In Search of Lost Time: Looking at the Small Stuff in The Grand Budapest Hotel

In the very best films there are always a handful of quiet things that insist on the large-scale completeness and grandeur of the filmmakers’ vision for their work. The big scenes are always there to be commented upon and picked over regardless of how good or bad a film might be. To me, though, the very best filmmakers often leave their mark in the quieter or more subdued moments. Perhaps the classic example of this is the story of the girl with the parasol in Citizen Kane. That little moment remains with me as much as anything else in that masterpiece, but it has none of the showmanship and chutzpah that Orson Welles’ work is so renowned for. It’s just a quiet moment of grace and insight which subtly illuminates all the rest of the film’s emotional and thematic upon reflection. I am not bold enough to say that The Grand Budapest Hotel,  the new film from my favorite director, Wes Anderson, has anything on the level of that immortal parasol story (or Citizen Kane in general). But I do think this is a wonderful film that is brought to most vivid life and vibrancy by such small moments illuminating the larger construct.
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Field Dressing: Costume Design in Hannibal

Written by Rebecca Bean, Edited by Alex Bean

WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD!

hannibal-nbc-cast-photo-md
Do not attend this meal.

 

Hannibal is a show with amazing aesthetics that not only look enthralling , but also serve to give insight into the personalities and hidden desires of the characters.  Most television shows put costumes on their characters by simply choosing something that will look good, not bothering to use costumes to enhance the show’s storytelling.  There are a select few costume designers who are working at such a level,  namely  Janie Bryant, who has designed for Deadwood and Mad Men, among many other shows.  Christopher Hargadon, the costume designer for Hannibal, is the latest to join this rank. Taking a look at the first episode of the second season offers a prime examples of this once the meaning and usage of the costumes is deconstructed.

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The first scene of the new season is a brutal fight between Hannibal Lector (Mads Mikkelsen) and Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne); a shocking and unexpected opening that leaps far down the narrative road within the series. But if we look beyond the action sequence, we can look into the minds of the characters (and pretend that we’re just like Hannibal! In that we will have psychological insight… no eating people…). In this scene, Hannibal is wearing a simple white striped shirt.  This is a stark change from the bright jackets and ties that were his common look in the first season.  He is in his kitchen, probably the room where he feels the most comfortable being himself (which is unsettling). He is not expecting anyone and is therefore dressed down. White is usually used to show youth and innocence. But in this scene, where we see Jack’s (eventual) knowledge of his crimes come to a climax, any semblance of innocence or tranquility comes crashing down around him. His white shirt becomes covered in blood, blotting out (forever?) the facade of guiltless detachment Hannibal has carefully cultivated.
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The Best of Friends: Thoughts from the Dugout

fight of their lives

Spring training is rolling right along. Players all across the major leagues are fighting for roster spots, Ryan Braun apparently can’t not hit the ball (hmm, suspicious…maybe…PED’S?!?!?! *cue screeching violins*), and yours truly is equally focusing his attention between baseball, his own outside projects, the final month ever of How I Met Your Mother, and trying to decide which NBA team he should root for. (I mean, Stephen Curry is awesome, so Golden State? Or the Bulls, even though they’re perpetually doomed?)

What this means is that there’s not terribly much for yours truly to write about. Fortunately, I have made promises, promises that I intend to keep. Thus, a book review.

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The Live Oscars Blog

It’s a quiet night at one of the Addison Recorder headquarters, Alex and Becky’s home, but a tempest so mighty not even Russell Crowe and some CGI ark-building-action could withstand it is potentially brewing. And oh the eruption if American Hustle wins awards. There will be paroxysms of annoyance, laughter, and clever insults during the musical performances and the more groan-worthy moments, but how much hellish inferno and celebration there shall be is still to be determined. And my job, as one of the resident cinematic experts, is to both put all of this into perspective and document the reactions here.

We’ve seen seven Best Picture nominees and two other probable big winners, Frozen and The Great Beauty, and we’ve written a great deal already. We thank you for paying attention to all our opinions, and your indulgence as we express our final opinions as it’s too late to do any darn thing about it. Not that anyone was paying attention to us, although who knows…maybe somehow along the way, these links turned up on the Facebook page or inbox or Google search of the Academy voters and they thought, “Hey, Alex and Andrew and Karen and Travis really know what they’re talking about, I didn’t think about this movie that way, I should vote for it/him/her!”

Though probably not. YET. We can still dream.

And here is the required-by-law picture of Jennifer Lawrence.

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