Showing posts with label 'The Grand Budapest Hotel'. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 'The Grand Budapest Hotel'. Show all posts

Monday, November 17, 2014


You ask what I've been watching lately. What? You didn't ask? Forgive me if I tell you anyway.

Last night, I watched the delightful film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and smiled all the way through, though the movie includes a good measure of seriousness in the mix with the madcap humor. Since I knew little about the film, except that several friends told me I should see it, I was surprised when well-known actors popped up unexpectedly in hilarious disguises and delighted that they played their roles so beautifully and unassumingly without striving to steal the limelight in their scenes.

Ralph Fiennes, as the concierge of the hotel, Mr Gustave H, was superb, and F Murray Abraham more than holds his own as the lobby boy, Moustafa Zero, to whom Mr Gustave becomes a mentor and a friend. There's lot to be said for knowing little to nothing about a film, and coming away charmed with one's spirit uplifted.

Last week, I watched Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.  Since I had already read critical reviews of the movie, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was completely caught up in the story. The main criticisms were that the very concept of a biographical movie about Mandela was wrong, because his character was too complex and his life too long and eventful even for a film that stretched into two and a half hours, and that a series would have been a more appropriate vehicle. That the movie telescoped the great sweep of history of the struggle for freedom for blacks in South Africa, as shown through the life of Nelson Mandela, who played so great a part in the story even during his long years in prison, was seen as a failure. Well, the film is what it is, and, though events moved along at a fast clip, and large chunks of Mandela's life were missing, it held my interest throughout.

Idris Elba was magnificent in the role of Mandela, Shakespearian, as one critic described him, and Naomie Harris was excellent as Winnie Mandela. The two dominate the film, with the other actors playing only minor supporting roles.