The Grand Budapest Hotel @ The Ross

Grand Budapest1

Who knew that Wes Anderson had it in him? The ‘it’ being the ability to charm with an exotic, mysterious, strange, outlandish adventure encased in an embroidered, beaded silk cinematic purse named The Grand Budapest Hotel. The set is like a miniature city, and it’s as if Anderson shrunk the audience so we can experience the baubles and trinkets of grand old Europe, especially, the expanse of the countryside and all of its majesty. Frame-by-frame, Anderson delights the senses with visually

Deputy Kovacs (Jeff Goldblum)

Deputy Kovacs (Jeff Goldblum)

stunning settings. The film ricochets through time and place to tell the story of M. Gustave, played by Ralph Fiennes, the exact, fun-loving, sensational proprietor of The Grand Budapest Hotel. Gustave is a man ahead of his time, whom the narrator informs us is “a glimmer of civilization in the barbaric slaughterhouse we know as humanity.” That “glimmer” avails himself of rich and wealthy female patrons, who are smitten with his joie de vivre. An elderly Madame D, played by an unrecognizable Tilda Swinton (kudos to makeup designers) bequeaths to Gustave a valuable painting, and thus begins family squabbles, murder, mayhem, intrigue, and love. Andersen even treats us to a daring prison escape led by Ludwig, played by a bald Harvey Keitel.

Ludwig (Harvey Keitel)

Ludwig (Harvey Keitel)

Madam D (Tilda Swinton)

Madam D (Tilda Swinton)

The story begins in 1985 in Lutz, a fictional town in Eastern Europe. An aging author, played by Tom Wilkerson, writes of his journey to the hotel, and through flashbacks we bounce to 1968, and the author recalls his younger self, played by Jude Law, on a stay at the hotel. Over dinner, the author learns of M. Gustave by listening to the story of the hotel’s history and its proprietor from Mr. Mustafa, played by F. Murray Abraham. From that dinner table, Anderson ricochets to 1930, to a cold, dark, and damp Central Europe in between two world wars. Anderson portrays this time and space well as he captures via Gustave, a national tension and disquietude, a kind of controlled panic or a hunger to gorge on life because the joie de vivre could be decimated at a moment’s notice.

Let the story begin! M. Mustafa (F. Murray Abraham) and Young Author (Jude Law)

Let the story begin! M. Mustafa (F. Murray Abraham) and Young Author (Jude Law)

We expect … how shall I say this … we expect divine performances by Swinton, Fiennes, Keitel, Abraham, and Law — that’s a given, really. But Tony Revolori pushes through with a fine performance as Zero, the young M. Mustafa as the Lobby Boy. In the end, it is he who inherits the painting as well as the Grand Budapest Hotel and all of its grand history.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is a must see; you will enjoy every fantastical moment!

The Ross logo

The Grand Budapest Hotel plays through April 24 at the Ross Media Arts Center in Lincoln.

Also at The Ross Elaine Stritch, Shoot Me, a documentary homage to the Broadway legend, who is still going at 80 years old, plays through April 3.

Listen to the review on NET Nebraska @ 20:55 min
http://netnebraska.org/interactive-multimedia/none/friday-live-nebraska-chamber-players-2

Watch for film television & more. In the meantime,
catch a film!
share the popcorn!
feed your soul!

Advertisements

Omar @ The Ross

Omar (Adam Bakri)

Omar (Adam Bakri)

Palestine. Israel. Two cultures separated by conflict and war. We know the popular names: the Gaza Strip … the West Bank. Some say strife between these lands is deeply rooted in biblical history but here is what we all know: this socio-geo-political conflict seems endless.

Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad moves into the vein of everyday life within this discord in his riveting film Omar. Set in the West Bank, Abu-Assad tells the story of Omar (Adam Bakri), a young baker, who, along with his comrades Tarek (Eyad Hourani) and Amjad (Samer Bisharat) form a group of Palestinian rebels who, in acts of defiance, scale the wall that divide the occupied territories. In Omar’s case, the wall cannot keep him from his love Nadia (Leem Lubany).

Omar jumps the wall to see his love, Nadia

Omar jumps the wall to see his love, Nadia

The film is lovely in its dramatization of camaraderie between friends Omar, Tarek, and Amjad, and the delicacy of love separated by clashes and disputes. Abu-Assad is careful to portray a generation of innocence caught in the legacy of war with no way out. Here is where the story turns brutal. After the rebels kill an Israeli soldier, Omar is the only one who is caught. In the hands of officials, he is tortured, and Abu-Assad holds nothing back in his portrayal of these scenes as well as Omar’s angst when presented with a deal. The director does not stop there. Days and nights are blanketed with distrust, deception, and betrayal. The story literally descends into a hellish nightmare, and Palestinian life, already compromised by circumstances that run an historical deep, proves more than stressful. Sadness aside, Abu-Assad patiently films the everyday of Palestinian life, breathing into every home, street, alleyway, countryside, and dialogue the ordinariness of people who manage to live and to be just like everyone else.

Omar and Nadia (Leem Lubany)

Omar and Nadia (Leem Lubany)

There are politics, yes, but the director refuses to strangle Omar with the usual suspects of bureaucracy, interrogation, and red tape. Instead, his major focus is on the characters who are brought to life so wonderfully by the actors, and their character interpretations are worth the price of the ticket!

Adam Bakri, especially, is to be applauded for his rich performance of Omar, a character whose hopes are torn asunder by battles fought over land that have yet to be resolved, and consequences of these battles inherited by his generation.

The Ross logo

Omar plays through March 20 at the Ross Arts Center in Lincoln.

Watch for film, television, & more!

In the meantime,
catch a film!
share the popcorn!
feed your soul!

%d bloggers like this: