Monday, March 24, 2014

Reading Rex

One of Rex Reed's favorite criticisms is to say a plot doesn't make a lick of sense.  Sometimes he's right, but more often you get the feeling he simply didn't get it.  For an example of how he misses things, look at his review of The Grand Budapest Hotel.  He generally hates Wes Anderson so I was surprised he liked this one.  But that doesn't make him any less sloppy.

[Monsieur Gustave's] stories and adventures are related in the year 1985 to an author (Tom Wilkinson) who wants to collect them in a book, just as they were observed in the 1930s by the hotel lobby boy, an immigrant named Zero Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham), who is now the owner of the once-splendid resort.

Wes Anderson has framing device upon framing device in this film, but Reed could have been considerably clearer.  Gustave's stories aren't related to Tom Wilkinson's character in 1985, they're related to Jude Law's character--the younger version of Wilkinson--in the 1960s.  F. Murray Abraham, as the owner of the resort, tells these tales, but he doesn't play the lobby boy who saw it all--that role is taken by Tony Revolori.  Reed ignores this actor though he's got the second-biggest part in the movie.

The den of villains is crowded with amusing cameos by Mathieu Amalric as the suspicious butler, Serge X; Jeff Goldblum as Madame D.’s evil executor, Kovacs; a sadist in leather (Willem Dafoe); and the dead woman’s son (Adrien Brody).

I think we can call Dafoe and Brody villains, but Amalric is a tougher call and Goldblum is, if anything, a good guy, as the lawyer trying to do an honest job against enormous pressure.

Agatha does miraculous things with buttercreams that look like Faberge eggs and has a scar across half of her face that looks like a map of Mexico.

It's not a scar, it's a birthmark.

Everyone makes mistakes, but if you're going to be pronouncing on something, you should at least pay attention.

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