The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Director: Wes Anderson
Writer: Wes Anderson
Based on: Stefan Zweig‘s writing (very loosely)
Cast: Ralph FiennesTony Revolori, F. Murray AbrahamJude Law, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Jason Schwartzman, Léa Seydoux, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, Owen Wilson, Karl Markovics, Bob Balaban

Plot:
Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes) is not just a concierge, he is probably the best concierge there ever was and he has his fans. One of them is his newly acquired protégé Zero (Tony Revolori), another a frequent guest at the Grand Budapest Hotel, Madame D. (Tilda Swinton). When she is f0und dead, though, suspicion falls on Gustave and he has to try and clear his name and to claim his inheritance, all with Zero in tow.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is probably the best film Anderson made since The Life Aquatic, if not his best film so far, period. It is crazy, enjoyable, funny, aesthetic and weird and has an awe-inspiring cast. Wonderful.

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Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

Inside Llewyn Davis
Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Writer: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Cast: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, Ethan Phillips, Robin Bartlett, Adam Driver, Stark Sands, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund, F. Murray Abraham

Plot:
Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) is a struggling folk singer whose life is less than glamorous. He has no money – instead he has a floundering solo album. He doesn’t have an apartment – instead he crashes on friends’ couches until they kick him out. He doesn’t have a girlfriend – instead he sleeps with Jean (Carey Mulligan) who is actually with Jim (Justin Timberlake). And Jean is pregnant and needs an abortion because she really doesn’t want Llewyn’s child. So Llewyn has to figure out a way to make it happen.

Inside Llewyn Davis breaks my Coen Brothers rule: I usually only ever like every other film they make and it wouldn’t have been their turn to be liked, but it worked out that way anyway. I was enchanted by Llewyn and the hypnotically slow pace of the film.

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Dead Man Down (2013)

Dead Man Down
Director: Niels Arden Oplev
Writer: J.H. Wyman
Cast: Colin Farrell, Noomi Rapace, Terrence Howard, Dominic Cooper, Isabelle Huppert, F. Murray Abraham

Plot:
Victor (Colin Farrell) works for criminal Alphonse (Terrence Howard). Alphonse has been receiving threating letters from an anonymous person, the last one attached to the body of one of his employees, and Victor’s best friend Darcy (Dominic Cooper) is supposed to find out who is sending the letters. What he doesn’t know is that Victor is the one sending the letters, enacting a complicated revenge plan. Victor’s entire life revolves around this plan until he is contacted by the woman who lives in the apartment across from him, Beatrice (Noomi Rapace). Beatrice was in a car accident and has a scarred face. Now she also wants revenge and thinks that Victor can get it for her.

Dead Man Down creeped up on me. There was practically no marketing, it only got a limited release and it was barely mentioned anywhere. And I really don’t get it. Not only does it have a good cast and a director who made a name for itself (which is very marketable) – the film was absolutely fantastic.

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