Here's a current movie rundown. I had some Greek action in New York City. I had to see 300: Rise of an Empire so I could review it for Arise TV's On Screen show. If you want to spend a couple of hours seeing male body fluid spurt at your face, then this is the film for you. It's not a sequel to the box office hit, 300. It's more backstory in another adventure. An angrier, bloodier adventure in 3D. The Spartans are back in battle, there's more carnage and more blood comes shooting at the screen in slow motion 3D. Most of these Spartans sound like they just marched in from Downton Abbey. Also, you have hundreds of ancient Greek musclemen warriors...and not a single one has chest hair.
Remember the teen comedy, Superbad, starring Jonah Hill and Michael Cera? If a psychic was a guest on a daytime talk show when that movie came out and predicted that Jonah Hill would be a two-time Oscar nominee -- and that one of those nominations would be earned for dramatic work in a Martin Scorcese film -- the audience would have snickered. But today, Jonah Hill has two Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominations to his credit and one came for his terrific performance in a Martin Scorcese drama. I got to see The Wolf of Wall Street, Scorcese's cautionary tale of greed. It had some of the Scorcese trademarks like high testosterone, hot-tempered guys and hot blondes being the object of desire. Think Raging Bull and Casino. For a hot blonde, you can even include The Age of Innocence starring Michelle Pfeiffer. The Wolf of Wall Street has a hot blonde who carbonates his hormones. Leonardo DiCaprio earned his Best Actor Oscar nomination as the brass balls bad boy addicted to big bucks and party drugs.
When I saw the trailer for Bad Words directed by and staring Jason Bateman, I was positive I'd hate the movie because his character was so verbally inappropriate in the presence of a child. I saw the movie and I liked it very much. Bad Words won me over. Rude, crude, funny and heartfelt. It's a witty revenge story that uses a spelling bee championship as its mode of revenge.
Thank you, Wes Anderson! I absolutely loved The Grand Budapest Hotel. I loved it so much I wanted to go see it a second time but my schedule got really packed before I had to fly back from New York City. I still want to see it a second time. I guess I have a comedy sweet tooth. There are times when I crave a stylized, snappily-paced comedy with some loopy characters. The kind the old Hollywood masters gave us. If there's anyone today delivering screwball comedies with a touch of Ernst Lubitsch and Preston Sturges with a zest of Billy Wilder about them, it's Wes Anderson. The Grand Budapest Hotel is a rich example. Who knew that Ralph Fiennes, an actor known for deep-dish dramas like Schindler's List, The English Patient, The Constant Gardener and Quiz Show, had such exquisite screwball comedy chops? Who knew?
There's a death. There's a caper. There's love. There's danger. Here's the trailer.
I've grown fond of Wes Anderson movies. Watching Fantastic Mr. Fox is now an annual Thanksgiving Day tradition for me. I love that he writes good roles for ethnic actors. In The Grand Budapest Hotel, there's Southern Californian Latino actor Tony Revolori almost stealing the film as the lovable lobby boy with the deadpan expression.