The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel ★★★½

The Good: Ralph Fiennes as a legendary and charming concierge who serves and sexes the hotel's rich, blonde, elderly female guests. Willem Dafoe as a fearsome thug-for-hire ripped straight out of a cartoon. Adrien Brody as a cussing and conniving mustachioed, black-clad villain. Wes Anderson's ever-meticulous trademark visual style. The wonderfully detailed storybook-esque set designs. And yet another masterful and memorable musical score by Alexandre Desplat (The Tree of Life, Benjamin Button, and Anderson films Mr. Fox and Moonrise Kingdom).

The Bad: The romantic subplot involving lobby boy Zero (Tony Revolori) and pastry baker Agatha (Saoirse Ronan) is uncharacteristically underdeveloped. (Anderson is typically on point when it comes to exploring and fleshing out relationships.) Majority of the film's talented ensemble cast—namely Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Léa Seydoux, Jason Schwartzman, Owen Wilson, and Bob Balaban—feel wasted in their limited and forgettable one-dimensional roles.

The Bottom Line: The Grand Budapest Hotel is Wes Anderson's darkest and most mature film to date. From a technical standpoint, there's no question that his latest offering is an outstanding marvel. But the whole time, I felt like there was something missing. The writing seemed lacking and I didn't feel it had as much heart and thoughtfulness as Anderson's past works. Maybe I got used to all those fun and happy films of his that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Maybe this will grow on me like The Life Aquatic. Whatever it is, this is definitely an interesting direction in the evolution of the critically-acclaimed director. The Grand Budapest Hotel is RECOMMENDED for fans and WORTH A WATCH for any moviegoer. Hmm... Writing this review has got me jonesing for some Mendl's right now. Mmm... Mendl's...

The Scorecard:
Direction: ★★★★
Acting: ★★★★
Writing: ★★★
Editing: ★★★★
Visuals: ★★★★★
Sound: ★★★★½
Overall Rating: ★★★★

See where The Grand Budapest Hotel ranks in my 2014 Movie Rankings

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