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March 28th, 2014

Movie Review - The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, Jude Law, F. Murray Abraham, Tom Wilkinson, Saoirse Ronan, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Mathieu Amalric, Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, and many more.

Directed by: Wes Anderson Story by: Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness Screenplay by: Wes Anderson Inspired by the Works of: Stefan Zweig Cinematography by: Robert D. Yeoman Music by: Alexandre Desplat

Premise: Jumping back from the 80's to the 60's then the 30's, a tale unfolds about the Grand Budapest Hotel, it's concierge M. Gustave, and the hotel's newest lobby boy, Zero. When one of the hotel's long time patrons dies, and she's bequeathed a priceless painting to the concierge, he suddenly finds himself accused of murder. (Rated PG-13)


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Ralph Fiennes was captivating as the hard working, mature ladies man, and amazing concierge, M. Gustave. Tony Revolori turned out to be a perfect foil for Mr. Fiennes as the soft spoken, yet incredibly brave, Zero. And there were many well known and familiar faces in the rest of the cast, Edward Norton and Jeff Goldblum, but two of the throng.

2)  Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: The makers of the film went 'old school' and used stop motion animation to give the film a lot of its quirky feel. The large chase scene was done almost entirely with stop motion animation and looked great. Other special effects used in the film were visual or had to do with presentation. They were all really well done and did much to create a great atmosphere for the film.

3) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: The story is told in a very unique way as we start in a small eastern country at a cemetery and a young lady who hangs an old fashioned hotel key off a pedestal with the bust of a famous author. Then we see said author alive in his later years and as he speaks, he leap back in time yet again to the 60's, and we see the Budapest Hotel as it was then. It is here that the mystery begins as author meets the widely known owner of the hotel. In the telling of how the owner obtained the hotel, we then leap back to the late 30's, where the Grand Budapest Hotel was at its peak yet about to begin its slow descent into obscurity.

In many ways the film reminded me of an operatic farce - with things overblown toward the absurd, but never entirely crossing the line. The prison escape sequence is a perfect example.

Watching all the different odd characters interacting was just too much fun. Yet there's also a depth and sadness to the tale as we see the world changing as war boiled up then ran rampant during that time. Even with our own worries, the world beyond moves on, and nothing is ever certain.

4) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: Filmed in eight different locations in Germany, many of them castles, there is plenty to 'feed the eyes'. Many of the rooms and hallways were fabulous. Some of the long shot angles gave many of the hallways an almost supernatural look. There's even a shoot out scene that will make you cringe every time a bullet hits the gorgeous hotel's columns.

Conclusion: "The Grand Budapest Hotel" is a lovingly quirky and quite entertaining film. It pretends to be light, but has a lot of unexpected depth behind it. It was also a lot of fun.

Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic



(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!

"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."


(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!

The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."


(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.

(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”


“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”


Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”

(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”


Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.

(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”


Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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