The Grand Budapest Hotel is another giddy piece of period whimsy by Wes Anderson, the deluded director of such brainless fruit salads as The Royal Tenenbaums, The Darjeeling Limited, Moonrise Kingdom, the curious stop-motion animated film Fantastic Mr. Fox and four others. I hated them all. So I amaze myself by liking this latest lunatic cocktail as much as I do. For sure, it’s another example of style over substance—a richly deserved accusation that is always leveled at this kindergarten cop of a director, but I confess it’s a lot of scattered and disjointed fun.
The 64th Berlinale, an international kinofest of gluttonous cinephilia and one of the major stops on the annual film festival circuit. Read More
You can read it. You can decorate with it. You can use it to prop open a door. A multitasking coffee-table book is the perfect gift for everyone on your list. And they’re easy to wrap, too! Here are a few of our favorites from 2013. Read More
The Observer has had visions—visions opulent and terrifying, and terrifying in their opulence. On Wednesday night, as a chilly drizzle began to fall, we descended on—or rather, ascended in—212 West 18th Street, the one-time home of the New York Telephone Company, which has been lately re-imagined as an art deco sheath for 47 luxury condominiums.
Named for Ralph Walker, its much celebrated architect, Walker Tower will soon open its doors to residents, having sold all but four units—one of which is the would-be downtown record-breaker Penthouse 1, priced at $55 million. (For the budget-conscious, there remains one condo available for $8.25 million.)
Even from the trailer, the mood of Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel seems darker, more adult, than any of his work since Bottle Rocket. Sure, it’s still super-whimsical, with a bunch of Anderson-ites (Bill Murray, Adrien Brody, Edward Norten, Jeff Goldblum, Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman) hanging out on the snow-capped peak of a European mountain in a pink hotel, punching each other in the face and offering quippy, seemingly non-sequitor one-liners.
After his most recent film, Moonrise Kingdom, hit big with a cast divided between big stars and total unknowns, Wes Anderson has doubled down on the big-star element, with Johnny Depp just having been cast in the newly-titled The Grand Budapest Hotel. Mr. Anderson coaxed a career-best performance out of Gwyneth Paltrow at Read More
The new film by Wes Anderson, Moonrise Kingdom, has set the record for the highest per-screen average for an independent film; playing in just four theaters (including the AMC Lincoln Square and Regal Union Square in New York), the film took in an average of $127,500 per screen. (That adds up to $509,000 in Read More
Letter from Cannes
Preceded by bewildering blogs and Tweets (and even a few genuine reviews) from Cannes (“A Tender Triumph!” “Glows in the Darkness!” “Ode to Arrested Development!”), Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom is juvenile gibberish about two 12-year-olds who get married in a Boy Scout camp that is too sexually outrageous for the preteen age group it portrays and too tween for grown-ups. Like all Wes Anderson movies, it is naïve, mannered, pretentious and incomprehensible. He co-wrote it with Roman Coppola (yikes! another Coppola!). Together they were responsible for The Darjeeling Limited, one of the worst movies of all time. This one is neither as contrived as The Royal Tenenbaums nor as moronic as The Darjeeling Limited, but its boredom quotient is still stuck in the same unbroken wave of dubious tedium Mr. Anderson is famous for. (It also features another Coppola, the creepy Jason Schwartzman.) What is it with this guy and his awful movies masquerading as “original ideas” that turns otherwise sensible critics into slobbering groupies?
CANNES, FRANCE– Last year’s Cannes Film Festival was a bizarre anomaly by any measure. The art-house powerhouse debuted Oscar’s best picture (The Artist); Woody Allen’s highest-grossing film ever (Midnight in Paris); Terrence Malick’s mystical, masturbatory tone poem (The Tree of Life); and Lars von Trier’s apocalyptic melodrama (Melancholia), which prompted the Danish provocateur to announce himself a Nazi, get officially labeled “persona non grata,” and be told he physically can’t come within 100 yards of the festivities. That’s a hard act to follow, even for the French.