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The Grand Budapest Hotel Criterion Blu-ray Review


“The Grand Budapest Hotel” is Wes Anderson’s best since “The Royal Tenenbaums.”

After a grand back-to-back with “Rushmore” and “The Royal Tenenbaums,” writer/director Wes Anderson has been a rather one-trick pony visually, thematically, and stylistically. The cult director tends to get in his own way as his trademark brand of quirk can become both tiring and cloying. With 2014’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” however, Anderson managed to create his best post-Tenenbaums work.

Inspired by the writings of Stefan Zweig, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is sort of a screwball comedy throwback movie with a distinct Wes Anderson touch. The story finds the titular hotel owner (an elderly Zero) telling an author how he acquired the hotel. The film then jumps back to 1932 when the concierge M. Gustave ran the hotel with a lobby boy (a young Zero) at his side. The rest of the story is a zany adventure involving a dead Countess, a valuable painting, murder, Gustave being framed for murder, romance, war, a secret will, and pastries. Of course, we also learn how Zero gets the hotel as well.

If there’s one thing that you can say about “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” it’s that it’s a wholly original and meticulously detailed movie. No one else is making a movie like this nowadays theatrically. Most interesting is the fact that the story of the movie mirrors the movie itself. At its heart, ‘Grand’ is a nostalgic tale about a man (Gustave) clinging to a disappearing world (his hotel business). Anderson’s film itself is telling a story that is decidedly out of fashion and old timey. Through all of that, however, Anderson has made something special that managed to connect with audiences, be financially successful, and even nab award nominations and wins. It’s not hard to see why as the film is loaded with humor, talented cast, oddball characters, great surprising moments, and even intense adventures.

In typical Wes Anderson movie fashion, the cast is stacked. Expect to see the likes of Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Jude Law, Willem Dafoe, Tilda Swinton, Adrien Brody, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum, Lucas Hedges, Tom Wilkinson, Owen Wilson, Saoirse Ronan, Harvey Keitel, Jason Schwartzman, Tony Revolori and Lea Seydoux. Granted, most of them have tiny roles or are glorified cameos, but there are a few stand-outs. Tony Revolori (who plays the young Zero) was a relative unknown before this movie, but he has since appeared in several big films (including the latest Spider-Man films). it’s not hard to see why as he is charismatic and has great chemistry with Fiennes. Willem Dafoe has made a career out of playing a wide variety of parts and his role here as a creepy, murderous assassin is yet another unique one. Last, but certainly not least is Ralph Fiennes. As fantastic as the production design and cinematography is (and they are extraordinary), it is Ralph Fiennes that sells this movie as the witty, fast-talking, courteous, vain, and loyal M. Gustave. It’s rather stunning how he manages to give this character so many layers (likely more than were just on the page). 


Presentation: Various. How does it look? The film (which has 3 different aspect ratios) has been given a glorious 2K digital transfer. The print is nothing short of stunning with the vivid colors really popping off the screen.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? You can’t go wrong with this ultra clean 5.1 track.

* A double-sided poster
* A booklet featuring credits, an essay by film critic Richard Brody, photos, and a piece by Mark Twain
* A fold-out “Romantic Poetry Vol. 1” (the contents of which I’ll leave as a surprise)
* “The Grand Budapest Hotel” trailer
* 2 video essays. One by film scholar David Bordwell about the visual style (and aspect ratio) of ‘Grand’ and the other by film critic Matt Zoller Seitz about the tone and structure of ‘Grand.’
* 6 storyboard animatics
* “The Making Of The Grand Budapest Hotel”- A new 21 documentary with a wealth of behind-the-scenes footage, interviews, and a look at Wes Anderson at work.
* “Visiting The Grand Budapest Hotel”- A 3 part extra that explores the design and special effects, the music and the miniatures work.
* A 4 part featurette about the story, the Crossed Keys society, and the creation of the hotel and the world of this movie.
* A brief featurette/interview with Wes Anderson and one revolving around the cast.
* “Bill Murray Tours Gorlitz”- The title says it all.
* “Kunstmuseum Zubrowka Lecture”- An in-universe extra with Tom Wilkinson’s author character
* “The Society Of The Crossed Keys”- A brief featurette on the Crossed Keys.
* “Courtesans Au Chocolat”- Pastry recipe.
* An informative newly recorded commentary with Roman Coppola, Jeff Goldblum, Kent Jones and Wes Anderson.


April 16, 2020 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , ,

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