Tag Archives: Jude Law

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

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Ralph Fiennes hasn’t been given many chances to act silly. Even his lighter roles end up heavy, which is why his filmography is built on Schindler’s Lists and English Patients. It begs the question of how Wes Anderson landed on Fiennes for his M. Gustave, whose kooky concierge is the comedic axis of the film? — a question answered promptly with a hundred minutes of Fiennes’ inexhaustible talent and charm. This may be Anderson’s purest comedy to date, which says any number of things about the director — he’s lightening up, he’s more interested in genre, he understands how hilarious Willem Dafoe will look with a false, canine-heavy underbite. The Grand Budapest Hotel is another minutely detailed, masterfully constructed film from Wes Anderson, and a reminder that he’s almost certainly the most meticulous director working today.

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Hugo (2011)

This might be an adventure!” exclaims Chloë Moretz’s earnest Isabelle, shortly after meeting the titular Hugo in Martin Scorsese’s latest. And it’s true, Hugo certainly holds an adventure for its two lead characters. But that moment holds a deeper truth: the awareness that, for children, the world is still a magical place, capable of anything. There’s a kinetic excitement to being young and away from your parents, because possibility has an unknowable depth, and you haven’t yet been infected by the rot of cynicism. Scorsese, like many directors before him, plainly adores this moment in time, because for him it is connected unequivocally with the magic of the cinema.

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Contagion (2011)

I’ve never been particularly impressed with scary movies. Growing up, scary movies had so little to offer that I could connect with, outside of the standard suburban setting and a general fear of death. An omnipresent psychopath who can’t be killed doesn’t jive with my notions of reality, and incessant gore is more disturbing than scary. But Contagion, the latest product of Steven Soderbergh‘s telescopic curiosity, is truly frightening. It follows the path of a diabolical virus as scores of people die and the world’s population loses its collective mind. It illuminates with strict veracity the rapid downward spiral of panicked masses, and it does so in a world as close to ours as the big screen can accommodate.

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