If you know me you know I’m a sucker for an amazing documentary. As an avid movie fan, and former entertainment writer, I am sure my reaction to the news about Detroit’s first documentary film festival — the Freep Film Festival in full bloom this weekend at the Detroit Film Theater and Fillmore — must have sounded like an audible shriek of joy.
You know the kind. The sort you hear when two women reunite unexpectedly after a short time apart. Hands flailing and dogs nearby bark. I digress. I was truly thrilled.
This was something engaging, educational, creative and exciting. It’s something that really anyone interested could just wrap his or her arms around and enjoy.
And after having a chance to check out an installment last night (the moving, memorable doc about Detroit-born filmmaker Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel), it’s exactly that.
From an amazing selection of movies with a connection to the city itself, to expert panels and events — like a tour of historic theaters hosted by Preservation Detroit this morning — the Freep Film Festival is off to an impressive start in its maiden year.
As I’m reviewing the rest of the schedule for my next move, I wanted to be sure to share it with any other movie fans who might be game.
Let me know what you choose, what you love and what your hopes are for the future of this fledgling festival. If they happen to be as high as mine, we’ve got a lot to look forward to, this weekend and beyond.
One visit to The Grand Budapest Hotel might not be enough to capture it in all its pastel candy-coated grandeur. The latest offering by the auteur who brought to life such irreverent families as The Royal Tenenbaums and who most recently captured film-goers hearts at summer camps and school plays in the Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson layers on the impact of his deliberate attention to detail here.
If filmmakers like Woody Allen are credited for creating movies that evoke a love story for a place or time, then The Grand Budapest Hotel evokes a love of storytelling itself. It opens in a cemetery at the tomb of Author. From the start, Anderson warns that every story comes to a writer, finds him, interrupts his life through all those he might meet. And so begins the story within a story, so elegantly layered and influenced by each new character we are introduced to - as the clock is turned back.
The film focuses of course around a respected concierge and his protege M. Gustav H (Ralph Feinnes) and Zero Mustafa the lobby boy (Tony Revolori) — who together keep The Grand Budapest Hotel running in top form in the fictional Republic of Zubrowka during wartime. That is until M. Gustav H discovers that one Madame D has passed away and he swiftly travels to her funeral.
Taking along his protege, a misadventure ensues involving his inheritance and leading him farther from his plush existence at the hotel, causing Zero to enlist the assistance of his love, a local baker named Agatha (Saoirse Ronan), to help return Gustav to safety. Anderson credits the film as having been inspired by writer Stefan Zweig, a Viennese opponent of the First World War, according to the New Yorker.
From the careful voices of narrators who lend both authority and atmosphere to the fast-past tale to the delightful portrayal of its lead characters, The Grand Budapest Hotel invites its viewers into a world of intrigue like only Anderson’s artful eye might create.
At once as enchanting as the delicate dessert preferred by the hotel’s concierge, M. Gustav H’s beloved Courtesan Au Chocolat by Mendl’s, and evoking its own comedic moments shaded in shock or surprise, The Grand Budapest Hotel spares no expense when it comes to visual or story-telling elements. It’s cast, too, is chock-full of amazing actors from Edward Norton to Willem Dafoe to Jude Law and on and on. The film is stunningly cast.
Nearly unidentifiable in their roles are Harvey Keitel as Ludwig and Tilda Swinton as Madame D. However, quick appearances sure to earn knowing glances by fans of Anderson’s work and of comedy in general are of course scenes including Bill Murray, Fisher Stevens, Bob Balaban and Owen Wilson.
The cinematography highlights the grandeur of its location using every tool imaginable. The frame-engulfing hotel itself, a cleverly suspenseful street car pursuit and an Olympics-level sled chase.
Note nearby: Playing finally in Detroit area theaters for those who could barely wait another moment. You can see it starting today.
Planning to see it or have already? Leave a comment and let me know what you think of the film.
This is just one of those little life skills I proudly gained in college - like how to separates your laundry or not schedule an 8 o’clock class on a Friday. I still wonder why some people (those who love beer) don’t have it today? This is a perfect primer for anyone who missed the lesson.
And ever since I spent a summer semester in Europe I wanted to learn how they make that illusive Guinness shamrock!
Great recommendations that call to mind warm weather and fresh personal style. Who doesn’t love a little Lorde “Tennis Court” anyway?
On this day in 1972, Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather had its debut screening in New York City. “The lights come on, and it was the eeriest feeling of all time: there was not one sound. No …
I would bet my father knew most of these facts. Or, he’d be fascinated by any he didn’t know. This is and was required watching in our household and remains a pinnacle of filmmaking in my opinion. It certainly inspired my love of film. Some of the scenic imagery romanticizing the Italian countryside, lavish family weddings and music echoed in stories of my own heritage - though it was the juxtaposition of violence and intrigue that made it so captivating and timeless.
Technology plays a big role in the film industry, but every once in a while, it gets to be the star.
These 14 movies are all tech-themed, from the dystopian days of Gattaca, to the twitchy, neurotic drama The Social Network…
I still refuse to watch Avatar (I reached a certain James Cameron tolerance quota) but the rest of this list is on target as far as film choices. Nice to see The Conversation listed.
It’s all I’ve ever needed for trips under a week. I have it down to a science by now. Traveling to Europe and China taught me just how much I need, and exactly what I can live without. It’s so freeing to separate out the essentials and just explore. This reminded me of the unassuming carry-on my friends call my clown-car: http://www.vagabondish.com/how-to-pack-everything-just-one-suitcase/
Pour-over, siphon, Chemex, Fetco… what now? A growing cafe industry focus on great beans, and careful techniques means ordering a cup of coffee has never been more rewarding… or more confusing. We tested out seven brewing methods with the help…
A little-known fact: I’ve never owned (and don’t require) a traditional coffee pot but I am practically a collector of these devices. I’m fascinated by my Chemex, consider French Press my go-to and even have a tea press. How do you caffeinate?