3. The Grand Budapest Hotel watched on 1/03/15 In the fall of 2001, I signed up for Netflix for the first time. This was the ancient days where you got online, chose movies you wanted to watch at some nebulous time in the future and then awaited the exciting envelopes full of cinematic majesty from your friendly neighborhood mailman.
During this time, I rewatched the Tarantino, Kevin Smith, Coen Brothers and Mel Brooks catalogs that I'd already discovered on VHS. I watched some "forbidden fruit" movies I'd been unable or not allowed to watch before (like Caligula and The Last Temptation of Christ) I also, discovered some new names, like Wes Anderson.
I'd actually seen Rushmore in high school on video, but I was much too young and it all went over my head (other than the "O.R." scrubs joke). But when I popped in that rented DVD of Bottle Rocket Anderson suddenly clicked for me. Since then, I've seen them all, and loved each of them in their own way. My personal favorite is The Life Aquatic.
But perhaps the most Wes Anderson of all the Wes Anderson films so far, is the one I watched to start this year. All his techniques are on display here. Bizarre characters in ever-increasingly bizarre situations. Beautiful static camera angles and long shots that accentuate the uncomfortable nature of so many of the conversations. Title cards and even silhouetted flashbacks. He's off his own chain here, and just when you think it's all too much, it falls together in just the right way and makes you fall in love with the Grand old hotel, just like the characters within the film.
Wes Anderson is many things, and sometimes he puts too much of many of those things into his films. But one thing he's not, and therefore one thing his movies never are, is stale or unoriginal.
4 and a half stars.