The Grand Budapest Hotel with some trepidation, and in fact watched the start some months ago but turned it off as I wasn't in the mood. I decided to give it a second chance though and I'm glad I did. Like The Life Aquatic it's quirky and loveable, and also full of trademark Anderson-isms, such as precise camera moves, odd miniature work, and a cornucopia of acting talent. Underpinning it all though is a rather wonderful story, and that's why I loved it. Oh, and respect for the triple flashback. If you're looking for a more approachable Wes Anderson film, or just some quirky black comedy, then you can't go far wrong with this. 5/5 (Excellent)

Gone Girl (2014). Based on the novel by Gillian Flynn and directed by David Fincher. The film starts with Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) visiting his bar, which is run by his sister. They talk about it being Nick's fifth wedding anniversary at which point then the story moves back several years to the perspective of his wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike), when she first meets Nick. Gone Girl is pretty good. Affleck and Pike are cast perfectly. The film is full of Fincher's directorial touches, and has a great soundtrack from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. The story for the most part is interesting, and has various twists. The only real problem is there are a couple of shifts in pace towards the end that felt unnecessary to me. For me it would have been better to excise some sub-plots and ramp up the pace to make a snappier overall film, as it clocks in at a bum-numbing 149 minutes. A must watch for psychological thriller fans bearing in mind the long running time. 4/5 (Good)
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