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The Grand Budapest Hotel Gustave Wes Anderson, Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Saoirse Ronan, Edward Norton, Mathieu Amalric, Harvey Keitel, F. Murray Abraham, Jude Law, Tom Wilkinson, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson

The Grand Budapest Hotel: a girl reads a book’s prologue, which the author personally sets up; his younger self meeting a hotel owner, who tells him how he came to own a hotel, after he helped a concierge that was once framed for murder. Only that last part is necessary, but hey, this is a Wes Anderson film so suck up the whimsical details you boringly normal douchebag! The ensemble cast is phenomenal – if a little male-centric – to the point where it becomes distracting, but to be fair, the less time you spend thinking about the story the better. Fiennes makes this way funnier than it should have been with his dashing, sweary, and thoroughly entertaining concierge role – an outstanding a piece of comedy-driven anti-casting, in fact, most actors appear to enjoy playing their exaggerated slapstick characters – and on the whole, they’re all fun to watch. There are plenty of great cinematic techniques resurrected here; with models, scale, depth and focus all being used to powerful effect. The cinematography is also meticulous – composition, shapes, balance, symmetry… it’s the epitome of mise-en-scène (any screenshot could be a painting) making Anderson one of the few directors around that give Park ChanWook a run for his money. Substance-wise however is where the film falls over, as it feels very light – the story is all shine and no significance beyond the homage to old-timey farces. The Grand Budapest Hotel is a very unique movie, and Anderson’s most entertaining & accessible film to date. Like one of Mendl’s pastries it’s beautiful and admirable, but very light and fluffy.

Score: 7.5/10

The Grand Budapest Hotel Palace Bristol Hotel Karlovy Vary Wes Anderson, Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Saoirse Ronan, Edward Norton, Mathieu Amalric, Harvey Keitel, F. Murray Abraham, Jude Law, Tom Wilkinson, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson

Where Eagles Dare: in WWII a team of Britain’s top agents – accompanied by an American – stage a raid on an ‘impenetrable’ Nazi fortress, but it’s never that simple. For an oldé movie (1968), this has more explosions than you could shake a stick of dynamite at, no vehicle is left uncrashed / unflipped, and the plot, in parts, is almost as hard to follow as Inception – it’s one of the few times where there’s a little too much of the good stuff. The action is great, and very well-directed – cable car stunts in particular are gripping, and Eastwood makes for a total bad-ass quiffed gun-slinging all-American action hero. Between the big set-pieces the pace can drag, and at over 2.5 hours it feels a little overlong. The acting is pretty solid for the genre, and the huge story, grand spectacle, and big names (Burton, Eastwood, Pitt…) really pull you through the laggy parts. This is a classic in every sense of the word: big actors, brilliant OST, gripping spy/espionage plot, stunning locations, a ton of stabbing, shooting and cleavage… even down to the corny stuff like rear projected driving background. Where Eagles Dare is decades ahead of its time; it’s the ‘turned up to 11′ kind of action movie that you rarely saw again until the 1980s. Over 40 years later, it’s still exciting to watch – they really don’t make ’em like this anymore – big, timeless international, studio picture.

Score: 7/10

Moonraker: when an airplane transporting the brand new ‘Moonraker’ space shuttle blows up James Bond is sent to figure out why none of Moonraker is in the debris. With the help of a female scientist they find out that it’s part of a Madman’s plan to wipe out the human race and start a superior one in space.

Bond didn't do too well on the spin cycle challenge...

Moonraker begins with one of the coolest opening action sequences, with 007 hurling himself out of a ‘plane, freefalling down to Jaws and fighting him in mid-air for the last parachute.

007 will do anything for a parachute! Dirty minx.

With Star Wars V, Alien and the First Star Trek film being released in the same year – and Bond’s uncanny nack of incorporating the latest trends – 007 was always going to be heading to space… it’s just a pity that it didn’t work out. It borrows heavily from previous successful sci-fi hits like 2001 and Logans Run, with some ridiculous additions like a huge laser battle between the ‘perfect’ humans and U.S. Space Marines!?!?  Not all of the space section is lame though, the zero-G sequence is jaw-dropping, and is as convincing as anything Kubrik achieved in 2001. I guess you have to remember that space was still very cool back then.

