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Jan Wahl Movie Reviews: ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ And ‘Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me’

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"The Grand Budapest Hotel" (credit: Fox Searchlight)

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” (credit: Fox Searchlight)

JanWahl20100909_KCBS_0564r Jan Wahl
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – KCBS Entertainment Editor Jan Wahl reviews writer/director Wes Anderson’s newest film, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” which stars Ralph Fiennes, Bill Murray, and Tilda Swinton. Also reviewed is the documentary “Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me” which chronicles the life and career of the famed performer.

KCBS Entertainment Reporter Jan Wahl:

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THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL (R) 99 min

Director/Writer Wes Anderson (“Moonrise Kingdom” [2012], “The Royal Tenenbaums” [2001]) is well known for his eccentric, imaginative movies. His latest, “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” takes place in a deluxe Europeon spa hotel in the early 1930’s where we meet a genteel, famed concierge and his “lobby boy.” Together they search for a fortune and a painting. Ralph Feinnes leads a cast that includes Bill Murray, Adrian Brody and Tilda Swinton. None but Feinnes, however, is around long since this is a film consisting of brief encounters, scampering chases and fanciful visuals.

The wildly colorful hand-painted backdrops, miniatures, and silent-movie pacing all add to the fun. But without a strong narrative, it’s hard to connect with the film. The design is wonderful, but the movie itself can feel empty and unfinished. Check into this hotel on DVD or head to the theatre for the outrageous visuals and strong cast.

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ELAINE STRITCH: SHOOT ME (UNRATED) 80 min

She’s won Emmys and Tonys, appeared regularly on “30 Rock” (As Alec Baldwin’s mother) and onstage in Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s “A Little Night Music.” The legendary Elaine Stritch gives us a vanity-free look at her life and work while navigating through her 80s. We witness the rough world of showbiz, perfect for this tough personality. She fights her alcoholism while having a drink a day—which anyone who’s in recovery knows doesn’t work.

The late James Gandalfini was a close friend and shows up reflecting on Elaine’s quirky persona, along with Nathan Lane and Tina Fey. I saw her one woman show, “Live at Liberty” at the Curran Theater which made me realize she’s an original in a business without too many originals left. For fans of theatre and Stritch.

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Movies To See Right Now: The Monuments Men, The Great Beauty, Philomena, & Nebraska

Home Viewing/DVD: Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, Waking Ned Devine, The Quiet Man, the Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Dallas Buyers Club, Frozen & The Book Thief

You can hear KCBS Entertainment Editor Jan Wahl’s movie reviews on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM Fridays at 8:53am & 4:53pm.

 

You can hear KCBS Entertainment Editor Jan Wahl’s movie reviews on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM Fridays at 8:53am & 4:53pm.

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