“There are still faint glimmers of civilization left in this barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity.” So says M. Gustave, as played by Ralph Fiennes in Wes Anderson’s latest film, The Grand Budapest Hotel. Told as a story-within-a-story-within-a-story, this film looks into the golden age of its titular hotel, in the madcap events surrounding its concierge and his faithful lobby boy in training, as the two of them become tangled in a convoluted case of treachery, murder, and deception, all of which are so beyond description that I dare not spoil the surprises. As anyone who follows my blog knows, The Grand Budapest Hotel was my most anticipated release of the year. So, with it finally having come out on DVD, I turned my attention towards it. My final verdict…. I would be so bold as to call this Wes Anderson’s best film to date.
Saturday, June 21, 2014
About a week ago, I gave a very enthusiastic review of the latest Dreamworks Animation release, How to Train Your Dragon 2. Having great adoration for the first film, it’s no faint praise that I found this film to be an improvement in EVERY aspect possible. That point of view still stands, but if there was any one detriment to my overall experience, it wasn’t with the actual movie. It was with my theater’s scheduling.
It’s no secret that I considered the first How to Train Your Dragon the best use of 3D I’d ever seen in a movie, so suffice it to say that the sequel was one of the VERY FEW movies I actively sought out seeing in 3D. Well, as it goes, my local theater had a wonky schedule. My local AMC houses ETX screenings, and while it’s basically just a form of IMAX-lite (and not a cheap one, at that), it still makes for a stellar piece of quality viewing. However, my theater decided to relegate Dragon to its smaller 3D theaters, reserving its biggest screen to the decidedly non-3D, non-IMAX 22 Jump Street. Needless to say, I was furious with this ridiculous move, cashing in on 22’s popularity, when it really doesn’t justify it like this movie does. However, logic must’ve struck them, as they added screenings for this movie in ETX the next weekend. Having wanted to see it this way from the beginning, and simply wanting an excuse to see the movie again, I immediately pounced upon the opportunity. The movie itself is even more rewarding a second time (and I hope it will continue to be on subsequent viewings), but as for my thoughts on the 3D, at the VERY LEAST, the film is every bit on par as its predecessor, and in some areas, is even an improvement.
Monday, June 16, 2014
So, after finally seeing the spectacular How to Train Your Dragon 2, I decided to lend my attention to another one of my most anticipated films of the year, Seth MacFarlane’s wild west parody A Million Ways to Die in the West. After being tickled quite thoroughly by his directorial debut, Ted, I found myself eagerly awaiting his follow up, and yet, I find that in spite of all the potential this project had, it’s hard not to consider myself underwhelmed by the final product.
Sunday, June 15, 2014
In 2010, How to Train Your Dragon was a massive success. A refreshing step out of Dreamworks’ then typical comfort zone of movies driven by humor and dry pop culture gags, it was a heartfelt and enchanting movie that quickly set word of mouth on fire, leading it to become a consistent box office success (including reaching number one at the box office, four weeks after its original debut), cementing it as the sleeper hit of the year. I myself found the movie irresistible, not only because of how touching and captivating it was, but for the bold moves its filmmakers had made. It also doesn’t hurt that it was the best 3D I had ever seen in a movie, and to this day, still is.
Obviously, with this kind of adoration, that’s putting a lot of pressure on the inevitable sequel, How to Train Your Dragon 2, and believe me, this type of movie was exactly what I needed. After last year’s weak slate of animated features (I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again), it’s refreshing that we are now leaps and bounds ahead of it in quality. As for how this film stands, not only does it match the first film in quality, it goes even further… It surpasses it in every conceivable aspect.