Pew pew pew pew pew pew pew

Other bits in my Moonraker scrapbook are: the ridiculous stereotype of Rio De Janeiro (with everyone samba dancing and a carnival around every corner). The fact that Drax’s plans on heading up a ‘superior race’, despite being short, hairy and having a perfect face for the radio. Jaws looks uncannily like Willem Dafoe here, and despite falling out of a plane and getting mauled in a cable car crash it only takes about 5 samba dancers to drag him away from Bond! The ‘comedy’ element is cringe-worthy with Jaws making flapping motions in mid air and a terrible “He’s behind you” pantomime moment. The name Dr Goodhead is timeless, as is the shooting of the sniper out of the tree and the sound of the door password. Another part that sticks out for all the right reasons is the tastefully done dog-chase scene, it’s like a little bit or arthouse sticking out like a sore thumb.

What's the time in Rio? SAMBA O'CLOCK!!!

Moonraker’s biggest weakness is that it tries to do too much in one film, and it’s all done in a way that means that the tone’s all over the place: it’s a long-winded story, a slice of the middle east, a bit of latin america, 5 minutes of a ridiculous Western, and a whole lotta space tomfoolery, all mixed in with some terrible attempts at comedy. Definitely one of the weaker, and more dated films

The classic "attemptig re-entry" quip could well be Q's finest hour

Score: 4.5/10

Two of Jaws' kryptonite: samba and midgets!

TOP TRUMPS
Villain: Humourless, emotionless, beard. Identical to Stromberg but substitute water with space. 3
Henchman: Bowlcut ninja Chang – pretty rubbish. Jaws – decent, but cops out at the end! 6
Bond girls: Dr Holly Goodhead – good. Dogfood Corinne – good. Beyonce look-a-like. Jaws’ handfull Dolly. 100 ‘perfect’ girls. Too many. 5
Action: Centrifuge, Venice / Amazon boat chases, glass warehouse, Cable cars, Space fight. 6

The nightmarish doberman chase sequence...

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Dr Goodhead - whatever could that mean?!

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service: After saving some ginger chick from suicide a ‘James Bond’ gets dragged into a plot that sees him save the world from a biblical-scale man-made plague!

All in a day's work for the world's best spy

For a Sean Connery replacement Lazenby is so meek and timid in comparison, with no real screen presence, charisma or any of the charm that the other Bond actors have. In parts he looks as uncomfortable as a schoolboy dressed up in a suit! It’s an interesting technique used to try and convince us that this is still James Bond: the credits are littered with iconic shots from previous outings, Lazenby lovingly sifts through props from previous adventures as the theme songs get played, and we even see a midget whistling the Goldfinger theme!! Another random motif was “All The Time In The World” being played throughout.

"When I click my fingers you will believe he is Bond"

The number of girls in this film was ridiculous, and the “Angels of Death” is clearly a shady plot device used to springboard the featured girls to stardom. Worse still, despite being chemically imbalanced and hypnotised, Bond still takes advantage of these unstable girls! Tut tut James!

He's got 99 problems and his bitches are at least 12

It’s also pretty dark for a Bond film; opening with a suicide attempt, followed by Bond resigning from MI6, then engaging with Terrorists. And as for the ending, yikes, that’s about as bleak as the franchise gets.

James Bond, married... Pah!

MacGyver Bond sneaking between the ‘allergy clinic’ rooms is about the only remotely interesting part of the first hour – the set up is so boring… it drifts along into the final 20 minutes or so, which pick up a little and are the only redeeming feature in an otherwise tepid effort.

I hope nobody's allergic to snow...

Between the late 60s psychedelia / ‘far out’ vibe, and campy story, this is as close to Austin Powers as Bond ever got. As a one-off film – with another spy at the centre – this may have worked, but as a James Bond film, it’s absolutely rubbish.

Score: 2/10

"Who loves ya, baby Bond?"

TOP TRUMPS

Villain: Ernst Blofeld (Legendary Megalomaniac) executing the most trippy scheme. 6
Henchmen: Ginger Manchild Lady – pretty rubbish! 4
Babes: Tempremental Red-Head – good times. Several mentally unstable girls – bad times. 5
Action: Last 20 minutes – Guns, Skiing, Toboggan. 3

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The M0vie Blog
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