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Double Feature: 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' and 'Only Lovers Left Alive'

Today I took advantage of €3.50 movie weekend and saw The Grand Budapest Hotel and Only Lovers Left Alive, or as I like to call them, Hey, That's A Nice Set and You're Just Here For Hiddles, Aren't You? (This is a spoiler-free post, for those of you who are concerned about that sort of thing.)

First, The Grand Budapest Hotel. I liked it, though there were a few moments that were a bit gorey for my tastes (though not in a particularly realistic way). It was... well, it was a Wes Anderson movie. It was pretty. It had cute music. There's a murder and romance and lots of running. The plot is well-paced. The jokes were, generally speaking, pretty good. The cast was great, and everyone had entertainingly random accents.


Since this is GT, I'll mention that Grand Budapest is about average for Hollywood where women are concerned. There are two women who actually play significant roles and one dies in the trailer. Whether or not it passes the Bechdel Test depends on your definition of "conversation".

On the whole: it was charming, entertaining, and short. I would watch it again.

Next up, Only Lovers Left Alive. It... look, here's the thing. As a movie, I thought it was kind of awful. It felt like it had been written by someone who thought they were making something that was just soooo much more sophisticated than all those other vampire movies. The jokes were of the sort AP high schoolers make when they're so certain of their own brilliance and intelligence, before they go off to college and realize that everyone else learned that in history too. The dialogue felt a little awkward at times. The characters aren't particularly developed: you have Adam, the reclusive and moody musician; Eve, his bookish, caring wife; Ava, her impulsive little sister who never grows up; and Christopher Marlowe, who's actually kind of great but isn't in a ton of the film. (And yes, their names are Adam and Eve. No relation.) The plot doesn't really exist—things happen, but they're not necessarily connected to each other, and when you get to the end, you go, "Huh, I guess we're done now" and then you leave.

But let's be honest here. You weren't actually ever going to see this movie because you thought it sounded like a wonderful film. You were going to see it because it's two hours of Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton walking around in all their impossibly pale, messy-haired glory. (Fun fact: all vampires have messy hair.) And if that's what you want, Only Lovers Left Alive will suffice. Tilda Swinton wears lovely clothes and refuses to take shit from Moroccan men. Hiddles eats a popsicle and plays assorted musical instruments. They both lounge around pondering life and wearing varying amounts of clothing.

Overall opinion: It was probably worth my €3.50, but I don't know that I would have paid full-price for it.


So there you have it. Honestly, neither one needs to be seen in the theater, but if you're interested in seeing one or the other, I'd choose the zany adventure through Eastern Europe rather than the moody ramble through Detroit. Though then again, those are my travel preferences as well.

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